I have this warning page here for more than 20 years now, and still receive often feedback from people, how shocked they are to read all of this for the first time. Well I stopped being shocked about the naive stupidity of the buyers on EBAY myself.

Folks, NO, NO and NO, you can not buy Telefunken ECC803S made by Telefunken on Ebay for half of the price. The same applies for Telefunken 6211, blatantly re-branded by the fakers as ECC802S. 6211 is a totally DIFFERENT tube. With useless unlinearity, terrible tube curves, because 6211 is a SWITCHING tube and no Audio tube at all. Even though 50% of them will bias in an ECC82 circuit, I know that also. But the grid of 6211 has TWICE the spacing, and the tube curves of 6211 are a disaster. It seems to be very 'reliable' when the seller writes 6211/ECC802S is the same. Even on faked tubes they write both designations together, as if it is the same, but this is really sick. But now I begin to write about stupidity on Ebay again, and intended to avoid this here actually.

Well, perhaps we all need something to believe in, even when they know it is not true. Plain truth makes people unhappy. Many greatest books and movies, contain stories which never happened, we know it, and we love the stories.

BEFORE YOU READ THE REST: This here is my personal opinion. It is not intended to discredit honest sellers that have fakes in their program by mistake. Moreover, if you see such a seller saying so up front, then for me personally this is a good way to deal with this. Showing, yes we all can make mistakes, but we do what we can to correct this, and we help others to prevent the same mistake, by warning others. I can give you examples of a USA tube seller that went even further, they removed the fake prints from tubes, and sold them as unbranded NOS. Also a good solution. (If you know him, he calles himself tubem....)

WHERE YOU CAN BUY FAKES: Company names I know, but I cannot mention here of course. Two of them are in the United Kingdom. Very large companies, selling via Ebay, under their normal company name. Another is in Switzerland, lets call this company Macro-ethics. One I know in Germany, with a huge web shop. Proudly selling TFK with faked laser diamonds. Another one is an older company, also very well known, in Germany too, who sold me 10 faked TFK ECC802S, but he told me he did not know about it, which I tend to believe indeed. But it happens.

LASER FAKED Telefunken Diamond in glass bottem



Products that are faked:

Tube faking and wine faking have a long tradition. Not just tubes are faked, but also money, watches, and just any precious item. Even gold bars are faked with the exact specific weight.

On youtube you can find videos about Koko the talking Gorilla, who was taught American Sign Language (for deaf people) by her owner. There is this scene where Koko was shown a small toy dinosaur by surprise. In a split second she jumps back, but then she shows the language signs with her hands and fingers: First 'Teeth' and then 'false'. So you can't fool a gorilla with fake products so easily. This video is really on youtube.

There are some REAL professional companies faking tubes in a way, which will make you fall off your chair if you only knew. For that reason, I give some real life examples of faking, showing you have extremely devilish those people to anything whatsoever for money, taking into account the death of f people. Read some of this incredible information, and then google for it, and you will see it is true. With that in mind, don't have illusions when you see miracles for sale at an Auction Website.

Example1. How about airplane parts faked as 'old stock' or 'new production' whatever sells best, made from used parts. Of course companies can refurbish kitchens from old air planes, or old seats. Strictly forbidden However, is re-use engines or parts, which have exceeded the use hours. Also full overhaul is forbidden. At the end of use hours, the engine must be replaced, even when it works fine. It is allowed to repair engines with low hours on them, but you may not change the use hours. So if an engine fails, the airplane company may replace it legally, by a used engine, when all certificates are good, and the defective engine goes to one of the repair companies. Of course these hours are registered on certificates, with series numbers on the engine parts. The rest you can already guess. The fakers do a perfect good job, re plating everything, faking series numbers, imprints, certificates, and history of the old parts in an perfect way. This fakery is a great problem for aviation industry. It is like reset the miles counter of a car. And yes there are many airplanes in the air with such engines. If it crashes, there is hardly a way to find out. All parts and documents were faked perfectly. So the burned scrap from a crashed airplane won't tell much of a new story.

Example2. In Belgium they mixed used engine oil in chicken food, to make it juicier. That went on for years, until at some moment, the very poisonous substance dioxin was found in eggs.

Example3. This is really a bad one. In 2014 in China, several managers of a milk factory were convicted to death, for producing fake baby food. They made milk powder from nothing but oil, sugar, and chemicals. They did such a clever job, adding colorants, and chemical odor, and nobody could see or taste the difference. Worldwide, baby milk is tested by the food administration, also in China. Those criminals added a special chemical which made the protein tests postive. When the milk was tested, it looked and tasted like real milk, and protein content was tested as good. Yet protein content was... ZERO. The chemicals they used to fool the protein test, is called Melamine, and is used for making hard plastics like spoons and trays. This is poisonous stuff, but when bound into plastic you only scrape off little fractions of it. But when mixed into this fake baby milk, it becomes a slow poison for the kidneys. Which the criminals took into account, so you can imagine how sick their plan was. This is really perverted, because look what happens: The babies were given this fake milk as supplement to other food, and the babies would have a protein shortage, because it contains no protein at all. This of course makes them eat more, because babies have natural need for protein. They just drink and drink and drink milk, until they have the required quantity. So they get fat from all the fat and sugar. Which parents really like, because obviously the babies 'liked' the milk, they drink very much of it. Also, fat babies are preferred in China. So everybody was supposed to be happy. So far, the sick plan worked, but they did not foresee what would happen if a mother has zero natural milk, and feeds the baby only fake milk. It needs little explanation, a zero protein diet is a slow death, and the poor baby drinks more and more, because of the protein shortage, but also the damaged kidneys, malfunctioning partly, makes them more thirsty. So they want more and more of this fake milk, and they become ill. die. As first babies began to die in 2008 in China, the case was discovered. Yet hundreds of thousands (!!) Chinese babies had kidney problems. All of those will die too young, because no human gets old with damaged kidneys. At least 300.000 Chinese children are now involved. (Yes that many!) These persons will all not get old. Of course you 'do not believe this ', when you read it for the first time. Then at least learn from this, 'belief' is a very poor replacement for knowledge. Read the truth on Wikipedia here.

Example4. Fake doctors are known sometimes to practice for decades, and nobody ever suspected something. Reason for this is, we 'believe' so much in a person with a white jacket being directly appointed to this task by the Gods. So the light shining from them, simply blinds most people. With tube doctors it is not different. They know what appearance you are looking for, so like the white jacket. You think you can judge internet offers for being no fakes? Well then you are very talented. Unfortunately for myself I don't have this ability. What a pity.

So for me, what counts is only facts. This may seem a silly advise, but you should try to practice it. Just take an almost too good to be true offer (like somebody offering 100's of rare ECC88 in like-new boxes, with mint appearance etc) and go for proof. So ask for a high resolution close up picture of the diamond, so you can be sure it is not lasered. Translate the etched mall printing code, etc. So when you have no proof for the tubes being faked, that is one thing, but then try to find positive proof, they are real. If you cannot find that either, you have nothing but 'belief' and THAT is very little when we are talking about E88CC, of which to my opinion are 10x more fakes for sale than the real ones. The number 10 is probably wrong. Perhaps it is 25 or 100.

I would say, really anything is faked, as long as it makes money. Even smallest amounts attract fakers. So how about big money? How about selling faked factory boxes with 100 tubes inside, that go for 150$ per tube or more. So make 10000$ on one box, and sell a few of those boxes to some dealers, and then disappear? Believe me, this is big business.

Historical fakes. A fake job can be 70 years old, and this can be very confusing. Did you know, the very first Western Electric tubes, with numbers like VT2, had solid gold tips, attached to the tube pins? In history, there was a period when such tubes were well available, and it was simply nice business to replace the solid gold tips by gold plated brass. In 1930, when somebody did that on a box with 100 pcs, even when it took him the whole day, the result was 400 little gold pieces.

With regular tubes, so the 6.3 Volt Series with Octal and Noval base, you can sometimes buy on Ebay tubes that are obviously very old. This seems clear, from the rusty pins, and dirty dusty boxes beginning to fall apart already. Yet they test like new. I bet that makes you feel good. Still this can be a fake job that was done 50 years ago. These may have had several owners (for instance five owners, in 40 years) Then you see them for sale in the internet, and you think you spot the once in your life opportunity, waiting for YOU there, to win the lucky deal. Be aware some fakes jobs were done so well, and so often, that these are massively around still, even when very old.

How fakes are sold. With the internet, the fakers are provided a sales platform, of the kind they never had before. In the old days, they had no other option as to sell their fakes to tube dealers or to work for them even. Whereas today, Ebay has become the standard sales platform for them. Even a few old and large companies, I see them selling fakes in their Ebay shops. The classical platform, selling them to tube dealers, the fakers are using additional. So you may see large dealers selling fakes, as if it these are normal tubes, and at the same time find those same tubes with Ebay private sellers.

Although tube dealers are not stupid, and pay no good prices for fakes. So Ebay has become very popular. What also causes this, is the Ebay feedback system. Feedback is given mainly for for nice optics and quick shipment, and not for quality. Just when it all looks to good to be true, that seems to be what buyers are specifically looking for. So positive feedback is given quickly. Then, afterwards, they can't change the feedback anymore. Unlike Amazon, where you can change your feedback any time. So nobody sells his fakes on Amazon.

The people that buy it. So let's not be naive, and think tubes are faked on a small scale and rare occasions only, and only fools buy it. Market mechanisms don't work that way. Sorry for the 'wake up' message, and this way to write, but I want to give more attention to this. With tubes, it's done on a huge scale ever since, but today with prices soaring, and markets screaming for NOS <> Telefunken, methods are refining more and more.

I do not want to be too specific, but a well known USA tube dealer, with a very nice, well known internet shop and Ebay shop, found Telefunken E88CC in 100pcs factory packs, from a seller in East Europe. He went over there by airplane, to buy all he could get. And that seller had MANY. I don't know what he paid, but just to have a number, if he paid 80$, a 100pcs box cost him 8000$. I don't know how many boxes they sold him, but it was (according to the buyer) a huge purchase. This man is now totally mad about my fakes tubes pages, and actually that is why I know about this, because he told me so himself.

Case1) Grande business. In 2003, I visited a company in Switzerland, who has access to real (NOS) tube printing tools (for the glass) and tons of NOS boxes. I was there initially to check their NOS offerings, but we could not agree on anything. They had this attitude, like they have so many millions Audiophile tubes for sale, and they are the greatest. When I got there, they wanted prices same as on Ebay, and when I offered a price.... Read the full story here.

Case2) The Ebay Company. Here is another case: There is a German company, who offered directly on Ebay to professionally re-work and gold plate tube pins of ECC tubes, so they would look like new again. I do not say this is good or bad, but I want to point out here, this is possible.

Case3) The friendly old Ex TFK employee. I once met an Ex Telefunken Employee on an electronics flea market in Germany, in Friedrichshafen. Selling small quantities of NOS tubes there, and really cheap. The typical friendly old man, you find many of them on such markets. Just the normal picture, so I paid not much attention to him, but yes I bought some of his tubes. Then after testing the tubes, I was surprised by.... Read the full story here.

Case4) Some stupid cases. Sometimes, fakes are done a bit stupid. Like fakers buy used TFK ECC83 on Ebay (with the diamond <> mark in the bottom) and then re stamp them as Telefunken ECC803S, with a new printed box. Make the box a bit old and dusty, and there you are, your good old ECC803S from somebodies uncle who just died. Without guarantee, and no returns of course, because that's normal on Ebay, that doesn't ring a bell. Well it pays off, since mint condition Telefunken ECC803 costs up to 1000 Euro each (as I write this in 2012). Some people always buy it, and think they have the deal of their life for only 500€ for a matched pair. It's just those fakes I add here when I can get hold of a picture. Just for the fun of it, and for just showing how some simple details tell the truth. Yet, do not underestimate this. Some fake jobs are done very nice, and we even got used to the fakes, and people begin to think they're real. Like the Svetlana EF86, that you can now see in all kind of brands, with perfect stamps, and like new boxes.

Case5) The unknown seller. An interesting situation is when there was this really huge batch of TESLA ECC803S offered also to me in 2006, via internet, by dealer that I occasionally buy some NOS stock from. Then, he had for sale for me this batch of ECC803S. This turned out to be a huge fake job, big money. I was not the only victim. So far, this tube I have never seen faked, because originals were still available. They would sell for about 40 Euro in those days. The crowd was not interested in those, it was a tube for connoisseurs rather. So there was not yet what I call the lemming effect for this part number. Also the TESLA brand was not discovered yet as the second best tube after Telefunken. Still I noticed increased demand already. So a lemming effect might develop, and simply buy a few hundred of those in 2006, as they were still no expensive, seemed a good idea to me. Later, as I found out about the fake job, I issued a warning on the largest non-moderated, old women gossip and fight Forum, called.... Read the full story here.

Not only JJ tubes are used to fake expensive tubes, though the JJ are quite popular for this purpose, because they're so cheap, and there is a lot of second choice around, which they do not destroy. Still any other low cost tube can be used for it also. It has been common practice amongst fakers, since decades, to put EI tubes into reprinted Philips boxes. This is obvious, because these tubes are made on Philips tools, and JJ on old Telefunken look-alike tools.

Another source is the rejects of the last few tube factories, struggling to survive, and that don't pay their employees well. Think what it means for a person with a low salary, when his boss tells him to dispose those 5000 pieces audio tubes, that have quality issues. What would he do? This amount fits in the trunk of his car. So he says: Yes boss, I put them in my car, and drive it to the junk yard for you. Then sell it for 3$ / each to a faker. It means 15.000$ tax free money for those people in the factory chain. It means $35.000 profit for the faker when he sells them for $10 each on the large auction site where all gold diggers are looking for nuggets. Then, imagine that is done in countries where $35000 is a five year's salary. So do you really think this man throws those tubes away?

Case6) Old 'EI' stocks. After closure and dismantling the EI Factory, the old inventory was sold to tube dealers. The big boys picked out the best selling part numbers, and the small boys were buying the low cost stuff. One good example is ECF802, but also more expensive tubes like ECC88 of E88CC is re-branded like whatever gets higher market prices. Such as Siemens ECC88, or CCa. So if some tubes existed from both brands, and look the same, and many sellers have many, and boxes are all so new, and printing is so clean.... What shall I say...?

Case 7) Private faking. This is getting popular now. Since NOS prices go up anyway, people buy NOS tubes, in possibly nice looking boxes. Then they use them in their private equipment. After first sign on use begin to appear, they put them back into their boxes, and sell them on Ebay again, as NOS, and likely make a profit even. Or, some have for instance used Telefunken in their amplifier, run for thousands of hours but still good. Then buy a pair of NOS with boxes, swap the tubes, and when they are lucky pay almost nothing for changing old tubes into new.

So how to detect real NOS? If you are unexperienced, this is hard to do. I try to give you some hints here.

  1. good technician cannot be fooled with the electrical data coming from a parametric tube tester, such as the Russian L3-3, but you have zero chances with a Hickock or any other 'quick' tester.
  2. Balancing. Double triodes that are balanced by default, like ECC801S 802S and 803S, should of course not have 30% difference. Though really we need to warn for everything at the moment. I have first hand information from a tube dealer, who was asked to test PCC88, and only ship those that are testing nicely balanced at 6.3 Volts, with an L3-3 tester. You can guess what that was for. Read the full story here.
  3. Only buy from dealers that expose themself since many years. So not from an unknown man on an unknown website. Check if he publishes his full address and telephone number.
  4. At auction web sites, buy only from sellers that show their name and address BEFORE BUYING. It should be obvious a faker will NEVER show his identity online.

So now enjoy the pictures coming below here! But before you do....

Please don't:

Please do:

For Ebay (1), I have this recommendation for you: The major part of the normal market price, should be achieved 24 hours before the auction ends. If not, that is because people with knowledge are not bidding. If somebody is definitely prepared to pay 1500 Euro for a pair of tubes on Ebay, he will not make a 100 Euro bid only, and then wait three minutes to the end of the auction. So if a 1500 Euro pair of tubes and a 7 days auction is still at 100 Euro with only one 4 hours to go, that not a good sign. So if you understand how this observation works, and if you see knowledgeable people not bidding, it must have a reason. You better stay away too.

For Ebay (2), Even the contrary is nice to see. We stay with the above example. Suppose you bid indeed 1500 Euro on this pair, while it is at 100 Euro only. Right after you set the bid, you become the highest bidder with 1450 Euro. That is good! In means somebody else had a bid of 1400 Euro on it. From the same perspective you can ALSO feel bad about it, when you give a 1500 Euro bid, while the price is 100 Euro, and you are still the highest bidder for 350 Euro, 4 days later. It seems you are the only person on earth, prepared to go up to 1500 Euro. Consider to cancel the bid.

WARNING. Telefunken <> Diamond is faked

I heard about this first time in 2012, when I used to believe the TFK <> diamond was impossible to fake. This is definitely over! It was brought to my attention in 2012 by person in Ulm, who had two business. He dealed with real NOS, from a huge storage, and he had a faking workshop in the basement of his private house. He told me laser faking was considered by some people, but he gave me no more information.

Another case was brought to my attention in 2015 about faking the diamond by laser, and I was able to follow up on this case with more proof. The person used such tubes for this, which have identical appearance with Telefunken, like EI tubes from Yugoslavia. Actually this was old stock from the clearance of the EI factory.

FAKED Date Codes for Telefunken tubes.

Seen by myself so far. This list of of course very incomplete.

  • 3804
  • 03051
  • 7105
  • 30140
  • 30148
  • 52057
  • 71148
  • 72056
  • 72058
  • 91140
  • 85-07
  • U1006203 d. Seen on fake ECC802S
  • 'GABL' if printed on ECC803S
  • HPTE. I found this on Ebay, but by 'coincidence' these are the Initials of a person who is known to fake tubes.

Fake, lasered diamond. Pictured under normal light. You see just a nice DIAMOND. It is FAKE. Read the rest here, about how I made the fake visible.

So here we are, we write 2016, and now I have a FAKED TELEFUNKEN DIAMOND TUBE on my desk. A normal, nice looking, new appearance <> tube.

If you see such a picture briefly and unsharp in Ebay you think, oh great, with diamond. So it can be no fake. However, this is a faked, lasered diamond. This is done beautifully, with great perfection, and yet with some details that disguise the fake. I will explain that later.

Where do these tubes come from? They are from the factory closure of EI in Niss. Huge piles of 6GH8A was found in the basement, that nobody wanted to have. Some found their way to a faker, who is said to be practicing only, and more expensive tube types will follow. I really could not believe this story, and I did not want to publish something here without physical proof, so at least one, clearly faked diamond I needed. Well.... I have one now, so here it is.

At fist sight, you absolutely don't see the difference. I mean, sometimes the real <> can be a bit vague, so when you see a clear, nicely visible diamond, you don't get suspicious. Even though I was told it was a fake, I couldn't recognize that with the bare eye.

Funny paint is used

Details show always a lot. It pays off to use a two lens, high quality jeweler's lens. I try to make some macro pictures here with a normal camera, but with a jeweler's lens you can see more.

Here you see, the printing is done with some kind of fat white paint, same as JJ is using in red color. Click on the picture for an enlargement.

One of my tube suppliers was offered both variants, before faking and after faking. He bought for me two boxes of 100pcs, of the unfaked tubes. He was given a sample of the faked tubes, which he gave to me. So pictures here are from that (one) faked tube, I still have it. These can be found on Ebay, by sellers who tell you usual stories. But more important to know is, the faker told us, this action was only to practice on cheaper kind of tubes. Later, this will be done better, and with expensive tubes. Well and I have to say, even the tests which I pictured here had laser diamonds which look not bad, and that was in 2015. So you bet they improved the process.

Before faking

After faking



How to distinguish fake diamonds from real diamonds.

I quickly made this sketch as it tells more than words. Also in the next picture, I show you the glass cracks. They did a really nice job, actually melting the surface, and also achieving the original dimensions. The surface does not look lasered at all, and it has indeed identical surface like original diamonds too.

Only thing is.... the real diamond is in positive. HOWEVER, laser can only remove something, or melt it, but not add material. So really, the fake diamond is extremely well done, BUT.... there are three things I noted:

  1. It is in negative. This is However, not easy to see with the bar eye! I did not notice myself at first. You do need a (very good) jeweler's lens, and you might see it. You can try to scratch over it with the blade of a sharp knife. Like that you can feel the knife go inside. Whereas with an original diamond you can feel it's an edge.
  2. There is dirt inside. It needs the right light, and the right angle, and I saw some gray dirt.
  3. The laser has developed a whole field of extremely fine hairs cracks.
  4. The boxes of these tubes were to fat, too shiny


Really search for proof, a real diamond is in positive, and this is very very confusing! Negative, faked diamonds appear positive under some angle, and this is very very hard to see.

More reliable than the eye, is a fine, sharp cutter knife. With that you can easily feel if the diamond is INSIDE the glass, meaning it is fake, or ON the glass, so it is real.


I can't just write company names here, but I have seen them already with some of the larger UK and German tube dealers.

The Glass Cracks.

These pictures were made under special light conditions. The cracks were NOT visible without that.

At first I didn't notice these cracks, but I knew they had to be there. It is impossible to re-melt old glass without getting cracks. Already 5...10 years after production, old glass is not ideal anymore. I found the cracks by two things. 1) Lighting inside the glass bottom from the side. 2) Use the Photoshop sharpening mask, and set it such it catches most of all such details. And then suddenly, you see the damage this laser engravement has been doing. It looks like a moon landscape full of cracks and things. Also around the letters 21 (20) are large circular cracks. Even so it looks like a number 20, but it is 21. That is how big the circular cracks are!! Then again, under normal light you can't see them.

I am absolutely sure, during the laser process it must have cracked a certain percentage of his tubes. Those that survived, may have the same hair cracks as the sample tube I have here. After some storage time, this will develop a gassy tube. Such a crack can take years and years, to develop further, but it will. Every day some small number of gas molecules creep in, and slowly poison the cathode. At first such a tube will suffer from bad parameters, and after a while it will suddenly have a white getter from one day to the other. If you click on the above glass crack picture, it is the same, but without my comments


The Small printing as ultimate proof for real tubes?

I am not an expert on small printing information, but so small printing this seems difficult to remove SOMETIMES, and adding etched codes is an extra step with more difficulties. So this will becomes increasingly important. Though I expect also this hurdle can be overcome by the faking mafia. It stays a fact: Any EI codes on Telefunken Diamond bottom tubes, is proof for a fake job.

What do the boxes tell?

A lot! But you need to use your eyes! Fake tube boxes often are low quality fake job, when it's small quantity only. However, when somebody is professionally faking tubes in quantities of 100's per part number, for an expensive tube, just make the calculation... If the fakes tube brings 100 Euro, and the cheap tube cost only 5 Euro cents, we have a project with 9500 Euro profit on a box of 100pcs. These get sold to the 'so respectable' tube dealers, which have one eye closed. Or, fake 1000 tubes, we talk about 95000 Euro. Perhaps that number rings a bell? This is big business for the fake mafia.

So tube boxes, which you can simply not recognise as re-prints, on order to pack 1000 tubes, really perfect copies, printed with ink, it is a piece of cake.

For small quantities, laser printed boxes are more likely what you will see. Compare with very old boxes you have. You will see old boxes are printed with ink, and laser printed boxes are printed with powder.

Producing 'old' looking tube boxes, is hard. A good advise I have for you, is the smell and the feel of the boxes. Old paper detoriates over time. There is a small acid content in old paper, and the paper damages itself after decades. So after 100 years, it will make old boxes literally fall apart, some pieces will just break off by touching it. This is a long and slow process, which accelerates in the end. Already after 40 years, the paper gets soft, and begins to develops this characteristic detoriation smell, which you can easily detect when you remove the tube, and.... Read the full story here.

Faked boxes with Banderols simply from Ebay. The brand rights for Telefunken have not expired. So this faker should be more careful.

Note this: The flaps of older boxes, when opened and closed many times, they tend to brake off. It's not nice to see, but a good sign. With new paper that is not happening. You can also check how the boxes were glued. So take it apart, and look at the glue. Can you see if they are hand glued, or machine glued? So check the glue stripe. Is it uniform, and hand applied? You can easily see the difference. You can put it back together again, and compare with old boxes of your collection.

Acid Damaged Paper

When stored inside a 100pcs master carton, of course the boxes stay in better condition, but the acid in the air will do it's work. The paper becomes less strong as well. Also the difference between recently folded boxes and boxes that were in use since 40 years, is hard to fake. So take the tube out, and open the flaps. Then see if the boxes have a preference to change their shape, so the box will try to go back a little bit, like to the condition when it was 'flat', so before folding it. . They sure will not do this after 40 years. Also the flap INSIDE the box, will not hold the tube firmly in place with old boxes. Tubes rattle inside even, whereas in new boxes that will not be so.

Telefunken Series numbers

This is a pain in the a... for the fakers, to print every tubes with an individual series number. So when you can buy Telefunken tubes without series numbers on it, be careful. With most real old Telefunken tubes I had, there was almost always this long series number on the tube side. And though it is possible of course, normally the numbers are not the same. Most of the time, the same number is printed on the box. Each time, I see people offer E88CC, and the sellers have them in boxes of 100 pcs, which they so proudly show, how come there is never a date code stamped on the box? The ones I had, always had this long series number. Note E88CC is a very rare tube, it is not normal everybody has them in full 100 pcs boxes. I must say, I don't trust this situation since a long time, and U was offered such myself in full boxes of 100pcs, but I send them back, because printing was funny, and they all tested a bit strange. Some weak, and some not, and most with big differences between two triodes in one bulb. All if that is not normal for TRUE Telefunken E88CC. I have to say, this was before I learned about laser faked diamonds. I do know the seller made BIG business with those tubes. Not from the seller himself, but from one of his OEM customers. There was this tube dealer from the USA, going by air plane to East Europe, to buy directly EVERYTHING he could get his hands on, and (what a coincidence) it were very very many. He spend almost a six digit number of US$ with that seller. For my little self, I received 100 pcs to try, and I send them back, at that time not trusting that strange yellow-white printing, the crazy spread in tube data, and the boxes looked like printed yesterday. After my complaint the seller offered my two weeks later, boxes if 100 tubes, but now with improved printing, in original Telefunken white. That confirmed what I was already thinking. Interesting, that USA buyer found my website, and he contacted me several times, with very long emails, he was mad like hell, because he said I was trying to damage his business on purpose. But look, all I do, is share my experience. As said, it is a pity, I did not know at that time, laser faked diamonds E88CC were around, so I did not check this lot for it. Read more about laser faking the diamond here but I can tell you, these faked diamonds are VERY difficult to disguise, but you can do it. At a first look, they look totally real. But not until I found out they were printed in reverse. They were IN the glass, instead of laying ON the glass. So this makes this subject extremely difficult, and in short, it is possible to fake E88CC TFK <> to an unbelievable degree of perfection. I am pretty sure even, that were just primitive attempts, compared to what fakers with 'golden hands' will ne able to do. I am convinced they read this, and find ways to laser the diamond to an even higher degree of perfection. Some day in the future, you will only be able to see this under a microscope. For now, a watch maker's lens will do.

I know directly from a retired Telefunken Employee, that only VERY FEW ECC803S were ever made, and mainly they were used in measurement equipment by Wandel & Golterman, Germany. ECC803S is a long life tube. Fine with me, but I remember from the days of tube Television, that plain old ECC83 was not really long life at all. Well whatever the reason, today supply of NOS ECC83 is very very low, and prices go up 10..20% each year. What was considered 'expensive' like 10$ for Philips NOS, 10 years ago, is now a joke. What is the price now in 2012 (as I write this)? Perhaps 60...100$. Wait for 2020.

There is one particular appearance of fake ECC803S that pops up again and again. Here is an interesting detail of a batch I found. These had date code 72508. Inside were Sylvania 12AX7, but the original ' 12AX7WA Made in USA' was on the glass still. This was like the 'small printing' as on most Philips and Siemens tubes, perhaps you know this kind of letter type. Only here, it was on the top of the tube, AND..... it sort of wiped off by itself, just by cleaning the glass with a cloth. Now this is extremely unlogical for a fake job with bad intentions, to leave that on. What we see here, appears to be in line with general behavior of tube factories, just fill in momentary need with other brands. Going further with assumptions... Was this done at Telefunken itself? I think not. Reason is, if done at Telefunken itself, they would have used the normal small boxes. However, the date code 72508 was in the larger boxes of EL84.

BOXES: The box dimensions were standardized. There were long boxes for EL84 and similar, and short boxes for ECC83 and similar. Interesting, so far the fake ECC803S were offered in long boxes.

Of course I cannot guarantee someone picks a good date code from a real ECC803S, but these codes I have seen on fakes. Official Telefunken date codes start with letter 'U'

DATECODES: 72056, 72058. I think, done in Switzerland by the company Macro(no)ethics.

104x, 32058, 30140, 91140. Seen so far.

The first high vacuum tube ever made - faked


FAKE de Forest tubeSeen on Wikipedia: 'de Forest' tube from 1906, which is a fake.

This is not a pro or contra 'von Lieben' or 'the Forest', but perhaps you find it interesting. If not, just click here.

Thermionic emission was discovered by Thomas Alva Edison by coincidence. He did not know what to do with it, and filed no patent, which was the mistake of the century. For another purpose, he had an unconnected wire through the glass of a light bulb, and an Ampere meter connected to it by coincidence. Unexpected, he noted the meter moving when he switched on the light bulb on. Very little, but he saw it clearly. He had no explanation and no application for it. Not knowing, he had the first directly heated diode on his bench. You have to understand, he saw no application for this, as the only possible application would be to amplify very weak on-off signals for telegraphy. His discovery It was later taken to the Western Electric labs, by an ex employee of Edison, and WE also found no application for it. The remarkable observation was put to sleep for many years.

De forest fake tubeSo imagine a light bulb with a wire in the top, and a nano ampere meter in that wire, showing extremely little current all by itself. You can repeat this experiment yourself with any tube diode. Just warm up the heater, and connect an ampere meter between cathode and anode. A small current will flow, even without voltage applied. Later, the Electron beam diode was discovered, by the German engineer Wehnelt, which was a fully working tube diode. So now the tube diode was discovered, but still there was no application for it. Please note, the real need was for amplifying telegraphy signals. So from a mechanical relay, 25km away, the signal arriving is too weak for even the most sensitive relay. They tried to make amplifier tubes from this by deflecting the beam electrostatic. So the beam would partially hit the anode, and they expected this to be an amplifier. First samples were standing, and as large size a man, but that didn't work. Quickly after, it was discovered how to influence an electron cloud with a grid, instead of a beam with external fields. From here, things went fast. Resulting from this, Robert von Lieben, in Austria, build the first working prototype of a gas filled triode, and Lee the Forest in the USA had the first working prototype of a high vacuum triode. We have to say, the von Lieben tube worked much differently as a normal triode, but it was a working triode. The de Forest triode was essentially what we use today still.

Now, why I write this.... The de Forest tube originally had feed-though of the wires through the glass, of platinum wire, because they didn't know any better. Later, so called 'Dumet' wire was invented. A Dumet lead wire is a copper wire to the outside world, then a borated wire which is sealed into the glass, and then a nickel wire which goes inside the tube. So three pieces are welded together. The borated part melts itself inside the glass perfectly. Dumet is used with almost every tube and light bulb still today, and you can recognize it by it's red color where it seals with the glass, and a trained eye can observe the weld spot too.

Look at this picture from Wikipedia of a so called '1906 de Forest tube'. It has Dumet wire :) That didn't exist yet in 1906.


Though collectors value of those does not come near to genuine TESLA, yet such tubes do have a collector's value, higher than new JJ production. These are quite old now, we can call them NOS, made for some part with original Tesla materials in those days.

IT IS JUST THIS SITUATION IS NOT WELL KNOWN. That is the reason why I write it here.


Look what goes up on the belt, this is an original tube shredder machine.

You wouldn't want to know about the poisonous dust it produced here.

What poison can be inside radio tubes?

The best glass for tubes is lead glass. So made from lead oxide. Those wonderful 'bell' sounding wine glasses were made from lead glass too. It is believed that little bit of lead solved into the wine, is too little to worry about. But for some reason which must have been a mistake then, it became even forbidden for glass factories even to produce raw lead glass. Lead glass is nicer to make tubes from which suffer exceptional heat, like EL84 of PL509. So sure they used that for tubes. If you want to inhale that dust from that shredder machine... well I do not. Moreover, battery radio tubes in your collection have radio active cathodes, and I have seen Telefunken 1950 tubes glowing so dark, this can NEVER work well without radioactive Strontium added. Oh, well and all 845 have radio active cathodes. It's why I don't sell them at jacmusic company. 200 pcs in my stockroom? No thank you. I bet you didn't know that. But hey... you know now, so don't forget it before the end of the day. Stabilizers have radio active Radon gas inside, and mercury drops are inside rectifiers. And many other things you would not even want to be NEAR AT if there wasn't the glass bulb around it. The poor fellow in that picture that is working with the tube shredder. This man is really ruining his health. Well in those days people were quite arrogant about such issues, and even pregnant women used to smoke, and it was not considered a crime to the unborn child. So who cared if a worker is breathing a bit of dust of whatever nature. Some people never learn anyway.