Last Update: 13-Mär-2018

We all need something to believe in, even when they know it is not true. Plain truth can make people unhappy sometimes. Many greatest books and movies, contain stories which never happened. We simply need it.

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 upfront, 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.

WHERE YOU CAN BUY FAKES: Company names I know, but I can not 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 Switserland, he sais he is the greatest. On other is in Germany, with a huge web shop. Proudly selling TFK with faked laser diamonds.

Go directly to LASER FAKING PART

Products that are faked: Tube faking and wine faking have a long tradition. Not just tubes are faked, but also money, watches, gold bars in such a way even specialists can't see it. There are some REAL professional companies faking tubes in a way, which will make you fall off your chair if you only knew.

Or how about airplane parts faked as "old stock" or "new production" whatever sells best, made from rejected parts. These are taken from scrap engines that are destroyed because of use hours exceeded. Re-build those is forbidden by law. This fakery is a great problem for aviation industry, as fakers do a perfect good job, re plating everything, faking series numbers, imprints and certificates, in an perfect way. In Belgium they made chicken food from used engine oil. Or how about this story: In 2014 in China, several managers of a milk factory were convicted to death, for faking baby from oil, water and chemicals. They did such a clever job, they even added chemicals that simulate protein. So when the milk was tested, it looked like real milk, containing protein. Yet protein content was zero. They chemical they uses to simulate the protein, was a material for plastic production, heavily poisonous. And from that, a whole factory produces baby milk with zero food content, it was only sugar with oil. As first babies began to die in 2008 in China, the case was discovered. Yet hundreds of thousands babies had kidney problems. All of those will die too young if they grow up, as there is no way to get really old with kidney damage, and kidney damage is always permanent damage. At least 300.000 Chinese children are involved. Of course you "do not believe this ", when you read it for the first time. So you see, "belief" is not your best helper. Read the truth on Wikipedia here.

Fake doctors are known to practice half their life sometimes, as we "believe" so much in a person with a white jacket being directly related to the health Gods, it blinds you. As if you can recognize a specialist by his voice or nice hair. With tube doctors it is not different. People sort of "know" how they can judge internet offers for being no fakes. That is nice if you can. Unfortunately for myself I don't have this magic ability. What a pity.

So for me, what counts is only facts. This may seem silly advise, but you should try 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 can not find that either, you have nothing but "belief" and THAT is very little when we are talking about E88CC, which is a product where perhaps even more fakes are for sale than real ones.

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 100$ per tube or more. So make 9.000$ on one box, and sell a few of those boxes to each large tube dealer that you can find, do this for a few years and disappear? Believe me, this is big business.

Historical fakes. The 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 any more. 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, but I want to pay some 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.

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 Ex employee. I once met an Ex Telefunken Employee on an electronics flee market in Germany, selling small quantities of NOS tubes there really cheap. The typical friendly old man on those flea markets, just the normal picture. So I payed not much attention to him, I just bought some of his tubes. Then after testing them, I was surprised by.... Read the full story here.


Case3) 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.

Case4) 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, really 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?

Case5) 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 6) 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 can not 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:

  • Write emails about Ebay auctions that you want to bid on. I used to kindly answer such emails, but in the end I wondered always why I answer such questions, and get nothing back for it, not even positive feedback on my website. So let's forget about this, I already have. .

Please do:

  • Post Ebay questions in the tube forums in the internet. For instance Audioasylum is a great place for discussions about opinions. Frankly, you can post any bullshit there, as long as you are not negative about those who pay advertisement.
  • Send pictures of fakes tubes when you have some, so we can make this overview more interesting.

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 view, you can 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 105 Euro 4 days later. Consider to cancel the bid.


Unfaked diamond

Telefunken <> Diamond is now faked

I used to believe the TFK <> diamond was impossible to fake.

This is definitely over and out. So yes, the diamonds are faked at the moment.

The first case was brought to my attention in 2012 by person in Ulm, who said it seems technically feasible, 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 a little bit. The person used such tubes for this, that have identical appearance with Telefunken, like EI tubes from Yugoslavia. Actually this was old stock from the clearance of the EI factory.


FALSE Telefunken Date Codes.

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

These are the Initials of the faker, Mr. E.

"GABL" if printed on ECC803S 85-07 - 03051 - 7105- 30140 - 30148 - 3804 - 52057- 71148- 72056 - 72058 - 91140

Fake, lasered diamond

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-lense, 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 paint. It seems like normal white paint, of the kind you use to paint wood or a car. Click on the left picture for an enlargement.

Cathode Detail

6GH8 original tube


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. Wheras 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 give names here, but I have seen them already with UK and German tube dealers.

The Glass Cracks.

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. I found them, 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 are large circular cracks. Even so it looks like a number 20, but it is 21. That is how big the cracks are. Then again, under normal light you can't see them.

I am absolutely sure, during the laser process it finally cracked a fair 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.



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

Acid damaged Paper

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 500's per part number, for an expensive tube, just make the calculation... If the fakes tube brings 15 Euro, and the cheap tube cost only 15 cents, we have a project with 7500 Euro profit, and all he needs to do, sell 5 cartons of 100pcs to the large and "so respectable" tube dealers. Or, fake 1000 tubes that sell for r 85 Euro, gives quite a budget. Selling 1000 tubes is only 10 boxes of 100pc to the big guys. Since private buyers go mainly by optics, spending 1000 Euro, so 1 Euro per box, on mint quality boxes, normally printed with ink, is a very small step only. They even make the boxes look old, by subject them do dust and dirt and humidity. You have no chances to keep those boxes apart from original ones, apart from the smell. (yes, try it)

For small quantities, laser printed boxes are more likely what you will see. These can easily disguised by using paint thinner. (Nitro thinner, or try nail lacquer thinner). If it solves, it was laser printed. Also look at the print under microscope, and compare this with very old boxes you have. You will see old boxes are printed with ink, and not with power as with laser printer.

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.

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.

When stored inside a 100pcs master carton, of course the boxes stay in better condition, but the acid 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.

Also here: I have seen fakers age new boxes in a household oven, to make them look older. That was done with faked Telefunken E88CC boxes.


Telefunken Series numbers

This is a pain in the a... for a faker to print all tubes with individual series numbers. 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. Often, but not always this was also on the box. Each time, I see people offer E88CC, and the sellers have them in boxes of 100 pcs, which they proudly show, how come this is always missing? 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.





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 code72508. 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 can not 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 Probably done in Switzerland

104x, 32058, 30140, 91140. Seen so far. Don't know what these are.




The first high vacuum tube ever made - faked.

Seen 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.

So 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 gird, 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.



Seen in 2016 on the worldwide fake tubes auction website called EB....

This is the most stupid fake you can imagine. The inside is a RUSSIAN, NOS 5U4G, from the SVETLANA factory in Petersburg. These tubes are from the days of the cold war, 1960..1970's tubes. So you are supposed to believe, the American RCA factory ordered their tubes in Russia, and fake them with their own brand? To make it crazier, they printed made in West Germany on the boxes. (See large picture here). Yes and why not "Made in West Germany", as we this is more popular than Made in East Germany. So we have here, American tubes, with Russian systems inside, which by the printing on the glass, the Russians have manufactured in West-Germany. O man, this hurts to see people bidding on it.


6V6 By Reflektor. This is the original. Russian designation 6P6S in Western letters.

These are the real ones. In the next lines, look what great ideas the fakers have, but even more amazing is, how people buy their stuff on EB.... thinking they find gold nuggets just laying on the street there, for a little price.

What is so crazy, the REFLEKTOR ORIGINALS are regarded cheap dirt by the buyers, wheras to my opinion this is a fantastic tube. Yet, when some nut prints totally unrealistic brands on the glass, the sell for 4x the price. So what do the sellers do...? You know it. And what do the buyers do...? They buy it like pancakes.

So here we go.....


Like this: :6V6 Reflektor, Russia. Rebranded as CEI "made in Italy".

There is this wonderful Reflektor version of 6V6 for sale in Russia, for very fair prices. Of course CEI never made Reflektor tubes in Italy.


Or this: 6V6 Reflektor, Russia. Faked as CEI.

This tube is made in Russia.

Made Faked in Italy

Note the printing is with the same lettering.


Or this: 6V6 Reflektor, branded REALISTIC, made in Holland.

This tube is made in Russia.

Unrealistic.Made Faked in Holland

Why Holland? The next time print Telefunken on it.


Or this: 6V6 Reflektor, Russia. Faked as Philips Miniwatt.

Philips Mini-what? Made in Holland. If you believe it, you go to heaven.

CEI has many monkey tubes. This so called made in Holland tube, is a Russian tube.

A curious 6X5. To my knowledge, Brimar produced never any tubes in China Somebody stamped on the box "foreign" and on the tube as well.

Sure is: The only "BRIMAR" about this tube is the stamp and the box.


300B NOS Western Electric

A remarkable auction


6080 TELEFUNKEN NOS PICTURES.... I don't want to be the bad guy, but just look on Ebay, and they throw them around everywhere by the dozens.


The faker didn't care much to make different data codes. So 17.000 tubes they are all made the same day. Production time per tube: 0.6 seconds. What a joke!



6080 Telefunken placed here in 2015.

From a French person there was a 17.000 pcs lot Thomson France 6080WA for sale in 2013. Also from a Slovenian dealer, well known to the people that buy and sell tubes in large quantities, a huge stock of "Thomson" branded 6080 tubes was for sale until recently. I was offered this lot for 3.50 Euro per tube, several times by email from 2013 to 2015. He was desperate to get rid of them, as he was going out of tubes business, prices were going down, and even so 6080 is one of the cheapest tubes that exist anyway. Stock was many thousands. I was told he finally sold it to a East European faker, who is going to re brand those as "Telefunken". The faker must have payed almost nothing for it, and when he bough the whole lot, the world is going to be flooded for the next 15 years, with original Telefunken tubes, made by Thomson in France.

Sales of those is expected to begin early 2016, I was informed by a source, who never told me something that was wrong. So we are going to be flooded with the "rare" Telefunken 6080 from 100's of dealers all around the globe. Do you smell something funny?

So when the rare-and-almost imposible-to-find TFK 6080, pops up in 2016 EVERYWHERE in quantities, and not even so expensive, and crispy new boxes... What else do I have to say? Well, perhaps this:

Google search for pictures of NOS Telefunken 6080

Set search period for maximum the year 2015. Set search period for beginning Jan 2016
And what do you see?
  • Double top mica
  • Side printing. Three digits number.
  • Single top mica
  • Side printing missing
  • Very long series number, starting with U... This series number includes the week and the year. So logically MANY different series numbers are around. That makes sense.
  • Shorter series number, and they are ALL THE SAME series number.
  • bad looking, dirty boxes, or no at all. Single tubes only here and there.
  • Crispy new boxes everywhere. 100's of pieces. 50 dealers.
  • Made in Germany printed on the glass.
  • no Made in Germany on the glass.
So early 2016 something changed. From Slovenia with love......




Tube tube I also received from my friend Frank Geeraerts from Belgium. He removed it himself from control electronics for elevators. E80CC is a SQ tube, something half similar like ECC82, but E80CC is tighter specified, larger plates, higher gain, and many things more. Also E80CC is 10.000 hours, SQ specified, and has almost twice the size of an ECC82, and E80CC has more plate dissipation, and twice the filament current. I remember the days where you could pick them up for 3€. Now they are 40€ on Ebay, and why not ask 60€ or 80€ , I am sure someone will pay that too.

The pictured tube has inside plates that remind me of large plate ECC82, and it doesn't look like an E80CC at all. Still the filament current is the same as with a real E80CC, and obviously the cathode is larger than an ECC82 also.

So is this a fake? I don't really know, but for me this tube is useless. I mean, a fake is a tube with false brand and/or printing on it. However, I seriously doubt for this "CV" E80CC an original SQ data sheet was ever made, and also I don't think that with those miniature plates, the original E80CC specs can be kept at all.

Knowing that CV is no manufacturer, my question is: what is the real part number of this tube, and what factory made it.

Here is a compare picture of E80CC (the real one) and this funny CV E80CC. Here is a nice picture of the Tungsram (original) E80CC version.



We do not picture them here, because of copyright. The picture was found on the website of a tube dealer. (who says he wants to be asked first )

E80F (=EF86) FAKES
  • We have seen originally boxed TFK E80F which is a higher quality EF86.
  • HOWEVER these are re branded TESLA tubes. These have also the "famous" 32058 date code as we have seen on re branded tubes before.
  • Here is a picture of the REAL TFK. They have long glass. The fakes are short glass TESLA EF86.
  • This is a funny one. RSD was a German company owned by Mr. Mueller, who died in 2010. In the days of the cold war, he used to sell East European tubes in Germany. He made good business by re-branding the tubes with RSD on it.
  • So is this a fake or not? Well.... E83CC is a TESLA designation for a frame grid tube, and what I see in this bulb is a non-frame grid tube. So it is NOT a E83CC, that is for sure. So I don't call it a fake here. Judge for yourself.
  • For me personally the question is, what was whipped off there, BEFORE it was replaced by RSD.

Telefunken <> E88CC, used tubes re-printed, re-boxed, and packed in 100pcs cartons. Terrible case!

To make sure we talk about the same, we call such tubes also fakes, because the faking is here to make you believe you buy new tubes, but what you are getting are used tubes. Re printed extremely nice but with some mistakes, and packed in new boxes. This may be going on since quite a while, since the moment I discover it, is sure not the moment they started with it. Also I was offered several time E88CC in boxes of hundred pcs. First time was in 2009 from France. After that most offers were from the countries around the Slovak Republic. At the moment, with NOS tubes getting rarer and rarer, and the tube users community growing so enormously, and greedy people outbid each other on auction sites to buy crap for high prices... what else did you expect. Read a detailed report about it here.


A fake E188CC tube, it' JJ E88CC originally

Picture and text send to my by email:

Hi,I think i have already send you picture of this e188cc,or maybe not? Its my hand holding fake e188cc tube,its JJ e88cc faked. No diamond only e188cc print. I have found it at an electronics engineer repair shop. He told me that some state owned company asked for 20pcs TFK e188cc. so he came to idea to print JJ e88cc and to sell them. But frankly i don't know is that true story or not. I only know that he faked this tube but how many i don't know. It was in February 2014. I never met that man again. You are free to publish this photo. Its JJ tube with fake print,no box i saw just this tube as a sample.


China Tubes

12AT7 "Studer" China made.

These are not fakes, because they're not said to be USA or Europe made, but I have no other place to put this information.

These are "Studer" tubes, the famous Swiss company makes finest top class studio equipment, and personally I can not imagine they use China tubes. On the other hand we all know such a high reputation company would never sell you China crackers as "Studer" tubes. To me it is unknown if the Studer Company had those made officially, but if so, all things are ok.

Do you think 12AT7 is a too cheap tube to fake it? Then continue below here. What follows there is a beautiful done fake job with original color logos and perfectly reproduced boxes.


Sylvania 12AT7

Left = Original China
Right = Original USA

ECC81 / 12AT7 Sylvania Holland. More Chinese tubes.

I never expected such a tube as 12AT7 to be faked this way. First they took a relative inexpensive brand. Second they took a tube of which a lot of NOS is found still, and actually 12AT7 is the easiest to get (real) NOS tube. So this whole thing doesn't seem to make sense. Still the person who send me those pictures was 100% sure. So I investigated better, and I found in my collection some Chinese 12AT7, and INDEED these are exactly the same.

The fakes boxes are just white boxes with a sticker over it. At first sight, you can recognize the typical "Pan" shape of the getter, as with the China 12AT7, the glass diameter is much wider as with Sylvania, and the double mice is typical for the Chinese. If you click on each picture, you can only come to the conclusion the tubes in the top picture are fakes.

As always, found on an worldwide fake tubes auction website called E....



ECC83 / 12AX7

  • Brimar "arrow" sign on the outside is the only "Brimar" about the whole tube. The rest of what you see is made in China.


There is not much to say about this fake.

These are East Germany, RFT tubes, marked here as "Made in England"


These are not made by Siemens.

ECC88 EI is MASSIVELY FAKED AS SIEMENS, AMPEREX, or "Made in Holland" tubes,

I have seen them everywhere in the internet. Also in large and respectable shops. The best is when they write some sort of vague explanation on their website, like we "believe" this or that... bla bla. Then in the end, what do see? We see EI tubes with the characteristic A-Frame holder for the getter. Nicely reprinted as Siemens. Or with "Made in Holland" on it, but no brand. These are EI tube with another jacket. The getter of those tubes is mounted in an A-shaped frame, and this was used by EI, actually it was their latest version.

Lets just look a little bit better what we see here. The number 980 means they were sold to OEM customers, and from observations of other tube boxes, that is simply the date code. So 980 means Sept 1980. On the sticker we see the German Army eagle, so this box wants to tell us it is army surplus.

The sticker is a self glue sticker. Supposedly it was on there from 1980 until now, a respectful 36 years. Now I have such boxes here too, but I can tell you these stickers have darkened glue, not sticking very well, sometimes the glue colored the sticker paper darker. Not so here. The sticker looks crispy white and new.

What is unlogical is the date code. of 1980, wheras we see inside latest construction EI tubes with A-Frame, which are the last production, sure not from 1980

In any case these are re-branded EI tubes, and nor made by Siemens.

This is strange and silly. To my opinion, NOS ECC88 EI tubes are the finest, and can be sold under the EI brand, just normally.

I found some Telefunken A-Frame tubes in the internet too. Of course no diamond.



Here is a high resolution picture from the boxes.
Here is a high resolution picture from my own collection, you can nicely look inside the EI Tube and see the A-Frame getter. Whereas the Siemens tube has a totally different way to mount the getter. Actually I think this A-Frame is very nice and helpful to bring microphonics to the lowest level. Any kind of additional weight is always better. The EI weighs 10.5 gram, vs. the original Siemens 9.5 gram. That is explained by the additional weight of the A-frame.
Here you can nicely see the original boxes, these are tubes from my own collection.

ECC88 rebranded from PCC189

This is a really bad one. Not only you are fooled with the brand. What makes this a real fraud, you are sold PCC189 tubes instead. So far, using xx189 is good, because that is a high Quality Version of ECC88. BUT... "P" means it a tube with 7.2 Volt heater voltage, wheras "E" means it is 6.3 Volts. So the fakers test a lot of PCC189, and there are many that work well at 6.3Volt. However they are under heated, and the cathode coating will get bad after 500 hours. At 1 hour per day (you really must use them EVERY day for one hour....) this will go wrong after 500 days. If you use then every day for 5 hours, you already have broken tubes after 3 months. But you have already given positive feedback in Ebay.

You can check the datasheets here: PCC189 <versus> ECC88 <versus> E88CC

About this fraud

PCC189 is 7.2V 300mA
ECC88 is 6.3 V 365mA
E88CC is 6.3V 300mA

This 7.2 Volts tube is used now at 6.3 Volts, and this means it is under heated by 14%. Such tubes that will not go defective from lower heater voltage, these excists indeed. This is done by VERY special cathode technology, and no this is NOT used in PCC189. Such tubes can be made for 10% tolerance on the heater voltage. If so, this is a very important feature, specifically mentioned in the datasheet.PCC189 is not such a tube, meaning it has 5% heater tolerance only. So you are under heating this tube by 14%, and the UNAVOIDABLE result is loss of emission. The tube is factory burned in, of course, and this means also after decades of storage it comes out of the box with good emission. So initially the tubes are fine, and appear to work nice at 6.3Volts.

HOWEVER the heater is too cold, and later will poison, because any residue will not evaporate, due too temperature being too low. I can not say how long this is going to take, but my guess is after 100 hours, already the emission will begin to get lower. That doesn't mean the tube stops working, because Auto bias will correct it initially. But that is not for ever. Already transconductance will go down, and gain will go later, and distortion will go up. Moreover, balancing will be gone soon too. Then the tube slowly will poison further, and after 500 hours, my expectation is it will test very weak already on a tube tester.

About the old stocks:

As the EI Factory in the town of Nis was closed down some years ago, the basement was full of tubes. This was sold quickly to dealers. The clever guys picked out all the good selling tubes, like EL84, etc. What was left was a huge pile l of "not wanted" tubes, like ECF802, many TV Booster diodes, and... a huge pile of PCC189, made for televisions, which nobody wanted. In the end this was sold for 0.6 Euro per piece.

These were simply rebranded now as ECC88 SIEMENS, optically very nice done, by specialist in East Europe, that do an AMAZINGLY good job. They sell mainly to the big tube dealers, but also make some money on auction sites.

These appear at several auction web sites, re-branded as SIEMENS, AMPEREX, or only printed "Made in Holland", which suggests they are made by Philips in Holland. Also, these appear in several web shops of large and respected tube dealers. I have my own opinion about that! My advise is, closely look for this, and of you want to trust such a dealer, also for buying other tubes there, this is your own decision.

So... How to recognize those faked ECC88 / E88CC

  1. Attach the tube to precise power supply, and check the heater.
    PCC189 is 7.2V 300mA
    ECC88 is 6.3 V 365mA
    E88CC us 6.3V 300mA
    THIS IS THE BEST WAY, IT WILL for 100% sure what you have.
  2. Another interesting way is, check the small printing. Go to this website 4tubes.com and click the icon tube decoding, or go directly here . This will show a list of files. From there, take the one called "PhilipsCodeList" On page 4 and 5 there are Philips factories symbols, so on page 5 you can read: Elektronski Industija, Nis, Yugoslavia. There is a symbol like "horse shoe with dot inside". On page 7 you will see: IP PCC189 . This is important."IP" is the code for Philips PCC189 and and all other factories under Philips technology and tooling for PCC189. In most case after two symbols like IP comes one more letter or number which stands for construction type style,shape of getter or similar stuff. So IPA for this series of PCC189 by EI.
  3. So when you see any "IPA" code on SIEMENS "so called" ECC88 or E88CC, there are simply PCC189. I think it is not so nice when I put pictures here from web sites of UK and USA tube dealers, offering those, but I can tell you I did not have to look very long, I found such right away.
  4. Folks be realistic!!!!!! E88CC until 10 years ago, was extremely rare. Today we see MASSIVE quantities of those, and even the demand is much larger now. Who needs any help with that....

TELEFUNKEN ECC802S, whatever the brand was.

Sure these are beautiful and very nice looking ECC82 tubes inside there. If somebody knows the manufacturer, let me know, but sure is these are not Telefunken tubes.

Pic1 - Pic2 - Pic3 - Pic4 - Pic5



Optical differences between Tesla ECC802S and JJ ECC802S are few, and this is hard to say on a distance. However the glass shape looks NOS Tesla to me. Or, the are new made JJ. Either of the two. If it was Tesla, this was an expensive fake job, because Tesla ECC802S is not a cheap tube either. However with prices of TFK ECC802S soaring sky high, even this pays off.

These have the typical silvery pins of Tesla and JJ, as well as the Tesla and JJ typical red-copper wiring inside, which Telefunken never used. They are missing the normal TFK datacode, and instead of that a fake datecode, which is (of course) identical for both tubes. Most of all the Diamond bottom is missing.

Pic1 - Pic2 - Pic3 - Pic4


JJ tubes, re branded as TESLA ECC803S.

This is really one of the worst thing that I have ever seen.

Let me carefully say it like this, TESLA ECC803S is the rarest TESLA tube I know of. You can only pick them up one by one, as a tube dealer, and hope to make pairs one day later. After this extreme fake story (check link above) the people who did so, will sure try again, but be more careful, and likely not try it again in quantities if 500 or 1000 again, as they did. Full 100pcs boxes is close to absurd for this ULTRA-RARE tube of which only VERY FEW were ever made. So any internet based source from Hong Kong, or obscure sellers, where these pop up regularly, and not even so expensive, please check for the elementary differences I found between NOS TESLA and new made JJ. This will make ECC803S faking a lot more risky, after I published that. (Check high resolution, detailed pictures in above link).

SO: I never buy them if only some unsharp, low resolution pictures are shown, from HK dealers. For miracles you better read the books of Anderssen.



These have ALLWAYS all of this:

  • Gold pins
  • Short "boxed" anodes.
  • Diamond <> in the bottom.
  • Made in Germany
  • Short boxes. Black and white print, or color print.
  • People say date code must starts with a letter U , for the ULM factory, though I have no way to verify this, and I do not like to repeat opinions here as if they are facts.



ECC803S TFK (#12)


Some years ago, I bought a whole lot of tubes from a person selling his company. I bought only the Audio tubes, the rest went to another company. (If you know him, he calls himself the person who wants to be asked first).

It were very many tubes, and I bought the whole lot. In there were 8pcs of these Telefunken ECC803S fakes, and several ECC802S Fakes. This is so crazy, because they used beautifully Sylvania12AX7 long plate tubes for this, that would cost 75 Euro normally.

As I bought the whole lot for one price per tube, it was take it or leave it.

So for the curiosity, I am selling these just on the website, go to ECC83. It's only 8 pcs.

I was told they are also on an auction site for horrible prices. Well this is not from me, and not by me. I just listed those 8pcs recently, I had them in my box called "don't know what to do with it" for a few years.



ECC803S TFK (#7)

These are re branded M8137. It must have been very long ago, this fake was done, because today M8137 is the second most expensive NOS ECC83 family member, below ECC803S TFK. It can cost 500 Euro today for a pair.

More pictures here


ECC803S TFK (#5)

These are re branded ECC83

more pics - more pics

  • Fakers just copy what they see on other tubes. Anyway GABL is German for "Garantie Abgeloest". If you see this on a tube, it means they were originally sold to the German Post, and GABL means the post handled guarantee themselves.
  • Worth only 10% compared to the real one
  • I think these were faked decades ago, so the seller may not even know.

ECC803S TFK (#4)

This quad was sold on Auction Website for 901 Euro, April 2008.

  • No gold pins
  • Made in Germany is missing
  • Genuine TFK ECC803S Date codes start with letter "U"
  • Inside is not the famous frame grid tube, but a normal long plate ECC83
  • Worth only 10% compared to the real one
  • I think these were faked decades ago, so the seller may not even know.




Sold on Auction Website

  • Logo is too big, and silly looking
  • This his kind of speckled "paint" was never used by Tesla.
  • Top printing (on getter) is missing
  • Made in Slovakia? Oops.. the home country of JJ. It was called Czech Republic at the days these tubes were made.
  • There is the JJ or Tesla frame grid tube inside. It was called E83CC. Not ECC83S.


Sold on Auction Website

  • No gold pins
  • Made in Germany is missing
  • Genuine TFK ECC803S Date codes start with letter "U"
  • Inside is not the famous frame grid tube, but a normal long plate ECC83
  • Worth only 10% compared to the real one
  • I think these were faked decades ago, so the seller may not even know.


Sold on Auction Website

  • Claims to be completely different seller, but obviously the same photographer was at work here ;)
  • BEWARE FOR THE DATECODE 8104x as on this tube
  • Genuine TFK ECC803S Date codes start with letter "U"


  • TESLA logo missing, only the letters TESLA.
  • Inside is NOT the system of the TESLA ECC803S. Systems like this can be found in E83CC.


ECC803S + E83CC Telefunken

ECC803S and E83CC are not the same tubes. This is stupid to print it on one bulb., This is a dangerous case because it CAN be real when there is a <> in the bottom, but diamond bottoms can be faked with laser as well.

  • Besides the gold is very shiny. Too shiny. It was gold plated probably just yesterday.
  • BEWARE FOR THE DATECODE 32058 as on this tube.
  • Will add pictures later. These are re branded Mullard M8173. Looks all very genuine to me. Zearix is an English brand, and Mullard an English company. What is faked here, is the part number ECC803S, which is by definition a frame grid tube, and M8137 is not. Still.... if the price is ok, these are GREAT tubes, M8137 is the second best tube after ECC803S, very rare.
  • So a fake yes, but obviously a very old one. No normal faker would use expensive M8137 for that.

ECC803S (nr11)

  • Here we have those JJ re branded tubes again on a famous auction website.
  • Same date code as the lot I was fooled with myself, some years ago. Details here
  • Another picture here, showing they have the same date code 233XN.
EL34S by SHUGUANG. So called "Big bottle" EL34S / 6CA7S.

There are pentodes, and beam tetrodes, and these work not the same way. EL34 is pentode, and 6L6 is a beam tetrode. Beam tetrode's have not as good curves as pentodes, and they are lower cost to produce. I had this broken pair of Shuguang "Big bottle" EL34S, that broke down in an EL34 amplifier after short time. So decided to open the tube and look inside, perhaps find the reason for the defect. I tested the filament current before breaking the glass, the tubes had correct 1.5 Amps for EL34. Still EL34 is a pentode, and what came out was this beam tetrode.

Picture series here

On the box it says: "Shuguang Golden Dragon power tubes are the result of a collaboration of British Audiophiles, engineers, and the Shuguang tube factory"


EL34 SIEMENS, made from JJ tubes. For EL34, the situation is as typical as can be. In the days where TFK Germany (double getter) NOS was around, this was what everybody needed. At the same time, TFK branded, RFT made (with single getter) was regarded crap. Though RFT made good EL34. TFK bought those single getter EL34 from RFT, not without reason. But when some nut writes on a forum, they are crap, that's it. Argue against it, and you waist your time. Until... no dealer had TFK double getter any more. So they begin searching for those RFT made TFK tubes, and sound is great suddenly. What a pity, they're sold out already. You're too late. What you can get still is RFT branded RFT tubes. Don't know what's the problem with those, but they're not what everybody screams for. Just wait until they're sold out, and prices will soar.

Only one thing, I think nobody needs not now, and not later. That is faked Siemens tubes, made from JJ tubes. I hope for you when you buy them, they are no factory rejects that left through the back door. Avoid date code D83. Just to see how silly fakers are, 6CA7 is a beam tetrode, and not even a real EL34. So 6CA7 and EL34 printed on the same tube box, that is not even possible.

Easily recognized dome shape of JJ: Another picture1 - picture2 - picture3 - picture4


EL84 FAKES. Many years ago, these could be found in large quantities in an army depot. They were originally purchased in the USA, very long ago. They're obvious Russian made.

Now, I think Russian NOS EL84 is the best you can buy. Just this "made in Germany" on the tubes, means they're either Philips, TFK or Siemens. Reality is, they are made by Reflektor in the Ukraine.



This one is faked on massive scale. Production machines were sold to the Chinese long ago, who said thank you. They make nice money with it now. The Chinese KT66 is not a replica of the GEC KT66, it is same. So really print a new box, and add a GEC sticker on it, it's a piece of cake. How can you recognize such fakes? Almost impossible. The only thing which is obvious, when they are too clean, they are too nice looking, too new, and the seller of course has MANY of them, nicely precision matched, and many variations, and selling them ever since... it becomes pretty clear. KT66 NOS was extremely rare in the past. So how come this has changed the last few years? This can not be.

So called NOS, looking like made yesterday, we have to face it, chances these were made 40 years ago are very low. I remember 15 years ago, KT66 GEC was already extremely rare. Even by then you would get 100 Euro for a fairly used one with brown burned sticker. And now look today, markets demand so many more tubes, and you find NOS KT66 everywhere. If that doesn't ring your alarm bell... There is another strange indication. Look at NOS KT88, it is 50x more wanted than NOS KT66. Only problem, Chinese have no exact copy of the old tools. So.... no offerings of GEC KT88 NOS on every Ebay website. Perhaps this makes you think.



These are very raw fakes, because these are plain Chinese tubes in a new printed Tesla boxes. For sale from Slovakia. Letters are printed on the glass with a cheap letter stamp of the kind that you buy in book store to print your name. They just used some white paint.

Can't hide the Shuguang inside pieces with that. Check here for KT88 pictures of (real!) TESLA and SHUGUANG. So these are plain SHUGUANG KT88 (cheapest KT88 that exist) and printed those as NOS Tesla (worth 450$ for a Quad).

Offered to my by Email in 2009



Chinese tubes. Found on this same auction site as always. The Chinese did not bother to copy those strange Tesla KT88 plastic bases.


KT88 FAKES . I was send this picture by someone who found those on http://www.e___,com, and who was afraid they were fakes. Well, yes they are fakes. Inside is the Chinese KT88 system clearly visible.

What is even worse about these, they were offered as NOS, and they are in the box with a bad vacuum getter. This kind of getter wear out comes from use. It is no "air" inside, but tube out gassing which causes this coloring.

Conclusion: These are not NOS Genelex Golden Lion. These are heavily used tubes, only 10% of lifetime left. Faked tubes from China.


KT88 FAKES . This tube I received from my friend Frank Geeraerts from Belgium, as a gift, because he knows I collect "fake". pictures. Another very raw fake. As you know, in China product faking is a national hobby.

Wow! My respect for the nice faking of the special material GEC sticker, which was (UNTIL NOW) seen as proof for genuine MO Valves.

Only the inside of the tube is not so nice faked, inside is a plain stupid Chinese fire cracker.

Do you see the white speckles in the back of the tube? That is chipped off cathode coating. When little particles of this come in between the grids, it sparkles inside the tube and it gives the famous fire cracker sound from your speakers. Also the rings around the getter flash show that there is some gas in the tube.

On the back is stamped: KT88 / 6550. Must be the latest invention. A 6550 that you can use as KT88?


PCC88 with near perfect Print and Stamp artwork. .

These pictures were send to my from the UK. It drew the buyer's attention, the boxes were glued with some more modern kind of glue. He sais, like this kind you see with Amazon boxes, so the self-sticking glue. When he tore one apart, and he contacted me be email about this. He bought several from a tube dealer recently. Some of those had diamonds, and some have not. This is a picture of the ones without diamond. As can be seen when you click on the large picture, the getter is mounted on an "A" shaped frame. Well, these were used in many EI Yugoslavia tubes of all kind. PCC88 by EI was produced in huge quantities, and sadly today fakers pick out the ones that test well at 6.3Volt, and laser-melt the Telefunken <> diamond in the bottom, gold plate the pins, and stamp them Telefunken E88CC. So the ones proudly offered for sales in huge quantities by several sellers at a famous auction website, or some others proudly announcing they had a "unique" buying opportunity lots of years ago, and he went over there by airplane, to buy all he could get. If you believe it, be happy. Read here about laser faking the diamond bottom. This was done on such scale, to my opinion there are now more faked TFK E88CC for sale than genuine ones. So they point me out as the bad guy, saying this.

Attention! There is no reverse conclusion about the A-frame, because earlier EI used regular "bar" mounting methods same as TFK. Indeed you can see this is the picture, one has no A-Frame and two have.

What we see here however, are EARLY fakes. So done in the days, were a company had a market for many PCC88, and he re-branded cheap EI tubes. So for TV receivers, I am pretty sure. I once visited a company who showed me all books and information, about how they did that, and I was offered the TFK stamping machines, buying sources for ink and parts, and a HUGE stock of estimated million(s) of tube boxes of all brands. I was NOT interested in the deal, but they gave me all pictures. Very nice.

For this faking job we see here, I think we talk about the 1960..1980's. From the boxes, I was send many pictures, and they had indeed detoriated the paper already by acid. So logically when you ask the seller for information, they come with true stories about their father having had those for 40years, or whatever (true!) stories. However the beginning of the whole chain was a fake job from the past.


Used in the mother of all microphones, Neumann U47.

One of the most expensive tubes. Only 27.000 were build by TFK, and only 5% of those were said to be good enough to carry the premium "M". So just 1400 pieces VF14M have ever been produced.

Prices of 2500US$ for mint NOS are normal. Needless to say the faker's guild has also discovered this, but what I read on this website, beats really everything. The fake works like this: The faker takes NOS EF14, and burns out the heater, so it becomes open contact. The reprint it all nicely VF14, tube and box. After sending, he blames the buyer for breaking the heater, which situation was buried in the sales text, in such a way that the buyer has no chance. Like simply write: 6 months guarantee, but not on broken heater. And yes, with all V-Series tubes, heaters can break, due to old age, or over heating. Well, but for NOS tubes this risk is neglectable. So no risk, the buyer thinks. Then he receives it with broken heater, and think it was damaged in the mail. Besides, the seller says, no guarantee on that, it was written so!

Only when opening the broken tube, the thick heater wire of EF14 can be extracted from the cathode sleeve, instead of the thin, very fragile wire of VF14. Moreover, the VF14 has pin6, connected to the metal body, and EF14 has not. And pin6 was not connected indeed. So these are EF14 with a destroyed heater, and reprinted VF14. This extremely criminal case was brought to my attention by a German person Gunter Wagner, who now runs the company WAGNER MICROPHONES in Sydney, Australia. Look here!




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. The 1930's 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 traces of (radioactive) Strontium. O well and all 845 have (radioactive) Thorium cathodes. It's why I don't sell them. 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 Barium dust or whatever. Some people never learn anyway.