I have this warning page here for almost 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 on Telefunken on Ebay for half of the price. The same applies for Telefunken 6211, blatantly re-branded by the akers 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.

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 them 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, though I assume he did not know.

LASER FAKED Telefunken Diamond in glass bottem

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.

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 signs: "Teeth" and "Fake". So you can't fool a gorilla with fake products so easily.

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 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 made chicken food from used engine oil. That went on for years, until at some point 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 chemicals which simulates protein. When the milk was tested, it looked like real milk, and protein was tested ok. Yet protein content was... ZERO. The chemicals they used to simulate the protein, 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 they took into account, so you can imagine how sick their plan was. Please read how perverted: .As long as the babies were given the fake milk as supplement to other food, the babies would have only protein shortage. This of course makes them eat more, because babies have a need for protein. Which parents really like, because obviously the babies 'liked' the milk, and also get fat because of all the oil and sugar. 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 damaged kidneys and protein shortage. 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 poor replacement for knowledge. Read the truth on Wikipedia here.

Example4. Fake doctors are known to practice half their life sometimes, as 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, but then for tube doctors. You think you can judge internet offers for being no fakes? That is 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 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, selling small quantities of NOS tubes there, and really cheap. The typical friendly old man on those flea markets, just the normal picture. So I paid not much attention to him, I just 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.

Unfaked diamond

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.

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 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.

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 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 tubeDe forest fake 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.

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 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.


Seen in 2016 on Ebay.

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 Original by Reflektor.

6V6 OriginalThis 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 waiting there, for a little price.

What is so crazy, the REFLEKTOR ORIGINALS are regarded cheap dirt by the buyers, whereas 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. Re branded as CEI 'made in Italy'.

6V6 Faked tube

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 how about this: 6V6 Reflektor, Russia. Faked as CEI.

6V6 fake tube

This tube is made in Russia.

Made Faked in Italy

Note the printing is with the same lettering.

And another one: 6V6 Reflektor, branded REALISTIC, made in Holland.

6V6 fake tubeThis tube is made in Russia.

They write on the bottom: Made in Holland. Suggesting Philips, but Philips never made Russian tubes in Holland.

6V6 Philips. Why not?

6V6 Fake

This faker must have thought, why vaguely write made in Holland on it, suggesting Philips. Better write Philips Miniwatt on it.

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

6X5 so called made in Holland

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

6X5 BrimarSomebody 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

300B-FakesAs you can see, these are gold plated sockets, with date code Week 52 1999, but Western Electric never used such sockets in 1999. Then look at that wrap stuff, it seeme like from the 1950's. What a miracle it is stll there. The boxes are like new. They're more like just printed.

6080 Telefunken placed here in 2015.

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. All with the same date code. Here is some background about this, because.... I WAS OFFERED THIS TUBE LOT FOR SALE BEFORE THE FAKING!!!

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!

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, there IS something additional to say! Just do the following:

Google search for pictures of NOS Telefunken 6080

=>>You need to use the special search to limit the date of the web pages. Haha! the fakers can't fake Google search history.

Set search period BEFORE 2016. Set search period AFTER 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. Typical fake job.
  • 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......

E80CC Fake

E80CCTube curiosity I also received from my friend Frank Geeraerts from Belgium. He removed it himself from control electronics for elevators, and brought it to me while here on a visit. 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, because such an original SQ datasheet was never 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 company name, used 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!

E83CC Telefunken FakeThis is one of those big business cases, I wrote about before.

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, because the moment when 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 Ebay... what else do you expect. Something is very wrong here, and these is a REALLY MASSIVE faking with E88CC going on. Read a detailed report about it here.

A fake E188CC tube, it's JJ E88CC originally

E188CC fake

Picture and text send to my by email:

'Hi Jac, I think i have already send you picture of this e188cc,or maybe not? Its my hand holding fake e188cc tube, it's 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 cannot 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....



  • The USA made sylvania is a long plate tube. The East German RFT ECC82 is a very small plate tube. Actually the RFT plate is so small, I doubt this tube can do maximum heat for a very long time. Which is perhaps not so relevant, as it's most used application was in TV tuners, where high dissipation was not needed.
  • RFT ECC82 is well available for not too high prices. So it's a nice source for the fakers. This construction was used by TESLA also, and then it's original. So cooperation in East Europe was indeed between TESLA and RFT.
  • All other brands are fakes, like Siemens and Telefunken. Here it was used to fake Sylvania ECC82. This is a crude fake job. Offered proudly and stupidly in European style packs of 100pcs. The original USA made ECC82 is branded 12AU7 normally of course, but typical for the Sylvania is, you can find it often in five packs, but not in boxes of 100pcs. And if so, USA boxes of 100 pcs always have the USA industry standard dimensions, which is a box with two layers of 50pcs on each other.
  • Just for your interest, the USA box is more intelligent, because it uses less carton. You can calculate yourself the dimensions of a box with one layer of 100pcs, or a box with two layers of 50pcs on each other. You will see the one layer 100pcs box has more surface. So the Americans saved money on packaging cost that way. VERY clever, and this box was a standardized box in the USA, in the great days of tube production. But it becomes stupid of course, to pack faked USA tubes in a European style 100pcs box :) . Also the stamping of the letters ECC82 on the outside of the cartons is done by hand, as can be clearly recognized, but factories of course had machined tools for that.

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'

ECC88 Siemens. A VERY stupid fake.

ECC88 Siemens Fake 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. Wow... just waiting for you.

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, whereas 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.

But look inside.... What do we see.... The systems inside are E88CC not ECC88. So this fake job is the biggest mess I have ever seen. Should you buy them? Well perhaps even yes, because what you get is original EI E88CC, and that is a fine tube. Just a pity the EI logo was wiped off.

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 re branded 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, whereas '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 exists 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 cannot 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 re branded 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 very large web sites of the UK and a famous USA tube dealer, offering those, but I can tell you I do 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 math?

Telefunken ECC801S re-printed.

ECC802S FakesThis pair was offered for sale as NOS <> Telefunken. However, it can be seen, the printing is not done with the silk screen print method as by Telefunken. It was stamped on instead with a rubber stamp and white paint. The numbers are not aligned nicely, so I assume it was done with such a stamp tool where you can plug in little rubber letters inside by hand. Moreover, the number "8" was put in there upside down, which makes it pretty obvious somebody did that by hand.

It seems to me the tubes inside are real TFK, and it is not legal to repair the printing or the logo when it has come off. So no accusations here. I Just want to mention this here, that this is done sometimes, and sure some effort was made, because the Telefunken Logo must be ordered from a company who is specialised on stamps. Even so, this may have been done recently, but as well 40 years ago. Logically nobody will make these costs of only one pair. So there must be many around of those.

TELEFUNKEN ECC802S, whatever the brand was.

ECC802S FakesSure these are beautiful and very nice looking ECC82 tubes inside there. If somebody knows the manufacturer, let me know, but also sure is, these are not Telefunken tubes.

Pic1 - Pic2 - Pic3 - Pic4 - Pic5

6211 sold as ECC802S / FAKE INFORMATION about real tubes

Some people selling good NOS 6211 tubes, try to give you the impression this is an ECC802S variation, just 30% cheaper. However, this is NOT the same tube. 6211 will probably work in an ECC802 circuit with a some compromises, but you have to digest this information. Reason for not taking plain ECC82, which is also available from Telefunken is, you wanted something more exact, and more pristine. To my opinion that cannot be a "near equivalent" which will work most of the time, with some compromises. And why pay a hundreds Euro for that? Very, very strange.

6211 is an 170 Volt switching tube, and ECC802S is a 250V Audio tube. Electric data is NOT compatible. The reason for the different part number was not intended by Telefunken company to offer a product with a price in between ECC82 and ECC802S. The reason was, 6211 is a low voltage switching tube, and has NOT THE SAME data as ECC802.

Moreover, using them in an ECC802S circuit, can damage both the tube and the amplifier! if you do not believe so, ask for a written guarantee by the seller. You will see he refuses. To understand what is behind this, look at the plate current for ECC802S at 250V. It is 10.5mA at 8.5Volt grid. For 6211 at 250V, at -8.5V grid, you get only 4mA. This can be seen quickly from a specific document. I will give you a hint where to find this document. You may not believe such a document existed, but it really does. You can find it here:

Look in Google for.... '6211 datasheet'.


So you see, my first message is: READ THE datasheet. I don't understand why people are so much against that. They read and believe any bullsh in the forums, but when it comes down to reading a datasheet, they do not even try to find it.

About READING the datasheet, you really need to read the small description text. So I mean not all those numbers. The description says: For on-off applications...etc. This text is always where you need to begin, when reading a datasheet. So Telefunken writes there, 6211 not an audio tube. Meaning they can be noisy, and lots of variations with bias. Then if you don't care about that, look at the tube curves how terrible unlinear these are. Well good luck with the sound. And finally, bias point, as anyone can quickly see from the curves, is totally another. So auto bias in the amplifier will try to correct it, but in the end, the tube will not 10.5mA as it should.

If you feel confused now, because what they write on the forums is not like this, feel free to believe what is right, the forum babble or the datasheet.


SPECIAL report about faked ECC802S here.

FAKED TELEFUNKEN ECC802, made from TESLA tubes.

There were days, when TESLA ECC802S was used for this, but nowadays all TESLA NOS prices are rocketing, but JJ tubes can still be bought cheap, and they look also similar.

ECC802S  JJ Fakes.Now, these can easily be recognized by the color of the pins and wiring inside.

1) Telefunken has dark grey tube pins. The fakes has silver color pins
2) Telefunken has white wiring inside. The fakes have copper wires inside.
3) There are some small differences with the glass, but above points 1) and 2) are so clear, it needs no further explanation.
4) This man who did many of this fake jobs (I know who that is) used often such very short date codes. Which is totally un-Telefunken. Moreover, because it is too much work to give a individual date code to each tube, he made whole series of 100's of them with the same date code. Also this, unveils his fake jobs. Yet most of all, the copper wiring inside, shows it is a fake.
5) the diamond bottom is missing, but beware for laser fakes! Better proof as I write this in 2019, is the TFK has grey wires inside, no copper.

Pic1 - Pic2 - Pic3 - Pic4

Fake TESLA ECC803S made from JJ tubes.

FAKE TESLA ECC803SThis is really one of the worst thing that I have ever seen. Most of all the reactions that came afterwards.

Let me carefully say it like this, TESLA ECC803S is the rarest TESLA tube I know of. Not because it is a 'must have'. It's quite a strange tube, and a marketing mistake. When TESLA did not have the frame grid version as Telefunken, they just made an ECC803S by using the anodes of ECC802S. So for TESLA the market gap was filled, and they had an ECC803S. Only, It was real one, not a frame grid tube.

Later, they acquired the Telefunken machines and inherited a real (frame grid) ECC803S from Telefunken, on which machines they made very many. Only they were quite different tubes, and they had to sort out the part numbers. If they would have called it also ECC803S, that would be too much confusion, so TESLA called it E83CC. From this period (before they bough the Telefunken machines, a small quantity of TESLA ECC803S Exist. It were never very many. So 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 of 500 again, as they did with me.

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, in matched pairs, and new in the boxes, 100's per seller, and not even so expensive, and you think: "....who knows... may be". It is better to put your feet on the ground and 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, there are better books, like for instance this one here.


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.




FAKE ECC803SSome 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 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.


FAKE TELEFUNKEB ECC803SSold 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

FAKE TELEFUNKEN ECC803SECC803S 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 has the wrong color. This is an alloy, specially for low cost plating. Whereas TFK used 24k gold plating, and that is not so silvery-yellow.
  • I think this is a fake, with this gold plating
  • BEWARE FOR THE DATECODE 32058 as on this tube. Datecode is also not normal.

    • 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)

    FAKE TESLA ECC803SHere we have those JJ re branded tubes again on a famous flea market 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.

    FAKE EL34S

    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 ( Portrait of a tube)

    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.

    FAKE SIEMENS EL34For EL34, the logo on the glass is only text. 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 anymore. 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.

    EL84 Fake tubesMany 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 long ago to the Chinese, 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 cannot 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.


    TESLA KT88 FakesThese 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


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


    FAKE KT88I was send this picture by someone who found those on a flea market, called Ebay, and who was afraid they were fakes. Well, yes they are fakes. Inside is the Chinese KT88 system clearly visible. What is so difficult to see about that?

    But I see something else... 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.


    FAKE KT88This 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.

    FAKE E88C TelefunkenThese 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 says, 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.

    A faked VF14, used in the mother of all microphones, Neumann U47.

    VF14 Fake tubeOne of the most expensive tubes. Only 27.000 were build by TFK, and only 5% fulfilled the premium "M" specification, as required by Neumann. So just we talk about 1400 pieces VF14M ever produced. This also says something about the number of U47 microphones ever made. Already in the 1980's VF14 has became virtually impossible to find, and the available NOS tubes are just a handful worldwide, and nobody is selling it.

    Prices of 2500US$ for mint NOS are normal. Needless to say the faker's guild has also discovered this.

    The fake works like this:

    The faker buys a NOS EF14, which is a like VF14 with 6.3V heater, and reprint it all nicely with VF14, also the box. So he offers a shiny like new, NOS VF14. Which is really one of the most difficult items at all. This is close to non-existing. The fake becomes even more perfect when he re paints and reprints an old VF14 for this which can be found in defective condition for prices like 20...50 Euro. However, in this case, he did so with an EF14. It was nicely offered with reports, etc. So he really PROVES with pictures, how wonderful this tube is working. Why this is so important comes next.

    As a next step, he burned out the 6.3V heater with a high voltage, so it becomes an open contact. Now we have a defective tube, completely a look-alike of VF14. With the blast out heater, you would never expect this to be a faked VF14, if you did not know.

    After sending, soon the buyer reports the tube is dead. The seller reacts very surprized, because he tested the tube so nicely, and all of those reports are part of the original auction. At first the seller nicely cooperates to solve the problem, until it is found the heater is open connection, so it was blasted out like a fuse. At this point, the seller picks out the proven test data. (From the EF14, when the heater was still working). It seems as if he can prove, the tube was good before sending.

    The seller may even have some doubt he blasted out the heater by himself, and the buyer will help to fix this idea. For instance some tube testers have the option to test with very high heater voltage. So one switch set wrong, and the heater is burned out. Specially such higher voltage heaters are made of long, thin wire, and these are like fuses indeed. This is even a realistic possibility. In case However, where the buyer is absolutely sure this is impossible, (like with card testers), t can only be shipment damage.

    Now, the seller has already prevented this in the sales text. Like he writes: Full 6 months money back guarantee, but not on broken heater. Well, but for NOS tubes, heater breakage risk is neglectable. So the buyer feels safe. 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!

    So the seller is behaving still nicely, and tends to believe the buyer he did not blast out the heater himself. So then it must be shipment damage. If the buyer is saying this now also, the seller has won.

    Reason is simply: Legally, in most countries, when sold by private, shipment damage is on the risk of the buyer.

    Only when opening the broken tube, the thicker 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. This is how the buyer found out about this fraud, without having to open the tube.

    This extremely criminal case was brought to my attention by 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 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.