Due to social pressures to fit in with today's fashion culture, many shoppers succumb to knockoffs for a mild taste of a day in the life of the rich. Over the years, the counterfeit market has upped its game from fakes to next generation superfakes, which can sell for hundreds, if not thousands. The similarities are unreal; some replicas are made from handcrafted leathers, accurate handles, and viable hardware, but once one takes a closer look, the differences are not just found in quality, but also in subpar ethical standards.
Being part of a massive illegal market means that stores selling these items are mostly hidden in back rooms out of sight. Therefore, finding the most expensive products on record have proven to be difficult, however it is largely possible that there are more expensive knockoffs out there that have not been included on this list. While most shoppers think that they are merely settling for a bargained price and ripping off a big brand name, their actions may be supporting a graver pool of issues that involve organized crime and labour abuse.
If there is a designer label in high demand, it is very likely that there is an illegal ring manufacturing fakes and selling them for a fraction of the original's luxurious price tag. At times, their authenticity is near impossible to determine. Here is a sample of the world's most expensive misleading guilty pleasures, ranging from cellular phones to prestigious cars and high end digital products to extravagant craftsmanship. Note that all prices are transferred into U.S. currency.
10 GooPad Mini: $196.99
Shockingly, it took some time for a tablet so strikingly similar to the iPad to emerge in the consumer market. The GooPad Mini boasts a surprising resemblance to its Apple counterpart, which ranges anywhere between $400 - $850, depending on storage space and 3G functionality. The replica runs on Android OS and comes in white or silver finishing options, a 7.9-inch screen, 1024x768 pixels, a 1.2GHz dual core processor, 512MB RAM, 8GB storage space, a 5 megapixel back camera with an LED flash light, and 3G and WiFi. It's not the same as having the Apple product, however, it is surprisingly close and for a fraction of the price.
9 (Chinese) Vertu Ferrari Edition: $220
Replicas of some of the world's most popular brands, such as Nokia, Apple and Motorola, were among the first fakes to hit the streets of China. These knockoffs paved the way for high-end superfakes that have been spreading like wildfire. Today, original Vertus lead the way as one of the world's most expensive cellular phones, where some models can cost upwards of $300,000. The fake Ferrari Edition is perfectly weighted and heavy, and the leather finish is almost flawless, however its replication was cut short on software. From its design to art, and battery to detailing, makers of the fake Vertu Ferrari Edition were almost meticulous in their copy of the $6,700 original.
8 Rolex: $1,000
Everyone knows about fake Rolex watches. They are typically the first that come to mind when a man thinks of going for an imitation. The fake Rolex has been around for a long time, the cheaper they are, the more more fake they are. However, at a cost of $1,000, the replica is very sophisticated and the differences can only really be seen by a connoisseur. These differences are found in the meticulous laser printing, rich color, and smooth edges that an authentic Rolex prides itself on. There are two types of replicas: The first is made up of low cost imitations that simply tell time but are void of complex functions and elaborate designs, while the second is more intricate and true to the original, especially in design, price, and quality.
7 Chanel Purse: $1,500
A beautiful, classic Chanel purse will cost no less than $5,000, however, the black market has made it possible to retrieve a replica for a fraction of the price. These days, many are easily fooled into buying a fake, as most superfakes these days are highly developed. Trained professionals, at times, may wonder or doubt themselves, as the superfake's lining, heat stamp, and even lines and spaces are harder to differentiate from the original. Otherwise, one can typically spot a fake handbag from the feel of cheaper leather or other materials used. A flawed hologram, an extremely low price, and the Chanel emblem that is meant to be overlapping are typical warning signs you should look for when judging the purse.
6 Lifan 320: $6,000
Exhibiting the same two tone paint scheme, a black upper half, a dashboard similar to that of the classic Cooper and a comparable grille, this China-made automobile has a strikingly similar look to the Mini Cooper that sells for $18,000. However, for a mere $6,000-$8,000, drivers can now purchase the closest thing to an original. It is powered by a 1.3L 4-cylinder petrol engine, has a top speed of 155 km/h, and can reach 100 km/h in 14.5 seconds.
5 Romanée-Conti Wine: $7,250
While many of us are more accustomed to scams within the fashion industry, and even that of the tech world, it is not uncommon for the wine trade to occasionally encounter scandals of its own. Unlike the $13,000 original, this Romanée-Conti knockoff lacks in flavor and quality. Unfortunately for the wine enthusiasts who believed they were adding to their extravagant collections, one of the world's most sought after wines was unsuccessfully imitated and made its way into some of the finest of wine markets.
4 Beijing Auto's E-Series: $8,600
This Chinese E-series by Beijing Auto bares a major resemblance to Germany's Mercedes Benz B-Class that sells for nearly double the price at $14,000. While Beijing Auto claims that the smaller automobile made from Mitsubishi was simply inspired by the B-Class, once a fake Mercedes grille and the appropriate badges and logos to the body are added,we undoubtedly have a copycat! However, to the trained eye, a fake can be spotted by the uneven assembly of such add-ons, a mistake that the Germans would certainly not make themselves.
3 Qingdao SOAR's The Roller: $39,000
The Rolls-Royce Phantom is recognized as one of the world's leading luxury vehicles, yet China has found a way to produce a similar version of the 1961 classic for a much lower cost. Ironically enough, the inspiration roots from the Brilliance BS6 sedan, which has ties to BMW China; and BMW owns Rolls-Royce motors. The Roller, as they call it, is typically used by everyday people for special occasions, such as weddings. It is built with a Mitsubishi 2.4 four-cylinder engine and runs on 136 horsepower.
2 Counterfeit Lamborghini Murcielago: $66,000
For a remarkable sports car like the Lamborghini Murcielago, China has proved its capability to keep it real cheap, yet again. The Toyota powered vehicle can be fixed up for a fraction of the cost. While from afar it may seem authentic, there are a few detrimental aspects missing that demonstrate the drastic differences in appearance and quality once the car starts running. Without obtaining replicas of the Lamborghini key, spoiler, set of wheels, and without exchanging the Toyota 2.2L engine for a V6 or a V8, the fake will look and sound extremely off. Thus, the imitation will simply boast a Lamborghini Murcielago casing or shell, while bringing much shame to the inner-workings of the sports car masterpiece.
1 Forged Artwork - "La Forêt" : $7,000,000
In recent years, a forged artwork titled "La Forêt" that was allegedly painted by Max Ernst, a surrealist German artist, was authenticated by a top German art historian and sold to a notorious art collector located in New York. The scandal, instigated by German artist Wolfgang Beltracchi, is highlighted as one of the biggest postwar tragedies in Germany to circulate the international art market. Now sentenced to six years in jail, Beltracchi has admitted to having taken part in many other counterfeit artworks.