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BGJ381
 FAQ of KOs & Bootlegs
  1. Just What Exactly is a Bootleg and Knock-off? How Are They Different?
  2. Why Collect Knock-offs And Bootlegs?
  3. Where Can I Find Knock-offs And Bootlegs?

 

Just What Exactly is a Bootleg and Knock-off? How Are They Different?

Bootlegs: Typically, these are licensed items that have been duplicated by using the original base item. For example, taking a Star Wars Han Solo blaster and making an exact copy of it, painting it a different color or adding an additional doodad to make it look "distrinctive". Additionally, any reference to LucasFilm trademarks and logos has been removed from the object to avoid more obvious legal issues.

Knock-offs: Unlike bootlegs, knock-offs don´t necessarily originate from the licensed product base. These are what we most often see in the toy stores. Rather than being identical, these items somehow seem... familiar. That is, they use images on the packaging loosing based upon familar figures such as Vader, C-3PO, X-Wing Fighters and Millenium Falcons. Many of the items I have seen are simply packaging simularities. The items tend to look nothing related to Star Wars. Names such as "Star Force" and "Star Warriors" seem to pop up with regularity.  -  Top

Why Collect Knock-offs And Bootlegs?

Coolness: There are several reasons why I began collecting Star Wars bootlegs and knock-offs. First, I´ve visited a couple of excellent web sites dedicated to this very subject and to be honest, bootlegs and knock-offs are just gosh darn fun and interesting. It is amazing what toy companies will do to capitalize on a popular toy line or fad. Check my Favorite Bootlegs and Knock-off links.

Cost: Secondly, bootlegs and knock-offs are cheap. They typically run between $1.00 and $3.00 which means it is not an expensive hobby to say the least. Unless you start to pick up other types besides the Star Wars pieces I have on display here. I´ve seen so many funny things from Teletubbie knock-offs to Western items with Clint Eastwood to Terminator type items with a strong likeness of Arnie on them.

Collectability: And thirdly, since the Star Wars items tend to come out in dribbles most of the time, I am left with lulls in my collecting that are easily filled with bootlegs and knock-offs.  -  Top

Where Can I Find Knock-offs And Bootlegs?

I have found all my knock-offs and bootlegs in discount stores. I suspect these are popular places because of the general lack of threat a "dollar" store has on trademarked products. A major retail outlet such as ToysrUs, Target and K-Mart have much more at risk of getting caught selling unlicense merchandise. Let´s face it, it could cost a business millions if caught selling unlicensed products.

Obviously the other major reason these items are found at discount stores is the price. They are targeting the $1.00 to $3.00 shopper. It´s amazing how many items you can walk out of their store with when all you orginally intended to get was one item. What´s another dollar or two or three?

Check:

  • Dollar General
  • The Dollar Store
  • Everything´s A Dollar
  • Big Lots
  • Smart Dollar
  • Dollar Days

When you visit the other Bootleg sites you´ll see that Mexico and Eurpean countries appear to be favorite places for bootlegs. I guess the manufacturers feel "remote" enough to not feel threatened. My bootleg/knock -off collecting will remain a hobby that I causually pursue. I´ll stick with the U.S. and local discount stores.

Additionally, there are folks on the Internet who are interested in trading for these items. Check rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting.misc for "for sale" items and trading partners.  -  Top