US Customs And Border Protection officers have seized a shipment containing 85 counterfeit guitars, which would have been sold for a total of almost $260,000 if authentic. The instruments were intercepted at Dulles International Airport in Virginia.
Customs worked with experts on consumer products, who in turn worked with trademark holders to establish the authenticity of the guitars. The instruments were initially intercepted last month. The seizure was completed on 9 June.
The instruments were stopped on their way to 31 different states. A large percentage of them were counterfeit Gibsons, with 72 pertaining to be from the brand. There were also counterfeit Martin, Fender, Kramer and Taylor guitars.
The highest value guitar was a Les Paul that was supposedly autographed by Guns N’ Roses’ Slash. It was appraised at $8,000, if authentic. Among the haul were also fake signatures by guitarists Les Paul and Angus Young.
Keith Fleming, the US CBP acting director in Baltimore said of the haul: “The international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens the competitiveness of American businesses and the livelihoods of U.S. workers while funding criminal activity.
“More importantly, counterfeit goods pose a serious health and safety risk to American consumers. Customs And Border Protection, along with our law enforcement and consumer safety partners, remain committed to making it difficult and costly for unscrupulous vendors to take advantage of unsuspecting American consumers.”
The seizure is similar to one that took place in January, in which 36 guitars were caught before hitting shelves. Their value, if authentic, would have been around $150,000. They also included some inauthentic autographs, including one signature by Slash.