United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has confiscated more than 200,000 knock-off Pokemon toys over the last month. CBP confiscated 86,000 toys in May, and another 120,000 in June. If the toys were authentic Pokemon figures, CBP estimates that the combined value would have been somewhere in the ballpark of $1.4 million dollars. According to Penn Live, the figures came from Hong Kong, and were going to an address in Snyder County, PA. Counterfeit toys such as these are often painted with lead paint, and lack the kind of safety standards applied to official product releases, making them a danger for unknowing parents and children.
Counterfeit Pokemon toys have been a common sight since the earliest days of the franchise. Knock-offs such as these can often be found at places like comic book and anime conventions, where they are sold in bulk for small amounts of money. Longtime Pokemon fans can usually tell the difference by the level of quality. Knock-off Pokemon toys are often colored incorrectly, and the lead paint applied haphazardly.
It's certainly not surprising to see how common counterfeit Pokemon merchandise is after all these years. Nearly 25 years after the release of Pokemon Red and Green, Pokemon remains the highest-grossing media franchise of all-time. The series shows no signs of slowing down, either. As of May, Pokemon Sword and Shield sold 17.37 million copies combined on Nintendo Switch. The game released in November, and is currently the fourth best-selling title in the franchise. Given the fact that Pokemon games tend to have long shelf-lives, it seems likely that Sword and Shield could overtake other games in the series in due time.
Of course, sales of Pokemon Sword and Shield will likely increase with the upcoming release of the game's expansions. June 17th will see the debut of the Isle of Armor expansion, while The Crown Tundra expansion is expected to release later in 2020. Earlier today, The Pokemon Company announced a news presentation for June 17th which should reveal more information about the future of the franchise.
As Pokemon's popularity continues to increase, it seems likely that counterfeit Pokemon merchandise will continue to be manufactured. To protect themselves, fans and parents should be wary of purchasing any Pokemon toys of dubious quality.
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