The Smile Dutch 12” single (#6651306) is probably the most sought after record by Michael Jackson collectors. A very limited number of these records briefly reached Dutch retail stores in 1997, but were quickly withdrawn and destroyed by Sony, making legit originals very rare. Collectors are currently paying upwards of $1800 (about 1365 Euro) for this record, and demand far exceeds the very limited supply.
Seeking to capitalize on the rarity and incredible demand for this record, bootleggers began to reproduce counterfeit versions of the record in hopes of flooding the marketplace with worthless (and cheap to manufacture) copies. In fact, the Smile 12” is easily the most bootlegged Michael Jackson record in the world, and the vast majority of the listings that have appeared on Ebay are worthless fakes. Counterfeit copies of these records first appeared by 2006, and subsequent reproductions are still in heavy circulation today.
In these articles we will examine the differences between authentic and fake Smile releases for both the Dutch vinyl release and the various compact disc releases.
How To Recognize A Real Smile 12” From A Fake One:
Housed in the fantastic “Charlie Chaplin” picture sleeve, this five track commercial release from Holland is the only known release of Smile on vinyl. The counterfeited version of this record is also very well done, but there are, however, some distinguishing characteristics between an original release and a fake one if you know what to look for. Of course, it’s easier to see these differences when you have an original Smile release next to a fake one, so we have included pictures of both the original and fake release for comparison.
1) Look closely at the bar code on the back of the record jacket. The original Smile 12” has the complete bar code printed in high quality without broken or missing bars. If stripes on the bar code are broken it’s FAKE.
2) The original picture sleeve is noticeably clearer and darker than the fake one, which is faded and discolored upon closer inspection. This is most noticeable in Michael’s face (especially on the back) and in the images of the “Blood On the Dance Floor" and "HIStory" album covers pictured on the back of the sleeve.
3) The label on the record must have two circles, one bigger than the other. If you look closely, you notice that the original has different color tones on the label (on both sides), while the fake one is clearly a laser inkjet reprint, with a single (and lighter) colored label. The printing on the original label is also noticeably clearer than the printing on the fake label.
4) The original Smile 12” must have the matrix numbers on the record label and the vinyl, as follows: 01 665130 20 1A1 (Side 1) and 01 665130 20 1B1 (Side 2). These numbers are located just outside of the record label (and inside the “grooves” on the vinyl record).