When you find an auction for a plush always check the seller's location.
Of course we all know to avoid plush that come from China, but there are also bootleg sellers in the US and other places as well. If you have found a rarer pokedoll such as Bulbasaur or Absol keep in mind that they were released for retail primarily in New York (sure some end up in different places from the PokemonCenter website) But the area where the most of these older plush most likely are located is in the New York area.
If the plush is one that should be for sale in Kiosks check that the seller is in Washington.
Check to see if the rare pokedoll has suddenly appeared all over ebay.
This is an immediate indication that the plush has been bootlegged.
Check the seller's feedback
Again everyone on here knows this step, but many people don't realize they are being shammed and leave positive feedback for bootlegs. So even a 100% positive feedback can't be trusted. So primarily use this to check that the person has sold before and ships things in a decent amount of time.
Check the seller's store.
What do they have for sale? Any obvious bootlegs? If the answer is no, be sure to also check the users sold listings if they've sold multiples of a rare pokedoll assume the new listing is a bootleg. Are there older pokemon plush from around the same year as the rare pokedoll listed? If yes chances are the rare Pokedoll you want to bid on is legit!
This one mainly applies to lots.
Are there plush in the lot that you can tell are legit? Are their plush in the lot that came out around the same year as rare one?
If both answers are yes bid away! chances are high that the plush are legit, and have been kept in someone's attic and are in need of a collectors love.
Once the plush arrives check for an S Sticker.
Okay so S Stickers are always my fall back especially with how good bootleggers are getting at tricking us. To my knowledge (seeing as my US Pokedolls only go up to 2008) All US Pokedolls released before 2009 had S Stickers in their tush tags. Bootleggers do not duplicate this. However, a stickerless plush doesn't always mean it's a bootleg sometimes the S stickers have been peeled off by their previous owners before they get to us. Keeping that in mind not all older pokedolls will have one. But, often times you can tell by a thin residue on the inside of the tag where an S sticker once was. But, if a plush seems to be in awesome condition, and is missing the S sticker it's a huge red flag.
Here are all of my US pokedolls in order by year of release (Lugia and Houndour came from here but everyone else is from ebay and I have confirmed to be legit using my above steps C:)
Here's examples of their tush tags (Bulbasaur is the only one without an S Sticker but he is legit)
Well I hope this post will help you all in your ebay shopping and help you to find the real gems in the stream of bootlegs :)
And To make this post less boring feel free to share your greatest ebay finds and/or your most frustrating bootleg encounters?
Thanks everyone have an awesome day!