top of page
 

Original versus Reproduction

Window Boxes

I often get asked how to tell an original vintage window box apart from a modern reproduction (i.e., a fake). I've put together the following list of the most common tells:

1. Original boxes were printed on brown cardboard. Most reproduction boxes are printed on white cardboard. If the inside of the box is white, that's the easiest tell.

2. Most vintage boxes have a perforated hang tab on the back of the box. If the box is supposed to have a hang tab and doesn't, that's an obvious tell. I have seen reproduction boxes made from scans of originals, however, that have the perforated hang tab printed onto the surface of the box (no actual perforation). This is easy to tell in person, but can be difficult to tell from a photo sometimes.

2nd Generation Window Box Back.png

Pictured Above: No Perforated Hang Tab (Left) and Perforated Hang Tab (Right)

1st and 2nd generation window boxes do NOT have a perforated hang tab on the back.
 
1st generation window boxes have Captain America featured on the front of the box, three character panels on each side of the box, 4-digit product numbers printed on the box (e.g., Superman's 4-digit product number was 1300), and no Registered Trademark symbol after the character's name. The only characters released in the 1st generation window boxes were Superman, Batman, Robin, and Aquaman.
 
2nd generation window boxes have Captain America featured on the front of the box, four character panels on each side of the box, 4-digit product numbers printed on the box, and a Registered Trademark symbol after the character's name. The only characters released in the 2nd generation window boxes were Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Shazam, and Tarzan.
2nd Generation Window Box Back.png
2nd Generation Window Box.png

Pictured Above: 1st Generation Window Box (Left) and 2nd Generation Window Box (Right) with NO perforated hang tab on the back of the box

3rd generation boxes replaced Captain America with Shazam on the front of the box. 4th generation boxes switched to 5-digit product numbers (e.g., Superman's new 5-digit product number was 51300). All 3rd generation and later boxes should have a perforated hang tab on the back. So if you find a MIB Spider-Man with a 5-digit product number and no perforated hang tab, it's a reproduction.


The only characters issued in 1st and 2nd generation window boxes were Wave 1 (Superman, Batman, Robin, Aquaman) and Wave 2 (Spider-Man, Shazam, Captain America, and Tarzan). All other boxes/characters should have a perforated hang tab, including all of the super-gals (Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Supergirl), the villains (Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Joker, Lizard, and Green Goblin), and the later issued heroes (Green Arrow, Falcon, Iron Man, and Hulk). So if you find a MIB Green Goblin with no perforated hang tab, its a reproduction.

3. Most reproduction boxes are hand folded, so the edges have color-breaking creases that original machine-folded boxes don't.

4. Modern laser printers don't use dot-matrix printing, so the colors on reproduction boxes don't quite look the same as original boxes. I can usually tell by the red ink.

5. The graphics on reproduction boxes are usually a tad fuzzy from the scanning process.

6. Most reproduction boxes are hand cut, so you may see x-acto overcuts in the corners from imprecise cuts.

7. Reproduction boxes are usually printed on smooth, glossy paper. Original boxes are made from clay-coated paper that's less shiny and smooth.

bottom of page