The megalodon repair, restoration, creation, stituation
Megalodon teeth with undisclosed restoration becoming more prevalent
Restored megalodon teeth are far less valuable than genuine megalodon fossils
As the price of genuine megalodon teeth continue to rise at an increasing rate, the number and audacity of fabricated megalodon teeth is also reaching an all time high. With any collectible, valuable fossil, or item of worth there is always the financial temptation for unscrupulous operators to fake or forge an item in the hopes of profiting. As long as megalodon teeth have been sold there have been undisclosed restorations, under disclosed restorations, and just plain fakes. However; over the past couple of years as megalodon prices continue to rise, the number of people perpetrating these misrepresentations has increased significantly.
Below are some of the current strategies and ploys used by some sellers in order to profit from a novice collector’s lack of knowledge or just downright fraud. Hopefully, you can use them to better educate yourself and either get a fair price for a repaired or restored tooth, or protect yourself from unwittingly purchasing one if you are looking for a genuine megalodon fossil.
The Undisclosed Repaired Megalodon Tooth
This is one of the most commonly perpetrated frauds by unscrupulous sellers of megalodon teeth. They will acquire a megalodon tooth that has some damage to it, and they will pay a fair price for a damaged tooth. Depending on the damage and other factors they will typically pay between 10-25% of what the tooth would be worth if it had not at some point in time sustained damage. These repair artists will then repair or restore these teeth so that they appear to be completely in-tact by using resins, epoxies, paint, and other synthetic materials. After fully repairing these teeth they will then attempt to sell these teeth without disclosing that the tooth was repaired, often for 5-10x what they paid for the tooth and 4-8x what is worth. I personally do not believe in restoring megalodon teeth; however, some people do and ethically I have no problem with them selling restored and repaired megalodon teeth. However; selling these teeth without disclosing the repair is not just unethical, but fraudulent.
A common strategy is for a seller to “pass the buck” when it comes to undisclosed restoration. Often when confronted with evidence that a tooth that was sold or is being sold, the seller will simply say that they were also duped by another seller and had no idea. This is where dealing with a reputable seller and one who spends the time, effort, and money to make sure they have genuine fossils is important.
The Under-Disclosed Restored Megalodon Tooth AKA "Minor Restoration"
As buyers have become more educated and the tolerance for selling megalodon teeth with undisclosed repair has gone down, some sellers have developed a new strategy. They will disclose that the tooth has "minor repairs" or "minimal restoration", but do so in a way that greatly understates the level or extent of the restoration. They will mention the restoration, but be vague on specifics, will not provide a before photo, or simply omit the fact that the “minor restoration” the tooth underwent resulted in 75% of it being rebuilt.
The Hidden-Disclosure of Restoration of a Megalodon Tooth
With buyers becoming less tolerant of undisclosed megalodon tooth restoration from sellers, there are some sellers that in an attempt to hawk these faked teeth and cover themselves, will slip the mention of restoration into a description of the tooth. They will write a long drawn out description, often with copy/pasted irrelevant information in order to be able to hide the understated mention of “repair” or “restoration”. These sellers rely on the fact that often times when faced with a one page plus description, most buyers will read the headline and skim the description before making a decision.
The description below is an example of this. This description for a highly restored and repaired megalodon tooth is over 700 words, and only once (highlighted in red) is there any mention of the extensive repair or restoration. This seller did this so that if the buyer after making the purchase discovered the repair or restoration and was displeased they could not get a refund because “it says in the description that there was repair done”.
The Undisclosed or Under-Disclosed Replica
Executed similarly to the two strategies mentioned above, some sellers will take a 100% fake or manmade megalodon tooth replica, typically made from resin and sell it as genuine. They will either not mention it is a fake or will bury the fact that it is a replica in an area that most people would miss it. Experienced collectors will know immediately when they receive these teeth; however, many first time megalodon collectors will believe they have a genuine megalodon tooth and be severely disappointed when finding out; sometimes years later, that it is made from plastic. These sellers will often create new accounts or websites regularly in order to dupe uneducated buyers.
The Lack of “Before” Pictures or Quality Photos
This tactic has a few layers depending on the ploy the seller is attempting but a few common tactics are:
- To Under-Disclose the repair that was done, but have no pictures of the tooth before it was repaired. This strategy relies on the seller accepting the fact that “minor restoration” was done, but not allowing them to see what the tooth looked like prior to the repair that is often understated.
- To take pictures of the megalodon tooth at angles in which hide or diminish the appearance of repair. Sellers will sometimes attempt to hide repair or restoration by only including low quality or low light pictures, or images taken at specific angles to reduce the appearance of the repair.
*In this day and age with everyone having a fairly high quality digital camera on the phone in their pocket there is no reason that a seller who is listing and selling teeth online cannot provide a high quality image to a retail customer.
The Fantasy or “Best Case” Megalodon Repair/Creation
Recently, some sellers have adopted a new strategy. They will throw caution to the wind and create from scratch or with small parts of one or several megalodon teeth a giant frankenstein tooth, made mostly or completely of synthetic materials. These are becoming more common and are often audacious shapes that do not occur in nature or are twice as large as the biggest tooth ever recovered. These sellers will often create new accounts or profiles in order to do this. These sellers, unless selling these fake teeth to the most novice collector, will usually end up with a furious buyer once the tooth has been received and the buyer realizes it is not only not a real megalodon tooth, but that they paid a very high sum for epoxy and paint.
The above are just some of the ways that the proliferation of undisclosed megalodon repair or restoration has led to bad experiences for many collectors and is a black mark on the industry in general.
To clarify I personally do not restore or repair any teeth, nor do I believe megalodon teeth should be repaired or restored. These fossils have survived in some capacity for millions of years and for us to slap putty and paint on them now I personally do not agree with. However, I understand that some people want to have a tooth restored and there are good honest people that make their living restoring megalodon teeth and fully disclose and photograph the process. I have no moral issue with those people who decide to restore a megalodon tooth and fully disclose the repair including before and after pictures.
Some tips for avoiding repaired, restored, or created megalodon teeth.
- Check out the article here: “How To Buy An Authentic Megalodon Tooth”
- Ask the seller: “Has this tooth been repaired, restored, polished, buffed, or altered in any way?”
Once you receive the answer and if you decide to move forward ask again before finalizing the transaction.
- Ask the seller: “Where did you get this tooth from? Did you find it yourself? If not how do you know it has not been repaired or restored”
- Check if the seller will offer a Certificate of Authenticity that states the tooth has no repairs, a COA is only as good as the issuer but this will often give you some insight.
- Check out the seller. Does the seller have a new profile, no website, no reviews, no feedback, and no history? If any of these or other things cause you to question the seller, do some research online prior to purchasing and if none can be found ask the seller for some background.
There are a ton of other scams such as people selling teeth they don’t actually have and shipping the buyer a box with nothing in it (but with shipping tracking so they can say they sent it), buyers asking for payment and then sending nothing, and many other fraudulent practices, too many to list here. Hopefully this article will help novice and experienced collectors avoid purchasing undisclosed or under disclosed repaired teeth.
If you want to purchase a genuine megalodon shark tooth that is free of restoration or repair there are several reputable sellers out there. You can also check out the Dark Water Megs Online Store to browse a selection of authentic megalodon teeth, all of which are free from repair or restoration.