The news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it all:
“Well that didn’t take long.”
The federal entity seized 314 counterfeit Bryce Harper Philadelphia Phillies jerseys at the port in Philadelphia since opening day, per the agency’s release and ensuing story by the Delaware News Journal.
The No. 3 jerseys came from Hong Kong in six express delivery shipments, the largest of which had 204 jerseys. They were addressed to locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, per the agency.
If authentic, their combined value would be $44,040, according to the agency. Harper’s official jersey sells on MLB Shop for $119.99 each.
“Transnational criminal organizations counterfeit popular consumer products and Mr. Harper’s Phillies jersey is among the hottest consumer goods selling today, so it was a good bet that we’d start seeing counterfeit Harper jerseys,” Casey Durst, the organization’s director of field operations in Baltimore, said in a statement.
The agency works with trade and consumer safety partners to identify and seize counterfeit merchandise and cites issues such as substandard fabrics that are sometimes flammable.
Counterfeit apparel also takes revenue away from trademark holders, in this case MLB. For those buying them there’s also the chance colors are blatantly off or fonts and spellings are incorrect.
The Delaware News reported counterfeit Harper jerseys coming in since before opening day, with many jerseys not yet determined counterfeit so they aren’t part of the haul seized by agents.
Harper’s Phillies jersey set a sports-wide record for sales in a 24-hour span the first day it was available. As of opening day, he had the league’s most popular jersey of 2019 despite a smaller window to buy. It dethroned New York Yankees’ star Aaron Judge’s two-year run.
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