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Buyer taken for $1,000 by fake Apple badge on eBay

The fake employee badge as advertised on eBay

A vintage Apple employee badge on eBay was proven to be a brazen forgery — but not in time to prevent it being bought.

This isn't the first time that someone has sold a fake related to Apple, but usually it's hardware. Now an eBay seller auctioned off what he or she described as Steve Jobs's badge, but was for Sherry Livingston, employee #10 — or rather, it wasn't.

It was first spotted by Mastodon user Eric Vitiello, who initially believed the eBay listing. However, the details of the badge and of the accompanying hand-drawn map of Apple's office layout were then debunked.

Screenshot of a Mastodon update by Chris Espinosa debunking details surrounding an object, referencing fonts, photography, and a personal sketch.
Apple employee #8's debunking of the fake badge

"That's not Sherry Livingston," began Apple's Chris Espinosa — employee #8 who is still with the company.

Espinosa took apart every detail of the forgery, down to the typewritten font and the paper the map was drawn on.

Then Cabel Sasser, co-founder of Panic Inc., contacted the seller and has detailed their exchange in his blog. Over a series of messages, the seller was inconsistent in his or her story of how they obtained the item, but did ultimately provide a German purchase receipt from 2001.

Just as with the employee badge, however, it was a finely-detailed and carefully aged fake.

Unfortunately, none of the proof of this came in time to prevent the item being sold. Including shipping, the fake went for just over $1,000.

Separately, buyers were more fortunate in 2022 when what was believed to be an Atari job application form by Steve Jobs was withdrawn from sale. That was on a memorabilia auction site rather than eBay, and the site took it down once there was doubt over its provenance.