eBay has spoken to over 500 federal, state, and international law enforcement organizations regarding their position on the sale of police-related items to the public.


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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Fraud Alert > Feature: Police Items Restricted on eBay

Police Ephemera - Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine

Japanese Samurai Swords

eBay Restricted Items

Police-Related Items

 Generally, you may not list law enforcement badges or official law enforcement equipment from any public entity, including badges issued by the government of any country. This prohibition extends to police badges and official equipment from federal, state or local law enforcement agencies of the United States.

 eBay has spoken to over 500 federal, state, and international law enforcement organizations regarding their position on the sale of police-related items to the public. These organizations were concerned that individuals may use a badge or other police-related item to misrepresent themselves as a law enforcement officer to the public. In many cases, state and federal laws prohibit unauthorized individuals from even possessing a law enforcement badge. For example, one federal law specifically prohibits "the manufacture, sale(s), or possession of any federal badge without the specific authority of the head of the issuing department or agency of the US government...." 18 U.S.C. 701.

 The following list contains a non-exclusive list of police-related items that may not be listed on eBay:

  • Official current or recent issue police uniforms
  • Badges from federal law enforcement agencies
  • Badges from the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Military police badges
  • Quasi-law enforcement badges (e.g., fire department badges)
  • State or international badges
  • Badges in Lucite
  • Movie prop badges
  • Identification cards
  • Credential cases
  • "Badge patches," including the National Park Service "arrowhead" patch and US Forest Service patch
  • Raid jackets
  • Emergency vehicle lighting and sirens
  • Badges issued by private security companies

 Further, federal agencies also prohibit any commercial reproduction of their name, seal or logo. Therefore, copies or reproductions of police badges are banned. Such badges infringe upon the copyright and trademark rights of the agency that issued the badges.

 You may list a law enforcement badge on eBay if:

  • The law enforcement organization that issues the badge states in writing that it does not object to the sale of the item, and
  • You post a copy of that letter with a valid law enforcement contact (name and phone number) on the site with the badge.

 There are a limited number of police items that may be listed on the site, provided they abide by any noted guidelines.

  • Police uniforms. Uniforms must be obsolete and in no way resemble current issue police uniforms. This fact must be clearly stated within the listing description.
  • Mini-badges (size approximately 1 inch by 1 inch)
  • Historical badges that do not resemble modern law enforcement badges (a sheriff's badge from the 19th century), provided that the item description must clearly state that the badge is a historical piece at least 75 years old or issued by a now-defunct organization
  • Authorized general souvenir items, such as hats, mugs, pins, pens, buttons, cuff links, t-shirts, money clips that do not resemble badges, and paperweights that do not contain badges
  • Badges that are clearly not official (e.g., plastic or cartoon badges)"

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