‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Paintings Easter Egg Instantly Shows the Difference Between Real and Fake

Many Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans know that Redd can never be trusted. The sly fox character has long been a staple in the Nintendo franchise, often scamming players into buying overpriced items and forged artwork. Things are no different in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, as Redd visits player islands with a stock of shady statues and paintings. The key to avoiding a scam is knowing which art is real and which is fake, but how? As one player discovered, Nintendo has actually made it relatively easy to tell.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons player visits Redd's boat to look at paintings and statues
‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ | Nintendo

Be careful with Redd’s artwork in ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

In April 2020, Nintendo updated Animal Crossing: New Horizons to add an art section to Blathers’ museum. With the expansion came Jolly Redd’s Treasure Trawler, a floating shop where Redd sells paintings, statues, and furniture. Players can buy the art to donate to the museum, but only if the pieces are authentic. Redd will also only sell one piece of art per day, so players need to be observant to choose the real items.

Thankfully, Redd does let players look closely at a piece before buying. The art is often based on real-life art, and fake pieces will have slightly out-of-place details. For example, one painting is based on the Mona Lisa. In the counterfeit version, her eyebrows have sharp angles, while the real version shows straighter brows. If you aren’t sure which details are authentic, you can always check out an art guide.

A fan discovered a way to easily tell real paintings from fake ones

Unfortunately, without knowing the differences between real and fake art pieces, there’s no way to tell for sure at Redd’s shop which one you’re buying. However, you can quickly figure it out when you receive the art in the mail — at least with paintings.

As one fan on Reddit pointed out, players should look closely at the back of paintings. Every real piece has a few “certifications” on the back, while fake ones don’t. If no gray papers are hanging on the back, then the painting is forged.

In the comments of the post, many fans praised Nintendo for adding a detail that not many people would notice right away. One user noted that the certifications are a nod to the real-world process of identifying authentic art:

This is super cool because in the “fine art” world there’s this concept called provenance: having documentation stating who possessed the painting, who sold the painting and for how much, and who received it in succession over decades, if not centuries is really important to assess the authenticity of a work of art. A piece of paper that just says “yes this is a real Van Gogh” is not enough to establish that provenance, so listing owners and dates of sales is very helpful to this end…The paperwork really is a big deal for that. Good work, Nintendo!

What to do if you receive fake paintings in ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

If you do end up with a fake painting, Blathers won’t accept it as a donation. Villagers won’t let you gift them fake art, either. What’s left, then? You can always throw the art in a garbage bin or leave it on a mystery island. However, another option is to keep it around and use it for decoration, even if it’s fake.

Some fake paintings even come with haunted spirits attached — you might spot a few eyes blinking. With Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Halloween event right around the corner, a haunted painting could be the perfect spooky decor.

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