Genuine max7219 or fake?

Purchased from UK eBay supplier for around £5 for 5 + postage.

Tested, all working perfectly as far as I can tell.

Dec 2019 date code. (Or week 19, year 2012.)

I suspect they’ve been sitting in a storage bin since originally purchased then the purchaser surplussed them or went out of business.

So you think they are genuine?

I’m saying there’s a plausible explanation for the low price.

The only way I know those could be verified is shaving off the tops of their heads and applying a scanning electron microscope.

Why are you concerned?

Not really concerned, just curious. From descriptions of genuine vs fake max chips I’ve seen in the past, these look genuine (dimple near pin 1, full-width pins at each corner, longer package length, printed bar close to pin 1 etc). But they were so cheap!

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Yes they are cheap on that source, I have a fist full of them. But they may have come from the reject bit, they might be clones.
There are chips with nothing inside them but this is clearly not the case here.

If you want etch the top (decap) plastic using hydrofluoric acid, caution this is bad stuff, it will stop etching when it reaches the silicone passivation layer. Then rinse it off and you should be able to see the manufacturer logo on the die.