Demand for Kobe Bryant memorabilia is surging like crazy in the wake of his death -- with collectors paying INSANE prices to scoop up valuable items, TMZ Sports has learned.
But, with the high demand comes scam artists looking to push fakes ... and the market is already on high alert.
We spoke with multiple high-end collectible dealers who are all saying the same thing ... people are clamoring for anything Kobe ... and they're paying anywhere from 2x to 20x the price Kobe stuff was fetching before his death.
For example, a game-worn and signed Kobe jersey from the 2004-2005 season was expected to hit $6,000 before his death ... but pre-bidders have already bumped the price to a starting $6,500 and the auction still runs for another month!
Another high-end dealer who didn't want to be mentioned by name says an extremely rare Kobe basketball card (which was originally expected to sell around the $2,500 range) has sold in the private market after Kobe's death for nearly $50,000.
Other dealers have told us straight up they're pressing pause on selling Kobe items because it doesn't feel right to capitalize on emotional fans.
As for the fakes, multiple dealers have told us it's not uncommon for forgers to push out fake items and fake signatures on eBay and other platforms.
Our experts are advising fans to only buy merchandise that's been authenticated from reputable sellers.