Okay… I’ve wanted to say something about this for YEARS! Anyone who knows me well, knows that I collect various antiques and collectibles… They include the following:
Original Comic Art
Star Wars Figures and Sets
1st Edition Books and/or Rare Antiquity books
and the list goes on…
My issue? PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING I LISTED HAS FAKES OUT THERE!!!
And I’m not talking about illegal forgeries like what we see with art. Believe it or not, there’s a huge collectors market for those and… as much as I hate to admit it, they are still pieces that were hand done by someone.
No, I’m talking about things made in a factory, printed, assembled, and made to look old. This is one of the reasons that I consider the 1950s to be the dark years for collectors. Not because collections were short at that point… IT’S BECAUSE THATS WHEN A LOT OF THESE FORGERIES WERE MADE!!!
The 1950s were essentially the beginning of Mass Production. Take a look at a clock or a radio from the 30s-40s, they’re beautiful. Wood, backlit, the clocks are metal, brass, and hand made in many cases. Many of these survive today and still work very well.
Now compare those to the 1950s.
Plastic… mass-produced. Usually easy to find at antique stores for a pittance.
Okay, I know I’m generalizing here a little bit, but it really is quite prevalent. If that were the only crime, I’d be fine with it, but go on sites like gunbroker.com and look up antique flintlock pistols/rifles/Matchlock, etc. You’ll have to figure out which ones are real and which are fakes, and I guarentee you that the majority of the fakes made in CA either by Hy Hunter or Hacker Martin.
Not convinced? The other day, I went into a book store by me and found an original Magic of Oz book… being a fantasy collector, I asked to take a closer look. See below:
Both of these look similar and both have a pre-1930s copyright date… however one was published in 1919, while the other was published in the late 50s. Can you guess which is which? The seller at the store couldn’t.
Thankfully, as a die-hard collector who knows what to look out for (Publisher marks, etc.) I pointed out the difference. The store owner apologized after confirming that I was correct and offered the book to me for 1/3 the price he was selling it for. I do a lot of business with the guy so I knew it was an honest mistake. However, despite that being a very generous offer as, despite being a blatant ripoff, the book still has value, I declined. Call me an elitist, but I don’t do reprints… EVER!
Okay, I’m done bashing the 1950s. Now go onto ebay and look up the Titanic Sinking Newspapers… I did this the other day just to prove a point… 4 are supposedly authentic and there are about 30 ‘Reprints!’
You’ll see it with books too. Ever on the lookout for an actual book of hours from the 13-14c.? I know I am… though I doubt I’ll ever own one given that they go for $15k at the cheapest… but you have no idea how many forgeries there are out there. I’ve seen fakes being passed off as real either by honest mistake, which I’ll give the benefit of the doubt on, or by unscrupulous sellers.
But Jim, reprints and remakes make collector’s items affordable to the rest of us! Shouldn’t we get to enjoy these things?
Of course you should, but here’s the problem, we’re not talking about something like a copy of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the U.S. Something that is very clearly not authentic. Or another document that is clearly stamped with its production company or has a label on it that states ‘Reproduction’, ‘Reprint’, or ‘Facsimile.’
We’re talking about remakes and reproductions that are so close to the original, it’s impossible to tell the difference if you don’t know what to look for. In some cases, you even have to bring some of these collectibles to a lab or a professional historian and pay a fortune just to confirm that what you have is authentic. So while you may think that reproducing antiques exactly as they were without a single mark on them so its hard to tell the difference doesn’t hurt anyone… as a collector of original works, I have to beg to differ and I’ve gotten burned a few times with unscrupulous sellers where it took an arm and a leg to recover what was spent. It’s rare, but it happens.
Anyway, just something I wanted to get off to some of my readers. If you’re geek like me, you collect and being a geeky collector can run very expensive!! So be careful and do your research before making ANY purchases.
Thanks for listening to my rant!
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