Five Signs the Antique Item You Are Going to Buy is Fake

Monday, August 15, 2016

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The term antique is a very general term that encompasses an almost infinite array of man-made materials. It could be anything from arts and crafts around the world, to an antique dining table in London. To be classified as an antique, an item need not necessarily be of any great quality, it needs only be old to achieve the designation. The popularity of PBS' Antiques Roadshow has inspired thousands to dig through their attics, garages, abandoned warehouses and you name it. Anything old that could mean a big payday. In the excitement of the hunt for treasures that only her eagle eye could have discerned, one Antique Roadshow-goer lost her way. On the road to the antique marketplace she instead finds herself as signpost number one of five.

Sign 1. Even with a stack of reference books our first victim of a faked antique still fell for an expertly conceived modern phony Faberge Egg. Having missed out on her quarry at an antique auction, she tracked it down. Unwittingly, she spared its latest duped owner the loss of eleven thousand dollars on the purchase of an egg for fifteen thousand that was worth but four thousand.
* The decoration is punched not evenly chased
* Instead of being hand chased the wreaths came from a punched out mold
* Finely wrought enameling inconsistent with usual Faberge color schemes
* Diamonds are single-cut instead of rose-cut
* Forged Faberge marks on bottom of piece
* Description advertised by auction house qualified with "bearing Faberge marks" meaning "not guaranteed"

Sign 2. Clocks and watches- sophisticated copies abound and on the better fakes, only a jeweler or other specialist qualified to tinker around in the delicate clockworks can tell. Points to study in order to determine the authenticity of these items are:
* The types of movements used
* Peeling gold plating
* Forged hallmarks
* Incorrect weight
* Check against any manufacturer's catalogs
* Inspect any packaging for misspelled logos, imitation leather, low quality veneer

Sign 3. Little Brown Jug- Remember to always get a second opinion on any large investment beforehand. Even the experts at the Antiques Roadshow were fooled by the wizardry of a precocious child and her clay. So precocious that the expert on Antiques Roadshow valued her art project at a cool thirty-five thousand pounds. Roadshow authority Stephen Fletcher was as off on his dating as he was upon his valuation. Christening the item with a nineteenth century origin.

Sign 4. The Case of the Missing Butter Dish- If there is a recurring theme to this list it is that any catalogs of the manufacturer of an item in question are worth their weight in gold. Because if you know the date of manufacture and have a catalog from that year, bingo! But should the item not appear in the catalog then that could be a red flag. Like if you had found a Fiesta Butter Dish. That item would have to be categorized as a fake because the maker of the product, the Homer Laughlin China Company, never made one. Fiesta pieces may be similar to Harlequin. One difference between the two involves the concentric circles used in ornamentation, which become closer as they approach the item's base. Whereas on the Harlequin, they remain evenly spaced. If you like to specialize in collecting a certain brand, try to become familiar with that firm's distinctive product markings, labels,"backstamps" and the like.

Sign 5. "Chairman" resigns- Two Sotheby's bigwigs were forced out when they authenticated Windsor chairs made in 1990 as being from Saint Guiles House in Dorset, the seat of the Earls of Shaftesbury. Believing the grandiose claims of eighteenth century origin, buyers paid one point three million pounds before discovering the fakes.

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