Pretty fake little girl
October 31, 2010 at 3:52 pm #11612
Here’s a bell that I believe to be a fake. I thought I’d share the red flags I saw with it, that makes me believe it isn’t a true antique, but rather made to deceive. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, or if there are other things to look for. I am thinking it would make a nice collection of ideas to have here as a reference to spotting fakes if we all pool our knowledge.
Remember to double click the photos, it should bring them larger for you.
So to kick it off, here’s my find:
It’s a pretty common bell of a little girl carrying a purse, in a ruffled dress.
It appears to be a poorly cast pot metal bell which has been brass plated.
Photo 1 shows globs of metal running from the arm and hand to half way down the dress. The whole side of that dress is a mass of metal that didn’t form well. Then it just ends in an obvious overhang.
Photo 2 shows the back of the dress. Note the waist area where it’s pot marked with holes. This is supposed to be a dress not a pin cushion!
Photo 3 is a better showing of the side of the dress. note the extensive grinding area below the arm, again an indication of a poor cast.
I will show the inside in the next posting.
October 31, 2010 at 4:08 pm #16070
Photo 4 shows how it was polished inside. It looks like a mechanical wheel type polish (parallel scratch marks). All of the polished surfaces are on the lower 2/3 of the bell and only on the same side of the ridges. It looks like someone had a wheel polisher that they ran inside the bell. since it only turns one way only one side of the ridges got polished.
Photo 5 shows the clapper arrangement (does not look period to the piece to me!) AND is the only in focus shot I got of one of the ‘grey’ areas This grey spot appears to be the base metal under the coating of brass, rather than any sort of corrosion. I see a couple spots like this inside the bell and some smaller ones under the armpits, a larger one on the outside of the dress, and on the top of the head as well.
Finally, the 3 inch tall by 3 1/4″ wide (sideways) bell does not take a magnet and feels lighter than other brass bells it’s size.
Any other observations that I missed?
October 31, 2010 at 11:08 pm #16068
Yes, I suppose I should clarify my use of the word ‘fake’.
It’s not a fake “bell”, as indeed it looks like a bell, sounds like a bell, operates as a bell, so it must be a bell. But it’s not the bell it presents itself to be.
I personally tend to use the word ‘fake’ for those items meant or designed to deceive, which I believe this is. When an item is meant to be a reproduction it would be clearly marked or adjusted in some way to show that. For example: a pewter reproduction of the same bell without the brass coating would be a dead give-away, the word “reproduction” or a later date stamped into it also works). Those are legitimate reproduction bells and have value in that context. There is no attempt to deceive, only to supply a product of interest and flatters the original design.
So for me I have 3 levels for any antique:
1. authentic – a true original of the correct era and manufacture.
2. reproduction – a rendering of the original to provide copies of a true piece, but clearly not the original. Usually of comparable quality of the original.
3. fake – a rendering of inferior construction with no ready indication that it is a copy, meant to deceive.
So while I recognize others may have differing opinions, in a nutshell that’s what “fake” vs “reproduction” means to me.
November 1, 2010 at 2:14 am #16069AnonymousInactive
Thanks for clarifying that, Garry.
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