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Old May 11, 2011, 02:51 PM   #1
cloud8a
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How do we know if these items are genuine?

Saw these on ebay. What are the ways to determine items like these are real or reproduction?


http://cgi.ebay.com/1700s-1800s-blac...item45fa8e5589
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Old May 11, 2011, 03:11 PM   #2
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Without seeing them in person you don't. It's a lot of fakes on ebay and you really need to know what it is you're looking at. I wouldn't spend that much without seeing it in person.
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Old May 11, 2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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You don't know and it may be impossible to authenticate.
I know artists who make beautiful replicas that are impossible to distinguish from old originals. These artists make to enjoy old-style items, not to fake or cheat.
Still, that set is probably worth several hundred dollars, old or replica.
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Old May 11, 2011, 03:30 PM   #4
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Short of inspecting it in person, I think that the only way to be sure would be to have the seller submit it to an authentication service, which would provide a letter of authenticity.

For the money they're asking, I think that it's reasonable. I just went through something similar for my folks, selling some guitars, paintings and other art pieces. On a per-piece basis, the cost was pretty reasonable. I think that it worked out to between $50 and $100, depending upon the item.

Otherwise, I'd have to give an escrow service a consideration. But overall, I think that I'd skip the whole EBay thing. As much as I prize the free enterprise system, EBay just makes me uncomfortable with items like this.
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Old May 11, 2011, 03:45 PM   #5
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It's almost impossible to tell unless you know the provenance of the item. If it just suddenly appeared in the world with no prior history, well, beware...

My brother just bought a new old stock 1970's leather bag off Ebay, he took it to a leather shop to have a pocket sewn in, the guy said it probably was original, it was made the correct way for the period, but it could have been faked. He said it was probably real simply because the cost of faking it like that would have been almost what my brother paid for the bag.

In general, if there is a market for an item, people will make fakes...
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Old May 11, 2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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As someone who from time to time gets in the mood to sell just about anything that isn't bolted down on eBay, I'll chime in here.

The seller has a 100% postive feedback of 353. That feedback score is invaluable to that seller. As a seller I always keep in mind that it only takes one PO'd buyer to hand grenade my rating. Also, if the seller is accepting PayPal he/she also has to keep in mind that PayPal will step on your neck in an instant if someone accuses you of not being nice. Any buyer on eBay needs to do their due diligence BEFORE placing a bid on ANY item. Believe it or not, it is usually the buyers that turn out to be flakes on eBay, not the sellers. This seller appears very willing to communicate with qualified buyers.

The bottom line is: Caveat Emptor In truth, eBay probably isn't the proper venue to move something like this. I'd be more inclined to live auction it at an antique auction or take it to a show.
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Old May 11, 2011, 08:24 PM   #7
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A +1 to what Foto Joe said. I also have sold on eBay - since 1999. I have disposed of authentic items of a historical nature. On an item such as this, the only way is to really see it and handle it - if you are an authority on it. With that price, it's simple enough to contact the seller and set the ground rules if you purchase it - i.e. - a return policy you both can live with. If you aren't satisfied with the communications back and forth - they "buyer beware". I have over 1000 positive feedbacks - for selling and buying. I have never been "stung" on a purchase - but, there is always the "first time" - that's why you "COMMUNICATE". I wish that I could say that I've never been "stung" by buyers of what I've sold. I have - three times. But then, the world is full of jerks and you're bound to run across one once in a while. On an item like you're showing - use common sense and a business like approach - if it is legit, the seller will work with you - use their feedback as a guide. Keep in mind, as stated, that there are some very good artisans who reproduce all kinds of historical artifacts - not with the intention of misleading folks. After that item has left their hands and passed through several more owner's hands, you never know how it will be represented. That's why legit artisans will mark their work.
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Old May 12, 2011, 01:19 AM   #8
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I doubt if it's antique

No cracks or signs of age. There's no wear marks and cracks in the straps that would suggest it was being rubbed against a body.

Take Ken Scott's bag making class at Conner Prairie. He'll teach you how to artificially age a bag. Art DeCamp is teaching horn making too if you want a horn. You'll get life long skills in just one week.
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Old May 12, 2011, 01:46 AM   #9
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I was not looking to buy this. I was looking to buy a possibles bag more in the range of Cabela's $40 one. I came across this and thought that it would be nice to own something like this even at that price if it was authentic, but who is to know. The seller might have purchased it for a higher price and is looking to make a little profit and does not really know himself. He might be just going off what the guy he bought it from told him.

If I did have the money to buy this I would definitely put the seller to work trying to prove to me it is authentic until i was satisfied. If the seller did not go out of his way to do so I would not be interested. On that note what about letters of authenticity? Can those be faked as well? I would have to locate an expert of my choosing before I would commit.

I would like to hear from folks who might be well familiar with vintage Black Powder/muzzle loading equipment give their opinions on the authenticity based on the pictures. At some point I believe there is a person out there who will buy this eventually.
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Old May 12, 2011, 01:54 AM   #10
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The biggest thing to me is, I see no wear. The leather is thin and showing cracks but there does not appear to be any deterioration anywhere on the bag.

As far as the horn, I dont know.

the metal butt of the knife handle looks like the metal they make fake western pistols out of that hang on the walls in Mexican restaurants.

But then again I am no appraiser by any means.
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Old May 12, 2011, 03:13 AM   #11
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The metal on the knife is pewter. It was used on period knives but it is something that is easily home cast as well.
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Old May 12, 2011, 06:05 AM   #12
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My impression is that it is too crude to be something a backwoodsman would have wanted to carry and use. The whole affair looks homemade, especially the knife. There is also a curious double row of holes, from stitching I assume, on the shoulder strap. But you know, there is antique and there is simply old. A few people were still happily using muzzleloaders as late as 1900 and probably later, though probably not flintlocks. Such stuff was being collected (and publicly displayed) when I was still in grade school, mostly Civil War things, though I recall seeing a lot of Kentucky rifles.
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Old May 12, 2011, 06:33 AM   #13
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How about a different question

Lets assume that the stuff is original as the seller stipulates.

Is it still worth 1500 bucks?

I understand it is part of history especially with credible and rich provenance. I know absolutely nothing of the value of such items but 1500 seems high unless it was associated with a historical notable.
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Old May 12, 2011, 07:46 AM   #14
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The problem with that is authentication, even though it might be contemporary to any given historical figure. We have a bad tendency sometime to call anything old "historic."

I have noted several sellers on ebay that do not know specifically what they have or that they misidentify what they have. This even happens with some surprisingly common items, at least among things I regularly look for. But I've still bought a fair number of things but nothing antique.

We used to call things like that "old timey."
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Old May 12, 2011, 02:27 PM   #15
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BlueTrain - that's a problem regardless of where you go - eBay, an antique shop, etc. etc. People who are ignorant of what they have will oftentimes make up a story of what the item is - that's human nature - it's called "marketing" - doesn't matter if the item is old or new. I haven't studied the photos of the bag or the horn - if it was something I was interesed in - I already stated that the potential buyer should communicate with the seller and set the terms of the sale that they both can live with - complete with a return policy. The problems that have been stated aren't just with eBay - they exist on every auction site including GunBroker, Auction Arms, etc. In regards to the pictured bag being too "primitive" for a backwoodsman - there were some very fine bags made by harness makers, boot makers, etc. and examples survive today. However, you have to realize that a hunting bag, horn and even the rifle or fowling piece were "utility items" to the vast majority of people - especially those with limited means. Not every rifle or fowler had intricate carving, inlays, engraving - many of them were simple weapons - no buttplates, no entry thimbles, plain stocks - made for a purpose - to put food on the table and defend if necessary. The many fine inlayed, engraved and carved rifles and fowlers that survived did so as a result of being expensive pieces - many owned by people of means. The same for bags, carved and engraved horns, etc. There are far more "crude" original horns out there that are still in existance than fancy ones. The same goes for hunting pouches, knives, etc. I've had the opportunity to examine many original bags over the years and the vast majority of them were crude - designed for one purpose - to carry necessary items for the weapon. They were made out of recycled boot tops and other recycled leathers. My grandfather, who was born in 1867, carried his lead balls in a crude leather bag with a draw string which also held a tin of caps. He carried the bag in his pocket. His "powder horn/flask" was a small glass bottle that once held "marichino cherries" (sp?) with a cork stopper in it - holding enough powder for about a dozen or so shots - his rifle was an iron trimmed 45 caliber "plains rifle". His balls were cast in the typical "bag mold" and the sprues cut off with the nippers that were part of the mold handles - making the end result anything but the "swaged balls" most shooters feel are a requirement today. All of these items survived and remain with members of my family. He showed me these things and explained them to me when I was very young. He wasn't a backwoodsman - he was a guy who used his rifle to put meat on the table and shoot varmits that were trying to harm his sheep and livestock. His "cleaning knife" was made from a piece of old sawblade with a wood handle riveted on. I'm not trying to "contest" anyone's thoughts or opinions - everyone is entitled to their own. I'm merely stating my observations over the years as well as things told to me by "old men" when I was a youngster. There are some very fine "bag makers" and "horners" out there and I admire their work and their abilities - but, a person has to remember that some of their creations are perhaps "copies" of originals that have survived - the others are "interpretations". People see these creations and then try to "emulate" them and soon it becomes a fact those examples represent what once existed in our past. That simply isn't true - and again - I have the utmost respect for these artisans and craftsmen. I have no idea if the bag that is being discussed is original or not - all one can go on is what they see in the photos and read in the description - it has been pointed out that it lacks "wear" that would be normal. I have collected Civil War artifacts for over 50 years. I have seen cartridge boxes that were produced by the same contractor at the same time - one would be dried out, flaky, have rotten stitching and be missing parts - the other one would look like it had been made last week - both were the same age - both did not see the same use or have the same care over the years. Would I assume that the one that is "mint" is a fake? Certainly not. If I was interested in adding it to my collection, I'd contact the seller and get as much information as he had about it and then make an informed decision if I really wanted to purchase it or not. I wouldn't judge the seller or his knowledge, or lack there of, based on photographs which don't tell the entire story as many things do not show up in photos. It is an easy task to contact a seller on eBay - yet while everybody is "arm chair quarterbacking" this pouch - I have yet to see where anyone has sent off their questions to the seller so they could get a reply and post it here to inform everyone else. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old May 12, 2011, 03:18 PM   #16
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Thanks for the comments. I am constantly amazed at the material out there for sale and I'm hardly referring to just ebay. While I did see a lot of very old firearms when I was little, I don't recall any that were what you would call fancy, although most of them were highly collectible. In fact the owners were mostly doctors and lawyers and other well off folks. Those Kentucky rifles, on the other hand, did tend to have very pretty wood. I lived in West Virginia and no doubt that meant that true "Western" firearms would have been relatively rare, including Plains rifles and the older lever actions. Maybe the lever actions were not so collectible at the time, which was about 55 years ago.

As far as mass produced articles go, I am surprised at how much unissued WWII and even WWI material is still around. They must have made lots of .45 magazine pouches.

Some things are very difficult to identify, even when it has been passed down in the family. My father-in-law, who passed away year before last, still had two flintlocks that belonged to one of his New York ancestors (not in great shape and anyway, they went to his son). He also had a leather flap-like device that came with them but which he had no idea what it was for. I believe it was the flap or cover for the saddle holsters, judging from the size and shape but unfortunately, there were no holsters.
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Old May 12, 2011, 05:08 PM   #17
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Blue Train,

Try watching a couple episodes of Pawn Stars on the Discovery or History Channel. A lot of people bring in swords, guns, and artifacts from the Civil War, WWI and WWII, and try to sell them. Some are real, some are fake, but the majority of the time, the pawn shop owners have to defer to an expert to examine the item carefully to discern between an authentic antique and a fake. I remember an episode where one guy tried to sell a saddle that was used by Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves. He didn't get much out of the saddle because 1) It wasn't in the movie, and 2) he couldn't produce any paperwork that linked it to KC. Real interesting show if you're into antiques and stuff.
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Old May 12, 2011, 05:24 PM   #18
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I like watching the Antique Road Show on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).
The show travels to major cities around the country inviting folks to bring in their collectibles for evaluation and to learn about their probable auction value.
The best items are selected to be shown on the 1 hour show.
They've had a wide variety of items over the years with many being quite valuable.
The experts who travel as part of the show go to great lengths to explain the fine points about each item and how they determine its authenticity and value.

Last edited by arcticap; May 12, 2011 at 05:30 PM.
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Old May 12, 2011, 08:34 PM   #19
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Those items appear to be very small also. It doesn't mean they're fake but if they're real they would have been used only for day trips as the bag and horn wouldn't hold very much.
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Old May 12, 2011, 10:26 PM   #20
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I love Antique Road Show. I just wish I could stumble across some of that stuff in my grandmas garage.
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Old May 13, 2011, 08:46 AM   #21
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bedbugbilly's long post is excellent, even if very long.
We do not want to use too broad a brush for currenlty made 'old style' items. In the vast majority of cases these are not made to deceive anyone. They are replicas to be owned, used and enjoyed by those who relive and respect history.
It is the eventual seller that one must always suspect.
Oddly, surviving guns are more often than not the fancy ones. They were well cared for and preserved by families.
In many cases a poor mans working rifle can be far more valuable to collectors and historical researchers than a presentation piece. That is because so few survived.
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