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My personal rule is to never bid more than I'd be prepared to pay for a decent replica. So even if it turns out to be fake, I am never ripped off.
Each to his own. Depends what you mean by ripped off as most replicas second hand will fetch far less than at retail immediately so you are automatically losing money you could argue. And if that replica is not accurate it is not only not assisting your study of the originals but actively misleading it. But equally a fake antique will do the same. So good replica, good, good antique, good.

But hey, in my area the issue of fakes is not anything like what you guys are dealing with in high end ancient or early medieval and we learn through experience to make judgments, right or wrong. As I said I don't trust Viking swords at auctions. I know little about your end save the few pieces I have and the books I study and the museums I visit but it's not my area, and you guys probably know next to nothing about the area I collect in so we are neither of us being constructive.

Just when I see sites selling Japanese swords made in Thailand for prices not a million miles away from ones I have from Japan (not top quality but with NHGTK certificates) or rapiers with the dimensions way short and heavy and I think what's the point. Depends on accuracy I guess. Anyway we all have better to do with our lives so suggest we abandon this debate.
Daniel Parry wrote:
In what area of arms & armour, in what time period, of what type, of what quality ? You need to be specific.

The rule is not consistent for all areas at all, and unproven for many areas, as some people who take the view don't have much experience with the antiques market., some do.

Certainly nowhere near 95% of rapiers are fake, smallswords and Napoleonic even less as examples are plentiful and cheap.

People need to be specific about what it is they are criticising and why.


I agree, Daniel. I collect mostly 19th Century British military swords, and while there are fakes they don't account for anything close to a majority of the market. They are also usually either aged replicas which are very easy to spot, or antiques with spurious inscriptions added with the aim being to increase the value. But these make up a very small percentage of the market for the period (less than 10 percent, I'd guess).
Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
Daniel Parry wrote:
In what area of arms & armour, in what time period, of what type, of what quality ? You need to be specific.

The rule is not consistent for all areas at all, and unproven for many areas, as some people who take the view don't have much experience with the antiques market., some do.

Certainly nowhere near 95% of rapiers are fake, smallswords and Napoleonic even less as examples are plentiful and cheap.

People need to be specific about what it is they are criticising and why.


I agree, Daniel. I collect mostly 19th Century British military swords, and while there are fakes they don't account for anything close to a majority of the market. They are also usually either aged replicas which are very easy to spot, or antiques with spurious inscriptions added with the aim being to increase the value. But these make up a very small percentage of the market for the period (less than 10 percent, I'd guess).


Thank you Jonathan. That is my point exactly. The antiques world comprises everything from 1950 back to year dot. And so if you say there are a lot of fakes out there you have to be very specific as to what and when and where. And also give credit to the fact that collectors spend quite a lot of their time studying these things.

Yes there are issues around ancient objects, which is enhanced by modern online auctions, but again that doesn't mean everything or even the majority is fake particularly at the modest end of the scale. My mother and great aunt and my mother's friend, who then worked at the British Museum for the ret of her life pretty much, were all keen amateur archaeologists and worked on many of he big British digs of the 1960s with the likes of Prof. Barry Cunliffe. They bought, not looted please note, several pieces in their lives, most of which I now have, and this was long before the world of online auctions and modern fakery. Coins, beads, oil lamps, grey ware jugs etc. Because there are loads of these around from centuries ago.

Yes there are modern issues with fakes of medieval or ancient objects of high price. I have seen only a few medieval helmets for sale with provenance that was convincing and they went for crazy prices - 80,000 to 120,000. But that doesn't condemn the whole antiques market. And my concern is where suspicion of the antiques market makes repros the new originals, as I think I said before. If something doesn't match the modern conception, is must be wrong or fake, where the repro is not similar to the originals. The tail wagging the dog. That's what I am keen to avoid. And that people assume fake where they have not experienced enough of originals to make the judgment. In some cases they have a lot of experience, in some cases not so much. We need balance here.

But I think most people are more sensible than that.
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