Hi Alex ,
You have made a lovely job on your covering, might set you on, lol. My original was in a similar state but it did retain most of it cork insulation and some of its chammy covering. I have kept the chammy as it was the two piece type. When I find a machine that can replicate the stitching I shall then recover mine.
Yes its shame there have to be scammers out there, I think I remember the saga of the 32 pat mae west you mentioned, I think it was even washed in salt water. To be honest Alex we can all do our best to try and make life difficult for the schemers and scammers out there, but its an uphill struggle Im afraid. Press on regardless, onwards and upwards.