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Imprecision isn't good enough to prevent fraud

January 1 2006 at 9:52 PM
Rick Randall 

Response to From "News", to "Badges", to "Badmouthing", to "Books"

German collectors are already dealing with this. Unless your imprecision is SO obvious as to render the reproduction useless for reenacting or display purposes at 10 feet, then you have accomplished nothing. People are being taken in all the time by German "militaria" that was made imprecisely as arepro, but most people have forgotten it. Also, there is the case of multiple manufacturers, each with slight variations. But many of the fakes are WIDELY accepted as "real", even though a minority can carefully trace the "provenance" to a particular repro factory or prop house.

"Fake" manufacturing marks that appear wartime are ALSO nearly useless as "fraud prevention". Not only do people forget what "fake" marks are out there, but NEW "real" marks are discovered as more research is done. I earlier mentioned the non-Long Branch Sten production in Canada that was recently (in the last year or so). . . photos, factory "morale" buttons, and orignal dated newspaper clippings all verified this previously unknown manufacturer. The same fate awaits any good repro that relies on "inaccurate" markings to distinguish it. Using the name of a company that - as far as you know - didn't exist just won't cut it under these circumstances. Using your real company name, and either the current date or the words "REPRO", "COPY" etc., is the way to go.

For metallic and plastic items, a CONCAVE marking that reads "REPRO" or "COPY" in an unobvious location is best. One can remove raised lettering easily enough -- but it's hard to fill in a good stamping or casting lettering job. For cloth items, there are two options -- carefully and indelibly mark the back of the badge or inside of the garment (which doesn't prevent it being passed off while sewn to something else, or a false manufacturer/size label stitched over it), or choose to make a REALLY obvious "error" on the front -- like mispelling entire words. (I believe Michael Dorosh did that with some WO1 badges he made.) If you want to see this done well, by people who KNOW what it takes to discourage fakes -- look at restrike ("repro") historical coins, such as are sold as mementos, often by museums. Likewise, reproduction documents from their gift shops. . .

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