How do you know insignia etc. is the real deal?

A place for various different forms of insignia used by the Regiment.

How do you know insignia etc. is the real deal?

Postby kerchi » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:35 pm

I was just wondering when searching for badges, pins, buttons at auction, especially bidding websites such as ebay, how you know when such items are the real deal or fakes/restrikes when the product description is either limited or non-existent. Many of you will probably know just by looking but not many photos of the items are decent enough to tell, especially to someone like myself who has not had much contact with any such item other than looking at them in the Border Regiment museum.

I have seem some restrike badges and they look cheap and nasty but I have also seem other badges that look genuine from the front but not from the back.

What characteristics should we look for in items that are real from the period of time we are interested in, such as WWI or inter-war periods etc? The same goes for items such as silks etc. Some look new but sellers claim they are original. I somehow don't always believe what they say.

Thanks in advance :-)
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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Re: How do you know insignia etc. is the real deal?

Postby plbramham » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:47 pm

Hi Chris,
To start with what is the difference between fakes, copies, replicas, and restrikes?
Fakes. I would say fakes are deliberately produced to mislead as being the genuine item.
Copies and replicas I consider are fine as long as they are honestly sold as being such. There are rare items (e.g. the silver Lonsdale badge) which you will never be able to afford as an original, so I consider a good replica is a fine alternative in your collection ( I always label mine as replicas though in case in the future someone thinks it’s genuine. I know the label can be removed, but I’ve done my bit)
Restrikes. These are often produced from the original dyes so are very hard to tell from originals apart from the patina and “feel” of them. I reckon the usual give away is the lugs/sliders on the back especially how fresh the solder is around them, but that can be faked. Don't be deceived by old polish residue in cracks on the back - that is easy to fake.( I think T-Cut is the usual culprit .Tip - smell it, unless you're buying on line of course!) I suppose that really the only difference between a period piece and the restrike is the date it was made. If you made a jelly from a Victorian mould it would look exactly the same but the materials may have changed a little,so on that comparison, your badge/button will be the same as one worn by soldiers a few decades ago, but actually new.
One field which is easy to dismiss as fakes is militia badges as some, not all were produced locally and are very poor quality. With them I guess it's a case of buy it if you like it. Probably no-one will ever be able to prove that something was actually made by Mr Jones at the smithy copying a pattern for militia use 100 years ago, or by someone last week with a mould and a bit of brass in a garage . On a simliar vein are the "bazaar" badges made cheaply in countries such as India. These were crudely made, usually in sand moulds, and lack the proper detail definition, and the rough moulded (as opposed to struck) backs are just a dead give away. I've heard these were often made for soldiers handing their actual badge to the local who made copies either as rough replacements or as novelties. I have a 1920s 5th Btn. Border one ( 5th were not in India in the 1920s, so there was the giveaway) which had been made for an Englishman in the Indian police force who had a whole range of British badges copied in the bazaars for a display collection. A 5th fake yes, an genuine bazaar copy with an interesting history - yes!
You're right to be wary as many items are faked, not just the 11th Border cap badge and the rare WW2 cloth insignia. As a rule, if it's cheap - it's a fake. If it's perfect - is it too good to be true. I actually quite like to get things that are a little damaged or worn because they are more likely to be genuine ( and they are cheaper!), but of course wear/damage can be faked which I still find hard to believe that it's worth doing unless it's a very high cost item, such as the silver Lonsdale badge.
A good way is to look for old collections that are being broken up, but even so fakes were already around in the 1970s, so the old collector may have been unwittingly bought back then as genuine. Of course it's not really possible to buy them directly from the old soldiers themselves anymore as the last national service 18 year old Border Regiment soldier in 1959 would be over 70 now!
I suppose the best thing is to never pay too much for anything, then if you do get caught out, you haven't lost much. Another way of looking at it is if you were prepared to pay that amount, the underbidder was prepared to pay almost the same, so you haven't really been done by much.

Pretty good basic guides to start with ( though I don't agree entirely with everything in it) are:

http://reviews.ebay.co.uk/COPY-amp-GENU ... 0017489541

http://reviews.ebay.co.uk/BORDER-REGIME ... 0001638783

So, my golden rules: 1)Never pay too much. 2)If in doubt that it is original, assume it is a fake and pay accordingly the amount for a copy. 3) Be prepared to settle for an honest restrike (sold and priced as such) of a rare item of which an "original" would be expensive and would be a costly mistake if it turned out not to be genuine.
Oh, finally, if buying on ebay I'm always wary of the ones who state "No returns"!

Cheers Paul
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Re: How do you know insignia etc. is the real deal?

Postby kerchi » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:36 pm

Thanks Paul, that's really helpful and a lot to take in. For my untrained in such matters I am sure I am going to have the wool pulled over my eyes at some point but I will do my best to work with these rules and carefully look at the images being displayed. No one likes getting ripped off or conned with something they think is a genuine item. Looks like most, if not all of the 4th and 5th Btn badges are copies (according to the article in the link you mention) but I am actually quite interested in items like the pins and buttons or other items that are little more unusual or not seen very often. Bardges are always on ebay, which makes me think that most are going to be copies or restrikes.

Have you bought most of your collection from antique shops and markets etc? If I lived closer to Cumbria I would be doing that rather than ebay but unfortunately you don't seem to get any (or if there are, very few) Border Regiment items in shops in Sussex.

If you do spot anything of interest that you know is genuine and that you probably won't be bidding for yourself ;-) I would be interested to know.

Thanks.
In memory of John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), 11th Border Regiment who died 1st July 1916.

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The Border Regiment Forum is a small and friendly community for anyone with an interest in the British regiment throughout its long and colourful history. The forum was set up first and foremost to bring together those with an interest and passion in the Regiment; to ask questions, share stories, provide knowledge and post photos relating to the regiment during the various conflicts and peacetimes it bore witness to.

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