An educational site, not for profit!
Every time we go to a show we see fakes and it's getting worse! I'm not talking about replacing a missing wing or collar disc or an error by an otherwise honest seller, I'm talking about that fact that there are overt and often high quality reproductions and highly altered items on tables at the best of the shows. It is a 'shame' in the old fashioned sense of the word that we allow people to set up at our shows with the garbage they pass off to the unsuspecting. It is sad that our show promoters, even at the club and society shows, do not deny these thieves space to sell their wares. Folks, the man who steals your wallet is no different than the shoplifter or the man who knowingly sells a fake...he's a thief. That's all there is to it. I'd love to names but I guess that's not prudent, however as I update this page I'll be pretty strong.
On this page I will try and pass on some info on currently being circulated bogus material though I will limit the scope to the kind of material that I generally deal in. If you have info to share please do so. Refrain from sending info on obvious or unrelated repros but if you have legitimate info to share I welcome it!
Please report broken links as you view this site! THANKS!
* Mike Tucker of Authentic Militaria has this site on line. I applaud his efforts! This page really educated me and scared me as well! authenticmilitaria.com/reproductions.
* Nancy Rossbacher of the North South Trader sent me this link to this site about phony Civil War medical instruments and gave the following recommendation... This site was put together by Alex Peck, a top Civil War medical instruments collector, and you can take to the bank anything he says about 'collectivus medicalus'. CIVIL WAR MEDICAL COLLECTING ALERTS.
* The Vietnam collector's market is just as crowded with fakes as the IIIrd Reich market. How can you tell the difference? Gil Burkett has created a CD called Fakes and Reproductions of the Vietnam War with 220 pages, 387 b/w photographs in over 400 selected objects. Volume 1 focuses on fake cloth insignia that have been made by US vendors. It is a work based on experience & effort and not simply opinion. The CD is a full copy of the book allowing individual pages to be printed if desired. The files can be read straight from the CD or from your hardrive (600MB). If you're a Vietnam militaria collector or a patch collector, this book will SAVE YOU MONEY!! Price: $16 plus shipping of $4.00 via US Priority Mail. Money orders preferred. Order directly from the author at the address below...
||Gilbert W. Burket
15017 Dorcas Circle
Omaha Ne 68144-2037
An article on fakes from WWII magazine.
The Northern Virginia Relic Hunter's Association has this site on Civil War fakes on ebay.
Here's a Civil War fakes page by Harry Ridgeway.
Frone's has this great page on phoney military images.
This seller has a full line of restrike badges and wings. Many are made from the original dies. The clues are the the reverse of the badges but of course these aren't shown in the auctions.
This are being cranked out by and ebay antique dealer from
Check out this thread on wehrmachtawards.com
& this one.
On the medal below he engraved a number on a 3 ring Bastian Brothers Spanish Campaign.
Check out this thread on
to see more about him or click this link for more info!
CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON HIM
To the left is a bogus o.d. border 101st A/B patch. On the right is the real thing with proper white tongue and o.d. eye.
This web link does and excellent job of highlighting many of the fake U.S. decoration sold through ebay by sellers who for the most part know exactly what they are doing (stealing that is!).
engraving on Purple Heart's. Don't believe for a minute that every named medal just has to be in the exact
style the "experts" say it is BUT the military certainly never
produced anything this sloppy! The is a glut of phony
engraved medals out there of late, some pretty scary looking and often
accompanied by original paperwork to back them up.
Below are more bogus hearts from ebay.
Here's another bogus named medal offered on ebay. It comes with original Vietnam documents. The hand engraving is almost believable for 1940's though seriffed letters are not seen but for 1960's this is completely wrong.
Here's another one...the vendor covered the name supposedly to protect the family. The engraving is getting closer but he made this a VN KIA, the engraving is nothing like it's supposed to be.
Here's an example of a trio of OFFICIALLY NAMED U.S.
GOVERNMENT ISSUED medals that were sent out in 1991. The naming is
official and an example of what the Fed. Gov't. has been doing from the 1980's
to the present day. It features large lettering in capitals and is both
original and collectible but NOT earlier naming as often believed and
though this trio was mailed to the original recipient many of these have come
out recently from the Phil.QM and were never awarded and even with research the
value is subjective. Understand, these are great and original medals, just
not always what the sellers often claim them to be!
I have of late seen a few fake medal certificates. Usually these are either photocopies of the original's and they are in a frame so you can't tell or they are blank certificates that have been typed up with new info. The pair above is a blatant forgery with the faker copying the basic design of the certificates on old paper stock. The detail is lacking as are the military code #'s found in small letters on the edge of any military issued document. Remember that on US medal certificates the medal image should be heavily impressed/embossed into the document.
BB&B hallmarked reproduction Navy wing.
Properly pattern hallmark but should be smaller, less bold letters.
British hallmarks that are on a small 'plate'
separately applied to the wing are fakes.
a page of nothing but assorted hallmarks found on US badges.
Sin of omission? The 'rare' Air Corps chevron on the viewers left was offered on ebay and is nothing but a cut down version of a prewar Air Corps Sgt.s chevron. Shown on the viewers right is a real one with the edge visible across the top. The seller might not have known better but he touts himself as quite the expert, beware his auctions.
Fake VN War SF Beret.
Green wool beret of unknown but
recent manufacture has twin vent holes on the side just like the wartime issue
berets but does not have the leather tab inside as it should. Has bogus
CERTIFIED imprinted 2 line designation inside.
Another fake beret, interior view The markings are slightly 'muddy', far to bright, and the vent holes DO NOT have the leather reinforcing triangle on the interior.
BELOW ARE EXAMPLES OF ORIGINAL VN WAR BERETS. From left to right is a gold quilted lining Bancroft wartime beret, next is a 1962 dated Canadian made beret, the one on the right has the DSA code properly stamped inside NOT abbreviated as in some of the phonies I've seen and not in bright recently stenciled lettering or muddy false aged lettering! Last is a beret from the period in the early '60's before the DSA code included a date, 1964-6 I believe.
Here's a pic from a "named" Civil War
veteran's medal the guy sold and below that the rim of a numbered Civil War
campaign medal he's currently auctioning. Note the "1" is
identically stamped. If you go back to his buyer list a bit you'll see
where he bought a number/letter punch set on ebay!
Rim numbering on a phony campaign medal.
Crisp numbering but not in the proper style numbers and letters.
A recent reproduction of the Elco PT badge. Note the casting marks (pitting).
Phoney UDC Southern Cross of honor medals. The reverse of the button back Cross of Honor
has features a post base that obscures the Crankshaw hallmark. The hallmark
should be fully visible.
Below is the back of a real cross...note you can see all the hallmark.
There are a number of different Japanese Occupation made
Airborne wings. Some are marked SENDAI 1946, some SILVER, and some have a
sterling mark though they aren't always sterling. I think the Japanese
copied that from other wings they saw. Anyway, none that I've ever
encountered have a locking safety catch.
Shown below is the reverse of an original Sendai marked para badge. Original Japanese Occ. made a/b badges can be marked like this, without the STERLING, marked only STERLING even if they aren't (this badge isn't), marked SILVER, or unmarked.
I believe the USMC EGA's above & below are coming from a dealer in
the Chicago area. They are found on ebay in growing numbers and in
quantity at shows. Made following true early patterns they are cast and
though quite well made on the obverse, the reverse is the tell-tale.
A few fake wings.
The pin when seen closely is electroplated to the wing.
A poorly cast Amcraft hallmark.
From 1987-91 a crook found an expert engraver and had several
awards copied. Many of these have been found and destroyed or altered
however some may remain on the market. A list of what he had done is
below. Remember that there are original's out there of these as well...
* A wing engraved "R.E.W. U.S.M.C." * PH PFC Robert F. Neff USMCR * PH falsely engraved EDWARD D. EDWARDS BM2C/USN with original certificate, etc. * PH PFC William L. King USMCR. * PH Harold Burke S2CM USNR (A type III medal, his original is in collector hands.) * PH with name and TENARU RIVER AUGUST 1942 GUADALCANAL. * PH RAYMOND E. CHOCK GM3C USN * PH falsely engrarved RICHARD POWELL MoMM1C USN with original paper. * PH JOSEPH R. KRENEK USNR * ph JOHN C. STROUT JR EM2C USN with original Good Conduct. * PH REESE POWELL F1C USN with original paper. * PH JOSEPH M. BARRY RDM2C USNR. * AM TO ELLIS J. KEITH JR.
Other known quality fakes out there is a PH to Claude W. Plant JR, a DFC to George A. Tomes USMC, and '60's Medals of Honor to Tony K. Burris & Joseph X. Grant.
A great looking but fake pair.
USN DFC "GEORGE A. TOMS PRIVATE USMC FOR EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENT IN AERIAL COMBAT AS GUNNER OF AN AIRPLANE OF MARINE SCOUT BOMBING SQUADRON 241 IN ACTION AGAINST ENEMY JAPANESE FORCES IN THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY JUNE 4-5 1942 " and PURPLE HEART "PVT GEORGE A. TOMS USMC" on straight lines no decorations.
I want to make sure that folks understand that by placing this page on line I'm not proclaiming myself 'The Big Cheese expert' on militaria or that I'm free of mistakes myself. I was recently accused of setting myself to a 'higher standard' than others and for that I plead guilty. When all else is stripped away all we have is our honesty, honor & integrity.
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