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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Dodging The Fakes

Author: Charles Messer Stow

(Article orginally published December 1928 by The Antiquarian)

Various dealers with whom the Antiquarian has talk have appeared greatly agitated over certain items appearing in the daily press that Americans traveling abroad have been lead to purchase and to try to import fake antiques. It is sadly true that in various European countries the business of faking antiques has assumed formidable proportions. It is also lamentably certain that bargain-hunting Americans have been taken in by these and have rested secure in their faith in human nature until the competent customs examiners have disillusioned them.

Of course, fakes are made in Europe as they are in America, and some of them are so cleverly done that they deceive even reputed experts. If a dealer cannot recognize the false when he sees it, and if has not sufficient ethical stamina to describe his goods fairly, he has no rights to be in the business. The Antiquarian recognizes the fact that it is an inherent desire of the human mind to get something for nothing. So long as this inclination is surrendered to, the buyer will get stung. Fortunately, there are dealers who cherish their reputation and who actuated by ethical motives. Purchases made from these dealers will not occasion regrets on the score of authenticity.

The only safe course in buying antiques is to go to a dealer who cherishes his reputation as part of his stock in trade, and who therefore will not knowingly purvey a fake.

Incidentally, the word "fake" is one which many dealers will not use. The Antiquarian feels that this at the best false modesty or at the worst a dodging of a sad but true fact. Fakes exist and nobody can gainsay this. Because they exist, however, is no excuse for their purchase by a collector. Trust your dealer.

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