Registered: 1354914506 Posts: 1,536
Reply with quote #1
After a conversation with a friend in the States I recently took a look at the considerable number of Companies / Individuals in the USA offering so-called 'Defarbing' Services for both longarms and pistols, supposedly for the Re-enactor. These 'services' go anywhere from simple re-finishing to improve the casual authentic appearance of a weapon, to what I can only describe as outright faking .. ordnance inspectors marks, false serial numbers, false makers marks etc etc. I knew that there had always been a 'cottage industry' based upon faking weapons to increase their value to the unwary .. but I hadn't really registered that this had become an outright in-the-open 'industry'.
I'm not suggesting that it wouldn't be possible to identify such a fake if it were to be offered as original .. after all, the simple testing of the steels and other materials involved would reveal that they were of modern manufacture .. even the rings in the wood of a stock could be shown to have been harvested decades after the apparent date of the weapon .. but for a beginner collector, these items could easily lead to a considerable loss of money. There's even the fact that some modern manufacturers have idiosyncratic design characteristics that give them away (Pietta grip frames for instance .. though some of the defarbers apparently re-shape these to the correct Colt profile). What fascinates me is that it can be legal in the USA to make and sell such a defarbed / fake weapon without marking it somewhere discrete as a repro .. and including Federal and Commercial marks that are not genuine and which the maker has no permission to use. Considering that the average audience at a Re-enactment never get close enough to see the markings on a weapon, and wouldn't, on the whole, understand them if they did .. why would people go to the expense of doing this? After all, they know that its a fake .. so does that mean that their ultimate intention is to deceive other people? I know such things have been done in the UK .. after all, a quick check on the major weapon sales sites quickly reveals that there are far more 'front venting' B/F revolvers on sale than were ever actually imported in to the UK .. and not infrequently by manufacturers who never actually made any 'front venting' stock. But if matters went as far as they seem to have gone in the USA .. like faking Government Proof Marks .. people would be heading for a long stretch pretty quickly. This doesn't only happen in the weapons field of course .. there is an outfit in China who will sell you a copy D-45 Martin guitar (retail around £7/8K and up) for something around £300 plus shipping. The difference is that even an untutored ear would only have to hear it played .. leave alone take a close look at the workmanship .. to know it was a fake straight away. As I said, I'd be interested to know what the re-enactors think about this .. and whether they would be prepared to pay the prices these fakers ask. DP __________________ You're only lost if you knew where you were going!!
Registered: 1159824343 Posts: 2,648
Reply with quote #2
Hmmmm. So, I have seen revolvers defarbed in this country, I know not how or by whom but they still carried the Italian markings hidden under the rammer and I can understand why reenactors, the same guys that wear period underwear that noone will ever see would want that. I don't own any such revolvers but have been lucky enough to get my hands on a few second Gen Colts instead and I like that they're "right" for my impression.
That said, we have had extremely talented guys on here making and advertising leathergoods, spurs, beltknives and such carrying ororiginal makers marks and no modern marks. I don't think that's right because in twenty years time they'll pass for originals. I had my stamp made in the old W.T. style but with my own name on it so none of my gear will ever be mistaken for original.
Registered: 1354914506 Posts: 1,536
Reply with quote #3
Totally agree with your point HA .. a couple of the sites I looked at made the point that they would indicate the true identity of the weapon involved in some hidden place such that it could never be taken for the real thing .. others seemed to be proud of the fact that they absolutely destroyed any overt evidence of the weapon's true identity (as well as adding misleading ones) .. which to me isn't 'de-farbing' .. its faking.
I think you're also right in pointing out that it could apply to many items used by both re-enactors and collectors .. but what is interesting to me is that the very best, highest quality, of the clothing and other items I've seen on here, and other sites, weren't trying to deceive at all. Its one thing to produce a makers mark that is of the style size and overt appearance of those used at the time in order to make the item 'look right' .. its another entirely to copy them exactly. It was an eye opener to me how wide-spread this now is across The Pond ... no wonder most of my American friends are so wary in making any kind of purchase of a supposedly 'original' weapon! DP __________________ You're only lost if you knew where you were going!!
Registered: 1138587600 Posts: 2,064
Reply with quote #4
DP I really don't pay much attention to de-farbed firearms. But when I wander the gun shows I find large numbers of revolvers and big bores (High-Walls, Spencers, Sharps, Rolling Blocks, etc.) that simply cannot all be the genuine article. These don't appear at dealers I am comfortable with but at others I don't really know. I know just enough to get into trouble trying to buy one. I would need a skilled professional to keep me from making a BIG, expensive mistake.