Today we have the second part of our commonly reproduced antiques list. I hope you learned a little from the first list without feeling too discouraged. Knowledge is power, and I was reminded of that Monday night while I watched the Antiques Roadshow. A woman bought a fancy jeweled egg she thought was a genuine Faberge egg for $15,000. It turned out to be a fake, and was appraised at about $4,000. Just for the record, I've never spent that much on any vintage item myself, and probably never will, but if I ever did, I'd have all sorts of questions before I laid my cash down!
Cigar Store Figures: There are lots of wooden imports from Thailand and the Phillippines being sold as genuine antiques. Beware of the cigar store Indian that's made from a tropical looking wood. Smaller carved roosters, pigs, and frogs are quite attractive and cute but are not old.
The carved cigar store Indians and other figures below are proudly hand carved as new replicas from "monkey pod" wood in Thailand. Unscrupulous sellers may try to pass them off as authentic antiques:
Photo Credit: Sandsantiques.com
Buckets with metal handles are commonly imported from China and sold as American antique well buckets. Just remember that if it's a genuine American item, it would have been made from materials on hand here in the U.S. at the time, so the wood should be identifiable. Things from long ago won't have signs of artificial aging, like dark speckles all over the paint, either.
Below is a common Asian import that is often passed off as an antique. There's no use wear on the handle where the paint would surely have worn away if it were old:
Cast Iron Mechanical banks: Original, old cast iron banks are real treasures. They were very cleverly designed, and so charming. You should be aware that many of the originals from the late 1800's were reproduced by the Book of Knowledge Encyclopedias in the 1950's, like the Trick Dog Bank. The example below is newer:
Here's a genuine Trick Dog bank from the late 1800's. You can see the difference in the paint and that special aged look. That's called "patina", I do believe!
The Book of Knowledge repros are collectible in their own right, but should not be confused with the original antique banks. Other, even newer reproductions are still being made. I've seen the Trick Dog with a "Made in Taiwan" mark on the bottom. The quality is just not the same. The cast iron sections won't fit smoothly together, and the surface will have a grainy texture rather than smooth like the older pieces. The paint might not show use wear like a well-used old bank would.
Here's a repro cast iron elephant bank. He's cute, but the paint is thin, too bright, and doesn't show any wear:
For comparison, look how this genuine antique building bank's red and yellow paint has a thicker, richer look to it, and that aged patina that the elephant bank totally lacks:
Depression Glass: Some of the popular patterns of depression glass have been reproduced, such as Cherry Blossom. The best way to study up on this is to peruse a price guide for Depression Glass, available in the library, book store, or antique mall. They will usually have a chapter listing commonly reproduced patterns and colors. Martha Stewart has reproduced jadite, and you can see what items by locating her catalog. Cake stands are a popular reproduced jadite item.
Tiffany Lamps: There have been numerous companies reproducing some of Louis Comfort Tiffany's famously beautiful lamps. His signature is even forged on pieces as they often point out on the Antiques Roadshow. There is a company called Dale Tiffany that is still in business, making new leaded glass lamps. Being familiar with their designs will help you determine if the garage sale "Tiffany" lamp is old (probably not) or new.
Recently made Dale Tiffany Dragonfly Lamp:
Miscellaneous: There are companies that sell rather nice looking reproduction antique items including bicycles, baby carriages, trade signs, and diving helmets to gift shops and restaurants who want to establish a vintage look. These items slip into auctions and flea markets regularly and can fool people. This horse/tricycle pops up every so often, with people insisting it belonged to their grandmother. If it did, she bought it in the 1970's or later:
Reproduced tin signs are all over the place. Beware of Coca Cola collectibles, trays, and all of the examples below. They are all repros. They aren't being sold as genuine old signs in the picture below, but eventually they could be:
Carpet Balls: You might remember from one of my past educational posts that this is a carpet ball, part of an indoor croquet-type game:
Carpet balls are reproduced and sold on eBay, and although they aren't intended to deceive the buyer, somewhere down the line they could end up being sold as "antique" carpet balls:
My number one recommendation to avoid making costly mistakes is to buy antiques from a reputable dealer. For example, if I ever discovered something I sold to a customer was a reproduction, I would issue a refund without hesitation. At the Antiques Market of Williamston and the Livingston Antique Outlet here in Michigan, we guarantee our items are marked properly!