Fakes III

What's your artifact doing in Boss Kean's ditch?
ed
Posts: 41456
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: G_D

Fakes III

Post by ed »

So I knew (vaguely) a dealer guy, saw him at shows next to another old pal.

Went to the Sarasota show a few weeks ago and didn't see the person in question and asked after him "He's dead" was the response. :shock:

Hate that. Anyway I, as most collectors will, asked after the guys possessions. Turns out they were being auctioned off by a small place near me. Online I might add.

This is getting long but stay with it, there is a point.

My other pal, the one that was still alive, said "his stuff was bad. He monkeyed with it". Now, that is thinly veiled code for "he creates fakes". I had heard this before so was not surprised. I entered the lists with eyes wide open. I bid on a bunch of things, some tools, old ammunition (ca. 1940's) a few books and a Luger. As you know, I do not collect them.

I figured I would not go over 800-900 and I would get a shooter that I could sell at any point for $1000 or more. No brainer.

So I got the attached for $800. I picked it up yesterday, took a look and said "refinished, faked".

Then I took it apart. Then I realized that while I know a bit about ww1 lugers, I know shit about those made after WW1.

The serial appeared in 15 places, correct as it turns out. The worrisome lack of metal in the white in the guts of the thing was proper. And so it went.

So, provisionally, I have a 95%+ 1939 luger that might be worth $2500??? More? Less?

Looked at it again. Dunno. Something is wrong. The finish is almost too good. But then again, when a gun is refinished there are a couple of tells ... often (I won't say "usually") there is some evidence of corrosion. One or two places where the rust ate into the metal. Tiny. When the thing is refinished the new finish is OVER the corrosion. That is a 100% give away that the thing was refinished.

Then there are the stamps. The Germans liked to stamp stuff. Serial numbers, proofs, inspection marks etc etc. Some were put on after the bluing, some before. Either way they tend to be sharp. When a gun is refinished it is buffed as part of the metal prep. There is no way of "lightly buffing" a tiny inspection stamp. And it the area is not treated the same as surrounding areas it stands out. No way around it.

This example is perfect. Too good. See what I mean?
Small.jpg
DJ
Posts: 534
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:30 pm

Re: Fakes III

Post by DJ »

How convinced are you that it’s a fake?
ed
Posts: 41456
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: G_D

Re: Fakes III

Post by ed »

I am coming around to the position that it is good. Thing is that it is like the paranormal: we really WANT it to be true so we have to be doubly cautious about accepting evidence.

I was just looking at the high points and muzzle. That is where you expect some holster wear and it is worn in those areas, not a lot but it shows wear. That is good.

The thing that is convincing to me is the serial on the firing pin (yes, Virginia, the Germans serialized the firing pin). It is unworn like the rest of the serial stamps. If the thing had been fired, it wouldn't look that way.

Also ... another tell is when the parts don't have the same wear. I bought an officer's saber (US CW) years ago. I knew that it was bad but couldn't put my finger on it. Turned out the grip was in excellent shape whereas the engraving on the blade was worn. It was assembled from parts long after the CW. Authentic but "not of the period" I guess you would say. With a gun if two parts have the same SN they ought to be the same age, not necessarily the same wear but they have to have the same feel of age.

Now ... how could this have been faked?
Well, you might start with a pristine receiver or one or more parts in great shape with or without serial numbers. You would then obtain after market parts or authentic parts maybe. Then administer the stamps and refinish all of them at the same time. Different finishing batches look different. Then assemble.

For 800? Also ... why hang onto it? Dump it at the first show.

Then again, the sainted Harold Peterson in his book "Is It Fake?" pointed out that there are people that fake for shit and giggles and the cost is simply the cost of their hobby.

Read about Mark Landis. Hilarious stuff Lulz aplenty


Is there a Luger Mark Landis? I would be shocked if there weren't
DJ
Posts: 534
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:30 pm

Re: Fakes III

Post by DJ »

My impression is that there’s enough money involved to warrant the fakery. The confusing bit is as you suggest, how to match the wear on the parts? Is there any way to determine ownership? Owners don’t typically take such good care of their weapons, but sometimes they do.
Sorry for the stupid questions, but it’s interesting nonetheless to me. I appreciate the effort on your part, and I hope you can find your answers.
ed
Posts: 41456
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:52 pm
Title: G_D

Re: Fakes III

Post by ed »

As Peterson observed, some people do it for lulz. I saw a luger once that was faked. The dealer knew the story. The faker bought a modern barrel, invested in the stamps, lovingly refinished the thing and then sold it for pennies (relatively) on the dollar.

On this example the issue is lack of wear, everything is pretty good.

I have pistols from 110 years ago that are pristine in the truest sense of the word. If you saw a gun of modern manufacture in that condition you would not hesitate to buy it as new. It happens. People buy a "thing" and stick it in a drawer for 30 years then die then their kid finds it and tucks it away and so it goes for a few generations. Then a snowflake finds it and shriek's and I charge $12.35 to come take it off their hands.

I think I mentioned this story but one time I brought a helmet to the Met for their opinion. The curator observed that they never see really untouched stuff so that if they ever did (unknowingly) they would probably call it fake since they would rather miss a real one then accept a phoney one.

More later.