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Beware the Fakes, Frauds, and Reproductions


First, what is a fraud, a fake, a reproduction, a replica, a copy?

In any definition there are legal ramifications - "fraud" or "fake" has an 'accusatory' element that "reproduction" or "replica" does not. For an item to be fraudulent or a "fake", there needs to be intent on the part of the seller to deceive the prospective purchaser regarding the items actual identity/authenticity. A reproduction or replica is openly represented to the purchaser as what it is, a newly made piece.

The tough part of determining fraud is to know if the seller is actually INTENTIONALLY misrepresenting a piece, or if they themselves have been duped. Also, the seller may not actually make any claims as to the authenticity of the piece, letting the buyer "imagineer" this information themselves. An example of this might be a seller that buys and buries recently made ceramics in his gardenl for a few months, and upon digging up these salty "new relics", just places them on his show table with a price and no other information. Are they fakes? Or just "decor" pieces? [in this case, it is fraud]

What are reproductions, replicas, and copies? There can be any number of definitions for these terms, but we'll use these.

A REPRODUCTION is an item that is a fairly faithful rendition of a particular item, that is made and sold initially in "new condition". The processes, techniques, and materials used to create the reproduction are generally the same as were used to make the original.

A REPLICA would be newly made item, that duplicates an original in noticeably less detail - a replica is essentially an item styled after the original, and may not have been made using any of the processes, techniques, or materials of the original. Apparel replica's are commonly called "costumes".

A COPY is a highly rendered duplication of an original item, to include aging, flaws, damage, etc., so that it has the same appearance as the original artifact. Since the term is pretty generic, we'll tend to avoid it except in specific descriptions. A copy is essentially one step from being a fake - that step being the intent of a person to represent it as an original to a buyer. (text adapted from The Military Horse and Horse Equipments)

(C)2004, THETIS authentics Ltd.

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