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  Differentiating replica and counterfeit artifacts

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Author Topic:   Differentiating replica and counterfeit artifacts
SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-24-2012 02:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Of late have seen high fidelity reproductions of artifacts making the rounds including checklists and watchstraps such as on eBay, a Velcro strap for Omega watches. Their proliferation posses some risk to collectors and auction houses who may not be able to discern the difference.

It's only a matter of time, absent distinguishing marking on the replica that somebody either deliberately or unknowingly attempts to sell as a genuine artifact.

garymilgrom
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Posts: 1731
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 11-24-2012 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That strap does look authentic enough to be confusing. Can the maker/seller be convinced to add a tag denoting its provenance?

On edit: The seller has been smart enough to use an unused serial number. From the auction no genuine watchbands are known to exist with the same serial number. That's a good start.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-24-2012 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The strap maker is a cS member: here's his thread describing the project.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-25-2012 02:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've made a post on that thread but the same thing applies to any maker of replicas.

Any such item must have a clear marker of some kind that can be used to identify it as a replica.

This can be discrete so as not to affect the appearance in an obvious way but it must be something that any owner or potential buyer can easily check.

My own replica patches are deliberately made with plastic backings so that they can never really be mistaken for originals but still look pretty convincing from the front.

freshspot
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Posts: 287
From: Lexington, MA, USA
Registered: Dec 2005

posted 11-25-2012 04:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for freshspot   Click Here to Email freshspot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, thank you for starting this thread. As an artifact collector, I agree with you completely.

I do think there is room for high fidelity reproductions in our collecting world, but they really should be marked as such. The watchbands are fascinating but could be mistaken down the road. If all goes well, one day 40 years from now, my daughter will try to sell my collection. If a few reproductions creep in, the auction house running the sale may think everything is suspect.

Linda Gordon's Apollo 12 checklist reproductions indicate that fact for example.

Larry McGlynn
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From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-25-2012 07:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also agree with Scott about this trend. While it's not a bad trend, some cautionary steps should be taken to insure integrity in the marketplace.

I know this topic on reproductions has come up in prior threads. Specifically about the Apollo 12 Flight Data File reproductions that Linda Gordon produced. As I remember, Steve Belasco made the point about needing to mark the FDFs (checklists) and she did. Those books are marked as replicas.

The idea of marking replicas is very valid. The watch strap serial number might include an "R" at the end of it as a subtle designation of it's replica status. We should also be leery about the possible influx of foreign made forgeries.

The second point of this issue is the continued need for astronaut certification on their owned objects that they put up for sale. The addition of replicas to the market make those COAs that much more important for the discerning collector.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-25-2012 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is why modern reproductions of the Declaration of Independence, for example, are usually marked at the bottom or on their border as a replica. I was at a taping of "The Antiques Roadshow," when an elaborately framed Declaration was brought in, the owner obviously thinking he had the real, very valuable deal. It took only so long to remove the frame to reveal "Reproduction" at the bottom of the document, which had been hidden by a matte.

I agree that manufacturers of replicas should mark their products as such, but for those items already in private hands or until such time all new items are properly marked, collectors who buy the replicas can also help by marking their own items accordingly.

A small "Replica" label affixed to the back or bottom of the item should suffice.

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 818
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-25-2012 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, again, I agree with you too, but...

It will always be buyer beware, since the problem will be that of an unscrupulous dealer or manufacturer who knowingly sells a forgery.

I have been in the position of an unknowing buyer in the past with forged autographs. It is just one of the reasons why I don't buy flown artifacts without an astronaut COA anymore. That maybe extreme, but once or twice burned, three times maybe wise.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 11-25-2012 05:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Astronaut certification is fine (though for the sake of the artifact, please don't write on the item itself*) but astronauts aren't the only source of desirable artifacts. Provenance is what matters, regardless of the source.

* I don't categorize flown flags and other PPK items with spacecraft parts and other mission hardware. The mementos are astronaut-created collectibles that are no less desirable but do no call for the same type of protection as the other pieces from history. I add that only to clarify that I'm not advocating not inscribing the flags, though it is not my personal preference.

Larry McGlynn
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Posts: 818
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-25-2012 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, there are many flown artifacts that don't need an astronaut COA. The provenance can be from the NASA archives and be very solid. The trouble is that without an Apollo astronaut COA, NASA and the US Government have the right under the FPSA Act of 1949 to repliven any flown or unflown artifact by law.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3174
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-25-2012 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Caveat on unflown... only applies to material actually delivered to or produced by the government.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-25-2012 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
NASA and the US Government have the right under the FPSA Act of 1949 to repliven any flown or unflown artifact by law.
The Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 established the General Services Administration, and in doing so gave the GSA responsibility over the disposition of government property.

Artifacts, flown or unflown, released through the GSA — for which there have been many — have their title transferred in full to the buyer, winning bidder or otherwise recipient, per the GSA.

Larry McGlynn
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From: Boston, MA
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posted 11-25-2012 08:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the US Government paid for a contract to produce something, then the DOJ and the FBI will come for it, if they want it. They have demonstrated it already.

If the artifact didn't pass through the GSA process, which many artifacts didn't, are subject to repliven by the Government.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-25-2012 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
If the artifact didn't pass through the GSA process, which many artifacts didn't, are subject to repliven by the Government.
We're straying off topic, but as has been said many times before, government property is government property until the government says it is not government property.

There are far many more space artifacts that were released properly (including most in museums today) than those that were not, and if trading in the latter, then caveat emptor. (Again, provenance is what matters.)

Larry McGlynn
Member

Posts: 818
From: Boston, MA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-25-2012 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are right that we are straying off topic, but your 5:58pm post started the drift off topic and Scott's pushed it further.

Back on topic, it does require that the buyer and collector be educated in the hobby as not get taken by a possible forgery.

Kizzi
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Posts: 15
From: Manchester, England
Registered: Apr 2012

posted 10-09-2013 08:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kizzi   Click Here to Email Kizzi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've just noticed this thread, and although a little late, perhaps you'd like to hear from the creator of these replica watchbands.

Many Speedmaster watch owners such as myself are attracted to the Omega Speedmaster watch because of its history and connection to the Apollo program. It gives many owners innocent pleasure having a watchband just like the astronauts wore, and catering for this demand is not wrong nor immoral. If such things used in historic space flight were off-limits, Omega themselves had no qualms about ramping up production of their historic watch to take advantage of its associations. Purchasers of these watchbands are a different constituency than the collector community, and their conflicting interests are not without legitimacy.

Here's a discussion of another vendor's watchband.

I suppose it's not an insignificant point that the watchband they are discussing was supposed to be made from beta fabric with Teflon woven loops, and the version they regard highly is made out of black polyester Velcro. There's another discussion on CS about the Omega Museum using a watchband made of Portuguese Lizard cammo instead of the specified Olive Drab binding tape. My motivation for creating these watchbands was that there are many historically inaccurate reproductions being passed off as close to original, and watch owners are being duped - to perhaps the relief of space collectors?

Several comments have been made about doubt being poison to the integrity and value of a collection, but I don't accept that, and think it misjudges how collecting works. For instance, does anyone have an explanation of why Charles Duke's Apollo 16 watchband for the EVA wrist mirror "P/N SEB12100030-202" is only 16 inches long, when the specification says it should be 21½" with ½" tolerance?

Or why Ron Evans's flown watch strap for Apollo 17 marked "P/N SEB12100030-202" has the same serial number as Charles Duke's Apollo 16 cuff checklist strap marked "P/N SEB12100030-201", when according to JSC Policy Guideline (JPG) 8500.4 § 3.1.2.4 (c), number ranges begin from 1001 and increment across all configurations (e.g. -201 and -202) without overlap?

These examples have doubt, if you know what to look for, but how does that affect their value, if at all?

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