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  Discerning vintage from replica space patches (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Discerning vintage from replica space patches
johntosullivan
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From: Cork, Cork, Ireland
Registered: Oct 2005

posted 06-11-2012 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for johntosullivan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Malaysian copies are all less than 3 inches diameter. It's as if they never even saw a proper patch "in the flesh"...

mooncollector
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From: Alabama, USA
Registered: Feb 2011

posted 06-12-2012 12:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mooncollector   Click Here to Email mooncollector     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spaced out:
In my opinion these are modern patches based on decal designs.
I agree and in my mind, I don't see that that makes them really any different than the Grumman patches that are copies of a decal that never was a patch to begin with. I LIKE those designs and may get them at some point, but I am actually more excited right now about the LM-1 and LM-3 patches that BEGAN their life as patches, along with the current new one (North American Rockwell support team) and the LTA-8 and ATV-1 ones on the Crew Patches site. THAT'S the stuff we ordinary Joes can never hope to touch as far as getting a high-$$$ original.

And I know GOING IN that these are faithful replicas made by a leader in this hobby so I have no misunderstanding about value, authenticity, etc.

But in defense of that seller, he has sold some items (coins) that CAN'T realistically be faked. I don't think he belongs in the Malaysian category.

I really don't want to see the patch collecting hobby get into ad-hominem up-or-down verdict rendering about items, where things are only considered "valid" based on who they come from... that reeks of cliquishness and cronyism. It's understandable if you are spending four-figures on something that BETTER be legit, but not for a $15 patch.

Y'all don't come after me with torches and pitchforks... pleeease?

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 06-12-2012 12:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Obviously I have no problem with someone producing embroidered patches based on vintage decal designs, since this is exactly what I've done myself.

My problem is only with a modern patch being sold as if it was vintage in order to pull in hundreds of dollars.

Gonzo
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Posts: 374
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 06-12-2012 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agreed. And as stated, as long as a collector I know GOING IN that they are replicas, that's fine. But the ones in question aren't just fakes, but also imposters! And that to me should be illegal, not just questionable practices.

Besixdouze
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From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
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posted 06-12-2012 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Looks like we have 2 buyers engaged in a bidding war for most of these Snoopy patches and, as fellow collectors will recognise, logical thinking is no longer a part of the equation in such circumstances. I expect, with a couple of days to go, the final prices will truly beggar belief.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 06-15-2012 06:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I note that the Snoopy patches sold in general for $100 to $300 a piece. These sums are clearly based on the buyers believing them to be rare vintage patches. I also note that the seller has now listed a few more examples.

In the light of all this I'm working on an update to my CrewPatches site - a new page dedicated to NASA Snoopy-related patches which will show these patches and clearly identify them as modern reproductions of decals. With luck this will reduce the chances of collectors mistaking these patches for vintage examples in the future.

Gonzo
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From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 06-15-2012 11:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lot numbers?

Besixdouze
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From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
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posted 06-15-2012 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Check seller Hospoi (962)s completed listings but be prepared to lift your jaw from the floor.

Gonzo
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From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 06-15-2012 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, and you're right. Holy BatPatch, Batman! I don't know who 1***o is, but he has deep pockets. I'll also bet that i***e is REALLY pissed at him too as he lost as the second highest bidder on 6 or 7 lots.

Kevin T. Randall
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Posts: 458
From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 06-15-2012 03:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
l***e (3824), the 7 times loosing bidder is John Mealticket2, a major patch dealer / seller on eBay. I don't know who 1***o (1338) is though.

Apollo 8
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From: Vienna, AUSTRIA
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posted 06-16-2012 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo 8   Click Here to Email Apollo 8     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Besixdouze:
Check seller Hospoi (962)s completed listings but be prepared to lift your jaw from the floor.
It looks like he has gone to his storage again and found some more of the rare original Snoopy patches, that he has sold now! - Maybe I should go to my storage too, but I donĀ“t think, I will find the same rare treasures again, and again, and again...

Kevin T. Randall
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From: High Wycombe, Bucks UK
Registered: Dec 2008

posted 06-16-2012 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kevin T. Randall   Click Here to Email Kevin T. Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris has now added a new page to his crew patches website for all the NASA-related Snoopy patches, both original vintage and the replicas from decals. Well worth a look.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 06-20-2012 02:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The core problem here is bare cloth back patches of rare designs being listed for sale either as vintage or without any qualification of age and it seems that the vast majority of such patches were produced by the late Randy Hunt.

Why is he the source of so many of these patches? Three reasons:

  • Most of his replicas/reproductions were produced with bare cloth backs, making it not immediately obvious they are modern.
  • He consistently and deliberately listed his replica/reproduction patches on eBay as 'very rare' examples, implying they were vintage originals and explicitly avoiding any reference to them being modern replicas.
  • He produced a vast amount of patches - replicas of almost every patch you can think of, reproductions of almost every vintage decal design, fantasy designs for most unflown missions and backup crews, and innumerable commemorative designs.
As I understand it collectors would contact Randy and ask about a patch they'd like to have and he would then have a replica produced. I believe that this would often be done as a pre-production sample, with just three examples made. One example would be sold to the person that had asked for the patch, one kept by Randy, and a third sold on eBay as a 'very rare patch', frequently selling for rare vintage patch sums.

I don't know whether the collector who asked after a patch was always aware that the patch Randy came up with a few weeks later was a replica or whether they thought he had gone and tracked down a rare original. What's certain is that the eBay buyers of the third examples almost always thought they were bidding on a rare vintage patch.

If there was a bigger market he would sometimes produced larger runs of patches, as seems to be the case for his multitude of Snoopy decal based patches plus many of his commemorative designs.

Not long after Randy Hunt passed away in 2007 it seems that his collection of replica/reproduction patches was consigned to Aurora, appearing in the December 1, 2007 auction. Sadly they were all listed by Aurora as if they were rare vintage original patches, thereby adding another flood of misidentified replica patches to collections worldwide.

The online catalog for this auction is actually a very useful reference, almost a Randy Hunt replica patch catalog, although it should be noted that there a smattering of genuine vintage patches (mostly regular Lion Brothers patches) in the auction.

The collection includes every recovery patch from Gemini through Apollo, obscure (fantasy) backup crew patches, contractor patches (lots 231, 232), Grumman LM designs (lots 215, 233, 243), Apollo UDT Recovery Team patches (lot 230), Snoopy patches (lots 227, 220, 221, 402), and all kinds of fantasy designs and special commemoratives.

This collection confirms the Grumman LM-13 design as a Randy Hunt patch (lot 233), likely a fantasy design. It also seems to confirm the patches I mentioned at the start of this thread - the North American Rockwell Apollo Launch Team (231), the Grumman LM Ground Support and Grumman Lunar Module patches (lot 232), and the LLTV patch (lot 218) - as Randy Hunt replicas.

There are some surprises in there - a likely replica of the Grumman Lunar Module KSC patch (lot 232) that I've not personally seen an example of, and what appears to be a replica of the AS11UNK7 patch (lot 407A).

The bottom line is, if you see a patch for sale that makes you say "Wow, I don't think I've seen one of those for sale before" - there's a very real chance it's a Randy Hunt replica. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to say for sure if that's the case. For me the biggest clue will always be the modern fill style I mentioned at the start of this thread but there may be examples where this isn't present.

Besixdouze
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Posts: 147
From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 06-20-2012 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Outstanding piece of detective work by Chris on this one. I think we all owe him a debt of thanks. I had my own misgivings about the legitimacy of these patches from the off but, having only been collecting for 18 months, felt I should leave it to the experts to determine their authenticity (or lack of) and Chris has certainly done that. However, I still feel this seller has been a little ignoble in his listings. I'm sure there would have been plenty of interest in these patches regardless of their vintage, maybe not to the same dollar worth as they actually realised, but at least no one who bought one would have the feeling they have now; that of having been duped, whether intentionally or not. Sorry if that sounds pompous but that's how I feel.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 06-20-2012 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't claim any great detective powers here as many long-term collectors probably noticed all these patches at the time.

I personally never really collected beyond the mission patches until relatively recently which means I paid little attention to Randy's offerings when he was actively selling on eBay and via his sites. I vaguely remember looking through that Aurora auction at the time and dismissing the patch offerings as modern rip-offs but I wasn't trying to catalog vintage patches of all kinds at the time and soon forgot about it.

It's only now with all these replicas selling for hundreds of dollars that I'm trying to dig up some background on them, in the hope that in future new collectors will be aware of what they're looking at.

Gonzo
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Posts: 374
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 06-21-2012 04:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And I agree - we still owe Chris a HUGE debt for what he's done for us (and continues to update). I for one have expanded my collection with authentic patches I didn't have and have saved (and spent too) a fair bit because of his website.

So many thanks Chris from THIS collector!

prontouk
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Posts: 51
From: Scotland
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 06-21-2012 06:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for prontouk   Click Here to Email prontouk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also big thanks to Chris for his site from a new collector as well. Has helped big time sort the chaff from the wheat.

Noticed a lot of bidding on Snoopy patches being sold by peppermintpatty33 on eBay. Guess they found a lot of stuff in a storage facility as well.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 06-21-2012 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One thing to be clear about - some of the re-sellers of these patches may well be unaware that they are modern replicas. We can't assume that they're being deliberately dishonest in their descriptions.

prontouk
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From: Scotland
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posted 06-21-2012 07:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for prontouk   Click Here to Email prontouk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fair point Chris and I wasn't intending any hint at dishonesty. I suppose sellers see an item go for big cash and try and ride the wave with items they have in stock.

Interesting to see what eBay will look like in 40 years time!!

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 12-18-2012 06:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
More sales of modern replicas at rare vintage prices:

A Randy Hunt replica Project Apollo Recovery Team Snoopy patch is selling at over $240.

And the other day saw an Apollo Radar Subsystem Snoopy patch, likely by Randy Hunt also, sell for $241.50.

Gonzo
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Posts: 374
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 12-18-2012 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently won an auction on eBay that included four patches that when I got them were marked as suspected Malaysian made knock-offs.

While I've made statements before about buying these (that I'd not do it intentionally), I managed to get four in this lot that are suspect.

The question is, how do you tell? Is there a place you can compare Malaysian made patches to the real thing (kind of like Chris' site, crewpatches.com)?

My quandary is that I don't have anything that documents that they are definitely Malaysian-made. I suspect it based on how the seller had them marked when they arrived, but I don't have anything to tell me for sure.

Suggestions? Three of the four I'd pitch if they are. The fourth, I'd probably keep just as a reference (it's a 100-Days patch).

Anyone have any help beyond the usual "they're crap", "poorly made", etc.? I'm looking for some way to tell for sure.

Editor's note: Threads merged.

SparkR_13
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From: Martinsburg, WV 25401, USA
Registered: Dec 2010

posted 12-18-2012 09:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SparkR_13   Click Here to Email SparkR_13     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Okay, here is a question on this discussion. Yes, Randy Hunt made many a replica in his day. And many of us have them. Randy is now gone. So as collectors, does his "versions" not become a bit collectible in themselves? They will not be produced again. They are different.

So yes, one should know they are not the honest first made patch made for the mission or program, but it was made to reflect that. The Malaysian patches... well, most are really terrible and are not worth obtaining, but a few have been well made.

And like some of the original ones we seek, that were made in Taiwan, because who ever ordered them got a better price than AB, do we not still seek them? I think everyone would agree, the value of the patch is truly in the eye of the beholder... or who needs it.

I try to trade one for one. I might trade what others might see as a $200 value for a $20 value... to me that one was worth it!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-18-2012 09:54 AM     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 SparkR_13:
So as collectors, does his "versions" not become a bit collectible in themselves?
In my opinion, no. A forgery is always a forgery and many of Randy's patches were forgeries (quite often of art he didn't have the rights to reproduce).
quote:
They will not be produced again.
But they could be: there's nothing magical about what Randy did; he wasn't even creative. He would just copy a graphic from the web, send it to an embroidery shop overseas and pay for how ever many patches he wanted made. He would then mark them up for resale and claim they were rare, when he could always (and sometimes did) order more.

It's not like he was exerting any quality control, or refining the art, or making sure his patches were accurate to the art, or respecting the artist. He was doing the equivalent of finding an art print, taking it to Kinkos to run off copies, and marketing the copies as rare collectibles...

(Granted, I'm biased; Randy lifted images from collectSPACE and even after being informed of such, refused to stop selling the patches he produced [even having the gall to suggest I buy them from him]. I have nothing personal against him as a man, but I found his business practices to be dubious at best.)

butch wilks
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From: Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK
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posted 12-18-2012 11:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for butch wilks   Click Here to Email butch wilks     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd like to add that the SpaceX patches made in Malaysia do not have the silver thread in them, the the real ones do. But I have looked at the sets sold by the SpaceX shop and from what I can see they to do not have the silver in them too. But as I do not have a set and can only look at photos of them I may not be right on this.

On edit: I was not right, they do have the silver thread on the real patches from SpaceX.

But on the SpaceX patch for the Falcon 1 Flight 4 patch, the one thing on the Malaysian patch that the real has missed is the right logo on the spacecraft, the patch you get from SpaceX it has the word Falcon on it and not the logo.

But if you see the paperwork for this flight or photo of the patch artwork you see the logo on it and not just the word Falcon.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 12-18-2012 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And another example of a Randy Hunt replica mistaken for a rare vintage original : 261141688977 selling for $120. This despite the fact that I contacted the seller early in the listing and he clearly updated it to mention that it was a 1990s replica.

An to answer a point made above I don't see that a replica should ever have an intrinsic value above the cost to replicate it, if you see what I mean.

If a replica is the best version around then it's worth buying at the retail price. If the original supply has gone then it might be worth going a little higher if you really want it, but in the end you shouldn't spend more than it would cost you to have a good custom replacement made yourself. Having one or two patches made can be expensive but should still be cheaper than spending $240 on a replica.

benguttery
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From: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 12-22-2012 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for benguttery   Click Here to Email benguttery     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've probably been a recent seller of a number of these Snoopy patches. It is my belief that only the SMEAT is the real space patch. That may be a bit overstated, but that is the only one I can think of. All the other Snoopys are fake, fantasy, reproduction, made-for-collector, etc., patches.

Some of the reason behind the prices they bring are the dog character on them. However, it has been long enough since they were available that there is a new generation of collectors that don't have these patches and want them.

Yes, I still have a few to sell on ebay. Bid what you like, but I am certainly going to ramp up the warnings on these.

If you have these how about writing "repro" on the back of them? Reputable military patch sellers (oxymoron, I know) have gone as far as stamping theirs this way.

spaced out
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From: Paris, France
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posted 04-24-2013 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Some time ago I started trying to put together a page for my site dedicated to the issue of differentiating vintage patches from modern replicas or fakes.

This took me much longer than I anticipated and could do with more work but I've decided to publish what I have today.

You can find the new page via the What's New pop-up on the homepage. Otherwise it can be reached from a new link at the top of the main embroidered patch menu.

Besixdouze
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Posts: 147
From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
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posted 04-24-2013 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Congratulations on a nice piece of work, Chris although, not unexpectedly, it poses as many questions as it answers.

Case in point: I have in my collection an ASTP crew patch and a DKS initialed patch. Both are bare backed and have the usual AB sticker. These conform to your idea that all AB patches up to that particular mission should be bare backed.

However, both the TPS and VDB patches I also own are plastic backed with no sticker. In all other respects they match the DPS version. They don't match any of the known replicas. I'm curious to hear why you think this should be as one would have thought they would have been made at the same time using the same methods.

Clearly, this is still a work in progress and there's a long way to go but hey, a great start. Thanks for the time and effort you've put in so far.

spaced out
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Posts: 2597
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 04-24-2013 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've had to correct my original reply here. I'd confused the ASTP initialled patches with the Apollo 17s.

In fact of course you are right that the ASTP initialled crew patch did have plastic backings, and thus are an example of a pre-Shuttle coated patch.

This dates the earliest confirmed plastic backed patch to 1975, although as a limited run of 5" patches it's far from a mainstream production run.

Does anyone have any earlier examples of coated back patches they believe may be vintage?

Gonzo
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From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 04-24-2013 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris - congrats on the new page. While I agree, it has the potential to raise as many questions as it answers, it is a very interesting read, to say the least. (It should be referred to as "guidelines" versus "rules".) What I found most interesting is the use of OVA (florescence) in the newer patches. That took my knowledge of vintage patches (and modern replicas) to a new level. Thanks for the research!

As I've said before, what you do for the community cannot be overstated!

Besixdouze
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Posts: 147
From: Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 04-29-2013 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Besixdouze   Click Here to Email Besixdouze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chris, I have an Apollo 11 which looks like a hybrid of the Grumman patch and the patch you name AS11UNK9 which seems to have some sort of plastic backing. It's fully embroidered like the Grumman and the stitching certainly looks vintage. I'll send over some scans as I don't know how to embed into these posts. Let us know what you think.


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