Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow
Counterfeit Roseville pottery has begun appearing. They even contain the raised Roseville mark on the bottom. This poses a serious threat to Roseville collectors and dealers. Be cautious and suspicious. Two reported designs are Magnolia and LaRose. The Magnolia fake is not fully glazed inside. There are reports of other patterns being counterfeited also. If you spot anything questionable, confront the auctioneer or dealer, write the national antiques publications, and let us know at CAC.
The appearance of counterfeit Roseville has caused a much greater than usual clamor of dismay - probably because "important people" with large investments collect roseville. People are coming into the shop saying they expect prices to collapse and they're bailing out. That will produce a glut and certainly drive prices down. Whether they ever return to current levels is problematic. There are many rumors that there will be dozens of other patterns being counterfeited within a matter of months and by more highly skilled crooks than the current crop. In fact, "Suspicious Bill" wonders if the poor quality, highly visible fakes are really a diversionary tactic to distract attention from higher quality counterfeits.
Our hope is that this assault on the public may produce action on outlawing counterfeits. It's one thing to counterfeit cookie jars and little red riding hood pitchers "just folks" collect; it's an entirely different thing to counterfeit Roseville that is collected by thousands of "important people." We hope that a few Congressional collectors or their spouses or mothers get really burned by these sleaze bags and finally spur Congress to pass meaningful laws to protect against counterfeiting.
The introduction of counterfeit roseville pieces about 6 months ago by one of the major "repro" houses caused a panic among roseville collectors and dealers. We've had several Roseville sales lately to people who say the fakes are no threat because they're too poorly executed. Hopefully, that's not just wishful thinking. We continue to think that the widely publicized fakes might be designed to distract attention from higher quality fakes that are being quietly slipped into the market. So our advice is don't pass up any Roseville bargains, but look them over VERY CAREFULLY to be sure they really are bargains.
The current issue of Antiques and Collectors Reproduction News details about 20 more Roseville counterfeits being peddled by "a major reproduction house in Pennsylvania." It says that the quality is erratic, even within the same pattern, and that some of the fakes are very close to the originals. There has been a false sense of complacency among dealers and collectors because the first publicized batch of fakes were so poorly executed. The errors identified in the first batch have been corrected. (fully glazed interiors and less obvious air brushing for instance.) The new batch are better (and the next batch will be even better.) The most obvious way to recognize them as fakes is the counterfeit signature mark. Authentic Roseville is usually marked "Roseville USA" with a pattern number and size. This batch of counterfeits is being made in China so the "USA" had to be blocked out. The fakes only say "Roseville" with a pattern number. Where the USA should be, the counterfeiters have put a paper "Made in China" label which is easily removed. Some of the counterfeited pieces, however, did not originally have the incised Roseville mark. But what's the point of counterfeiting Roseville if your intended victims don't recognize it so they've added an incised Roseville mark to their knock offs! The script is not identical to a genuine mark so these may also be recognizable.
Of course this is only the current batch. If the counterfeiters go to an American factory, they can leave the "USA" mark on the pieces and make detection much more difficult. Maybe the fake McCoy Pottery Co. can be hired to produce them. They're already producing knock offs of Hull items.
We've already seen these counterfeits in antique malls around the area. In one mall, the dealer had pieces out with the "made in china" label still on the item and the price set well below the retail for an authentic piece. He was clearly not trying to cheat anyone. We complained loudly anyway. The pieces will soon loose their labels and end up cheating someone. And by patronizing the parasites in Pennsylvania who are producing these counterfeits, he is giving them their profit and assuring that they will stay in business to continue poisoning the entire antiques field. When dealers and shops sell this stuff, even if marked, it supports the fakes industries and gravely injures the antiques business. We should all be far less tolerant of dealers who say "Well, I marked it repro."
The market continues to see a flood of fake Roseville pieces. The latest catalogs to surface offer over 100 different patterns in three different color schemes so there are now over 300 types being counterfeited. The warning signs are constantly changing as each new batch corrects the errors of the last ones. We know one fellow who bought three pieces of fake Roseville at a garage sale from people who insisted that it belonged to their grandmother. We see the pieces in many shops and they are being offered at many local auctions. BE CAREFUL.
On a more optimistic note, we can report that we have seen no drop in demand or prices for authentic Roseville.
The market continues to see a flood of fake Roseville. There are over 100 different patterns being offered. The warning signs are constantly changing as each new batch corrects the errors of the last ones. Here are some things to watch for.
There have also been "fantasy" roseville pieces reported. One piece has an Art Nouveau lady. This was never a Roseville design. The fake has a clear Roseville mark on the bottom.
We've had a piece of counterfeit Roseville on the display counter for six months now. A dealer came into the store the other day - not a neophyte, either - and looked at the fake Roseville and exclaimed "I didn't know they were counterfeiting Roseville!" So, although it sometimes seems like we're harping on the repro problem ad nauseum, it is necessary.
Rumor has it that someone in California has obtained some original molds and the original glazing formulas and is churning out high "quality" Roseville countrefeits. The rumor's been around for a while without any corroboration. Who knows if it's true. But you can be sure that someone, somewhere is or soon will be producing harder to detect fakes using the Castle countrefeits as a convenient smoke screen.
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