Coxsackie Antique Center

Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow

On Patronizing Repro Peddlars

A few weeks ago I heard several dealers discussing an auction they'd gone to that was filled with fakes. "Oh yes" they all agreed with a chuckle, "The auctioneer is a crook!"

"Then why do you keep going?" I butted in?

"Well everyone knows he's a crook but he's funny, and we're really careful about what we buy" was their response. Then they expressed amazement that the blatantly fake pieces of Roseville at the last auction had still gotten $80 and $90 each.

"Then not everyone knows he's a crook selling fakes!" I interjected - again, to no effect. I sensed that they wanted me to go away so I did. As I left, they were all agreeing that the auctioneer is a funny man and they're going back.

Shortly thereafter we went into a small shop that had recently opened and saw, sitting on a shelf like a flashing neon light, a piece of counterfeit Roseville. We checked the tag. It was clearly marked a repro but still priced at $90. The dealer struck up a conversation so we chatted. Turns out she was one of the people who got suckered in by the fake roseville at this auction. She wasn't chuckling. She couldn't afford to take a $90 hit like that and the auctioneer had refused to refund her money. But she swore she'd never go back there again.

The repro curse will not end until it doesn't pay to peddle them. The counterfeit roseville costs about $7 wholesale. If the crooked auctioneers can sell it for $80 they think they're pretty smart. And if all they do is lose the occassional victim as a customer while the smart dealers sit back, chuckle, and congratulate themselves for not getting suckered in, then the crooked auctioneers can keep drawing in new suckers every week. So long as all the "smart" dealers keep patronizing the crooks, then the crooks will keep making money and keep flooding the market with fakes. And as long as the market is flooded with with fakes, every dealer and collector will suffer. The dealers that were chuckling about the crooked auctioneer were surrounded by expensive pieces of glass and pottery, including some very nice Roseville, all of which has lost value because of the flood of counterfeit glass and pottery.

So I have to wonder which dealer is the truly "smart" dealer and which one is the real "sucker?"


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