Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow
Fake Bulldog on left, Real Bulldog on right
Examine the dogs
Cast iron was one of the primary materials used by our ancestors to create the objects with which they surrounded themselves. Myriad items, both utilitarian and frivolous, filled their lives. Pots and pans, trivets, stoves, door hinges, farm tools, house markers, architectural decoration, coin banks, and toys of every sort were commonplace. Foundries existed all over the country. The raw materials were plentiful, the technology was simple and well known.
Because cast iron was such a central part of our ancestors lives, it quickly became a central interest of antiques collectors. And quickly thereafter, it became a central interest of counterfeiters as well. The simple technology, plentiful raw materials, and renewed interest, made it easy for cheats and con artists to quickly begin faking old pieces.
Today, what should be a vibrant field of collecting is all but stagnant, weighted down by the counterfeits that are far more plentiful than the authentic pieces. Collectors and dealers alike tell us that they've stopped buying cast iron because they are too many fake pieces in circulation.
But there are ways to identify fakes. You can protect yourself by learning what to look for. Recently we had a rare oppportunity to compare an authentic bulldog doorstop with a counterfeit copy we bought some years ago. Remember, as we go through this photo-journey of clues, that not every clue will occur on every fake. Some counterfeits are much better made than others. This counterfeit dog is a pretty poor quality fake which demonstrates most of the tell-tale clues - but many pieces won't show all of these flags.
Here are the results. You can apply the lessons of these pictures to most cast iron.
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