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Fakes, forgeries and reproductions


Every collector has made mistakes and been caught out at some time, often more than once and it should not be considered a mark of shame, rather, experience!

Firstly, one needs to understand the difference between the terms.


A reproduction is a modern copy of a period piece following original styles and often using original production methods and materials. Sometimes, it is even a copy of an actual item. What is important is that it is not made to deceive and is marked accordingly. In the 1930s there was an oak and pewter revival and alot of pewter was reproduced using old moulds . Over the last 80 years a patina has appeared on these items making them look older than they are .   Another problem is that an unscrupulous ‘faker’ may be able to erase or partially erase the mark making it much more difficult to distinguish from an original.


A forgery is a piece of modern pewter which is made specifically to deceive the purchaser. This could be achieved by a number of methods such as the creation of moulds from genuine items which then produce ‘cloned’ copies including all blemishes and wear marks; the use of fake dies of maker’s or other marks often combined with artificial ageing; etc. Many such items are made in continental Europe, especially Italy and Germany.


Humphrey Penn Fake Marks


Fakes take different forms too, but the most common include using a legitimate, unmarked item and embellishing it with inscriptions or decoration, e.g. wrigglework or stamping it with a fake maker’s mark. Fakers may also take parts of two or more pieces to create a ‘marriage’ item and, with careful ageing and polishing techniques, many collectors are easily taken in.

Only experience of viewing and handling pewter can make the difference and even then there will be times of uncertainty. New collectors will be particularly surprised when they see ‘experts’ failing to agree on the authenticity of a specific item. Image shown is a fake mark of Humphrey Penn