Increased Values Bring Floods of Counterfeits
The rule of the collectible market place seems to state that as soon as values climb to a certain height, the counterfeiters come out of the closet. It’s happened with McCoy, Roseville, cast iron, tin toys and other items, and Halloween collectibles are no exception. Some reproductions are copies of originals, and some are fantasy items, that is, pieces that were never manufactured, but made to resemble vintage items to fool buyers into thinking them old. While the craftsmanship of the fakes is typically not on par with the originals, some new items are well made. An example of this is a red devil with a black paper roll-out tongue detailed to look old that was produced in the 1990’s. Collectors, especially novice collectors, were fooled until word got out.
As with any collectible, knowledge is the best weapon against fraud. Mark Ledenbach warns collectors to be wary of any seller claiming that their stock of mint condition Halloween items came out of a recent warehouse find in the former East Germany or any other fabulous find from that part of the world.. He notes that that these items were manufactured strictly for American markets, and were exported immediately upon completion. You might want to check Mark Ledenbach’s eBay auction report before bidding on any vintage Halloween item. In this report, Mr. Ledenbach offers his opinions concerning the authenticity of the items for sale.
How to Spot a Fake
Not all vintage look decorations are manufactured in attempts to fool collectors. As with any popular consumable, manufacturers note fads and exploit them. Remakes of vintage Halloween decorations are attractive and amusing in the hands of honest sellers, and well worth the $6.99 you pay for them. Authentic collectibles, however, can go for hundreds.
Counterfeit, or new items made to look old are typically not as well made as the originals. Often, a vintage item will be used as a mold, which makes the copy smaller. Of course this helps only if you have an original with which to compare. Paper, cardboard, composition and papier-mache items are delicate, so look carefully at items that appear to be in mint condition. That’s not to say that vintage items can’t be in great shape, only that they usually aren’t. Colors fade, parts go missing, corners bend, so examine your item closely. A papier-mache jack-O-lantern may be a new manufacture trying to look old, but the plastic spider attached to it speaks to its real age. Some of the new nodders and candy containers are decorated with glitter, plastic parts, modern fabric, and colored raffia. Don’t be tricked!