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Thread: Expensive fake on ebay

  1. #1

    Expensive fake on ebay

    Just spotted on ebay :

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...tem=2197422828

    Now, if this were a genuine Imperial Guard chasseur a cheval sabre, the value would be around £5000 ($7500). So what does one do:

    - Keep quiet and say "well that's ebay", buyer beware etc?

    - Contact the seller and tell him his "genuine 200 year old sword" is a fake?

    - Contact the bidders? (although in this case, for obvious reasons, you can't take this option)

    If one takes the moral high ground and contacts seller or bidder, then you could be in trouble with ebay (I know from experience, eftis, etc.). I suppose we should really just let fate take its course, but its like seeing a crime committed and doing nothing about it.

    What do we all think?

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  2. #2
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    I missed the eftis stuff - how can you get in trouble with Ebay for contacting people? What can Ebay do?

    Matt

  3. #3
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    Re: Expensive fake on ebay

    Originally posted by Richard Dellar
    Just spotted on ebay :

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...tem=2197422828

    Now, if this were a genuine Imperial Guard chasseur a cheval sabre, the value would be around £5000 ($7500). So what does one do:

    - Keep quiet and say "well that's ebay", buyer beware etc?

    - Contact the seller and tell him his "genuine 200 year old sword" is a fake?

    - Contact the bidders? (although in this case, for obvious reasons, you can't take this option)

    If one takes the moral high ground and contacts seller or bidder, then you could be in trouble with ebay (I know from experience, eftis, etc.). I suppose we should really just let fate take its course, but its like seeing a crime committed and doing nothing about it.

    What do we all think?

    Richard.
    Hi Richard,

    I agree that one has to think very carefully before "interfering in a sale", and I would certainly hesitate before contacting a high bidder over what I considered to be a dodgy item. But I think it's quite legitimate to use the "Ask seller a question" function (which after all eBay provides) to point out any errors in the description. Especially when the seller is making such big claims as to the authenticity of the piece.

    Whether this will actually achieve anything, however, is another question - it's all too easy for a seller to maintain that he's right and you aren't - and by providing information on how you spotted the fake you could even be helping the faker produce a better copy next time!

    Cheers,

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  4. #4
    Originally posted by Matt Easton
    I missed the eftis stuff - how can you get in trouble with Ebay for contacting people? What can Ebay do?

    Matt
    Hello Matt,

    As John says, you would be interfering with a sale if you contacted the high bidder. I did this some time ago with one of Eftis's items, with hindsight a mistake. First, ebay gave me a good ticking off and threatened to blacklist me if I ever did this sort of thing again. And, ever since, Eftis has used the "private bidder" facility.

    However, as we all know, in practice ebay's rules do not mean a lot. It seems to me that they never take the ultimate "blacklisting" sanction against anyone because it loses them a customer. I don't want to be the one to put it to the test again though.

    Richard.

    PS - all I did when I contacted the high bidder was suggest he took a look at a thread on this Forum.
    Last edited by Richard Dellar; 10-18-2003 at 02:50 AM.
    Celeriter nil crede

  5. #5

    Re: Re: Expensive fake on ebay

    Originally posted by John Hart
    Hi Richard,

    I agree that one has to think very carefully before "interfering in a sale", and I would certainly hesitate before contacting a high bidder over what I considered to be a dodgy item. But I think it's quite legitimate to use the "Ask seller a question" function (which after all eBay provides) to point out any errors in the description. Especially when the seller is making such big claims as to the authenticity of the piece.

    Whether this will actually achieve anything, however, is another question - it's all too easy for a seller to maintain that he's right and you aren't - and by providing information on how you spotted the fake you could even be helping the faker produce a better copy next time!

    Cheers,

    John
    Yes. John, I guess that's pretty much all one can do. A time ago I decided that I would not interfere at all in dodgy ebay items but when one like this comes along, I get a fit of "righteous indignation". The point as well I think is that this seller must know its a fake, why else would one list a £5000 sabre with no reserve and keep bidders identities hidden.

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  6. #6
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    Question

    I think the only realistic way of dealing with ebay is to equate ebay to lets say Sotherby's. Or any other auction house.
    If you saw a badly described item in an auction catalogue, what would you do, if anything?
    At most I think all of use would contact the auction house and point out the error. If nothing is done, so be it.
    But would any of you out there go to an auction of the misrepresented item, and in the middle of an auction stand up and point out to the bidders it's a fake?
    Not likely, I'll bet.
    This whole argument over ebay seeming to be impervious to complaints is their right as far as I can make out. The only difference between ebay and a regular auction house is that an normal auction house usually has its own experts who vet auction items, while ebay, as far as I know, has no such expertise, and in most cases neither does the seller. So we have to accept that ebay is a perculiar type of auction house where no expertise is employed on vetting auction items, and we have to treat each and every item as such.
    If anyone wants to pay a fortune for an Eftis item, be it on their own head. The last thing this "hobby" needs is a government regulatory body controlling the sale of antique swords. Or something similar. You be your own expert.
    The reverse side of the coin is that many swords on ebay are sold by people ignorant of what they are selling, and very often a real bargain turns up. I don't hear anyone squealing to ebay, or the seller, that the item is grossly undervalued and the reason for it being a bargain.
    Still trying very hard.

  7. #7
    Originally posted by Tony Ezra
    I think the only realistic way of dealing with ebay is to equate ebay to lets say Sotherby's. Or any other auction house.
    If you saw a badly described item in an auction catalogue, what would you do, if anything?
    At most I think all of use would contact the auction house and point out the error. If nothing is done, so be it.
    But would any of you out there go to an auction of the misrepresented item, and in the middle of an auction stand up and point out to the bidders it's a fake?
    Not likely, I'll bet.
    This whole argument over ebay seeming to be impervious to complaints is their right as far as I can make out. The only difference between ebay and a regular auction house is that an normal auction house usually has its own experts who vet auction items, while ebay, as far as I know, has no such expertise, and in most cases neither does the seller. So we have to accept that ebay is a perculiar type of auction house where no expertise is employed on vetting auction items, and we have to treat each and every item as such.
    If anyone wants to pay a fortune for an Eftis item, be it on their own head. The last thing this "hobby" needs is a government regulatory body controlling the sale of antique swords. Or something similar. You be your own expert.
    The reverse side of the coin is that many swords on ebay are sold by people ignorant of what they are selling, and very often a real bargain turns up. I don't hear anyone squealing to ebay, or the seller, that the item is grossly undervalued and the reason for it being a bargain.
    Some good points there, Tony. However, I think there is a difference between getting a bargain/paying over the top for a genuine item as opposed to fake items being listed where the seller is trying to deceive. I cannot say for certain that this is the case with this sword but it is suspicious. What I am certain of though, is that it is a fake.

    Richard.
    Last edited by Richard Dellar; 10-19-2003 at 01:03 AM.
    Celeriter nil crede

  8. #8
    There may be be a few Bonapartists trying to fleece us at the moment ! This goes under the hammer on 24th - Found when trawling provincial sales

    Lot No 1047
    A French sabre, possibly Imperial Guard, the back blade marked ' Mture Nale du Klingenthal - Coulaux freres Entrprs.'. Also stamped with the marks of Levavasseur, Inspector 1798-1803, and Mouton, Director & Controller 1st class 1793-1809.
    Estimate:£300 to £400


    David

  9. #9
    Originally posted by David Critchley
    There may be be a few Bonapartists trying to fleece us at the moment ! This goes under the hammer on 24th - Found when trawling provincial sales

    Lot No 1047
    A French sabre, possibly Imperial Guard, the back blade marked ' Mture Nale du Klingenthal - Coulaux freres Entrprs.'. Also stamped with the marks of Levavasseur, Inspector 1798-1803, and Mouton, Director & Controller 1st class 1793-1809.
    Estimate:£300 to £400


    David
    Hello David,

    I'm afraid fakes are endemic with French swords. Two main reasons : 1) sword collecting has always been a biiger market in France than in the UK and hence the prices were always higher, especially of course for 1st Empire pieces, and 2) brass (I think) is an easier metal to play with than iron or steel.

    Of course, it all started around the beginning of this century with the French collector Romel who I believe commissioned some 20 copies of each of his genuine 1st Empire swords for display purposes. These Romel swords do turn up occasionally but, of course, after all this time they are quite difficult to tell from the real thing. I'm not sure if this ebay sabre is a Romel but a fake it is and of that I am 100% certain.

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  10. #10
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    Richard, are you sure about sword collecting being bigger in France? My girlfriend is French and so are a lot of my friends - some of whom are sword collectors/fanatics, and they have given me the impression that sword collecting is much rarer in France, and in fact that there are far fewer swords to be found.

    My own personal experience would support this - as a basic fact, look how easy it is to find French, Prussian, Russian, Italian swords in the UK, and yet it is very hard to find anything but French swords in France..

    However, if I am wrong, I'd really like to know!

    Matt

    p.s. I found an antique shop in Dijon, where my girlfriend is from, which had some nice swords and bayonets - even some original old polearms, but unfortunately they were all without exception overpriced .

  11. #11
    Originally posted by Richard Dellar
    What I am certain of though, is that it is a fake.

    Richard.

    Richard: can you put into words why you're sure it's a fake? Not that I'm questioning your verdict, just hoping to learn something!

    Ta

    Paul

  12. #12
    Originally posted by Matt Easton
    Richard, are you sure about sword collecting being bigger in France? My girlfriend is French and so are a lot of my friends - some of whom are sword collectors/fanatics, and they have given me the impression that sword collecting is much rarer in France, and in fact that there are far fewer swords to be found.

    My own personal experience would support this - as a basic fact, look how easy it is to find French, Prussian, Russian, Italian swords in the UK, and yet it is very hard to find anything but French swords in France..

    However, if I am wrong, I'd really like to know!

    Matt

    p.s. I found an antique shop in Dijon, where my girlfriend is from, which had some nice swords and bayonets - even some original old polearms, but unfortunately they were all without exception overpriced .
    Hi Matt,

    I could be wrong about this, its just my impression from the number of books, magazines and other literature dedicated to "armes anciennes" and the success of such organisations as Le Hussard. For example, if you read "Tradition" magazine, there are about half a dozen "bourse aux armes" happening somewhere in France every month . I also agree totally that the French are only interested in French items - the Nogent sur Marne arms fair is supposed to be the biggest in Europe but you will rarely find anything other than French pieces there. Maybe also its because I remember French dealers coming over to the LOndon Arms Fair in years gone past and buying up every French item they could lay their hands on, the price difference was that great (although it has narrowed now).

    So, as I say, its just my impression. In fact, until I discovered the internet and places like the SF, I had never realised the extent of collecting inside or outside the UK.

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  13. #13
    Originally posted by Paul Digard
    Richard: can you put into words why you're sure it's a fake? Not that I'm questioning your verdict, just hoping to learn something!

    Ta

    Paul
    Hello Paul,

    I don't really want to say too much in a "public" place like the SF, but if you let me have your email address, I'll show you some pretty compelling evidence.

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  14. #14
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    Originally posted by Richard Dellar
    Maybe also its because I remember French dealers coming over to the LOndon Arms Fair in years gone past and buying up every French item they could lay their hands on, the price difference was that great (although it has narrowed now).
    Hi Richard - interesting stuff. I had noticed that the prices of swords in France are a bit higher than here, though some of the things at Le Hussard seem quite reasonable, and I am sure there are some bargains to be had at country markets.. When I visited my girlfriend's parents' place for the first time the first thing I noticed in their umbrella stand was an 1822 (French) Pattern dated in the 1870's (it belonged to her great-great grandfather who fought in the Franco-Prussian war).
    What always puzzled me is why so much French stuff ended up in the UK, while there is very little British stuff over there - Even to WWI & II stuff like rifles and bayonets. There are tons and tons of Chassepot and Gras bayonets over here, and yet it is hard to find even a WWI British bayonet over there... Is it something to do with our soldiers, from Waterloo to D-Day, collecting up souvenirs I wonder?... Or maybe it's just down to the collectors of more recent days.

    Matt

  15. #15
    Originally posted by Matt Easton
    Hi Richard - interesting stuff. I had noticed that the prices of swords in France are a bit higher than here, though some of the things at Le Hussard seem quite reasonable, and I am sure there are some bargains to be had at country markets.. When I visited my girlfriend's parents' place for the first time the first thing I noticed in their umbrella stand was an 1822 (French) Pattern dated in the 1870's (it belonged to her great-great grandfather who fought in the Franco-Prussian war).
    What always puzzled me is why so much French stuff ended up in the UK, while there is very little British stuff over there - Even to WWI & II stuff like rifles and bayonets. There are tons and tons of Chassepot and Gras bayonets over here, and yet it is hard to find even a WWI British bayonet over there... Is it something to do with our soldiers, from Waterloo to D-Day, collecting up souvenirs I wonder?... Or maybe it's just down to the collectors of more recent days.

    Matt
    Matt,

    I'm sure I don't know the answer to this one but I suspect your guess is as good as any, i.e. the British army has spent a lot more time in France than the French have in Britain and it is every soldier's penchant to bring back souvenirs. After all it is said that when the French left Egypt in 1801, there was hardly any soldier who did not bring back a mameluke sabre as a souvenir and this started the whole fashion for this style of sabre in Europe.

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  16. #16
    The last word on this, I hope : the ebay seller has posted a note saying someone has told him the sword is an Indian copy (it wasn't me). He has offered to cancel all bids. So, he has done the honourable thing, good for him.

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  17. #17
    Hi All,

    This would appear to be the point of origin for this particular type of copy.

    http://www.militaryheritage.com/swords.htm

    Niw another question, Are any of these copys decent? Or can you find another manufacturer of these copies? In particular, I'm looking for French 18th century heavy cavalry patterns for the purpose of reenactment. I prefer to get a decent sword of course, rather than a piece of garbage.
    Bob Reed

    These Emperourers these prynces and these kings

    Whan they ben armed in bryght plate and mayle

    Without horse what were theyr mustrynges

    Theyr brode baners or theyr ryche apparayle

    Tofore ther enemyes to shewe hem in batayle

    Without horse/spere/swerde/ne shelde

    Might lytell avayle for to holde a felde.........

  18. #18
    Originally posted by Bob Reed
    Hi All,

    This would appear to be the point of origin for this particular type of copy.

    http://www.militaryheritage.com/swords.htm

    Yes, Bob, that would seem to be so. Unfortunately it does raise the more alarming prospect that someone has deliberately patinated it in an attempt to make it look 200 years old.

    Richard.
    Celeriter nil crede

  19. #19
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    Just as another viewpoint & experience. There are only two things I see on ebay which I notice (One is up now). One are the Oct 1813 HC sabers and the other are the dreaded "T." proof slug Brit baskethilts.
    I usually contact the seller to give him my view, but I origionally bought one of the baskethilts and inquired on this forum about the slug. When I found out it was likely a repro, I contacted the seller and was able to cancel. I also looked up another auction for the same item and emailed a buyer who paid $650+ for the same thing.

    Pissed the seller off big time, got a thank you from the buyer and a nasty note from ebay. I'd do it again, but would probably be more discreet. I do watch these items to close and haven't repeated. I will say that my experience was with a fairly well known dealer who does sell good items and who has been used as a source of info on this forum. The current one I'm watching out for also has a couple of other things I'm interested in which look real enough and I don't have a problem with them in general.

    It does make you wonder why someone who generally sells good items would tarnish their reputation by doing something like this.

  20. #20
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    Richard,

    Glad that this seller was honest and took the item off. I guess he probably was duped by the person he bought it from. I think its a sticky question as to whether or not to tell sellers or bidders anything about an item on ebay. When a seller has invited information in their listing, I have replied. I think that probably the best course of action is to discuss the item on this site and other sword sites to alert not only those who regularly frequent but also any stoppers by that may be interested in the particular sword.

    As you said, it is scary that someone has artificially aged the sword.


    Andre

  21. #21
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    As for me, there is still another disturbing point here. The description the seller has used in eBay is the same that appears in the web site that sells the copies (Military Heritage. The Discriminating General), almost word-by-word. Quite suspicious, isn´t it?

    Not to diminish that good move of informing the bidders, but oh, well...
    SI, SI
    NO, NON

  22. #22
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    ... and another. Price is getting there also.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=2197322559

  23. #23

    warning

    Hello,

    About letting people know about " doubltful" pieces, i did warn a time ago one of you about a sword. I was stupid to do so, i did get a lot of trouble with the seller and the one i warned didn't believe me. you see, it's mostly useless to do. People get suspisious and all you try to do is avoiding people to make a wrong move. This is a painfull matter especially for ones who havebecome more knowlegde in their mind than a starter.

    Collecting is difficult and in some way each of us need one o a time their drug, witch make collector's weak.

    Regards Marc

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