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There are, unfortunately, many fake antiquities on the market.
eBay is an especially dangerous place for uninformed collectors to buy.
I will be devoting an entire section to the perils of so called antiquities on eBay!
The idea for these pages is for registered members of this website to
contribute images and text concerning specific fakes (artifacts actually acquired or seen online somewhere)
Add comments about already featured fake items
contribute general information about fakes and forgeries
- If you are unsure where the comments you would like to offer should go, email me!
Together we can create a database of general and specific information to assist all collectors of ancient artifacts
You can contribute by sending a few words and images about your first fake!
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The Mind of the Forger
The northern European nations have a fairly secure, if tenuously based, sense of their own past. It is not true that they are descendants of Greek and Roman civilization (the inheritors of ancient Greece and Rome are modern Greece and Rome; the actual ancestors of the northern European nations were a bunch of barbarian bandits and freebooters), but they think they are, their school curricula behave as though they were, and it suffices them. Forgery in this tradition thus does not have an antiquity-chauvinism agenda.
It is done for money.
Nobody who has worked in the art world needs to read this page, but for those who really have trouble with the concept of forgery, and especially with individual motives for forgery, here is a fair-use excerpt from John McPhee's profile of the likable and talented charlatan Tom Hoving, whose zest for the big picture permanently changed the way American museums are run:
"You know what forgers do. They put on a piece something that will draw most of your attention, such as a simulated-antique repair. They usually do it so the repair looks kind of rinky-dink. We once discovered that we had a forgery in which the forger had taken old wood and old canvas, painted it, rolled it, created beautiful cracquelure, damaged the whole thing, and restored it in three different styles. It was beautiful, and well it might have been. The forger was the father of one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century."
"A wise forger will make an error - an explainable error - because he knows that inconsistency can be a mark of genuineness, if the matrix of the inconsistency is right. We have two beautiful fifteenth century silver censers. One is authentic, and the other is an unbelievably beautiful copy. The forger put his toolmarks on the old piece."
"I love forgeries! I love the forger's mentality! Once, with two carvers and two other art historians, I tried to make an ivory forgery myself, so I would have the experience. Why ivory? For one thing, no scientific test will show you a damn thing about ivory. We picked an epoch from which there are two known dated pieces, vastly different from each other. One is classical, one is hieratic, and they were both made in Rome around AD 400. We decided to do a classical one. Old senatorial families in that era ordered classical ivories, because they were trying to look ancient - like members of the Racquet Club trying to recapture imperial days. There are ways to age modern ivory. You put it on a roof for a while and let the elements do it, or you bake it in a tin box with pine needles, or you skin a rabbit and bury the ivory in the skin. We did it with the pine needles. To get a smooth patina, I rubbed the ivory on the inside of my thigh for hours and hours. We removed dust from the interstices of an old ivory and applied it to the new one. Then we showed it to five experts. Four thought it was real. Later, we destroyed it . . ."
A short bibliography concerning fakes:
Sestini, Sopra i moderni falsificatori di medaglie greche antiche nei tre metalli, Florence, 1826.
John Thomas Smith, Nollekens and his times, John Lave & Bodley Head, London, 1828.
H. G. Liddell & R. Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford, 1843.
A. Forest, Tour de Babel, Paris and Florence, 1868.
H. Cole, An Inventory of Plaster Casts of Objects of Art collected from the various sources on the continent and in Great Britain and Ireland and wax impressions of the Seals of Art, for prizes and general purposes of public instruction, South Kensington Museum, London, 1869.
H. Cole, Inventory of Casts from the Antique. Made for the Use of the Schools of Art at Sommerset House, Appendix, 1870.
The Building News and Engineering Journal, 25 April, Office for Publication and Advertisements, London, 1873, p.469.
The Builder, 4 Oct., The 'Builder' Publishing Office, London, 1873, p.787 & p.789.
Dr. G. E. Benseler, Leipzig, 1882.
Paul Eudel, Le Truquage, Paris, 1884.
C. Clermont-Ganneau, Les Fraudes Ardheologiques en Palestine, Paris, 1885.
L. Courajod, L'imitations et la contrefacon des objets d'art antiques, Gazette des Beaux Arts, vol. XXIV, 1886, pp.188-201, 312-330.
J. B. Tavernier, Travels in India, Macmillan, London, 1889.
A. Bailly, Hachette, Paris, 1894.
C. Justi, Winckelmann und sein Zeitgenossen, Derlag von F.C. M Dogell, vol. I, Leipzig, 1898, pp.193-277.
Neuere Falschungen von Antiken, Berlin, 1899.
H. Dressel, Pirro Ligorio als Munzfalscher, Zeitschrift fur Numismatik, 1899.
L. A. Lawrence, Forgery in relation to numismatics, British Numismatic Journal, 1905-1907, vol.II (1905), pp.397-409, vol.III(1906), pp.281-290, vol.IV (1907), pp.311-316.
Paul Eudel, Trucs et Truquers, Paris, 1907.
J. A. Farrer, Literary Forgeries, London, 1907.
Burlington Magazine, Reorganaization at South Kensington, 1908-9, Vol.14, no.69, Dec., Savile Publishing Company Ltd., London, 1908, p.129.
L. Bartres, Antiguedades Mejicanas Falsificadas, Mexico, 1910.
E. Bayard, Paris, 1914.
T. F. Tout, Mediaval Forgers and Forgeries, London, 1920.
R. Nobili, The Gentle Art of Faking, London, 1922.
Sir Eric Maclagan, Arethuse, vol.I, 1923, pp.41-43.
Arbert Neuburger, Echt oder Falschung, Leipzig, 1924.
G. F. Hill, Becker the counterfeiter, London, 1925.
Erwin Panofsky, Kopie oder Falschung?, 1927-8.
Max Friedlaender, Genuine and Counterfeit: Experiences of a Connoisseur, New York, 1930.
H. Cescinsky, The gentle art of faking furniture, London, 1931.
A. Vayson de Pradene, Paris, 1932.
Andre Mailfert, Au Pays des Antiquaires, Paris, 1935.
J. F. Joni, The Affairs of a Painter, London, 1936.
Abraham Bredius, A new Vermeer, The Burlington Magazine, no.416, Vol.LXXI, London, 1937.
A. A. de Vries, Jan Vermeer van Delft, J. M. Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1939.
Plietzsch Eduard, Vermeer van Delft, Verlag F. Bruckmann, Munchen, 1939.
Wallace Elliot, Reproductions and Fakes of English Eighteenth-Century Ceramics, English Ceramic CircleII, no.7, 1939, pp.67-81.
Brucciani & Co. Ltd., Catalogue of Plaster Casts, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1939.
A. T. Hazen, Bibliography of the Strawberry Hill Press, New Haven, 1942.
A. A. de Vries, Jan Vermeer van Delft, Holbein-Verlag, Basel, 1945.
Bob Wallagh, De echte van Delft, A. J. G. Strengholt's Uitgevers Maatschappij N. V., Amsterdam, 1947.
Hans Tietze, Genuine and False: Copies, Imitations, Forgeries, Max Parrish & Co. Limited, London, 1948.
Dr. P. B. Ceremans, Van Meegeren's faked Vermeers and De Hooghs. A scientific Examination, J. M. Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1949.
R. G. Reisner, Fakes and Forgeries in the Fine Arts: A Bibliography, New York, 1950.
Rainforth A.Walker, How to Detect Beardsley Forgeries, Bedford, 1950.
La monnaie de l'absolu, Psycologie de l'Art
Saturne, Essai sur Goya,
Joen Decoen, Editions Ad. Donker S.A., Rotterdam, 1951.
Sepp Schuller, Falsch oder echt? Der fall Van Meegeren, Bruder Auer Verlag Bonn, Amsterdam, 1953.
Sonya Cole, Counterfeit, London, 1955.
Walter Lusetti, Alceo Dossena, scultore, Rome, 1955.
Fritz (pseud.) Mendax, Art Fakes and Forgeries, London, 1955.
J. S. Wiener, The Piltdown Forgery, London, 1955 (reprinted1980).
Philip Grierson, Some modern fogeries of Carolingian coins, Centennial Publication of the American Numismatic Society, New York, 1958, pp.303-315.
Guy Isnard, Faux et Imitations dans l'Art, Paris, 1959, 1960.
Sepp Schuller, Forgers,Dealers, Experts, London, 1960.
D. M. Bailey, Roman Lamps: Reproductions and Forgeries, Museums Journal, vol.LX, 1960, pp.39-46.
Frank Arnau (H. Schmitt), Three Thousand Years of Deception, London, 1961.
B. Ashmle, Forgeries of Ancient Sculpture in marble: creation and detection, Oxford, 1961.
Dietrich von Bothmer & Joseph V. Nobele, An Inquiry into the Forgery of the Ertuscan Terracotta Warriors in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1961.
Melvin E. Jahn & Daniel J. Woolf, The lying stones of Dr. J. B. Beringer, Berkeley, 1963.
Robert Aries, Les Faux dans la Peinture et l'Expertise Scientifique, Monac, 1965.
Godehard Lenzen, Produktions und Handelsgeschichte des Diamanten, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 1966.
Otto Kurz, Fakes, New York, 1967.
G. Vasari, Di Lione Lioni, aretino e dialtri scultori e architetti, in : Le Vite de piu eccellenti pittori scultori ed architettori, Instituto Geografico de agostino, Vol. VII, Novara, 1967, pp.413-433.
Janet Backhouce, A Victorian Connoisseur and his Manuscripts, British Museum Quarterly, vol.XXXII, London, 1967-8, pp.76-92.
Janet Backhouce, The "Spanish Forger", British Museum Quarterly, XXXIII, London, 1968-9, pp.65-71.
W. Wickler, Mimikry Nachamung und Tauschung in der Natur, World University Library, London, 1968.
F. Bordes, The Old Stone Age, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1968.
Harold Osborne, The Oxford Companion to Art, Oxford University Press, New York, 1970 (Sixteenth impression 1995).
J. Gloag, The Crystal Palace Exhibition, Illustrated Catalogue, Dover Books, London, 1970 (reprint of 1851 edition).
Roel Pineda, Virgilio, Historia social y economica de la colonia, Editorial Grafica Color, Lima, 1970, P.243.
Lawrence Jeppson, Fabulous Frauds, London, 1971.
2, Gallimard, Paris, 1971, pp.1290-1293.
Michael R. Best and Frank H. Brightman (ed.), The Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus of the Virtues of Herbs, Stones and Certain Beasts, also a Book of the Marvels of the World, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973.
James Hall, Hall's Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art, London, 1974.
S. J. Fleming, Authenticity in Art, London, 1975.
George Savage, Forgeries, fakes and reproductions, London 1976.
Tom Keating & Geraldine and Frank Norman, The Fake's Progress, London, 1977.
Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1978.
Peter Costello, The Magic Zoo, London, 1979.
J. F. Mills, The Genuine article, London, 1979.
P. Bloch, Original-Kopie-Falschung, Jahrbuch Preussischer Kulturbesitz XVI, 1979, pp.41-72.
T. Wynn, The intelligence of later Acheulian hominids, Man, 14, 1979, pp.371-391.
Charles Hamilton, Great forgers and famous fakes, New York, 1980.
S. Howard, Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, Chicago, 1980.
J. Pope-Hennessy, The study and criticism of Italian Sculpture, New York, 1980.
Robert Maillard (ed.), Diamonds : myth, magic, and reality, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1980.
Kurt Nassau, Gems Made by Man, Chilton Book Company, Radnor, 1980.
Stephan Howarth, The Koh-I-Noor Diamond : The History and the Legend, Quartet Books, London, 1980.
A. S. Cocks, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Making of a Collection, Winward, Leicester, 1980.
Harold Osborne, The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Art, Oxford University Press, New York, 1981.
Francis Haskell & Nicholas Penny, Taste and the Antique, London, 1981.
M. Ferreti, Falsi e tradizione artistica, Storia dell'arte Italiana III. 3. Conserbazione, falso, restauro, 1981, pp.115-95.
J. Frel, Imitations of Ancient Sculpture in Malibu, The J. Paul Getty Museum Jounal, vol.IX, 1981, pp.69-82.
D. Ganzel, Fortune and men's eyes, Oxford, 1982.
M. Baker, The Cast Courts, Vitoria and Albert Museum Publishing, London, 1982.
J. Physick, The Victoria and Albert Museum the History of its Building, Phaidon, London, 1982.
Max Milner, Fantasmagorie : Essai sur l'optique fantastique, Presses Universitaires de France, 1982.
J. R. Sackett, Approaches to style in lithic archaeology, Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 1, 1982, pp.59-122.
N. Barker, A sequel to an enquiry into the nature of certain nineteenth century pamphlets by John Carter and Graham Pollard, London, 1983.
J. Carter, An enquiry in to the nature of certain nineteenth century pamphlets, London, 1983.
Denis Dutton, The Forger's Art, Berkeley, 1983.
J. Fenby, Piracy and the public, London, 1983.
P. Villa, Terra Amata and the Middle Pleistocene Archaeological Record of Southern France, University of California Press, Berkley, 1983.
P. Kinns, The Caprara Forgeries, London, 1984.
H. Ost, Falsche Frauen, Cologne, 1984.
K. Turr, Falschungen antiker Plastik seit 1800, Berlin, 1984.
Anamorphoses ou Thaumaturgus opticus, Flammarion, Paris, 1984.
Linda Hucheon, A theory of Parody, Methuen, New York, 1985.
W. Broad & N. Wade, Betrayers of the truth, Oxford, 1985.
Robert Fohr, Tour l'oeuvr peint de Vermeer, Flammarion, Paris, 1985.
Lowenthal David, The past is a foreign country, Cambrige, 1985.
G. W. Stocking Jr, Objects and Others, Madison, Wisconsin, 1985.
Oliver Watson, Fakes and forgeries of Islamic pottery, V & A, Album 4, 1985, pp.39-46.
Hugh Tait, The Girdle-Prayerbook or Tablett..., Jewellery Studies 2, 1985, pp.171-182.
A. Andren, Deeds and Misdeeds in classical Art and Antiquities, Partille, 1986.
Umberto Eco, Faith in Fakes, London, 1986.
Philip Grierson & Mark Blackburn, Medieval European Coinage, Cambrige, 1986, pp.332-338.
David Sox, Unmasking the Forger, London, 1987.
W. J. West, Truth Betrayed, London, 1987.
E. T. Hall, The Courtrai chest from New College, re-examined, Antiquity, vol.LXI, Oxford, 1987, pp.104-107.
J. Steegman, Victorian Taste: a study of the arts and architecture from 1830-1870, Nelson, London, 1987.
Oxford Art Journal, vol.10, no.1, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987, pp. 44-58.
Nicholas Kenyon (ed.), Autnenticity and Early Music, Oxford, 1988.
Colin Simpson, The Artful Partners: the secret association of Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen, London, 1988.
Miles Orvwll, The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture 1880-1940, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1989.
Fu Shen, Chang Dai-chien's The Three Worthies of Wu and His Practice of Forging Ancient Art, Orientations, 1989, pp.56-72.
P. Connor, Cast-collecting in the nineteenth century: scholoarship, aesthetics, connoisseurship, in : G. W. Clarke & J. C. Eade (ed. by), Rediscovering Hellenism: the Hellenic Inheritance and the English Imagination, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989.
E. H. Gombrich, The Story of Art, Phaidon, London, 1989.
H. L. Dibble, The implications of stone tool types for the presence of language during the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic, in: P. Mellars & C. Stringer (eds. by), The Human Revolution: Behavioural and Biological Perspectives on the Origins of Modern Humans, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1989, pp.415-432.
Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 1990.
Robert Atkins, Art Speak: a guide to contemporary ideas, movement and buzzwords, Abbeville Press Publishers, New York, 1990.
J. W. Mills, The Technique of Casting for Sculpture, Batsford Ltd., London, 1990, pp.35-86.
I. Hodder, Reading the Past, Cambridge University Press Cambridge, 1991.
N. Toth & K. D. Schik, Early stone industries and inferences regarding language and cognition, in: K. R. Gibson & T. Ingold (eds. by), Tools, Language and Cognition in Human Evoltuion, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1993, pp.346-362.
Barbara Maria Stafford, Artful Science
F. Haskell, Plaster Casts and Prints, in : F. Haskell & N. Perry, Taste and the Antique: the Lure of Classical Sculpture, Chapter III, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1994, pp.16-17.
F. Haskell, The Proliferation of Casts and Copies, in : F. Haskell & N. Perry, Taste and the Antique: the Lure of Classical Sculpture, Chapter XI, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1994, pp.79.
I. Tattersall, The Last Neanderthal, Macmillan, New York, 1995.
J. Hewison, Ruskin and Oxford, The Art of Education, Clarendon Press, London, 1996, pp.10-12.
J. A. J. Gowlett, Mental abilities of Early Homo: elements of constraint and choice in rule systems, in: P. Mellars & K. Gibson (eds. by), Modelling of the Early Human Mind, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge, 1996, pp.191-215.
W. Noble & I. Davidoson, Human Evolution, Language and Mind, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996.
K. Ohnuma, K. Aoki & T. Akazawa, Transmission of tool-making through verbal and non-verbal communication: preliminary experiments in Levallois flake production, Anthropological Science, 105, 3, 1997, pp.159-168.
R. Dunn and A. Burton, An Illustrated Chronology, in : M. Baker & B. Richardson (ed. by), A Grand Design: the art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Harry N. Abrams with the Baltimore Museum of Art, N.Y., 1997, pp.49-77.
Plaster Casts and the Study of Renaissance Sculpture : the Role of South Kensington, MA thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, 1997.
D. Bilbey, catalogue the arts, no. 26, in : M. Baker & B. Richardson (ed. by), A Grand Design: of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Harry N. Abrams with the Baltimore Museum of Art, N.Y., 1997, p. 48, p.13.
M. Conforti, The Idealist Enterprise and the Applied Arts, in : M. Baker & B. Richardson (ed. by), A Grand Design: the art of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Harry N. Abrams with the Baltimore Museum of Art, N. Y., 1997, pp.23-47.
Richard Gregory, Mirrors in Mind, Penguin Books, London, 1998.
Kensaku Sakamoto, Hedetaka Gouzu, Ken Komiya, Daisuke Kiga, Shigeyuki Yokoyama, Takashi Yokomori, and Masami Hagiya, Molecular Computation by DNA Hairpin Formation , Science, Vol.288, 19 May 2000, p.1223-1226.
Scott Sucher, Famous Diamond Replicas in CZ, Lapidary Journal, Aug., Devon, 2000, pp.53-55.
M. A. Dobres, Technology and Social Agency, Blackwell, Oxford, 20
Counterfeits, Imitations and Copies of Works of Art, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1924.
Falsch oder echt?, Stadtischen Museums, Amsterdam, 1952.
True or False?, Corning Museum, Amsterdam, 1953.
Vals of Echt?, Stedlijk Museum, Amsterdam 1953.
Fogeries and Deceptive copies, British Museum, London, 1961.
Sashs II Samuel, Fakes and Forgeries, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, 1973.
Falschung und Forschung, Museum Folkwang, Essen, 1976-77.
Berlin und die Antike, Catalogue of exhibition held at Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin, 1979.
Boyd Susan & Vikan Gary, Question of Authenticity among the arts of Byzantium, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, 1981.
A. Picon Carlos, Bartolomeo Cavaceppi, Clarendon Galleries, London, 1983.
Vervalsingen van Egyptische kunst,
Phillips Dabid, Don't Trust the Label, Arts Council, London, 1986-7.
The Real, the Fake and the Masterpiece, Asia Society Galleries, New York, 1988.
Vrai ou faux? Copier, imitator, falsifier,
Fakes and Forgeries from collections in Israel, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, 1989.
Kunst og Kunstforfalskning, Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, 1989.
FAKE? The Art of Deception, British Museum, London, 1990.
Fake ancient glass
Fake Egyptian faience
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