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Winchester Fakery, and related subjects
June 8, 2013
1:04 pm
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Since the publication of my article "How To Buy A Fake Model 70" in the WINCHESTER COLLECTOR magazine several years ago I've continued to collect information on fake rifles and boxes. Lately I've noticed some very high dollar NIB rifles that were sold at auction or by dealers. These were rare caliber and/or rare configuration rifles like Super Grade or Super Grade Carbine 7MMs, 300 Savages, 35 Remingtons ,etc.--very valuable rifles if original. In examining the box end labels I discovered that, in my opinion, some were fakes. This cast doubt on the originality of the rifle/box combination and certainly raised questions about values given that some of these rifles sold for more than $20,000.

Several incorrect details of the end labels caught my attention. These labels were all the earlier style white and blue labels used prior to about 1955 when the yellow and black labels first appeared (these were faked too). The fakes are not reproductions of original labels--they were created separately and omit some details found on originals.

First, as Robert Renneberg listed in his M94 book (page 160) the Winchester company name changed several times between 1938 and 1969 and the changes were incorporated on the end labels. The original "Winchester Repeating Arms Co." changed to various combinations of "Winchester-Western," "Winchester-Western-Olin Industries," "Winchester-Western-Olin Mathieson" etc. These full company names appear on the original end labels I've seen but the fakes only say "Winchester Repeating Arms Co."

Second, original M70 Standard Rifle labels say: "Model 70 Bolt Action Magazine Rifle." They do not include the term "Standard Grade" but the fake labels do.

Third, Model 70s prior to about Serial Number 80,000 (1948) and the paper items they came with used the Roman type face with serifs for numbers. The later style (after 1948) was a sans serif type face. Hard to describe the difference but the numbers look much different. The fake labels that should have the earlier style numbers do not--a detail overlooked by the fakers.

Fourth, original M70 end labels said which rear sight the rifle had--"Standard," Lyman 48, or Lyman 57. The fakes do not.

There are other differences related to size of print, placement and spacing of lines, etc.

If any collectors have additional information or conflicting information I'd like to know.

June 8, 2013
10:20 pm
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Thank you vicvanb, for what amounts to nothing less than a Model 70 collector public service message and a great job of observing and investigative reporting! I would certainly enjoy access your prior article which you reference. Is there any source for such nowadays?
As an aside, a personal experience. Walking the Del Mar CA gun show perhaps ten years ago, I came upon a table with a stack of buff colored blank "Colt", letterhead paper being offered at $2 per sheet. I was shocked and inquired of the vendor who his clientele might be. He simply shrugged. The intent was obvious. Not much to be done then, but I did write a letter to the show promoters with a copy to Colt. No response from either but I never again witnessed such brazen purveying. Like a light going on, that event caused me to realize just how easy it would be to forge such a document. This even more so nowadays with flexible high quality copiers an sophisticated programs even in many homes. Since that day, I would not wish to rely on any manufacturer's provenance involving a high dollar transaction without some means of independent verification.
Thank you again for the interesting and very informative thread!

June 10, 2013
7:20 am
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Here's another interesting angle on stationary. About 20 years ago a guy offered to have some nice stationary made up for Nick Kusmit to use for verifying his engraving. He told Nick his stationary with his letterhead was too plain. Nick said sure that would be nice. He gave Nick the stationary but he didn't give it all to him. A few months later it started showing up with a fake signature verifying phony engraving.
Believe me, these guys will go to any lengths!

June 10, 2013
10:16 am
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What with the fake letters, fake boxes, fake labels and who knows what else is fake, I am thinking it might be good to have a stickied thread that just deals with fakery re. Winchesters. This could be a valuable source of info to the general Winchester collecting community. I'm not necessarily thinking of an archive of individual cases, but more general pieces of information such as what Pauline has just posted.

June 10, 2013
10:18 am
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Win 38-55,

I second that!!

Michael

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Model 1892 / Model 61 Collector, Research, Valuation

June 10, 2013
10:26 am
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[quote="twobit"]Win 38-55,

I second that!!

Michael[/quote
+3

June 10, 2013
11:12 am
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If it helps even one person from getting burnt it is worth it.

June 17, 2013
2:39 pm
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I would certainly vote for that sticky also. Peter

July 6, 2013
8:43 am
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This is great to see this as a sticky. I think it should be titled Winchester Fakery. I think that most people who see it will think that it is only dealing with box labels. With all the other bogus stuff going on out there, fake letters, signatures, etc. it should be a general fakery topic.

July 6, 2013
9:04 am
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I agree with that. Peter

July 6, 2013
10:40 am
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P.Muerrle said
This is great to see this as a sticky. I think it should be titled Winchester Fakery. I think that most people who see it will think that it is only dealing with box labels. With all the other bogus stuff going on out there, fake letters, signatures, etc. it should be a general fakery topic.

Done.

Bert

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July 25, 2013
8:36 pm
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Thought I would add these websites that I found interesting! They deal with the topic of "Fake Winchester".

This site talks about Winchester Tools that are Faked.

http://www.realorrepro.com/article/Winchester-Tools-fake-and-forged-marks-mismatched-pieces

This link discusses fake chain-linked signage.

http://www.realorrepro.com/article/Forged-Winchester-prints-bring-big-bucks

This site discusses Tools, Signage, Ammo boxes, etc.

http://www.bacyksportingcollectibles.com/fake.html

This site talks about Tools and other "Fantasy Items" never produced by Winchester.

http://www.thewinchesterstore.com/home_fakes.htm

These two links talk about KeenKutter and Winchester Fakes.

http://www.thckk.org/KKfakes.pdf

http://www.thckk.org/fakes.htm

This topic on Gunbroker talks about a fake Model 1890.

http://forums.gunbroker.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=557181

This site discusses potential fake 97 Trench Guns. Which there are plenty of those!

http://www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=6&f=1&t=345298

Faked Winchester Pad-Locks!

http://www.antique-padlocks.com/win_repro.htm

Sincerely,
Maverick

P.S. Someone really should write about this topic in a book.

July 25, 2013
8:50 pm
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The problem with writing a comprehensive book on this subject is that the "bad guys" will use it as a primer on what "not to do" when they are busy building fake items... a book on the subject is a double edged sword!

Bert

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July 25, 2013
9:07 pm
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Bert H. said
The problem with writing a comprehensive book on this subject is that the "bad guys" will use it as a primer on what "not to do" when they are busy building fake items... a book on the subject is a double edged sword!

Bert

This is very true. But as you can see by the links I have posted there still is some need for some kind of disclosure to collectors. As it is apparent people are being ripped off left and right. And the links above don't even begin to discuss faked firearms.

I think most seasoned collectors could easy spot most of the fakes on the links I posted above, but beginners out there don't have a clue. Sometimes the best medicine is getting burned to teach a lesson. But we all were Beginners at some point in time.

Sincerely,
Maverick

July 26, 2013
6:36 am
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I agree there is a place for a book like this. I also agree it is a double edged sword. I recently posted on another forum a series of photos of how a Winchester pigeon is engraved. I gave an explanation of the process but held back a couple of minute details. I believe if a basic primer was put out it would help people more than hurt. There should be something out there for people who are new collectors. There are lots of good books out there but most show pictures of guns and explanations of the manufacturing process but don't elaborate by showing a phony gun side by side with a legitimate one. New collectors talk to other collectors that may not be as versed as they think they are. I have seen one or two guns on this forum that I know are phonies but did not comment on them. The problem is that the ,market is so flooded with fakes right now. As time goes by and some of these older collectors and Winchester employees pass away the fakes on the market will be the new, real collectables unless someone puts out a guide showing otherwise.

October 5, 2013
7:51 am
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I came across this posting on Brue Canfield's Website the other day and thought I just had to share it. I would have posted a link the the page but this particular topic is way down the pages so I figured it would be best to merely post a copy of it here.
From his website, http://www.brucecanfield.com/cc-article.html

A Rose by any other name…Should you use a nicer word or is “fake” OK? (Posted 8-28-09)

In the previous incarnation of “Canfield’s Corner,” I wrote a number of pieces regarding various aspects of fake U.S. martial collectibles. I soon found myself in something of a minefield of semantics as some individuals objected to my use of the word “fake” to describe items that were crafted to resemble the genuine article but weren’t original. Most of the objections to this particular “F word” centered around the contention that the intent of the maker or seller of the article in question should determine the proper word to be used. Many of those who felt this way believed that the word “fake” should be reserved for items that were being offered for sale with the expressed intent of cheating the buyer by telling him that something was real when it wasn’t. Otherwise, a less objectionable word should be used. This got me to thinking and I went to the trusty dictionary to see if I erred in using the word fake as a generic term rather than in a narrower context that takes into consideration the intent of the seller. Virtually all of the reference sources I consulted more or less agreed on the following definition… “Fake…Anything that is not genuine or authentic.” That’s exactly what I thought. None of the dictionaries or thesauruses alluded to the intent of a seller to cheat a buyer. Armed with this grammatical support, I continued to use the word “fake” to denote any U.S. martial item (weapon or otherwise) that is not genuine.

What prompted this posting is the increasing popular practice of fabricating what appear to be desirable martial collectibles using more common (and less valuable) weapons. The reason for this practice becoming even more prevalent is the continuing interest in U.S. martial arms collecting combined with the paucity of genuine specimens and the typical hefty prices tags attached to such items. A recent example of this practice are the products of at least one commercial enterprise that uses a common 03A3 receiver and some newly made components (including stocks and telescopes) to assemble something that resembles a real M1903A4 sniper rifle. Purportedly, some of these receivers were salvaged from drill rifles but I don’t know if this is correct or not. In any event, these ersatz ‘03A4 sniper rifles are being offered for sale from several sources and some guys are buying them. For the record, the purveyors of these rifles (at least the ads I’ve seen) are not misrepresenting them as genuine sniper rifles. I must stop at this point and clearly state that anyone should be free to spend their money on anything that makes them happy. If someone wants to buy a fake…oops, pardon me… a “replica” M1903A4 rifle, that’s their prerogative. I must say that the non-original stuff isn’t my cup of tea but, as the cliché goes, “different strokes for different folks.” If that makes them happy, it certainly doesn’t give me any heartburn. None of the buyers of these rifles have to explain to anyone their motivation and it’s really nobody’s business. An exception to the latter, however, is if someone posts on an Internet discussion board requesting comments on their recent purchase. That act automatically turns it into anybody’s business who logs on to such websites. The comments range from “Wow, those are cool. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those really neat rifles also,” to “Why would anybody waste their money on such junk?” Most comments seem to be somewhere between these two extremes.

As a writer, words are interesting things to me. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a brief list of some of my favorite euphemisms for the dreaded word in question. I’ll list them in inverse order with my favorite being last:

Lame attempt

“Excellent copy”
“Authentic looking”

Honorable Mention

“Replica”
“Reproduction”

Runner-Up

“Clone”

..and the winner is…

“Rendered in the spirit of the original.”

I didn’t make the winner up…I actually read it on a website. The guy who came up with this one should receive some sort of award. That term is so much more lyrical than the ugly word “fake.” Perhaps, someone will buy the item so creatively described and pay for it with currency that was also “rendered in the spirit of the original.” I’ll bet the Secret Service guys who would subsequently arrest him for counterfeiting would get a big laugh.

Maybe I’ll reconsider my wanton use of the word “fake” after all. Actually, plastic surgeons long ago shunned the word “fake” to describe the results of a certain popular elective surgery for ladies in favor of the word “augmented” or, perhaps, “enhanced.” Euphemisms usually sound so much classier. Maybe the practice of substituting euphemisms for more common words or phrases will catch on and we’ll start reading in the newspaper about women who were arrested for being (pick your favorite):

“Ladies of the evening”
“Escorts”
“Fallen angels”
“Soiled Doves”
“Happiness Consultants”

Now don’t these terms sound so much nicer than crass words that are usually used to describe such ladies? Maybe it’s time for me to stop using the word “fake.” On second thought…forget it.

I don't think I could have said it any better myself.

Sincerely,
Maverick

P.S. Further up on his page is a very interesting posting discussing WWI model 97 trench guns, which is also a good read.

October 5, 2013
11:10 am
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I am in agreement with Mr. Canfield 110%... a "Fake" is a "Fake" no matter how somebody else wants to paint it!

What truly amuses me, are all of those people that feign being upset or offended when the proper words or terminology are used to describe illicit objects or people.

There are genuine or authentic guns, and everthing else is a "Fake" unless clearly listed or described as a "reproduction" or similar term.

Bert

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October 5, 2013
6:02 pm
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" There are genuine or authentic guns, and everthing else is a "Fake" unless clearly listed or described as a "reproduction" or similar term."

I agree with Bert's statement , I think that reproduction manufacturing Companies serve a definite purpose for being in business, and that is to sell their products to people who enjoy the nostalgia and know up front that it is a reproduction

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October 6, 2013
8:45 am
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I wish that companies or individuals that refinish guns with such high quality work clearly mark their work so an unsuspecting buyer would not purchase thinking it was original. It could easily be done in a manner not to detract from overall quality.

October 6, 2013
10:01 am
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Antler

A restoration is just that a restoration back to how it was before it was used, abused, or bubba’d.

A true restoration will adds nothing and takes nothing away from how the gun should be before being bubba’d or abused. It’s the restorer tries very hard to match finishes, polishing lines and depth of polish, it’s not a custom gun

So if I replace two screws on a 90% gun because some idiot used the wrong screwdriver, should I use electric pencil on the side of the frame pointing which screws were replaced?

What if the ½ cock on the hammer is broken, do I need to mark that hammer as welded up, notch re cut and re-case hardened?

What if you had a 90% 1873 that letter with a 36 inch barrel and some “Bubba” cut it down to 16 inches. If the restorer replaces that barrel with a correctly made barrel, with correct 5 groves cut rifling, correct roll marks, matching the polish direction and using Winchester’s rust bluing formula should he then stamp barrel replaced by Smiths gun shop on the gun?

There are a lot of levels of “restoration” at what point do they “need to be marked”?

Please tell me, and then tell me who would pay for that?

This is one of those subject that I think is amusing, when folks have their own guns repaired, they want perfection, yet when it’s someone else’s gun, they want to be able to easily identify any and all repair/non original work, especially if they are contemplating the purchase of that gun.

Kinda like a car, if your car is involved in an accident you want the repair/body shop to make it look factory new again, yet if you’re contemplating the purchase of a used car you want to be able to quickly identify all repairs 1. So you don’t feel like you’re getting ripped off, 2. So you can use that as a bargaining point to lower the price.

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