There has been a lot of discussion about this on the gas pump/globe/sign collectors forums. Everyone need to be aware. Ebay has been flooded with fake advertising signs from India. They look very good to those who are less experienced collectors. Some of them have been bringing very high prices because people think they are the real deal. The majority of them are one-sided porcelain signs. They usually have chipped and rusty edges to make them look authentic. When they are compared to the real sign, they were copied from, there are slight differences. Usually the lettering does not look quite right. Following is the current list of ebay sellers to avoid. The list is from "OldGas.com." Many of these dealers have a 100% feedback rating. I assume the buyers think they have gotten the real thing even after it is in their hands. Also, beware that new dealers pop up all the time and the dealers change their handles when someone is on to them. Here's the list:
Colofordya (sells fakes hamms signs)
livelikeuweredyin ( I suspect most items from this seller are fake)
rustyrelicsart ( has a few original signs listed but most all are fake)
treasureray (sells lots of original stuff but occasionally he sells fakes as well)
Knew sump'n just wasn't right about those signs, gut feeling usually always right. Thanks Rick for bringing this to our attention.
I've tried to list items from some of these sellers today and many of them are showing zero items listed. Ebay may have already cracked down on many of them.
Also, be aware that many of these signs are already showing up at your local flea markets.
When the prices for real items gets stupidly high, it opens the door for someone with
the right skills to make fakes and make money. Happens in every hobby I know of ....
bottles, lightning rods, you name it.
Hopefully, (IMO), such fakes brings prices down to more realistic levels by taking some
of the less discriminating pressure off the buying side of the market.
This isn't only on eBay. I often see my signs for sale at swap meets, sometimes for ridiculous prices. Of course, the label on the back has been removed from those. One time I told a seller, "I made this sign." His reply: "No you didn't!"
Peddling at Petit Jean, 2002
I wish you still made them Steve......
I could use a few for my Shop......
The India dealers are constantly changing their user Ids. There feed back rating is usually less than 75. A lot of the auctions are "private listings" Private listings do no let you know who the buyer was. I have been following this problem for about 2 years now. I have come to the conclusion that a lot of the India dealers are possibly the same person. They sell back and forth between them selves to get a little higher feed back rating thru the "private listings" Then when they have enough feed back they throw a bunch of fake signs on the market. Their aging techniques are getting very hard to tell from real signs. They also are doing the thick porcelain with high "shelving" to the different layers like the old originals usually have.. Another technique is to list one of their "rare" signs at a very high "buy it now" price, under another user Id. And just let it sit on e-bay. Now when they list another one of the same sign on e-bay under another User-ID, that very high buy-it now of maybe a couple thousand dollars, makes the other one seem like a steal at several hundred dollars. They usually start with a fairly low start price and the signs very seldom go cheap. I bought one of the fake Plymouth "guitar pick shaped" double sided signs to go with my 1933 Plymouth. I knew it was a fake when I bought it. But I can not afford a real one. An original will bring over 2500.00. Most of the fakes listed on e-bay of the Plymouth sign will bring 400.00 to 800.00. There is usually a new one listed every week. I got mine for 97.00 with free shipping. If it was at a swap meet with other original parts and signs, it would be very, very, hard to tell it is a fake. I did notice after I bought mine very cheaply, that it was almost a month before another one showed up on e-bay. Porcelain "door pushes" and double sided "flange signs" are selling like hotcakes on e-bay for hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars. The next step to the scam is there are lots of the "India" signs selling under United States User Ids. Either the India scam artists are setting up accounts in the US and selling their stuff here as US sellers. Or, there are US sellers buying the fakes in large lots from the India makers, and then re-selling them here, mixed in with their real signs, I would almost guess that 50 to 75 percent of signs on e-bay are fake signs with fake aging. I have been buying and selling signs for over 30 years, so I can usually judge them as fake or not. But it is getting harder and harder. And since it is based in India, even if E-Bay wanted to, their is probably little they could really do. The policing of the user_Ids and also sales, would be a very hard thing to do. It really should be something that customs and import policies should be handling. But that is not likely now either .... Just use good judgement, ask a lot of questions, and buy them as possible fakes ...
FYI- It's perfectly legal to produce and sell these signs.
Misrepresentation, however, is another matter. Keep it mind that most sellers are legit and it's up to you to ask the right questions.
Tim, I agree. It is legal to make them , and also to distress them. And the sellers are very good about the terms they use in the descriptions. Terms like , vintage, old, authentic, genuine, as found, barn find, real deal, good condition for its age, from my personal collection, and many more have little meaning and can be used for a real sign or a fake sign. And none of the terms or descriptions are a lie. Sometimes they just say nothing other than give the size of the sign. That way that guy who wants a deal, thinks that the seller was "too dumb" to know how to list it. But I would guess that a lot of the buyers are just wanting a neat looking signs that appears old to hang on the wall of the garage, shop, or their "man cave" and can not afford the real version. That's why I bought the Plymouth sign... and no I do not have a "man cave" I hate that term, Mine is in a "real shop, with real dirt and stains on the floor.
Lots of fake signs at Hershey and other swap meets too. And at "antique" shops.
Right on Donnie! Hate the "man cave" term too. Have to wonder if a man came up with it...
Man Cave is a term used to cover the fact that the male involved has
been emasculated to such a degree that his "manliness" will now be
"expressed" through Momma-approved mediums such as the designated
"man cave". Token items such as cheesy beer signs, a phony bar, perhaps
an oversized couch and a big screen TV might be part of the approved
decor. Bottom line, just cuz a male has an "outie" does not make him a
man. The presence of the "Man Cave" and related mentality strongly
suggests the male in question is not a man.