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Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

Article about: by Steven M Hello and welcome. While I always respect differing points of views regarding originality, I think we must be careful in judging such rare items (or any other item) by only seein

  1. #21

    Default Re: Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

    Quote by Steven M View Post
    Hello and welcome.

    While I always respect differing points of views regarding originality, I think we must be careful in judging such rare items (or any other item) by only seeing a few distant photos on line. It isn't possible to validate such a statement without having the item in hand; especially when it comes to the exceedingly rare.

    I would add that Major Morris has been in the aviation collecting arena longer than many of us have been alive, so with 50+ years of experience, I tend to think that he knows enough to avoid getting stung by an ebay knock-off. I said all that to say this, please be careful when declaring an item as fake without rock-solid proof. We are always open to discussion, but let's be a bit more methodical when making such declarations.
    I know this thread has been inactive for a month or so, but I just came across it.
    I am not trying to down-play anyone's experience, but as this is such a rare item/subject, I think there are very few if any people out there who have had experience handling a real uniform of this type, or indeed any other items pertaining to this period of aviation history in Russia.
    Unfortunately, I am going to have to concur with the earlier poster who casted some doubts on this item.
    No, I do not have the photos or the auction number (the seller keeps all listings "private"), and for all I know this could have been acquired directly (not via Ebay) from the seller or from someone else who bought it from the seller, but this was one of the pieces Tsars Arsenal had, or on one of the other IDs he uses (he has several, but it is always easy to tell since the photos and description style are basically the same).
    I remember seeing it listed several times over the course of 1-3 years ago, and took notice.
    The asking price was something like $1,500 or $1,800.

    The truth is, unfortunately, this seller is a faker. Several tell-tale signs exist in his fakes, one of them being the way dirt/dust/staining is always applied in the same fashion on all his wool uniform items. This is the most apparent in his photographs, but upon closer inspection the metal pieces are also artificial weathered/aged. I have seen some of his items in person, and can attest to this. He is also well known as a faker of Russian icons and religious antiques, but that is a different subject not for this forum.

    But aside from this, there are some other simple red flag elements.
    This seller always (and I mean "always") has exceedingly rare items which are textbook examples. Indeed, many of his auctions actually have had uniforms that are essentially modeled directly after a drawing in a book with the matching equipment that is shown in that drawing. Much of his uniform sets are supposed to be Russian Civil War items, and as anyone who studies this period knows these drawings in uniform history books are just composite examples, as each soldier/officer pretty much would have had varied looking uniforms and equipment, and the chances that a real uniform set would be found that matches one of these drawings in a book precisely is literally very low. Yet, this seems to be a common theme in his items.
    But, also, they are always under priced. For example, he routinely (on his different Ebay IDs) lists White Army Kornilov Division uniforms as original, and absurdly lists them at, again, $1,500 or $1,800. However, any real uniform of this type (of which are virtually non-existent) would easily be in the thousands and many people would bid on it, and the seller knows this. Why does he do it? Because he knows that collectors who are really knowledgeable and have such funds to invest would never touch it as it's an obvious fake, but a more hopeful and novice collector would see it at this price, and think it was a deal.

    The pilot's uniform shown in this thread is the same uniform as this seller had. If not, then there are two of the exact same uniforms floating around with the same insignia placement, cap, and badge set.
    I am sure whoever purchased this is knowledgeable and not a novice collector, but items of this genre are just so rare (and possibly even non-existent) that we are all novices when it comes to this. However, that it came from this seller, unfortunately, causes real doubt to its authenticity to the point of certainty.
    Last edited by thefallenbuddha; 01-01-2011 at 01:30 PM.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

    I appreciate you observation, however this particular uniform was purchased from a private collector not the organization that you refer to. And it was purchased a number of years ago not last year. Not being an authority on Imperial Russian uniforms I bow to your expertise. Perhaps you could post some pictures of yours so a comparison can be made. An additonal comment on your premise that if its so rare it has to be fake. I have several WW1 US aviation items in my collection that are the only known examples that came directly from the veteran that owned them and as such would be considered extremely rare, does that make them fake?
    Thanks Terry

  3. #23

    Default Re: Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

    As this thread shows, I am not the only one who feels the uniform came via that seller. If it is not the same then it is literally an identical twin to one this seller was selling not too long ago down to the warrant officer rank and school affiliation. And, he has been active with selling items for a number of years, so I would not put it past him to simply be selling the same type of forged item again over time.

    But, perhaps, I would have been better to say these items are in general commonly faked pieces, especially in Europe and Russia, which is where Tsars Arsenal at least gets the basic elements of his uniforms, I assume. An aviation uniform is one example, but the same is true for basically any regimental uniform from the White Army or other elite units from the Imperial Army. And, in almost all circumstances they are always uniform set pieces with all the insignia and bells and whistles a collector would dream of. What's interesting to note is that none of this type of textbook example uniforms started appearing until after the uniform books themselves started coming out in the late-1990s.

    Saying that my premise is simply "it's so rare it must be fake" is belittling to both you and me as collectors. As a collector, I am sure you know that provenance and the source are very important when it comes to rare items.
    I have no doubt that you are an expert on WW1 US aviation items, but I do think comparing WW1 US aviation items with WW1 Russian aviation pieces is an inaccurate comparison. Original Russian WW1 era aviation uniform items are virtually non-existent in the collecting field, yet the subject is very popular and many fakes are put out, I would argue this is done to an exceedingly larger percentage than forgeries made of American pieces. Any Russian aviation uniform (cap, tunic, or trousers) from this period still in existence today is essentially one of a kind. In general, the chances of finding any Russian WW1 era uniform set is extremely low, much less an aviator's, much less one with all the insignia a collector would want.
    No, being very rare does mean it's fake, but it does mean much more caution should be taken.

    With regard to the seller in question, the uniforms all being exceedingly rare textbook pieces, and all having the same type of aged look while being listed under priced (when it's obvious the seller knows how rare they are) culminate together to cast an overall shadow of doubt. Additionally, none of his items ever have any provenance or personal idenfication to a particular soldier, and auctions are always listed as private/hidden buyer/seller details.
    Please believe me, if I felt the items he sells to be in the least bit original, I would have literally purchased every uniform set he has offered. Yet, as a forlorn White Army/Imperial Russian collector myself, upon scrutiny it does become apparent the pieces are flawed and are simply too good to be true.

    With regard to this uniform, again, if it is not the same uniform then it is the doppelganger of one this seller had listed. But, this aside, its appearance as a uniform set with all insignia, having an aged look but yet one which still doesn't detract from the item, and putting it into context in the collecting field with the sheer number of forgeries of these items and that it simply looks like one of these, and that there is no provenance to the original ownder cause me to feel it is a modern production inspired by a textbook and made to look old.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

    Quote by thefallenbuddha View Post
    As this thread shows, I am not the only one who feels the uniform came via that seller. If it is not the same then it is literally an identical twin to one this seller was selling not too long ago down to the warrant officer rank and school affiliation. And, he has been active with selling items for a number of years, so I would not put it past him to simply be selling the same type of forged item again over time.

    But, perhaps, I would have been better to say these items are in general commonly faked pieces, especially in Europe and Russia, which is where Tsars Arsenal at least gets the basic elements of his uniforms, I assume. An aviation uniform is one example, but the same is true for basically any regimental uniform from the White Army or other elite units from the Imperial Army. And, in almost all circumstances they are always uniform set pieces with all the insignia and bells and whistles a collector would dream of. What's interesting to note is that none of this type of textbook example uniforms started appearing until after the uniform books themselves started coming out in the late-1990s.

    Saying that my premise is simply "it's so rare it must be fake" is belittling to both you and me as collectors. As a collector, I am sure you know that provenance and the source are very important when it comes to rare items.
    I have no doubt that you are an expert on WW1 US aviation items, but I do think comparing WW1 US aviation items with WW1 Russian aviation pieces is an inaccurate comparison. Original Russian WW1 era aviation uniform items are virtually non-existent in the collecting field, yet the subject is very popular and many fakes are put out, I would argue this is done to an exceedingly larger percentage than forgeries made of American pieces. Any Russian aviation uniform (cap, tunic, or trousers) from this period still in existence today is essentially one of a kind. In general, the chances of finding any Russian WW1 era uniform set is extremely low, much less an aviator's, much less one with all the insignia a collector would want.
    No, being very rare does mean it's fake, but it does mean much more caution should be taken.

    With regard to the seller in question, the uniforms all being exceedingly rare textbook pieces, and all having the same type of aged look while being listed under priced (when it's obvious the seller knows how rare they are) culminate together to cast an overall shadow of doubt. Additionally, none of his items ever have any provenance or personal idenfication to a particular soldier, and auctions are always listed as private/hidden buyer/seller details.
    Please believe me, if I felt the items he sells to be in the least bit original, I would have literally purchased every uniform set he has offered. Yet, as a forlorn White Army/Imperial Russian collector myself, upon scrutiny it does become apparent the pieces are flawed and are simply too good to be true.

    With regard to this uniform, again, if it is not the same uniform then it is the doppelganger of one this seller had listed. But, this aside, its appearance as a uniform set with all insignia, having an aged look but yet one which still doesn't detract from the item, and putting it into context in the collecting field with the sheer number of forgeries of these items and that it simply looks like one of these, and that there is no provenance to the original ownder cause me to feel it is a modern production inspired by a textbook and made to look old.
    I find it a bit odd that two members who have such strong opinions on this item have few postings that relate only to this piece. So far in all of the long responses, I still have yet to see a posting by either of you showing a "textbook" piece that you are using to draw conclusions from. Do you have an example with provenance to show that would substantiate the claims made here?

    I still am trying to figure out how statements of such certainty can be made without examining the threading, and other elements of construction for both uniform and badges when no detailed photographs have been posted for reference. For someone to say that they remember the soiling and aging patterns are the same (from memory) by the faker is bewildering. Is it really possible to have seen a photo/item several years ago and recall every detail of aging patterns from memory and then state absolute declaration of "fake" to another item without detailed close ups of every element of the piece?

    You stated..."I remember seeing it listed several times over the course of 1-3 years ago, and took notice." The owner of this tunic has stated several times that it was obtained many years ago and NOT from ebay. Again, I am still waiting for detailed photos of an attributed item to compare to this one with a detailed explanation of why it is a "fake"...
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  5. #25

    Default Re: Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

    Quote by Steven M View Post
    I find it a bit odd that two members who have such strong opinions on this item have few postings that relate only to this piece. So far in all of the long responses, I still have yet to see a posting by either of you showing a "textbook" piece that you are using to draw conclusions from. Do you have an example with provenance to show that would substantiate the claims made here?

    I still am trying to figure out how statements of such certainty can be made without examining the threading, and other elements of construction for both uniform and badges when no detailed photographs have been posted for reference. For someone to say that they remember the soiling and aging patterns are the same (from memory) by the faker is bewildering. Is it really possible to have seen a photo/item several years ago and recall every detail of aging patterns from memory and then state absolute declaration of "fake" to another item without detailed close ups of every element of the piece?

    You stated..."I remember seeing it listed several times over the course of 1-3 years ago, and took notice." The owner of this tunic has stated several times that it was obtained many years ago and NOT from ebay. Again, I am still waiting for detailed photos of an attributed item to compare to this one with a detailed explanation of why it is a "fake"...
    How many original Continental Army General's coats have you handled from the Revolutionary War? None?
    If I posted one here, would you automatically think it original and dissaude any one who posted saying it may be a fake, just because they did not have an original one to show for comparison???
    The odds of finding an original set like the one pictured here are about the same. But, unlike a Continental Army General's coat people do fake these like crazy, and collectors do get fooled on a regular basis.

    Also, I am sorry it is a bit "odd" I posted on this thread. I thought this forum was for discussion. I didn't think that before discussing on this thread I was required to post excessivley in a number of other threads. If you like, I can make a bunch of meaningless posts on other threads before posting on this one, if that would make you more comfortable? Or, I can just make detailed replies on topics that interest me. Please let me know which is the standard for this forum according to you?

    I collect Imperial Russian/White Army items, and when I saw this thread I was very surprised to see what not only was an identifical uniform to one that was offered by a shifty seller on Ebay, but also one that simply being what it is - a complete set with ideal insignia and "aging" - is identical to the fakes, which have flooded the market over the last 15 years or so.
    And, I posted my view of the matter. That it is all.

    Either way, for any one who takes the time to search around the market, study the subject, and converse with collectors with more experience in WW1 era Russian items what I have written becomes obvious about this subject, and the uniform in question does look ever more doubtful to its authenticity. So, you don't have to take my word for it, spend some time and study the matter yourself.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

    Again, yet another baseless posting filled with conjecture and statements based on the fact that the item in question is so rare that it must be from a certain faker. Three times a request for a "legitimate", biographical Russian tunic was asked for, still nothing.

    I will state again very clearly and I will type very slow for those unable to grasp the concept...opinion is welcome, however baseless accusations that demean and criticize another individual's items will not be tolerated on this forum. If one does not have absolute 100% proof that an item is fake accompanied by FACT, then perhaps said individual should keep their opinion to themselves. Added to this, it just isn't polite to flame and cast shadows of doubt on an item, or more importantly, an individual's reputation in this manner.

    I suppose that anyone wanting to learn the difference in a real and fake aviation tunic should be satisfied with accepting the opinion that it was created by a faker on ebay...??? So the lesson here is that if it is ultra rare, it must be fake...got it.

    This thread has run its course, and I have grown weary of reading how "bad" the piece is with no solid proof, instead, much time has been wasted in the endless pursuit of believing that some crook on ebay made this even when presented with a time line of purchase. In any case, as a friend often says - such is life.
    Last edited by Steven M; 01-02-2011 at 04:22 AM.
    [B][COLOR=Black][SIZE=3][FONT=Book Antiqua][I] Steve[/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/COLOR][/B]

    [CENTER][I][FONT=Georgia][COLOR=orange]Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?[/COLOR][/FONT]
    [/I][/CENTER]
    [B]
    [SIZE=3][COLOR=lemonchiffon][I][CENTER][FONT=Georgia]"Fly on dear boy, from this dark world of strife. On to the promised land to eternal life"[/FONT][/CENTER]
    [/I][/COLOR][/SIZE][/B]

  7. #27
    ?

    Default Re: Super Rare 1912 Imperial Russian Pilot Uniform

    Imperial Uniforms is a rare birds nowadays, but I have some doubts concerning construction of the boards and materials used. Surely , there a lot of peoples who have original examples of imperial uniforms.
    My doubts is a shoulderstraps- they made in unproper materials. Also the eagles looks like they are cast. The tunic itself looks to me more like a original M 43 navy tunic with added pockets to it, ( originally M 43 tunic has a flaps only, imperial tunics is made from a superior quility wool cloth ). But really I canīt say it is a fake, without the close up pictures
    Regards,
    Dimas

    my Skype: warrelics

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