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How to spot a Fake Uniform

Article about: A fake uniform is one which is simply not what it appears to be: It is not a uniform made for the Wehrmacht, Party etc. but is a modern made uniform made for the purpose of deceiving the col

  1. #1

    Default How to spot a Fake Uniform

    A fake uniform is one which is simply not what it appears to be: It is not a uniform made for the Wehrmacht, Party etc. but is a modern made uniform made for the purpose of deceiving the collector. A made-up uniform is one which is put together from original and/or reproduction parts, with the insignia added after 1945 by a collector or dealer for the purpose of deceiving the collector.

    It is almost impossible to write out a list of things to watch for in buying a uniform, but there are some guidelines which I would like to bring to the collectors attention. By using these and by applying some common sense a collector with little experience can guard himself from being swindled.

    1. HAVE A REFERENCE LIBRARY: If you are going to collect SS uniforms, you should own some good books on the subject. How else are you going to learn and where can you go for quick information? No collector can have too many references.

    2. IF YOU ARE NOT AN "EXPERT" YOU SHOULD KNOW ONE: When you are in doubt, ask. Get a second opinion before you spend your money.

    3. KNOW YOUR SOURCE: If the item is coming from a "vet" then there is still something to worry about. Their memory gets clouded as to where it came from. Buy the item, not the storyIf it is being offered by a collector or dealer consider the reputation of the person. Is he known to be honest, or does he have a reputation of selling fakes and pulling tricks on unknowning collectors.

    4. LOOK AT THE OVERALL APPEARANCE OF THE UNIFORM: Does it appear to be 30 years old? Even if in great condition it should not have that "brand new look and feel. Smell it! Strange as this may sound, your nose can detect age very well. Does the tailoring agree with what you find in your references? Is the style, cut and colour correct? If your first impression is negative -- watch out!

    5. INSPECT FOR LABELS: Remember, these can be fakes too, but a well marked tunic with correct labels is better than an unmarked one. Are the labels proper to this particular item? Are the RZM tags (if any) correct for this type of uniform? Did the person who’s name appears inside the tunic, actually exist and did he hold this rank and belong to this unit? Use your references!

    6. ARE ALL INSIGNIA PROPER TO THIS UNIFORM?: Check to make sure all the various insignia are correct. THIS CAN BE THE BIGGEST TIP-OFF TO A FAKE OR MADE-UP: First verify that the insignia is all original. Then check to see if they are all proper to this uniform. Do the collar tabs match the shoulder boards? Is the breast eagle proper to this type uniform? Are the buttons correct? Does the uniform have the proper size and colour of piping around the collar?

    7. LOOK FOR INSIGNIA ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS: Check the way the insignia is sewn on the uniform, does it appear to be original or has it been changed? Is there evidence of any insignia being removed? Does the Waffen-SS tunic show signs of once having an Army breast eagle?? Does all the insignia look to be about the same age, or does the sleeve eagle look new while the tunic is well worn? Are the boards mint and the tabs shabby? Is the quality of all insignia about the same and is it the quality you would expect from a private or a general?

    8. IS THE PRICE "TO GOOD TO BE TRUE?" If so--it probably is: No collector or dealer is going to offer you a £500. item for £200., unless there is something he knows about it that you don't: And what he probably knows is that the item is a fake. Beware of any "bargains". However, remember that some greedy crooks will hold out for an original price even though they are selling a fake.

    9. CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS: I've stood by and watched a collector rationalize away all the flaws and signs of a fake simply because he "wants" to believe the item is real. If you have been looking for a certain item for years, it can be hard to have to tell yourself that the gem you just found is a beautiful fake. You want it to be real, so you convince yourself it is, regardless of all evidence to the contrary.

    I realize that the list is far from complete and that following these suggestions will not insure that you won't be fooled. But by using these guidelines your chances are greatly improved over simply "taking the sellers word for it"!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    I often wonder wether serious collectors consider a repro uniform, made in the same way as the original, stitch perferct, but sold as a repro would make them baulk at it. I own a perfect repro of a early war tunic, pants and feldmutz because at he moment I cant afford or would not want to display on a manaquin an original. A lot of my manaquins equipment is original, but I make it clear to people who view what parts are original and what parts are repro, but I also do tell them that the repro is made as an original was constructed so they can still get the feel of ehat a real uniform would have been like. Am i misleading?????

  4. #3
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    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    an SS officer uniform with a tailor lable signed by the officer was the only red flag for me.. all the rest looks great

  5. #4
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    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    Quote by John Brandon View Post

    9. CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS: I've stood by and watched a collector rationalize away all the flaws and signs of a fake simply because he "wants" to believe the item is real. If you have been looking for a certain item for years, it can be hard to have to tell yourself that the gem you just found is a beautiful fake. You want it to be real, so you convince yourself it is, regardless of all evidence to the contrary.
    Yep. Been there, done that. Brainlock can be a killer.

    Some good advice.

  6. #5

    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    ...yes it would be nice to have originals of everything but that would mean big $$$$$$....everybody has thier own opinions on what they like to collect....just nice to know that every collector can be appreciated.............

  7. #6

    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    Thanks John, these are all very good points. Especially number 9!

    On the subject of buying a repro, all I can say is each to his own. If it makes you happy and it is, after all, your hard earnt money, then go for it. But it would not be for me personally. For me, collecting is about history and not just the "look" of an item. I would much sooner have a humble original item than a high ticket value original but a copy.

    Cheers, Ade.

  8. #7

    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    Great post John! Alot of good points that would be valid with buying almost any collectable. A good pre-purchase checklist if you will.

    Jay

  9. #8

    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    Thanks for posting this, those are some good tips! Ha i always smells the items too, to make sure they have that old orignal smell. But ive also herd that the Color white on a German uniform will never be a nice Clear 100% white , like Modern Day navy uniform white. But that it;ll be a much more Darker shade of white, Do you know if thats true?

  10. #9

    Default Re: How to spot a Fake Uniform

    Fantastic post, John!

    Totally agreed, Ade. An item with history/soul is far preferable and it's the very emotive (yet often intangible) past of these objects that holds my fascination. The scratches on belt buckles (where did the soldier get those?), the blood stains and tears on a Japanese Hinomaru flag etc. I see myself as a temporary custodian, entrusted to look after the object and remember the sacrifice before passing it along....

    Repros have their place, but ALL should be clearly identified as such! Those that want to buy them can do so, without collectors of original items having to constantly be wary of being ripped off by unscrupulous dealers. When I've identified repros masquerading as originals in my own collection (yes, as I learned more and met other collectors), I simply damaged them and threw them in the bin or gave them away free of charge as repros. Expensive way of dealing with these items, but it leaves a horrible taste in my mouth when I've parted with my hard-earned, only to discover later that I've been duped. That's why I love this forum - keep up the great work!

    Jimbo

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