Reproductions / Copies
Late 2006 an
auction appeared on eBay UK during that years famous ashes cricket series
contested between Australia and England. A very timely listing as this lid
was indeed unrecorded and as usual sentiment was high between these two
countries provoking spirited page views for anything cricket related.
The lids pictorial displayed a famous English team from another century
however there was no manufacturer, no address or potential product listed to
be contained. The obverse listed a potential auction provenance via sticker
from the famous Keith Crump cricket memorabilia collection earlier in the
must have been a
very limited edition ground souvenir right......well at least I thought so and
bought it. On receipt in direct sun light it looked pretty convincing but
the face glaze was unusually thick. Under ultra violet light the
following was observed before returning. This panned out to be a very well
done paper label applied over an antique
lid under perhaps the best room temp glaze compound I have seen. The paper
was particularly thin to allow the antique cracks and crazing from the
antique lid it was glued over show through to promote originality. Two
other round cricket related lids were also listed in the crump auction and
appear to have been created by the same process.
It does take
a little practice on what one should expect looking at an antique white ceramic in a
darkened area with UV. I urge you to try it yourself with a known original
to get familiar with the distinctive deep pink color from an antique. Then
compare a known modern copy for comparison. In the below example quite simply the shade of
pink on the obverse and sides should be expected all over. The white
on the face is not and identifies a problem!
In addition to
age, other subtle color variations alert to the potential of a repair. As with other transfer-ware, even if re-fired,
under high magnification there usually a story. As time goes on repairs
become more dominate as they age and refract light differently from adjacent
The following group are perhaps the most commonly semi-modern examples
to be reproduced in good faith but then altered and advertised as
antique. Unfortunately the rear wording is easily removed by acid
or abrasion and for those with holes these are easily plugged and
painted over. Always examine 12 o'clock on one of these shaped lids for
alteration. Color is easy to copy in a fresh repair but not the fine
antique crazing!!!! If in doubt review under black light or more
effectively with help from Photoshop!
The good news I guess is that over time all
repairs fade. It is not uncommon for repairers to coat repaired lids
with urethane or similar to protect the porous "very workable"
repairing compounds used from discovery. Any discoloration areas
should be examined closely to determine if other
than some form of stain.
The first of these three Rob Smith Bears Grease lids is
extremely rare with a well known pedigree (X-Ball Collection) The two
to the right are modern photo copies / scanned paper labels, and from their
grainy appearance were most probably spawned from one of the various
reference publications this particular lid has been documented over the
years. The copied label is adhered to a genuine more common antique lid,
possibly once a paper label, sometimes even an acid etched lesser valued
regional lid of approximate size, then sealed with some form of epoxy or
similar. Although the transfer is generally less than sharp unless you have
owned or handled an original, on the spot identification can be
deceptive.... new variation????? Turning one of these over and seeing
genuine antique crazing and or other genuine marks of age on the rear /
sides also aids in deception. Unfortunately there are a growing number of
this style of "mulled" copy out there now. Most recent sightings apart from
USA and UK were in New Zealand and Australia.
You receive the following image in an email. Wow, super
rare lid. An unlisted variant in Black and white, should you make a charge
for the check book? Not so fast!
An increasing number of pot lid fakes are appearing for
sale of late. With the dramatic improvements in image processing copying
photos and transposing to a lid in the form of paper label or in this case a
printed transparent film is for the skilled surprisingly easy. Of these two
the film is perhaps the most worrying. Using a blank or acid cleaned
original as a base the image can be easily resized and attached to fit
almost anything. Color aside, compare the images below and see if you can
spot some obvious areas of concern.
From a transfer point of view the copy is not nearly as
crisp. Despite the shape of the lid having only a subtle concave the light
flare to the bottom left of the image does not extend all the way to the
edge. Also unevenness in the adhesive makes the sky section in the copy far
too busy. The crop below uses another useful method of spotting transfers.
By altering the color channels slightly the film and the
base lid can be separated. In this case Cyan +10%, Magenta - 10% and Yellow
+ 30. This method of varying color and saturation is particularly good for
Here we have another example along the same lines.
Applied film does not catch light as smoothly as the original. Compare the
hot spot on the left to the mirror like evenness of the flare bottom right.
The overall color of the left also has a bluish tinge with brighter edges
where the transfer ends.
On the left shown above, a very well done UK
architectural example copied and presented via a clear film over a
manufactured blank of the same size ( click to enlarge*,
take note of the much larger un-natural crazing and the very off white face
once sealant was applied) along with the humble
queens head presented with a rather blurry transfer and on an unfamiliar
domed lid shape for this manufacturer.
The images below attempt to show the variance between
modern artificial crazing and those that could be expected on antiques . On
the right what you most likely will see on an antique lid close up, the left
crazing is of concern. Considerable variance! Select few lids progressed
past the quality control of original manufacture. That is, directly after
the glazing process lids where not allowed to cool properly. Usually the
kiln door opened much too early whilst still hot causing large scaly
glazing. Quite different from that occurring naturally over time but a
convenient technique for those now copying. Without significant provenance
these examples should be pursued with reserve!
Another technique used to manufacture age is burry in the
ground within close proximity of metal. This over a reasonably short time
lightly stains with rust and soil giving the perception of being recently
liberated buried treasure.
The pink bordered cold cream above is usually a classic but not in
this form. Very grainy low resolution over glaze print. Unlike the
subtleties of the original this one is just very crude and is an injustice
being just totally black. Interesting to watch who is selling these new lids
on the block (especially on the net! ) To finish one of the most common of
them all over the years and still doing well. Recently voted the most
popular Bears Grease under $10. This success appears to have created a
ground swell of interest from those engineering repro`s, especially the
popular Bears Grease line. If you collect these or have an interest
When offered any lid, if in doubt always defer a decision and review closely
in an established reference book, or seek an opinion from a knowledgeable
local collector, bottle club or established web forum. Generally speaking if
a prospective lid possesses any of the above traits, record the seller
and if you must, proceed with caution. To protect others after the fact
record any negative experiences in a web blog (if applicable) or email your
own private collector network feedback with specifics of questionable
private seller / auction house transaction details.
Seen any good reproductions lately? Please share your find with other
collectors and protect the hobby for the serious collector and investor
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