AntiqueGladiator Pot Lid Circa 1890 Melbourne AustraliaPotLongmores Crow Pot Lid Circa 1890 Melbourne Australia LidKennedy Pot Lid Circa 1880 Melbourne Australia Gallery


Fords Cherry Tooth Paste Pot Lid Circa 1880 Melbourne Australia



Seldom Seen

Bears Grease

New Zealand







New South W


Other States



Bottle Shows


Digging Pics













Last updated



* = recent update


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 year.


Great provenance, 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  antique compounds.







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 spotting repairs.


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 take heed.

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 HERE.

For additional material follow HERE *