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Vintage or Reproduction. There is a market out there for both


I know as soon as everyone starts reading this they will probably start snarling at me, but read this with an open mind.

There is one thing I dislike more then anything and that is walking into an Antique Mall and find a lot of Reproduction items, that are priced as the Original. Granted some dealers may not be aware that they are reproduced, but a lot of them do know that they are selling a reproduced item. It reflects very badly on the Mall when it is full of overpriced reproduced items.

Having said that, I will be the first to admit that I do sell Reproduced items in my Booths, no it is not full of them, just a few here and there. The big difference is that mine are marked as ‘New’ and the price reflects that they are new. I discovered a long time ago that there are constantly new customers who come in to shop because they have decided that they want to collect something. A lot of these customer’s can not afford to jump right in and purchase an old original piece. They want to start out small and really do not mind spend a few bucks on a new item to get them started. As they continue on their search and get more interested in their collections, they will start looking and spending more to get the older items. Every collection has to start somewhere. When Grandpa purchased that first Roseville Vase for Grandma, it was new, wasn’t it ?

My thought on starting this subject is to try to educate the antique dealers and the buyer’s on what is out there that has been reproduced. Here is a small sampling of items, I know a lot of them, but will give everyone a chance to contribute :

Reproduced line of the Shawnee Corn, yes it is out there. It is easy for people who have some of the Vintage to tell the difference, but for those of you who do not know a lot about this pottery here is a couple things to look for:

Some people say the easiest way to tell reproduction pottery from authentic pottery is the makers mark. I have a problem with this: If you do not know anything about this line, looking at the mark will not help, unless you have done some research online or from a book to see the difference in marks. Walk around the shop and find another piece to compare it with, look at the glazing and colors used in painting the piece. Most authentic pottery pieces are a dull or matt finish. Watch out for pieces that shine or bright colored pieces. In addition, most of the new pieces will have a greasy feel.

Reproduced line of Fire King – there is a lot of the Jadite pieces . I have found a great site with information on telling the difference: http://spglass.com/fk-faqs.html

I have sold at the shop for sometime the Reproduced 1930’s Feedsack Material at $7.95 a yard. Each piece is marked as being reproduced. I have found a great deal of customer’s who really appreciate being able to buy this to make aprons, curtains, pillow covers, pincushions, etc. Feedsack sellers’ will not agree, but I know that my customer’s do not want to pay $15-$20 for a vintage feedsack to cut it up. There are still plenty of people who only want to purchase original feedsack, and I believe the market is large enough for all of us.

In addition, I also sell a beautiful line of cloisonné hatpins. These sell for $6.95ea. I have recently started seeing a new interest in hatpins from young ladies who can not afford to pay $40-$50 for a hatpin.

I know everyone has a story about Reproduced Items good or bad, let me hear from you.

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Comment by Memphis Attic on February 26, 2010 at 6:39pm
I just gave a seller on ebay a hard time today because they list repro's and don't tell you that in their listings and try and make their description sound like their items are old by stating that there are no restorations just some crazing etc. That is very deceiving and very annoying!
Comment by LilacsNDreams on February 25, 2010 at 1:53am
Things the way they are now with the economy, people watching how they spend, and depending on the generation shopping...I myself have seen at different times the reproductions, refurbished, repurposed, etc and have heard in discussions of them being bought too. The younger generation is not necessarily going for the true vintage, or antique item, but they will buy a look alike, a reproduction, and etc. Also, items that have been refurbished/brought back to life in another way/color that is more appealing to them, and the times of today too.

I do believe in honesty, and I too would buy a reproduction myself if I was not wanting to collect the real thing. I have found that fitting some of the old in with the updated...not necessarily new is quite appealing with the decor. But, I do not agree with someone selling the look alike, or reproductive item for the price of an original. That is misleading, and I feel cannot be trusted with any business if this is done. I appreciate someone marking, making a note of the item being a reproduction OR honestly saying if they are not sure, and mark it accordingly for the price. Honesty will get you further than being misleading, and making a bad name for yourself. Get a bad name in this business, and it will spread too.

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