Find Your Make

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
HOME | Articles index | media | use of content | contact us  
September 2003 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Counterfeit Literature
By Robert McLellan
 

Don't panic! Fakes are very rare and most are very obvious to experienced collectors. Dealers won't touch them because their reputation is at stake and most show up at swapmeets or through ads by unknown individuals.

There are two types

(I)
Those that are reproductions or reprints done for collectors because originals are rare and expensive. Almost all of them are marked "reprint" or with the name of the club or company that printed it. Some are very close to original quality, but most are pretty obvious. No effort is made to pass them off as original and they have little or no value. The effort to give us an opportunity to see what a brochure was like is appreciated and our hats are off to clubs like the Rolls-Royce Owners Club and Auto Enthusiasts International and companies such as Floyd Clymer and General Motors.

(II) The other types are outright fakes / counterfeits. The people who sell them are crooks! Passing off brochures and manuals to unsuspecting buyers is unacceptable in our hobby. This is why all reprints must be clearly marked "reprint" by the printer. Several years ago, while attending Hershey, I was standing at a literature stall when a Corvette enthusiast came up and purchased a Corvette brochure, paid for it and left. The vendor then replaced it with an identical one. I examined it and it was an excellent reproduction, without any indication that it was a reprint. Looking closely at it, however, you could see that the colors were not quite right, the printing was slightly lighter in areas and the paper was too smooth and shiny. But it was good enough to pass off to someone who was not an experienced collector, or had not taken the time to carefully examine it. I said, "Too bad you don't have two of these." He said he just happened to have another. I said, "You wouldn't have three would you?" He squinted at me, wondering if I was on to him, said "No" and I left. The next day collectors were still buying them. I wonder how many Stingray brochures he sold for $50 each?

Having collected literature since 1947 I have seen enough originals to identify counterfeits no matter how good they are. Unfortunately, when we buy collections we do find a few fakes now and then that are sold to us as originals. If the collector never saw an original, then I guess that has to be expected. The only way to convince that person he has a counterfeit is to show him an original and that cannot be done by mail order. However, there are tip-offs to look for. And, no, having rusty staples and showing wear is NOT evidence that it is original. I have literature that is 90 years old and is in beautiful condition simply because it was properly preserved.

 
Counterfeits! Sure look original, but when compared to the real thing the photographs and printing
are not as sharp and the paper is different.
 

In future articles we will discuss how to judge a fake when you have no original to compare it to. We will also review reprints and their sources.

 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, September 2003
 
 
 
 
Spacer
Spacer
 L I T E R A T U R E
I N D E X
Click here
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Literature for
OVER 600 MAKES
Sales literature