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  1. #1
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    buyer beware Ebay listing

    I don't think this Ebay listing is what it seems.

    I would be interested on hearing from you all as well, if there's something I'm missing.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/MASSIVE-ANT.../222745285210?

    If you were just to show me the photos, I'd say it's a typical standard pattern civilian Pipe Band brooch.

    Dates are hard to pin down on these "Highland ornaments" (as they were called in the old catalogues) due to the same patterns being in production for many years. This pattern of brooch shows up in vintage catalogues (1930s) and is still in production today. The first Pipe Band I played in issued me a brooch identical to this in 1977.

    I think it's cast from solid German Silver (nickel) which probably places it in the c1920-c1960 period. At some point in the post-WWII period they switched from solid German Silver to nickel-plated brass.

    The claim that this brooch is from the mid-19th century can be dismissed IMHO unless there is air-tight provenance.

    The price is astoundingly absurd. Vintage German Silver brooches often go for around $100 on Ebay.

    Here's the brooch in the typical tri-fold sporran catalogue photos which a number of sporranmakers used throughout the 1960s to 1980s, called PSB1

    Last edited by OC Richard; 6th December 17 at 05:08 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

  2. #2
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    It's always difficult to datepieces like this when there is no provenance. Irrespective of it's age that is a silly price, one might even say a greedy price and for that amount I'd expect it to be all marked and have a Cairngorm.

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  4. #3
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    14th October 16
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    On eBay, sellers have the right to set whatever price they wish. In some eyes, prices can be way out of line to market value and greedy, but that is the sellers choice. The thing that gets me, is if the OP really believes this is a fraudulent description, why does he not hit the report button? Thatís what it there for. I have reported listings before, seems doing that is more reasonable than publicly posting on another site comments questioning someoneís honesty and business practices knowing they have no way to answer, bad form really.

  5. #4
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    Yes I thought about hitting the "report" button, but I can't actually prove that the brooch doesn't date from the 1840s, though it is extremely unlikely.

    I did want to spread the word about it here.

    I don't hesitate to hit the "report" button, and I have done several times when it's certain that the listing is fraudulent.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

  6. #5
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    beware

    The listing (now ended) says it is silver-tone and paste stone. No deception there. The dating is unreliable. A silver piece should have a hallmark, and no tarnish. The suggestion here is perhaps "German silver" (nickle over brass) which makes sense. The "stone" has a bubble which gives it away as glass. It is a sort-of pretty item, not too nicely made. Ignore the dating, and buy pieces you love to look at.
    Tim

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  8. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by McNeil View Post
    --------------- A silver piece should have a hallmark, and no tarnish. --------------
    Tim
    I am afraid hall marked silver will most definitely tarnish. Which is why old hallmarks are often very worn and often unreadable, made so, by over zealous polishing.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 21st December 17 at 08:18 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  10. #7
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    Agreed. Real silver, whether it's silverplate or hallmarked sterling silver, will tarnish. Lack of tarnishing would be, in my mind, proof of a fake or inferior metal/coating.

    As for hallmarks, those are the only way to establish provenance beyond reasonable doubt, but as I understand it many authentic and historic items made in Scotland did not have hallmarks. The lack of a hallmark does not necessarily make an item fake or even a new reproduction.

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  12. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    Agreed. Real silver, whether it's silverplate or hallmarked sterling silver, will tarnish. Lack of tarnishing would be, in my mind, proof of a fake or inferior metal/coating.

    As for hallmarks, those are the only way to establish provenance beyond reasonable doubt, but as I understand it many authentic and historic items made in Scotland did not have hallmarks. The lack of a hallmark does not necessarily make an item fake or even a new reproduction.
    Quite so, but British law and Scottish law says, no hallmarks mean that even the purest silver cannot be sold as silver within the UK. Without those hallmarks silver can only be sold as "white metal" and nearly always reduces the value more than somewhat. The hallmarks, give a potential purchaser the date when a piece was made,(sometimes though a early piece will have a later hallmark stamped by an assay office to get a better price, which is quite legal. Sometimes though it can reduce the price, but you really really have to know your silver in those circumstances!) who made it and most importantly the assay office mark(London,Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh for example) that ensures that it is actually silver. All very useful and ensures people are getting what they think they are buying and interestingly forged hallmarks are rare. I cannot say what happens in the rest of the world though. Google British silver hallmarks for an idea of what they look like, you will also see that some hallmarks can go back two or three centuries.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 21st December 17 at 09:58 AM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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  14. #9
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    Yes, Jock, I'm fully aware of hallmark legitimacy and the legality of calling something silver in the UK without it. I had to do some serious reasearch on hallmarks when I inherited several sterling silver items. It can be quite an ordeal to identify and chase them down.

    Aside from the issue of calling an item "silver", my only point was that people shouldn't assume that a Scottish item without a hallmark is automatically a forgery. Many a high-quality historical item of workmanship from Scotland lacks a hallmark. It takes quite an expert eye to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff, but dismissing an item for lack of a hallmark can be missing out on a wonderful piece.

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  16. #10
    Join Date
    18th October 09
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    Here, for example of a comparable item, is a vintage brooch in excellent condition, German Silver with imitation stone, for under $50

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Kilt-Badge-...p2056016.l4276

    It's a fairly common pattern from that c1920-1950 period, though not as ubiquitous as the OP brooch.

    BTW German Silver tarnishes, but to a different colour than silver does. When polished silver and German Silver look very close, when tarnished they can easily be told apart.

    Obviously German Silver which has been silver plated tarnishes like silver does. On vintage items the silver plate is usually worn off in places, invisible when polished but visible when tarnished.

    BTW I used to play a very old set of pipes (c1860-1880) which had silver mounts, but lacking hallmarks. People knowledgeable about silver assured me that they were indeed silver. I was told that it was fairly common practice for pipers serving in India to have silver added to their pipes locally, these mounts usually being plain and lacking hallmarks.

    It's common for Ebay sellers to incorrectly use descriptive terms which have concrete meanings. I went around with a seller who listed a set of bagpipes as having "repousse" mounts which were not.

    It's also common for Ebay sellers to claim older dates for Scottish items than they deserve. We pipers regularly see modern sets of bagpipes listed on Ebay with the claim that they were "reclaimed from a WWI battlefield". It must have been difficult to walk over one of these battlefields without stepping on pipes, they were so thick on the ground.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 7th January 18 at 02:30 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first white settlers on the Guyandotte

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