FAKE CDVs IN THE COLLECTIBLES MARKETPLACE

In July 2018 a post by Steve McConnell in the Civil War Faces Marketplace brought my attention to an auction lot containing a large number of reproduction CDV images. I bid on and purchased the lot both out of curiosity to see so many confirmed reproductions, and also to destroy them in some creative and deserving way. The lot, which included images of common soldiers, generals, and politicians, had many examples that would be identified as a fake by even the most novice collector. Others, however, were made with a little more care and could possibly pass as authentic when sold online. Instead of destroying the lot, many wise members of the CWFMP suggested the reproductions might serve a more valuable educational purpose, and so I marked each and give them out to collectors. Click the images to view larger versions.

Figure 1. Twelve of the more convincing reproduction CDVs found in the group. Numbers 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, and 12 are examples of reproduction prints applied to thick 1870s and 1880s mounts. Much residue is visible around the edges, but it gives an overall soiled appearance that could trick some buyers. Images are grainy, with the dot matrix pattern clearly visible with a loupe. Numbers 1, 3, 6, 9, and 10 utilize a higher-quality printing process, with a semiglossy print applied to a glossy photoreproduction of an authentic mount with backmark. Neither the print nor the mount feel right in the hand, but in a photograph it could be convincing for novice buyers. Number 2 is somewhat of a hybrid, with a glossy print applied to a thin reproduction mount and an "official" embossed CSA seal.

Figure 1. Twelve of the more convincing reproduction CDVs found in the group. Numbers 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, and 12 are examples of reproduction prints applied to thick 1870s and 1880s mounts. Much residue is visible around the edges, but it gives an overall soiled appearance that could trick some buyers. Images are grainy, with the dot matrix pattern clearly visible with a loupe. Numbers 1, 3, 6, 9, and 10 utilize a higher-quality printing process, with a semiglossy print applied to a glossy photoreproduction of an authentic mount with backmark. Neither the print nor the mount feel right in the hand, but in a photograph it could be convincing for novice buyers. Number 2 is somewhat of a hybrid, with a glossy print applied to a thin reproduction mount and an "official" embossed CSA seal.

Figure 2. Reverse side of the same twelve reproductions from Figure 1. Note the 1870s and 1880s backmarks on some and the photoreproductions of the 1860s marks on others. Many have IDs written in pencil or ink.

Figure 2. Reverse side of the same twelve reproductions from Figure 1. Note the 1870s and 1880s backmarks on some and the photoreproductions of the 1860s marks on others. Many have IDs written in pencil or ink.

Figure 3. Close-up of Example 5 taken under magnification. Note the heavy dot pattern visible throughout.

Figure 3. Close-up of Example 5 taken under magnification. Note the heavy dot pattern visible throughout.

Figure 4. Close-ups of Examples 3, 6, and 10 taken under magnification. These were produced with a higher-quality printing process that doesn't produce the dots visible in others, but all are still somewhat blurry when compared to authentic CDVs. These are also dead give-aways when held in your hand, as the mount has a plastic-like feel to it.

Figure 4. Close-ups of Examples 3, 6, and 10 taken under magnification. These were produced with a higher-quality printing process that doesn't produce the dots visible in others, but all are still somewhat blurry when compared to authentic CDVs. These are also dead give-aways when held in your hand, as the mount has a plastic-like feel to it.

Figure 5. I'm happy to get to use my "reproduction" stamp! (This image of General John A. Logan was one of the shoddier examples in the group)

Figure 5. I'm happy to get to use my "reproduction" stamp! (This image of General John A. Logan was one of the shoddier examples in the group)