The Fine Art of Faking

It isn’t often that you get to see a reasonable fake, but there is a group of Irishmen wandering around that is peddling some reasonably good fakes. Their modus operandi is to show you what is in the back of their truck and to not mention anything about what they are selling. It is simply furniture and they let the dealer make the assumption that it is antique. The price is an antique price so the dealer thinks that it is antique, but the pieces are not antiques, they are well crafted fakes.

A year or two ago there was a story about a table that was sold by a London dealer for a huge price but that when they were offered a second, virtually identical table, they realized that the first table was a fake, i.e. a piece made to deceive one into believing that it was two hundred years old. I mention this because this particular group of Irishmen know that story and it makes me think that they were either the ones who sold the table or know the person who made it. That table was an extending round table.

These Irishmen caught a dealer friend of mine in their web of deception by selling him a four pillar dining table, but he stopped the check he gave to them on determining the piece was not an antique. Because I aided him in discovering this, they came to my shop and aggressively claimed that they had never said the table was antique but that it was circa 1880. Even this assertion is false as the pedestals on the table are no more than twenty or thirty years old, if that. Oddly enough, they caught another dealer in the same web of deception after claiming they had bought the piece just eight or so miles from his shop. The lies they told him were similar but different.

These Irishmen are taking their shot at the American trade. Either they think the American trade are too stupid to tell the difference or that they can pull off a sale with their lies. In either case, they will not be allowed into my shop again. Their aggressive and threatening demeanor is no joke and belies their innocence. I hope that no other dealers get caught in this web.

When discussing the incident I wrote about yesterday with a British dealer, he told me that there were a great many fakes coming out of Ireland at the moment. He had an experience with an Irishman who tried to sell him an early Regency serving table that had come from “a private home in Ireland”.

My friend looked at the table and it tweaked a memory of a sale he had attended in the country. He still had the catalogue and went into his office to look it up. It was the same table and the Irishman had clearly been the consignor as the table had not sold. When he pointed this out to the Irishman, he discounted his lies and admitted that he had put it into auction. My friend was appalled at this conduct.

These are cautionary tales. Anyone who thinks they can get something on the cheap is just kidding themselves. When we willingly suspend common sense because something is too good to be true, it is too good to be true. But this story is re-played again and again as human nature is, particularly for trusting people, open to believing in miracles.

An expanding circular table, one of the fakes that has been circulating around London, is coming up for sale soon in Stamford, CT, courtesy of the Irish mob I met the other day. It is a modern table and nothing more.

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