Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

BWM Fake?


depaor01
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello all:

Was in a collectibles fair today and bought a BWM. Told the dealer that I thought it was a little light and had an "unusual patina" but bought it anyway.

D'OH!

post-42233-1275856854.jpg

post-42233-1275856874.jpg

post-42233-1275856976.jpg

Anyway having been stung (I was fixated by the name on the edge and knew there were some things "wrong"

about it but ignored my gut feeling.) it does pose some questions that I hope someone can enlighten me on:

Are BWMs widely faked? I've been collecting medals for decades and never came across one - till today!

I would expect a fake BWM to be unnamed, or the name on the edge to be in the wrong font etc.

This looks, at a glance, to be OK till you look at it with a loop. You can then see the letters are split

at the point where the two "sandwiched" halves are matched. The question is - are there hundreds

of fake BWMs out there attributed to Acting Corporal 4658 A Berg of the 16th Londons (he did exist. I've seen

his medal card)?

Third and final question. Where, and by whom, is this likely to have been made?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not come across a fake BWM like that. Thanks for the images. Could it have been a renamed original?

I'm worried now as i just bought one of ebay. :mellow::)

Neil

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never seen anything like this,to make it worth while doing such medals would have to be made by the bucket load as face value for such a medal would be low.Judging by the edge of the medal it appears the medal is cast with the name being made at the same time,one of the photos make it look like its made from some type of base metal but this may be a trick of the light.There are many medals being sold these days which are replica but I must say this is the first for me to see a BWM done like this.Thankfully I don't have one named to him.

Brendan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why specifically Arthur Berg? Seems an expensive was of going about things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does seem strange to fake a bwm as the cost to make would not cover the selling price surely ?. I have heard of fakes but never seen one till now. Copies yes . MC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.

I'm glad to see the same puzzlement among other members! It has every appearance of having been made in two halves with the lettering being an integral part of the manufacture.

I believe it would have been easier (and probably more marketable) to make it as an unnamed copy. It is sufficiently well made to have been done by a professional using machinery. The lettering in front is crisp and well-defined enough to fool me.

If it was made using machinery then, as pointed out above, there must be more out there with the same name.

Another thought is a movie prop - but why would the maker go to the trouble of reproducing the naming on the edge?

Curiouser and curiouser....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've not come across a fake BWM like that. Thanks for the images. Could it have been a renamed original?

I'm worried now as i just bought one of ebay. :mellow::)

Neil

Hi Neil:

I've seen renamed medals and they tend to have evidence of erasings (scratching) and also the very thin border on the edge of the medal, visible when you look at the front of the medal, would look thinner at the bottom indicating where the metal was removed to erase the name.

From personal experience your Ebay purchase should be 100%! :thumbsup:

Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The lettering on the edge is not perfectly aligned between the two 'halves'. Is it possible that this is a genuine medal that was at some time cut in half, perhaps to display the two faces side by side, and has since been joined back together?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen some relatively poorly cast replicas like this, including cast naming on the edge. They were sold in frames, the sort of thing that would be advertised in a sunday supplement as "Your chance to own a piece of history...!", "A handsome tribute that honours the bravery of....etc". I can't remember the exact naming of the ads, they weren't exactly being sold as repro, but there were several clues in the language that told you they weren't genuine. I remember seeing some examples surface in a local hosehold clearance auction. The auctioneers must have known thay weren't genuine and didn't put them with their 'collectibles' sale.

We weren't the target market for stuff like this, it'd be for people who didn't hang around militaria fairs, and had a liking for things labelled 'heritage', repro antique furnitiure, and the like. So they'd be sold for a hell of a lot more than the price of a real BWM, hence it being financially viable to make them.

My guess is that some of these have made it back into the wild, perhaps remaindered stock from the manufacturer or retailer, and that's what we have here. Alternatively someone inherited Auntie Irene's houshold effects, saw this, took it out of the frame and put it on e-bay. Simples.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The lettering on the edge is not perfectly aligned between the two 'halves'. Is it possible that this is a genuine medal that was at some time cut in half, perhaps to display the two faces side by side, and has since been joined back together?

No. Look at the finish on them. Lots of imperfections. They're cast in a mould rather than being struck (like a coin).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are plenty of junk medals like this in circulation cast from two moulds hence the line in the middle of the rim. They normally turn up un-named although in this instance its poorly named. I hope you paid next to nothing for it because it has no real monetary value.

Philip

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are plenty of junk medals like this in circulation cast from two moulds hence the line in the middle of the rim. They normally turn up un-named although in this instance its poorly named. I hope you paid next to nothing for it because it has no real monetary value.

Philip

Likewise hope it was cheap, but the look of the lettering on the medal looks very crisp and clear unusual for a fake especially a BWM.

MC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the BWM is effectively a King George V Crown coin (5 shilling) with a different reverse. I suspect it is exactly the same size. As noted before , it is struck from solid circular .925 silver blank. Anything purporting to be a BWM , MM or whatever with the joining line around the edge is evidence of moulding and therefore is a wrong 'un.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Likewise hope it was cheap, but the look of the lettering on the medal looks very crisp and clear unusual for a fake especially a BWM.

MC

Some of the moulding techniques used for cottage industry model making today can achieve that level of detail on a limited run. The metal would have to be a low temperature melt though

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to be a devil's advocate on this one and say that in all probability it is a right one. The medal flans were punched out of sheets and finished, perhaps by a sanding method, before striking. It is quite possible that a small piece of metal made the indentation mark which appears to make it look like two halves joined together. The impressed lettering looks good. If two halves were joined together it would have a hollow sound. If cast halves there would be minor inperfections and bubbles on the surface of the field. Electolysis would be quite obvious. I would need to handle it to make a definite decision. But there we go. My head is above the parapet to be shot off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Absoultely agree. This isn't a renamed original, or a subsequently named fake; it is an extremely crude copy taken from an original medal in a badly aligned mould. Complete and utter junk. Are BWMs faked? Yes, here's proof - but silver ones are not as prone as the Bronze issue, where some very convincing fakes, properly named - or close to - , have started to emerge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Given that "it was a little light and had an "unusual patina" I would suspect that the metal is a low melt alloy which would facilitate moulding (and was probably cheaper).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the enigma seems to be why go to the trouble of 'faking' such a low value item. Could the answer perhaps be that several of Berg's descendants each wanted an example of his medals?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to be a devil's advocate on this one and say that in all probability it is a right one. The medal flans were punched out of sheets and finished, perhaps by a sanding method, before striking. It is quite possible that a small piece of metal made the indentation mark which appears to make it look like two halves joined together. The impressed lettering looks good. If two halves were joined together it would have a hollow sound. If cast halves there would be minor inperfections and bubbles on the surface of the field. Electolysis would be quite obvious. I would need to handle it to make a definite decision. But there we go. My head is above the parapet to be shot off.

There ARE imperfections; dents in the mould (probably caused by small pices of debris) have left small 'lumps' (there's got to be a technical term, I guess....?) between 'A.' and 'Berg', and on the lower arm of the 'E' of 'Berg', also smaller versions of this on the field at the nape of GvR's neck.

It also looks like there's traces of electro-plating or some similar process; possbly a light silver coating over a brassy base-metal? Look at the colour in some of the nooks and crannies around the lettering on the field or in the impressed lettering on the edge. Maybe it's just a trick of the light. What d'ya reckon?

Either way, it's worthless.

So the enigma seems to be why go to the trouble of 'faking' such a low value item.

Read my earleir post re; the 'heritage' industry....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It looks to me like two halves were cast in open moulds and then joined together and in the process have become slightly misaligned. But as other members

have said "why bother" it's a slow laborious way of making a quid.

David

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...I hope you paid next to nothing for it because it has no real monetary value.

Philip

Well 28 Euro is what it was...

I've weighed it on my non-digital kitchen scales. One of my correct BWMs weigh approx 30 grams. This one weighs only around 20.

I'm feeling violated! :doh:

Ah well. Caveat Emptor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't you get your money back? Wasn't it described as a WW1 medal, or something like that?

Threaten to take it up with e-bay (you did it on e-bay, didn't you?). Drop e-bay a line anyway, direct them to this thread, should work if the vendor's got a shred of decency....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was purchased at a collectables fair.

20 grams - couldn't even use it as a paper weight. Bl**dy London Regiment as well. :angry2:

For the Record Acting Corporal Arthur Berg was entitled to the BWM and Victory pair with only the 16th Battalion listed on the MIC. After the change of service numbers he was allocated 551834.

And it just gets better :angry2: - his service records have survived and are alive and well on Ancestry. So it also turns out, he's one of my 60th Division boy's. Joined on 22 November 1915 at the age of 23 years, 10 months. Yep, went the whole way. Home, France, Salonika, Egypt, back to France and finally home. Survived the war. Wounded three times, just after Beersheba, during the fall of Jerusalem and during the second raid across the Jordan.

Where is the original? to make the fake there had to be an original. (yes I collect medals too, and have done for years as well) It's clear that there is no care factor in the original medal so I'll have it as at least I give a damn about my un-commemorated, un-remembered division of Londoners. :angry2: It's the first blatant fake medal to the Division I have ever seen.

Cheers Andy.

Please don't take the rant personally - it's not directed at anyone on the forum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dealer wasn't a rodent faced chap? Said something like "28 Euro and that's cutting my own throat" ? :whistle:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At 20 grams instead of 30 it would have to a obviously very light alloy not copper or bronze as the weight would only be a gram or 2 lighter .Hollow ? 10 grams is a lot of difference unless its aluminium which i really doubt.

MC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...