Bogus Buckles

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Not surprisingly, the first thing most people want to know, once they been told that their prized buckle(s) from grandpa's collection is a fake is a reference to sources that demonstrate that their possessions are; indeed, worthless. It's often not easy to come to grips with the fact that something that was believed to have had significant value is, unfortunately, a complete fraud that is essentially worthless. Many people have developed significant collections of the bogus buckles over the years - often paying several hundred dollars (or more) for each one. Unfortunately, these buckles really are worthless (unless, of course, you simply like collecting them because it's fun to do so). Most experts seem to agree that the value of each buckle ranges from nothing to no more than $10.

In order to provide a cursory look at some of the currently available resources on the Internet, many of them on the web sites of the companies that allegedly had them made, the following list is a good place to begin:

Firsthand Resources:

  • Tiffany & Co. - When these bogus buckles first appeared, with the vast majority of them bearing the Tiffany logo, even Tiffany & Co. wasn't sure if they had made them (at least not at first). Unfortunately, a fire had destroyed many of Tiffany's records many, many years ago and; therefore, it was difficult to ascertain if they had indeed made these buckles. Based upon the significant evidence that has since surfaced, Tiffany & Co. now admit that they never made these bogus buckles. A visit to Tiffany's web site is absolutely essential for those those that require "proof" these buckles were not made by this famous firm.
  • Coca-Cola - With several bogus buckles, many of them featuring nude women, it's surprising to find that, even now, many Coca-Cola collectors still scramble for these fake items. This link, found on the Coca-Cola web site - mentions these buckles (mentioned near the bottom of the page). Remember, just because they have the word "Coca-Cola" prominently displayed on them, doesn't make these buckles the "real thing!"
  • Wells Fargo - A very large percentage of all of the bogus buckles pertain to Wells Fargo and Company. The only problem is, Wells Fargo never made ANY of them. In fact, the first and only Wells Fargo Brass Buckle was made in the 1970's. That buckle was not, by the way, produced by Tiffany. Examine the Wells Fargo web site now for further information (note, question number 9).

Historical Societies, Museums, and Non-profit Agencies

Commercial/Professional Antique Resources

  • Collecting Channel - Mentions the "Hopalong Cassidy" buckle that appears far too often on eBay. Again, this reference is near the bottom of the page.
  • Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine, "Ask Mark Parker"
    • "Pen Pals" (December 2001) The paragraph at the top displays the bogus "San Quentin Death Row" buckle. One of the numerous "Anson Mills" buckles found for sale on the Internet.
    • "It's Impossi-bull" (August 1999) - This brief article discusses one of the most widely copied of all the bogus buckles - Chief Sitting Bull. Not only was the design of this buckle attributed to the famous artist, Frederic Remington (who did NOT design it), but another famous name is frequently associated with it - Buffalo Bill. Mr. Parker wisely suggests using this worthless bogus buckle as a paperweight.

Web Sites of Honest Collectors and Merchants

  • Luv2Bid - An Internet online auction company provides an article on Tiffany "Bronze" Belt Buckles. Interestingly, Luv2Bid displays some of the cheaply made imitations of the "original" bogus buckles that are also very prevalent. Come on eBay, it's about time that YOU started exposing these fakes for what they are too!
  • Snyder's Treasures: Premium Militiaria Collectibles - Mr. Snyder provides a brief account of these buckles on his site and features several buckles that he has for sale. It is notable that when he sells items on eBay, he mentions that these buckles are not as old as they appear.

News Articles

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - "Cash pours in for comic pitcher" (November 23, 2003) - note the last question near the bottom of the page regarding the infamous "Lincoln buckle" that was allegedly made from Civil War canons!
  • San Francisco Newsgroup post concerning the "Committee of Vigilance of San Francisco" buckle.

Books and Other Printed Matter Not Available on the Internet

Coming soon.

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Site Established on December 3, 2004
Last revised: 2/18/12