David Maloney posted this recently on Reel Talk and I thought it deserved the widest possible audience because it's a very important subject. Knowing what to look for when it comes to forgeries is the key.
by David Maloney
Here's where a small segment of the fake reel problem begins (For example, the Meisselbach Featherweight). Check out these two fine gentlemen from India. It turned into quite a cyber challenge, but I found 'em.
Indian Reproduction Reel Merchant #1
Indian Reproduction Reel Merchant #2
These reels, as we all know, have been around for a while on the auction sites. They usually have their brass knobs completely removed, or replaced by an antiqued wooden knob that has been through a tumbler, not unlike the method used on bogus "Mikko" fish decoys.
Here lately, it seems that a few of the charlatans from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have begun to ratchet their trickery up a notch, from their decade old practice of cloning Moscrops. I came across a wooden Nottingham type reel the other day that was a reasonable facsimile, at least to my eyes, un-reel!
I realize these foundry, and stamping facilities owners are just trying to put food on the table like everyone else, but surely they know good and well where these reels are going, and what some people are doing with them. Disguising their wares behind such terms as antique imitations, brass handicrafts, and decorative artifacts, just to cover their rears, is almost laughable.
That being said, it's nearly as much fault of the hucksters at antique fairs and swap meets peddling boxes of this junk out of their car trunks. The worst culprits to me, however, are the few ever present folks who act all dumb and innocent when they falsely describe this trash on the auction sites, adjacent to their intentionally blurred photos. It's the future of our hobby that's going to suffer, alongside the new collectors who unknowingly waste their hard earned money.
I know these counterfeits won't directly effect any of us much, if at all, but if we don't get a handle on this, the general public is going to stay away from our hobby by the boat loads out of fear of buying a fake reel. The authentic minnow traps, fish/duck decoys, and small Winchester collectors have all been hit hard, and aren't worth what they could be, or should be, because of this. Where does it end? Reel patents expire, and there's usually no trademarks infringed upon, so I suppose the only way to keep this menace at bay is though education, and exposing this "fishy" tackle for what it is, as soon as it hits the market. To quote the steadfast Barney Fife "You've got to nip it in the bud!...Nip it!".
What's next?.....BAMBOOzling the rod collectors!
There, wasn't that a happy little story.....Sheesh!
Many thanks to David for putting the pieces together. I'd seen these fakes but to know where they come from now, and the lengths makers are going to fabricate them, is amazing. So keep a watch out people!
-- Dr. Todd