Rating The Items


The following table is a listing of how 4-F items are rated. We have broken down the problematic items into 6 very distinct categories. We have then given descriptions and tell-tale signs for these items.

As is often the case, an item can exhibit characteristics that are applicable in multiple categories. But, for simplicity sake, we have taken the most prominent problem of the item, and then classified it with the appropriate rating.


LEGEND
These items are fabrications intentionally designed to make a profit by deceiving the buyer. They are produced to look identical to authentic specimens. These are the "worst of the worst" and are a terrible blight. These items should be tracked to the source and proper authorities notified.
These items are usually items that were made for the Centennial Anniversary of the Civil War. As they are now 40 years old, many look to have great patinas, aging, etc. Also, a lot of these items are made for the re-enactor and Living History groups. Many of them then fall into the hands of the uneducated as well as unethical people, and are then subsequently sold as authentic specimens. Beware.
These specimens are most definitely original, authentic items. But these items have one slight problem. IDENTIFICATION. They are not of the period, extraction or origin in which they are being sold/represented. Most often this is done through lack of knowledge. But is frequently facilitated with malicious intent. Do your homework and save yourself some problems here.
Maybe a more appropriate name for items in this category are "Witch Doctors". Items here take many forms and a lot of voodoo occurs. These items, whether old or not, are physically modified, altered, adulterated, etc to appear as something they are not. Often, new parts are added to make an item complete. Or maybe a bit of re-stamping or engraving. Some call this "seller fornication", if you will. Also, many items can have fraudulent documentation and provenance to accompany these pieces to make them more "palatable". Be very aware of this "smoke and mirrors" approach.
These little gems simply never existed. They are a product of somebody's distorted imagination. These have absolutely NO historical relevance or value. Amongst the bottom of the barrel.
We will place items in this category if they do not have any supporting provenance or do not meet criteria for known specimens. These items definitely tend to raise eyebrows among the collecting community.




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