Reproduction Signs old signs blog

Many Ways to determine if a Porcelain Sign is Vintage, Old, Real Sign & Antique, or a Reproduction Porcelain Signs

First of all this topic is getting very murky & difficult to determine if a porcelain sign is a real sign, a reproduction, a fantasy, or a vintage old sign. Experience helps however even some experienced people are getting fooled from the deception. Reproduction from India and other places have become very good and with the help of some American thieves, eBay, the internet, they have become unstoppable. There are ways to tell the differences however viewing photographs makes if difficult to discern. educate yourself with originals “SEE SOME ORIGINALS”.

Putting the original next to the Reproduction Porcelain Signs makes it easier especially for the professional or expert. There are many sellers on eBay from India selling these repo’s meant to deceive & that should be the first red flag. Many of these thieves will have multiple signs listed with great advertising, ie: Sinclair Air Craft Gas, Chevrolet Super Service, etc. This is another red flag. Also, these thieves have connected with some American thieves who will push their products here on home soil. You need to look for the same things as stated above. Also from the seller’s feedback, and communication, guarantee you can tell a lot.. “ORIGINAL SIGNS”

Reproduction Porcelain Signs, Fantasy, Vs. old, Real sign – porcelain signs

If you are fortunate enough to have the signs side by side, you can see the difference in the porcelain. Other factors are mounting hole placements, detail of graphics, colors of porcelain, the back sign, size of sign. Then to make things even more confusing, different American sign makers made these signs different from each other. A sign maker from Ohio making a Ford sign, may be slightly different than sign maker from Chicago, or Minnesota etc.  Many of these sign makers put there name at the bottom of the sign, however the thieves have started doing this also. These thieves have adapted & evolved in their craft, making these Reproduction Porcelain Signs & differences are hard to tell. With that said, there will always be some differences and a true expert should be able to tell them apart.

Fake & Rip-off sellers on the internet & eBay

First of all eBay is full of these scammers trying to sell repos & fantasy signs as original. The best way to fiqure these people out are look at what country they are selling from. Furthermore look at their items for sale and past auctions to see what they have sold. Also you can get a good idea of current and past sales if they handle these reproduction signs . If you do a google search there are all kinds of legitimate business’s who use the keyword “vintage signs“. They use these term very loosely and do not have one single “vintage item”.

These legitimate seller do have “vintage style” signs however they are not old, collectible or antique as they say. Most are fantasy with some reproductions. They are many of these companies with names like Retroplanet, A Simpler Time, Pinetorest, Etsy, & the biggest culprit, eBay. eBay continues to ignore people reporting these fraudulent sellers & appears to be worried about their bottom line only. With all the other fields of collecting and their restrictions, vintage & old signs are completely unrestricted by the government. Sporting goods and many other fields of collection have had restrictions put into place by laws and our government..

Real Signs, Fakes, Reproduction Porcelain Signs

If you’re venturing into the porcelain sign world and would like to start collecting, there are a few things you should know before doing so. Porcelain sign reproductions are great if you would like to own a specific sign without having to pay top dollar.  In the porcelain sign world Musco, Clipper, and Kelly Tires, just to name a few, are considered the “Holy Grails” of porcelain signs with prices that can range up to $50,000.  Not everyone has that kind of money to throw down on one sign, so an alternative would be reproductions.

How To Tell If  old porcelain signs is Authentic

However, if you want to collect the authentic and stay away from the fake porcelain signs, then there are many details you should know before starting your journey.  Telling the difference between an authentic porcelain sign and a reproduction takes practice, but it can be done.  There are several different ways to tell what’s real and what’s fake.  Most Reproduction Porcelain Signs are marked as such and are never meant to deceive.  Be that as it may, there are those who may sell them for the high prices they don’t deserve, which is why you must be prepared before advancing into this hobby.  Don’t forget to browse our site.  We have thousands of authentic signs listed in our image gallery.

The placement of the mounting holes is just one of the ways to determine if the sign you’re looking at is real or fake.  Some companies only made one sign with one specific design.  If that sign has eight mounting holes and the sign you’re handling has six, that’s a red flag for it being a reproduction. In the same scenario, if you see a sign that is a completely different style than what you’re familiar with, most likely it’s a fake.  In other words, if the company only produced an Oval sign and you’re inspecting a die-cut, that’s also a red flag.


Real Signs, Fakes, and Reproductions

Real Signs, Fakes, and Reproduction Porcelain Signs

Grommets were also used by many companies and were made from materials that could resist rust and therefore placed inside the mounting holes. This was done to protect the corners of the sign.  Many reproductions also have grommets in place.  An easy way to tell if the current sign you’re looking at, which has grommets, is real. If rust appears under the grommet and if the grommet itself is in a shape that looks as though it has been used and hung many times. Use your judgment on these.  if the grommet looks new and as though it has never been used then that’s a red flag for a reproduction.

Never get too comfortable & do your homework on Reproduction Porcelain Signs

One factor of determining whether or not the porcelain sign is real is the way the porcelain is laid out or the general quality of the sign. This method involves a thorough inspection of the sign. When these signs were produced, companies enlisted the help of professional porcelain enamel sign makers to construct and paint their soon to be symbols of advertising.  The layout of the porcelain enamel shows the difference between a legitimate sign and an imitation.  Remember, the original authentic porcelain signs were created by professionals.

That being said, the signs were perfect.  The lettering was straight with absolutely no wavy appearance; most lettering on a reproduction can be seen as curvy and cartoonish.  The layers of porcelain can also show if the sign is a counterfeit. On the original porcelain signs the first layer applied was the white enamel.  Any other colors were layered on top of that.  If you come across a sign where the paint is flush, odds are, it could be a fake. Alsi another way  to tell is by running your finger across the colors of porcelain. Hence, if you feel the difference in heights (called relief) of the colors, most likely, it’s a real sign.

Real Signs, Fakes, and Reproductions

Real Sign, Fakes, and Reproductions

Stamps play a big role in determining the status of a porcelain sign is real or just a copy.  Many of these stamps provide us with the date the sign was registered or the company that created it. Some reproductions have been known to slightly modify these stamps.  For example, where the stamp states REG., some reproductions change it to RED. Also keep in mind that not all signs were stamped by the maker. It will force you to determine if the sign is fake another way.  Looking closely at these details will help you decide on if a sign is real. Don’t be intimidated, take your time, focus on these points, and they will help you build your collection.

Never get too comfortable & do your homework

Fake porcelain signs are sold everywhere.  Yes, you are more likely to find fakes on ebay, craigslist, and flea markets.  But those are not the only places we see them.  It is not unusual to see an “old-time” collection that is 90% authentic and 10% reproductions.  Don’t assume that just because a sign is surrounded by originals that there couldn’t also be a fake in there.  Definitely don’t assume that because the asking price is high that the sign most be genuine.  When examining a sign to determine if it is authentic, take out all of the other variables and just look at the sign.If it takes you more than a a minute or two to decide if it is genuine, then it probably isn’t.  Don’t ignore the warning signs.

Here are some links to authentic real sign

Vintage Metal & Tin painted signs,….. Roadrelics sitemap,….. My Vintage Sign collection, …..Vintage Neon & Advertising Clocks,……Porcelain Vintage Old Signs,……OLD Signs & Displays


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