Fakes, reproductions, replicas,
an investigative report, by Harry Ridgeway

Fakes, reproductions, replicas,
an investigative report, by Harry Ridgeway

I will not attempt to document every fake that I see, there are simply too many to do that. This is an evolving data base, as I find fakes, reproductions and fantasies, I will publish them.

How do you protect yourself against fakes? There are three things that you must do:

1. Learn as much about the relics as you can before you invest. The first thing you should always buy is the appropriate reference book. Not every piece is in the book but if important details are missing, ask an expert.

2. Always buy from people who will guarantee their relics and have the knowledge to do so.

3. Learn as much about the relics as you can before you invest. Seriously, I know I already said this but you can't know too much.


This is an investigative report or "blog" dealing with Civil War fakes, reproductions and replicas. Items are listed on this page because the possibility has been raised that an item may be a fake, reproduction, or replica of a Civil War piece. I cannot guarantee that any of these items are fakes, reproductions, or replicas, nor can I guarantee that any of these items are real. No warranties or representations whatsoever are made about the correctness, accuracy or completeness of any of the information expressed on this page. This page is provided at no cost to any of the readers, I finance 100% of the cost of this page, no advertising is accepted, no fees for use are charged, this is done as a public service to the Civil War collector. Owners or prospective buyers will have to make their own judgments about the information presented. I reserve the right to disclose the source of my information, and I reserve the right to withhold disclosure, such disclosure is entirely at my discretion. I make no restrictions as to the use of this information, feel free to download pictures, print the page, or reference any of the information shown. All information shown is considered to be an opinion only, the readers will have to reach their own conclusions. Owners of these items or similar items may disagree with the information presented, or conclusions proposed. If anybody wishes to re-butt, add to, or refute any of the findings on this page, send me your comments in writing, I will publish your comments or arguments, reserving the right to remove profanity, inflammatory language, accusations, irrelevant comments, or other language deemed inappropriate, at my sole discretion. Any information obtained may be used. As more information is obtained, it will be added to this page.


Authentic Civil War item, means an item manufactured before the conclusion of the Civil War or under military contract in progress at the end of the Civil War. The Civil War is generally considered to have ended with Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865, however many military contracts continued for a short period thereafter and some items were produced for events associated with the winding down of the Civil War such as the grand review in Washington that followed the surrender. The emphasis is on manufacture, many of the goods produced were used in later campaigns or sold as surplus military goods well after the Civil War.

Veteran items means original items produced for veterans use, reunions, or other veteran gatherings after the end of the Civil War. Examples are GAR or SCV memorabilia.

Reproduction or replica, means an item produced after the Civil War intended to be used as a souvenir or other substitute for a similar item previously produced during the Civil War. The most common use of reproductions are items made for re-enactors, living historians, or battlefield souvenirs.

Fantasy piece, means an artistic piece made after the Civil War, no such example ever existed during the Civil War.

Fake items are forgeries of any kind sold or claimed to be authentic to the Civil War for items not actually produced during the Civil War. The most common forgeries are re-enactor reproduction items altered to appear to be aged, but some items are made solely to defraud the Civil War collector.

Feel free to access and browse the information contained on this page and the pages that follow. By accessing the detailed pages you expressly agree that you have read and accept the terms of the disclaimer fully explained above.

It is the responsibility of the owner or seller of an item to show that an item is authentic. An item can be shown to be authentic by comparison against authoritative literature, comparison against other known authentic items, experience in dealing with similar items, opinions of experts who are knowledgeable, etc. If all reliable sources are exhausted, and a piece cannot be shown to be authentic, then it is reasonable to assume that it is not authentic. You do not have to prove that a doubtful piece is a fake, reproduction, replica, or fantasy. Failure to show that it is authentic is sufficient evidence to conclude that it is not authentic.

The purpose of this blog is to eventually catalog as many of the fakes, reproductions, replicas, and fantasies as possible. To this end I hope to improve your odds of avoiding a fake. However there is no way that all of the fakes will ever be fully cataloged in this or any other blog and certainly at this point, this work is the mere tip of the iceberg, only a very small percentage of the fakes are cataloged so far. So it needs to be understood that there are many, many fakes, reproductions, replicas, and fantasies that are not included in this report.

Confederate buckles, click here, many more,

Federal Buckles, click here, many more

Buttons, click here there are more of them

Artillery, click here for more

Confederate canteens, various metal and wood canteens

Weapons, click here

Personal and identified relics


There is much more. Truthfully I simply cannot keep up with it. This is a significant update, but I have more unprocessed pictures now than even before, there is no way to catch up. I just hope to try to publish some of the more sensitive of them. I really don't have time or energy to chase these fakes, Gary Williams thinks people want to collect his fakes, some do but those guys need to get a life.

Click here for discussion of fakes sold by ebay

Links to related sites, even more fakes exposed on these sites:

The Dogpile, Olin Shotwell
Civil War Fakes by Gary Williams

[Return to Fakes main page]

[Return to relicman main page, (real stuff), enough of these fakes!]