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


Fakes, reproductions, replicas,
Sword belt plate, Regulation 1851, Federal plates 603 to 666

Disclaimer:  by clicking onto this page you are expressly accepting the terms of the disclaimer explained fully on the fakes main page.



Plate 604, eagle facing left
Early pattern with eagle facing left, almost all other patterns have the eagle facing right.  Original of this plate was made in parts, the eagle was applied onto a plain stock, the silver wreath was secured through the back with wire, a frame was then fitted around this contraption, it was a complex design. 

F1075     Eagle sword plate, eagle facing left, manufactured by Hanover Brass
 
"This variant Eagle buckle was cast from an original by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass Foundry. This is as close to the original as you will get: the age look, the detail. It is marked with GW. A beautiful belt plate to wear or display. Solid brass cast in yellow brass from the original buckle. Look at the depth of the artwork and the fine detail. What a beautiful Eagle! Wearable or Collectible."

Source:  ebay auction by jaglady00 3/14/06 "1852-1855 Eagle Sword Belt Buckle Plate Applied Nickel Silver Wreath Item number: 6612256034"

Editor note: "jaglady00" is Hanover Brass, items sold as reproductions.   

Apparently this was copied from an original without the wreath, then a repro wreath applied.  The wreath is distinctive and is used on several different patterns of Hanover Brass sword plates where they are cast without a wreath and then apply the wreath.  The two berries on the tip on the left side can be used as a quick reference


F1159      Eagle sword plate, eagle facing left
 
"AUCTION IS FOR A M1851 EAGLE US SWORD BELT PLATE. PLATE IS A NON-DUG PLATE, STILL HAS WREATH ATTACHED AND LOOP ON BACK, VERY NICE SHAPE ON THIS BUCKLE. BEAUTIFUL CHOCOLATE PATINA, MEASURES @ 54MM X 83MM, 100% GUARANTEED AUTHENTIC FOR LIFE OR YOUR MONEY BACK, GUARANTEED. PLEASE EMAIL WITH ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS, US SHIPPING WILL BE $6.00"

Source: ebay auction by vintage_comics_and_collectibles 8/1/06 "M1851 NCO EAGLE US SWORD BELT PLATE CIVIL WAR NON-DUG Item number: 250012134121"

Editor note:  This seller sells on ebay auction under "Private Auction"It is highly doubtful this piece can be shown to be authentic.  

This appears to be the Hanover Brass pattern with the silver wreath applied and this has the Hanover Brass tongue.


Plate 618 
Original was cast brass, integral eagle motif and tongue.  Nickel silver wreath applied in three sections


F1219    Officers Sword Belt, manufactured by Hanover Brass
F1219.jpg (43763 bytes) F1219B.jpg (34498 bytes) F1219C.jpg (12284 bytes) F1219D.jpg (9678 bytes) 
Plate measures 49.8mm to 50.3mm (not square) X 82.6mm

Plate was submitted by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass with the following comment:
"Some were made with a very poor grade of silver wreath that usually did not last.  Dug examples wreath is gone.  A few were made with stamped nickel silver and they usually last and are seen on most of these buckles.  Cut line applies to this buckle also.  The main thing to look for is the wreath tip above the wings.  These tips are not reproduced and can be used as a reference.  Look at the original, then my buckle, also the hook is different.  Very close and needs a lot of study."

Editor note:  Hanover Brass does not cast the wreaths, they use a stock wreath from another supplier and the wreath is one style fits all.  So they use a whole wreath below the wing, and cut the tips off another and apply above the wing.  The original employed a custom wreath different from this, the wreath was actually cut below the wing and will show a straight edge, as noted in the book, but which is different from this wreath.  The buckle also is slightly smaller than the original.  The wreath is not going to be present on most dug examples, so you have to go by other clues beyond the wreath to authenticate.  A good many dug and authentic examples are showing up with repro wreaths.  So you have fakes in which the wreath has been removed, and authentic pieces which have had the wreath added.  GW is right, this one is tough to work to say the least.


F1070      Officers Sword Belt, manufactured by Hanover Brass
 
"This 1851 eagle buckle was cast from an original from his collection by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass. This is as close to the original as you will get. It is marked with GW. A beautiful belt plate to wear or display. Solid yellow brass with applied nickle silver wreath. If you want a belt buckle that looks like the real thing, this is it. This Eagle buckle is marked and sold as a reproduction even though it definitely looks original. BEAUTIFUL Work of Art. original measurment 51 x 87mm. my reproduction is 2mm smaller."

Source: ebay auction by jaglady00 3/12/06 "1851 Civil War Eagle Officers Sword Belt Buckle Plate Applied 3-Piece Nickel Silver Wreath Item number: 6611625538"

Editor note: "jaglady00" is Hanover Brass, items sold as reproductions.


F1343      Federal Sword plate Plate 618)
 
Plate measures 49.6mm to 49.9mm (44.0 inside) X 81.3mm
Plate is cast, wreath is integral 

The owner of this buckle died, the estate executor submitted this for evaluation.  It was a small collection, most of the expensive buckles were fakes, most of the cheap ones (US buckles and breast plates) were real.  I am certain this collector thought they were all real.  Unfortunately he has taken information as to the sourcing to his grave.  Not sure who aged this plate but the file marks on the back were apparently intended to remove the marks in Hanover Brass casting.  See Photo ESBP19 for an example from the foundry before this alteration.  I am a critic of GW, but it does appear that the alternation on this plate was likely done after it left Hanover Brass Foundry.


Gary Williams explanation, (civilwarfakes.com Photo # ESBP19) 

Plate 617 (solid Brass) 1851 Eagle Officers Sword Belt Plate 50 x 83mm always 1 to 2mm's smaller than original. Cast solid brass from original to use as a master pattern. Correct style wreath tips above the wings. GW stamped into the back. Original had the applied nickle silver wreath.

Editor note,  Minor point, this is labeled as plate 617, but that is an entirely different design.  This appears to actually be plate 618 but with an integral wreath, and matches item F1343 above which was faked.  Items F1219 and F1070 are the same plate but with the wreath cut and applied.  By making this copy of a plate with the original wreath, the wreath design is correct but integral cast when it should otherwise be applied


Plate 622 
Original was cast brass, integral eagle motif and tongue.  Nickel silver wreath applied in three sections


F1077      Eagle sword plate, manufactured by Hanover Brass
   
"This 1862 eagle buckle was cast from an original from his collection by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass. This is as close to the original as you will get. It is marked with GW. A beautiful belt plate to wear or display. Solid yellow brass with applied nickle silver wreath. If you want a belt buckle that looks like the real thing, this is it. This Eagle buckle is marked and sold as a reproduction even though it definitely looks original. Especially want you to notice the stars in the shield of this eagle. BEAUTIFUL Work of Art. original measurment 53 x 87mm my reproduction is 2mm smaller"

Source: ebay auction by jaglady00 3/27/06 "1862 Civil War Eagle Officers Sword Belt Buckle Plate Applied 3-Piece Nickel Silver Wreath Item number: 6616034941"

Editor note: "jaglady00" is Hanover Brass, items sold as reproductions.


F1179       Eagle sword plate
 
"At auction is an original dug federal officer's belt plate in fine condition. Dug on private property in Knoxville, Tennessee. Silver wreath has long since disappeared. Beautiful brown patina. Authentic belt plate from the Civil War. A great addition to your collection. Please email me with any questions before you bid.  ISALEFORYOU is a consignment business bringing our customer's antiques to the internet. Please check back often!"

Source: ebay auction by isaleforyou, 7/19/06, Original US Federal Dug Officer's Belt Plate Knoxville Item number: 200006893814

Editor note:  This seller sells on ebay auction under "Private Auction" It is highly doubtful this piece can be shown to be authentic.


F1451      Federal sword plate  

Plate is very small and thin, yet exhibits sharp detail. 
Buckle measures:  49.3mm x 79.2mm

Plate was bought by a reputable dealer from a seller who claimed it was found at "Antietam".  Although the manufacturing source of this plate is yet to be determined, the consensus of most experts is that this plate is fake, primarily because of its thinness and smallness. 


Plate 625 
Original is crude casting, silver wreath applied as a single piece stopping at the wing. 


F1073      Eagle sword plate, enlisted, manufactured by Hanover Brass
 
"This variant Eagle buckle was cast from an original by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass Foundry. This is as close to the original as you will get: the age look, the detail . It is marked with GW. A beautiful belt plate to wear or display. Solid brass cast in yellow brass from the original buckle. Look at the depth of the artwork and the fine detail. What a beautiful Eagle! This is a first time listing for this plate."

Source, ebay auction by jaglady00 3/12/06 "1862-1863 Eagle Sword Belt Buckle Plate Item number: 6611627797"

Editor note: "jaglady00" is Hanover Brass, items sold as reproductions.   

This appears to be a different wreath that that used on the other buckles produced by Hanover Brass.  The wreath is silver in appearance, but may be a cast in wreath silver plated.  If true, this means this "repro" is even more accurate than the examples shown on civilwarfakes.com.  So why are more accurate and more unmarked fakes being produced?  Most collectors are trying to stop the tide of fakes, but obviously Hanover Brass has a different agenda.


Plate 638  
Original is cast, motif (both eagle and wreath) was thin die cast and fitted to brass back plate, applied tongue is medium width, back had fancy scroll etched into the back, plate was offered for sale  from the Schuyler 1864 catalog.


F1069      Sword belt plate, Regulation 1851, scroll back, manufactured by Hanover Brass

"This 1861-1863 eagle buckle was cast from an original from his collection by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass. This is as close to the original as you will get. It is marked with GW. A beautiful belt plate to wear or display. Solid yellow brass . This Eagle buckle is marked and sold as a reproduction even though it definitely looks original. Note the Scroll design back. A beautiful plate to wear or display."

Source: ebay auction by jaglady00 3/12/06 "1861-1863 Eagle Officers Sword Belt Buckle Plate Scroll Design Back Item number: 6611624763"

Editor note: "jaglady00" is Hanover Brass, items sold as reproductions.


F1206      Sword belt plate, Regulation 1851, scroll back
F1206.jpg (65393 bytes) F1206B.jpg (64507 bytes) F1206C.jpg (43247 bytes) F1206D.jpg (48854 bytes) F1206E.jpg (34427 bytes) F1206F.jpg (27035 bytes) F1206G.jpg (43619 bytes)
"At auction is an original dug federal officer's belt plate in fine condition. Dug on private property in Knoxville, Tennessee. Beautiful brown patina. Beautiful swirled pattern on the reverse. Awesome! Authentic belt plate from the Civil War. A great addition to your collection. Please email me with any questions before you bid.

ISALEFORYOU is a consignment business bringing our customer's antiques to the internet. Please check back often!

Shipping & handling to the USA is $8 well packed. I accept money order, personal check, or cashier's check. No Paypal. Insurance is required for $2.50 Ask all of your questions before you buy. Thank you for your patronage."

Source: ebay auction by isaleforyou ( private )10/18/06 "Original US Federal Dug Officer's Belt Plate Knoxville Item number: 200036253213"

Editor note:  This seller sells on ebay auction under "Private Auction" It is highly doubtful this piece can be shown to be authentic.


Plate 658 or 659
Original is finely made plate intended for high officers.  Indeed plate 659 was Grant's plate and is in the Smithsonian.  Original is solid cast, silvering applied on wreath, ribbon and stars, applied tongue is medium width, it is a handsome plate.


F1072      Eagle sword plate, type worn by Grant, manufactured by Hanover Brass
   
"This 1863 eagle buckle was cast from an original from his collection by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass. This is as close to the original as you will get. It is marked with GW. A beautiful belt plate to wear or display. Solid yellow brass . This Eagle buckle is marked and sold as a reproduction even though it definitely looks original. Same type worn by Grant. BEAUTIFUL Work of Art. Original buckle size 52x 82mm. This reproduction is 2 mm smaller than the original and others who copy my pattern can be up to 4mm smaller than the original."

Source:  ebay auction by jaglady00 3/12/06 "1863 Civil War Eagle Officers Sword Belt Buckle Plate type worn by General U.S.Grant Item number: 6611627366"

Editor note: "jaglady00" is Hanover Brass, items sold as reproductions.   


Plates 660 to 662, series of sword plates with rays and symmetrical shield     
Original was cast, applied silver wreath, integral tongue


F1126   Sword belt plate
  
"AUCTION IS FOR A AUTHENTIC DUG CIVIL WAR FEDERAL EAGLE WAIST BUCKLE. SILVER WREATH ON FRONT IS NO LONGER PRESENT, SMALL BIT OF THE LOOP ON BACK IS MISSING, OTHERWISE GREAT SHAPE. NICE DUG PATINA, UNSURE OF WHERE THIS PIECE WAS ACTUALLY DUG. PLEASE EMAIL WITHANY QUESTIONS. US SHIPPING WILL BE $6.00

Source: ebay auction by vintage_comics_and_collectibles 7/6/06 AUTHENTIC DUG CIVIL WAR FEDERAL EAGLE WAIST BUCKLE Item number: 250003250836

Editor note:  This seller sells on ebay auction under "Private Auction" It is highly doubtful this piece can be shown to be authentic.


F1470      Federal sword plate , manufactured by S&S Firearms  

This copy is probably cast off an original.   The wreath is very unusual and thick, and if it remains with this plate will be very easy to tell.  But remember most dug sword plates are missing the wreath and the fakers can easily remover this one as well. 
Buckle measures 52.8mm x 85mm   

Editor note: Plate was obtained directly from S&S Firearms, as a sample of their production to be used in this presentation


Plates 663 to 665 series of sword plates with rays and artistic shield   
Original is cast, integral eagle and tongue, applied nickel-silver wreath.  It is believed to be an enlisted pattern because of the simplified one piece wreath versus three part wreath for officers.


F1220      Sword belt plate manufactured by Hanover Brass
F1220.jpg (46333 bytes) F1220B.jpg (33345 bytes) F1220C.jpg (12834 bytes) F1220D.jpg (13618 bytes) F1220E.jpg (13370 bytes) 
Plate measures 54.6mm (Inside 49.6mm) X 85.6mm

Plate was submitted by Gary Williams with the following comment:
"You should see a cut line on the outside of the left, your left looking at the buckle.  Use your original pictures in the book for reference.  The reproduction wreath is a very good copy but lacks the cut line, 90% of all this type wreath has the cut line.  If you want to be 100% sure original then buy with the cut line in the wreath.  The wreath is always flatter to the buckle.  Hook on my reproduction is different.  Original has a thick base and very different.  My hook is the same thickness from top to bottom.  Original hooks is thick at base and thin at top.  Cast in both red or yellow.  Aged red sometimes looks a mello yellow.  Hole in back is a "chill".  This was the thick part of the casting.  When the metal cools sometimes the shield would crack or not show detail.  A hole behind the high thick point would make a perfect casting.    The wreath is the best defense on this buckle, it is very close."

Editor note:  This is definitely helpful  information, these sword plates are awfully close to right.  I notice that there are marks stamped on this plate, but the marks are very light.


F1074     Sword belt plate manufactured by Hanover Brass
  
"This variant Eagle buckle was cast from an original by Gary Williams, Hanover Brass Foundry. This is as close to the original as you will get: the age look, the detail. It is marked with GW. A beautiful belt plate to wear or display. Solid brass cast using the original buckle as the pattern, cast in red brass. It has an applied nickle-silver wreath. Look at the depth of the artwork and the fine detail. What a beautiful Eagle!"

Source: ebay auction by jaglady00 3/12/06 "1863 NCO Eagle Sword Belt Buckle Plate applied nickle silver wreath Item number: 6611631749"

Editor note: "jaglady00" is Hanover Brass, items sold as reproductions.


F1068        Waist sword belt plate
    
"US Officer Brass Belt Buckle #128 from 1972 I was told. It measures 2'X 3 1/4" and has some wear with tarish. It looks like the same belt buckle from the civil war with eagle and stars. If you have questions or need more photos email."

Source:  ebay auction by 6j7 5/11/06 "US OFFICER BRASS BELT BUCKLE # 128 1972 EAGLE Item number: 6627129400"

Editor Note:  This item was listed in the Indian War category on ebay, I think the seller meant to say "1872"  It is however a Civil War pattern. This is believed to have been made by Ray in Connecticut, in the 1970's or 1980's but that is not confirmed.  It is also believed that the maker reworked the shield on the plate, so it is not a true copy of an original. 


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