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  #1  
Old 21-08-12, 08:01 PM
Brigade Piron's Avatar
Brigade Piron Brigade Piron is offline
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Default Buyer Beware.

I hope this post might be of interest to someone. Information like this can be found on specialist medal forums, but it would be beneficial to spead the message a bit wider.

Recently, I became interested in Chinese military history in general, Kuomintang as well as Korean War. As you might guess, there aren't much in the way of (genuine) Chinese uniforms on the market, yet even a cursory search through epay's listings will show hundreds of Chinese medals, types from the foundation of the Republic of China, through the revolution to the Korean War - with prices ranging from $1 to $100.

Here are the two types (both alleged Korean War) I bought:




Both are fakes, yet both also appear on a reputable Western dealer's website. Fortunately, I only got stung for $1 (after all "who would fake Chinese medals?!") for each of the above, but, again, one is curently listed for $50 with several bids.

I now propose to put foward a simple, yet I hope reasonably fail-safe, guide to verify them, in the hope that people will not get stung quite so easily.

1) Ribbon. Synthetic fibres did exist in the '50s, but were not used in medals. All types with red "shower curtains" like mine above are fakes, yet there are genuine versions with similar odd-squared-red hangars, though in real fabric but these are chiefly 1950s types. Increasingly however, there are more and more medals offered (with identical "gongs") but which have different - frequently more correct - (Soviet/North Korean style) hangars.

To a certain degree, common sense can be used. Would the Kuomintang really use socialistic Red hangars?

2) Enamel. It may be surprising but all Chinese medals - even during the dark days of Japanese invasion and Civil War - had beautiful enamel finishing. Enamel paint (often off-colour) is a sure sign of a fake.

3) Weathering. The above medals should also come with a health warning! I'm informed that the way they are made to look like that cruddy is by burying them in Chicken excrement. Real medals were made with a non-tarnish finish and, though they may get a bit worn over the years, chipped enamel etc. but will never look like quite like that!

4) Design. This test is made more difficult by lack of reference. There aren't any 100% accurate catalogues in any European language, not even in Chinese come to that. Many fakes are fantasy designs, so check before buying on a reputable website/collection if possible. I would particularly recommend the OMSA database (http://www.omsa.org/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=544).

Anyway, I hope this helps.

BP
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  #2  
Old 21-08-12, 09:08 PM
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hi brigade.

know your liking for the korea era but can you show those medals you know are fake

i dont usally buy medals from that era,unless guranteed un or british.,but would like to see a real or fake item for comparasion

regards

philip

Last edited by rockape560; 22-08-12 at 01:52 PM.
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  #3  
Old 22-08-12, 05:20 PM
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Hi Philip,

Certainly. This a North Korean medal, commemorating the "Fatherland Liberation War" from my collection. It is the obvious inspiration for the fake above, yet the Chinese never produced any similar real version.



As for the second medal, there just aren't any real ones that look even remotely like it.

For a direct comparison between a real & a fake, see below. First, here is a real "Liaohsi Medal for the Struggle to Resist the US & Support Korea", a theoretically common (genuine) medal:



...and the fake (as "sold" on a highly reputable dealer's site):



It should be quite evident. The quality of manufacturing, style and aging (+ the hangar) are just odd.

I hope this makes it clearer.

I am reliably informed that, if you go to Dandong on the NK border with China (where these fakes are made), it is possible to pick up a bucket of the above for $1.

BP
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Old 22-08-12, 07:25 PM
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hi bp,

many thanks for that info.it always helps

philip
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Old 25-08-12, 05:32 PM
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And another splendid example of a fake from ebay (10), this time a Kuomintang WW2medal, this time with a more exotic ribbon:



But again, the crap enamel gives it away

BP
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Last edited by Brigade Piron; 25-08-12 at 05:33 PM. Reason: Spelling.
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Old 30-08-12, 08:15 AM
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Here's an original Chinese Korean War medal from my collection:



Notice the enamel, and lack of brown patina...

BP
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Old 23-03-19, 02:01 PM
Cointosser Cointosser is offline
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I know this is an old thread but I came across this medal (see attached imnage) and bought it for 10 on a whim not knowing anything about it other than it probably is Korean.

It does not show the photos of the supposedly original ones in the thread anylonger above.

I presume this one is a fake/repro then or since it is more copper color without the brown it might be real? Also the enamel colors seem different from the fake picture above.
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