Boer War Page 90ss

Anglo-Boer War Fakes - ebay Follies

As a public service, to prevent eager collectors from being duped by unscrupulous antique dealers, we offer our Fake Pages courtesy of our friends on ebay.

Harper Version, Kruger Money Box 1900

Recently what appears to be an "original Harper" money box appeared at an international auction. We offer pictures to let you see and compare.
A Harper Classic: We believe this to be an "original classic" if you will, of the Harper money bank. (John Harper & Co. Ltd. made these banks between 1885 and 1900.)

Evidently so did the bidders; it ended up getting 39 bids and sold for an astronomic $1590 US. Obviously money bank specialists, they believed it to be original to the period.

The colours seem to be - with minor variations - as originally issued: hat: black-bronze, jacket: brown, vest: yellow with black buttons, trousers: blue-green, shoes: black, hair, beard, face, and hands: creamy white, lips: red, pipe stem: black and bowl yellow.

The pipe is also long and thin, and the seller mentioned that it was only wobbly, not movable, making it conform further to the non-mechanical Harper original.

Of special interest is the back inscription to the Westminster Gazette as Harper banks were inscribed, not like the more common versions which bear the name Gazelie.

This bank also has Made in England stamped into the back. This is intriguing since stampings of England only were beginning to be used in the 1890s by ceramic manufactures and Made in England did not come into general use until the 1920s. Is this one of the earliest uses of the Made in England stamp?

Another Harper (two views far left) has no stamp at all...

Bottoms Up: This seems to point out another easy way to tell if yours is a Harper or not.

Harper Gazettes are 18 holers, in a clearly repeatable pattern.

Gazelies are 7 to 9 holers, mostly drilled in random patterns.

Left, three Harper bottoms, followed by Gazelie copies. A full view of the third one is shown below.

Long Lost Brother! Is it a match? It almost looks like our Victorian Gazelie (near right) was made by the same manufacturing concern as the red one on the far left - the same number of holes in the same pattern - not to mention the same apparent design and materials used to make the bank..
And some had no holes at all...
For the Gazelie Crowd: The pictures of the Harper bank are also very helpful to the Gazelie collectors.

On our bank (left) the Made in England can still be read there, though it has clearly been deliberately lost into faintness by some process, probably in the original used to make the mold.

So probably the manufacturer wanted it gone. Perhaps our bank then, was, like so many others, outsourced - make that to India, not China, and in the 1890s, not the 1990s - where labour was far cheaper, even, than that extorted from the much abused, starving British Victorian factory workers.

The condition of the above genuine 1890s Harper bank gives collectors a wonderful comparison to show how paint on metal degrades over 100 years. It shows clearly that there are a lot of Gazelie banks which are every bit as old as this one and were of contemporary Boer War era manufacture.

And hey, they were a better bank; they were far more popular as mechanicals than this stiff old unwanted thing... That's why so many are around. Nothing sells like success...

Unfortunately collectors disagree. They already have the Gazelies; so they queue up for the ultra rare, unpopular banks of the time.

This same crowd would probably pay more for a Hitler bronze than one of Mother Theresa, or the Pope. There's just no accounting for some people's taste...

Another Harper Classic: When a Harper sells for big money at an international auction, others start turning up looking for a big spender.

The one on the left is a recent one put up for auction. Its bottom and back is featured above, and shows no "Made" stamp of any kind on the back, though it clearly says Gazette. Why this glaring discrepancy between supposed original Harpers?

Beautiful isn't it...

Hey, I think I may just visit my banker tomorrow, and arrange for a loan, so the next time...


c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000