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A recent acquisition to my automobile watch fob collection provides a good example of how to avoid getting stung buying fake/repro watch fobs.  This one in particular is quite prevalent on the internet.  Quite often it is advertised as "rare" "Genuine" "Authentic" "came from an old collection" and even sometimes "guaranteed genuine."  After waiting patiently for several years I was finally able to acquire a genuine example.


You can search for yourself and you'll probably see over half dozen of these Willys Knight fobs listed on evil-bay on any day of the week.  I just checked and 8 of them are listed.  The highest priced one is $125.00.  The one shown in the first photo below is described as "Authentic Antique" and has a "buy-it-now" price of $49.99 (or make offer).  It looks like the Knight suffers from a case of the Mumps and has a runny nose!    Therein lies the clue - look at the facial features on them and you'll clearly see a big difference in the quality of the image.  The recently acquired original example is shown in the second photo.  The Knight on the reproduction fob looks like it was drawn by an amateur cartoonist!  


Probably the best way to identify a genuine fob is to look at the back of it.  The vast majority of originals were produced by one of over two dozen manufacturers who always proudly marked their items with corporate logos.  In this case, originals were produced by Bastian Bros. Rochester, NY.  


Fobs marked "GEO" or "Metal Arts Co." are all reproduction items however.  They were produced much later as novelty items.  Many of today's reproduction/fake items are made overseas.  The last two photos are an example of one of these Willys Knight fobs made in Japan.  In this case it looks like the Knight needs to arrange to have his bite surgically addressed!   It still retains the easily removed sticker indicating country of origin.  It's too easy for some unscrupulous individual to remove these stickers and try and pass them off as originals. 


If you collect watch fobs - be careful out there!  If you have any questions about items in your own collection, or a potential purchase best bet is to post something and let a few of the more experienced collectors offer their thoughts.


Happy collecting,


Willys Knight repro fob described as autnentic antique.jpg

Willys-Knight original.jpg

Bastian Bros logo sample.jpg

Willys Knight repro fob Made In Japan sticker.jpg

Willys Knight repro fob Made In Japan sticker back side of fob.jpg

Edited by Terry Bond (see edit history)
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Very interesting, Terry, and now since you've discussed WK fobs, I'll give short lesson on Pierce Arrow fobs.


Basically, most Pierce fobs you see, an arrow point with the logo, are fake.  Real ones are out there, but not very common.


First clue to identifying a fake is no maker's mark on the back, the second is the size of the logo, although some fakes may have the correct size.


Note pictures below. 


The fob on the left is a fake, no maker's mark and wrong size logo.  You can see the "shadow" of a maker's mark, when the casting for the fake was done.


The fob in the middle is real, with maker's mark (and as an added bonus the silk ribbon).


The fob on the right is also real, having been given away by a large Pierce dealership and so marked.  Fobs with dealer names are the hardest to find.


As an aside, most Pierce faced pocket watches are fake.  Early in my Pierce memorabilia collecting I fell prey to a few pocket watches, paying good money, but now know they are almost all fake, a regular pocket watch with a newer Pierce face added.  Some of that may have happened as early as the 1960s, so a little aging has taken place, but still fake.

fob 1 - Copy.jpg

fob 2.jpg

Edited by trimacar (see edit history)
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Thanks Terry, this thread helped me identify a Willys Knight piece I've had for awhile. Unfortunately it is one of the fakes but this one had been dressed up by carefully grinding away the fob attachment on top and soldering an old looking mounting stud on the back. This will now go on the "for sale" pile. I've borrowed your photo of the real one for an expose post on the emblem collector facebook group.


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Thanks for helping spread the word. There are others out there too.  The Haynes and Tourist fobs are a big problem also.


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  • 1 year later...
1 hour ago, josephsheppe said:

I'd like to know if the fobs marked on the back "A Classic Issue" are fakes as well. Sounds like it!


Yes, those were reproductions.  A number of different fobs were produced and marked like that.  Some were fantasy items that never existed previously.  They are strictly novelty items and should be valued accordingly.


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  • 1 month later...

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