Fakes & Reproductions

Click thumbnails for enlargements.

Car badge collectors need to be aware there are unscrupulous people who reproduce, or fake, some of the scarcer, rare badges and pass them off as the genuine article. As the hobby of collecting car badges has become more popular and prices risen as a result, the incentive for such fraudsters has become greater and hence more of these badges are becoming available in the market place. In a few cases the person responsible for reproducing a badge will clearly state when selling that the badge is a reproduction, but this caution is not necessarily passed on to any subsequent buyer, who may be duped into believing the example is a genuine car badge.

This page is devoted to informing collectors of this activity in the hope that genuine collectors will be aware of the practice and take care when being offered the rarer badges by unscrupulous sellers. Some examples of the fakes are given below but this is by no means an exhaustive list and buyers should take care.

The Queensland Motorists' Association badge is one of the most commonly reproduced badges due to it being a relatively simple and crude casting. Original badges were cast in brass and have been reproduced in both brass and aluminium. The recent aluminium versions have been offered for sale on internet sites clearly stating that they are reproductions. However, this is a good example where a subsequent buyer may not be informed of this and buy in good faith what is believed to be an original badge. Original badges were never issued in aluminium. The badge shown is original.

The 1978 commemorative reproduction of the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia's first badge has in itself been the subject of reproduction! This is a genuine example shown here and the reproductions are in fact finished in more detail than the official issue. 




The Gympie Automobile Club badge is another simple casting however an alloy was used which is difficult to replicate. It is known that at least one replica has been produced using metal from a motor mower engine in an attempt to duplicate the original. The badge shown is original.




The author has come across a few crude fakes of the Automobile Association of Queensland badge, one of which is shown here. These are relatively easy to pick as they are roughly cast in brass, the centres of the letters 'A' are filled in, not open and the number is stamped in an oversize typeface. The left hand badge is genuine and the right the fake.



Because of its extreme rarity the Australian Volunteer Automobile Corps car badge has been the subject of numerous attempts at reproduction. These fakes often turn up at swap meets and are easily identified by the crude castings, although there are also some good quality castings which have been made. Anyone who has handled a genuine badge of this organisation, whether car, lapel or collar, must admire the fine workmanship used in their creation. Anyone being offered one of these car badges is invited to contact the author, who will assist in assessing its merit, based on his own badge and in particular the details on the back of the badge. The example below is a good quality reproduction of the badge.





The first issue of 40 RACQ Honoury Life Member badges were numbered 1 - 40 and the RACQ maintains a register of the recipients of this series. A small number of blanks were subsequently obtained from the maker and finished off. These were then given or sold to collectors who fully understood their origin as not being genuine awards. Subsequently several of these have been passed off as genuinely awarded badges at high prices. As the style of numbering on the back is quite distinctive, anyone being offered an Honour Badge is invited to send a photo of the rear of the badge to the author who will compare the number style with his original (pictured). Also, a number of original badges have been returned to the RACQ by recipients or their families and the numbers of these are known to the author.

NRMA Honour badges have been the subject of reproduction in recent years. Laurel wreaths have been cast from genuine badges and a rather crude enamel section made for the lower section. These are easy to pick as the Fasces (horizontal yellow and red section) lacks the detail of the birch rods as horizontal lines; the colour is a reddish-brown rather than the golden yellow used in genuine badges, and the red bindings are crude 'X's compared to the curved flow those on genuine examples. Also, the lettering 'Honour Badge' is larger and, on a more technical note, the blue enamel is a modern lead-free material which was unavailable when the genuine badges were issued. A close examination of the images below will quickly identify these differences.  (click thumbnails).





Motor Users' Association badges have been the subject of reproduction. Some crude castings have been made, one of which came into the author's hands some years ago and these are capable of being enamelled to resemble the originals. All original badges of this organisation are hollow whereas the reproductions are solid. A comparison of the two images below clearly shows the fake.


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