Fakes & Reproductions
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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
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
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.
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.
Text and photographs on this page are