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Dedicated to Ending the Tiffany, A.J. Nash, Anson Mills, E. Gaylord Belt Buckle and Button Scam

The Truth about the "Tiffany Studios" Bogus Buckle Scam

During the 1960's, at a time when Americans were recognizing the centennial of the Civil War, a sudden onslaught of belt buckles appeared that seemed to have been made during that tragic period at flea markets, gun shows, swap meets, and the like. These buckles were well-made (at least in their outward appearance), were fun to hold, and they even looked old! Not only that, but they were allegedly made by One of the hundreds of bogus buckles that were made during the 1960's and '70'sthe famous Tiffany & Co., as well as a few others (most notably, E. Gaylord, and Anson Mills). Then, just to add one last touch to ensure sales would remain steady, these buckles started appearing bearing the names of well-known American corporate icons such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Western Union, and many others. To the beginning collector of nostalgic items, these buckles were fascinating. Soon, unsuspecting collectors were spending upwards of $500 or more for these bogus buckles. The awful truth of the matter is, none of these buckles are genuine; in fact, they are not even reproductions - they were designed during the 1960's and '70's to specifically defraud innocent victims into purchasing these fake "antiques."

Unlike today, with the ability to quickly research information on the Internet in search of the truth, new and inexperienced collectors were unable to easily determine how genuine these buckles were (or were not) - for the most part, only experts recognized that these buckles were bogus. This is not to say that people were ripped off due to their own stupidity, rather, these buckles are made with sufficient expertise to appear authentic - even today, unwary collectors still have a difficult time believing This book was published during the 1970's and is a complete fraud. It's filled with examples of the bogus buckles on this site. Its value is WORTHLESS. that these buckles are indeed fakes. This web site is dedicated to stopping the ongoing fraud that continues to this very day. While these buckles are still seen selling for upwards of $1,400 on eBay (and elsewhere), they are, for all practical purposes, absolutely worthless. As paperweights or as items purchased merely for their heuristic value (some collectors like to use the rather pleasant euphemism, "fantasy items," to describe them), they're worth no more than $5 or $10 each. Anything more than that is a rip off. This site; however, will refer to them as simply bogus or fake buckles - there is no reason to hide the fact that these were designed and manufactured for the sole purpose to defraud tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of innocent people.

So, just where did these bogus buckles come from? Well, it appears as if an Englishman, John Fairchild, was behind this scam that was intended to play upon the sentiments of his intended victims - average American collectors who were interested in historical items. Unfortunately, Fairchild was all too successful. When sales of his original "Civil War" buckles started to decline, he (or someone very close to him) apparently came up with another scheme to keep sales up - he started to focus on the "Wild West." In the early 1970's a book, entitled Tiffany & Gaylord: Express & Exhibition Belt Plates suddenly appeared on the scene in an effort to further bolster the scam started by Mr. Fairchild. The book was allegedly copyrighted in 1950 and written by Percy Seibert. The photo of the so-called Percy Seibert is located just above and was taken directly from this book (with a few enhancements, of course)! Soon thereafter, J. Duncan Campbell, a consultant for the Smithsonian Institution and an expert on belt plates and other such items from the period recognized materials he had written in 1963 copied verbatim in good 'ole Percy's bogus book. Mr. Duncan then produced what must be considered the definitive guide on exposing the buckle scam - New Buckles of the Old West. Not only wasn't the book published and copyrighted in 1950 but the publisher New Buckles of the Old West - this book exposed the fraud behind the bogus bucklesnever existed, Percy Seibert plagiarized not only Mr. Campbell's work but also did a great job of creating fake pictures of "historical" documents, and his book was filled with many other horrendous mistakes. Perhaps the most obvious is that his book was allegedly printed in Baltimore (it wasn't) and yet it used English, not American, conventions throughout (most notably spelling). Unfortunately Mr. Campbell's book is long out of print although it is possible to obtain through your local library (most likely through an interlibrary loan). Since that time, many others have come forward with additional concrete evidence to further support Mr. Campbell's work. It is the intent of this web site to document these and other sources to stop the scam that began in the 1960's.

Then, to further confound the large number of amateur hobbyists in the collectibles community, who were finally beginning to suspect that these buckles were indeed fakes, another book appeared mysteriously upon the market - Accoutrement Belt Plates. Unlike the Seibert book, which had already been completely discredited, this new book was presented as some type of catalog, allegedly published by "Tiffany & Co., London, England." The first, obvious, problem with this is the fact that there has never been such a company - the real Tiffany & Co. is the famous American firm based in New York. According to Tiffany's web site, their London store wasn't opened until 1986 and was the one that "initiat[ed] the company's expansion into European markets." Of course, the appearance of Accoutrement Belt Plates preceded that. While a "copyright notice" and an official looking "registration number" were provided in the front of this catalog, there was no mention of any dates or, for that matter, any other verifiable information as to who was really responsible for the printing of it. Again, the only logical explanation that it was created for one, and only one, reason - to bolster sales of these fake buckles. The most interesting aspect of Accoutrements; however, is that like the Seibert book, it was filled with page after page of egregious factual, grammatical, spelling, and other errors - certainly not something one would expect from one of the world's most respected creators of fine jewelry! Perhaps the only redeeming value of Accoutrements is that it has provided a fairly (but not entirely) complete listing of all of the so-called Tiffany buckles. While it cannot be verified, Accoutrements may have listed all buckles that had been manufactured up until the time of it's printing. There appear to be somewhere between thirty to fifty additional buckles types created (or not listed) in Accoutrements but the actual numbers of these is currently unknown. It is hoped that this site will also serve to document just how many of these additional buckles there are.

Disturbingly, since the Tiffany Buckle scam was Accoutrement Belt Plates - the second book published to confuse collectorsunleashed upon naïve collectors, countless others have since reproduced these fake buckles - nearly all of them of significantly less quality than the "originals." The vast majority of these are quite easy to identify due to their shoddy construction. Even so, these "fakes-of-the-fakes" are often found on eBay as "authentic" antiques! A section is currently being developed on this site to assist new collectors in recognizing these imitations. At this time, only one legitimate manufacturer is known to have reproduced quality copies of the "original fakes" and they used their own name the backs of these buckles - not those of those of manufactures found on the backs those made as part of this scam: "Tiffany & Co.", "E. Gaylord", "Anson Mills", "A. J. Nash," "Robinson and Adams", "J. Purdy", and Wilkinson.

Finally, as already noted, an individual by the name of John R. Fairchild is believed to have been the mastermind behind this scam. At the moment, much about him appears to be shrouded in mystery but it is believed that, in addition to the Tiffany buckle scam, he also manufactured fake collectibles pertaining to Nazi Germany, operated a company using the name of "Deanne and Adams" (which also appears on the backs of many of the buckles that may have been created after most of the "Tiffany" ones), may have been sued by the real Tiffany & Co., and perhaps even moved and operated his unscrupulous business from Switzerland. It is also believed that John Fairchild passed away quite some time ago (all details are unknown) and that; apparently resulted in the end of his notorious buckle scam. The real facts behind all of these assertions are still unknown and Bogus Buckles would greatly appreciated hearing from any one who knows the truth about any these claims.


Now Available!
New Release of the Infamous

Accoutrement Belt Plates Book

As part of this site's efforts to expose the bogus belt buckles attributed to Tiffany & Co., A. J. Nash, Anson Mills, E. Gaylord, etc., one of the most notorious books created specifically to perpetrate the ongoing deceit, is now being reprinted: this time with a Preface (that discusses the fact the the buckles documented in the book are, indeed, bogus), a table of contents, photos of buckles missing from the original version, and an index. The book has been entitled, Accoutrement Belt Plates: Exposed! and is available from Amazon.com.

Disturbingly, collectors of the bogus buckles are forced to pay absurd prices for copies of the original fake book (one site currently sells a copy for the outlandish about of $110.00 and falsely states that "Tiffany and Co., London" published it) - nothing could be farther from the truth. With the reprint of Accoutrement Belt Plates: Exposed!, collectors will no longer have to get ripped of when attempting to purchase this bogus book. Every effort has been made to keep the cost of this reprinted edition to a minimum and is being offered at a mere $12.95.

Special Sale!

Accoutrement Belt Plates: Exposed! for just $9.95

In order to thank our site visitors, we have decided to offer Accoutrement Belt Plates: Exposed! at the reduced rate of $9.95 (not including shipping via USPS Priority Mail).

Click here to purchase your copy today!


New Additions to Bogus Buckles

Visitors to this site will enjoy visiting our Book Store that is designed to help collectors obtain accurate materials (or items that are known and identified as inaccurate) related to the fascinating hobby of belt buckle collecting. In order to halt the sales of some of the fake materials created to defraud collectors, Bogus Buckles is proud to offer eBook editions of some of the fake books and catalogs that appeared during the 1970's and 1980's in an attempt to legitimize these fake buckles. Even now, these "modern antiques" are often sold on the Internet for hundreds of dollars. Disturbingly, eBay intentionally ignores complaints regarding some of the exorbitant prices asked for some of these.

Visitors will also be interested in visiting our Photo Album. This already contains pictures of most (but not all) of these buckles. In the event that you own one of the buckles not already documented on this site, it you are encouraged to upload your own pictures of them. Not only will this give others an opportunity to share what information they may have, but it will also serve to further identify any buckles not already mentioned on this site. This service is, and always will be, free.

 

 

 

 

 

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Site Established on December 3, 2004
Last revised: 2/18/12