FAKES, COPIES AND REPRODUCTIONS
THIS PAGE LIKE THE REST OF THIS WEBSITE IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, SO THAT COLLECTORS or INTERESTED PEOPLE CAN MAKE COMPARISONS BETWEEN A GENUINE ITEM AND A FAKE ITEM.
My definition of a faked or copied item is an item that was not authentic or genuine to the Rhodesian Security Forces. While the 3 Commando, RLI, ‘Lovers’ Wing was not official, the wearing of it on the combat uniform was obviously tolerated to an extent. This also applied to certain patches worn by the BSAP PATU Units. These patches I consider are genuine to the Rhodesian Security Forces of that time.
Pre-UDI there were a large number of badges and insignia that were made in England and were official issue during the time of Southern Rhodesia and after UDI. These are of course genuine items. Berets that were made in Botswana and were official issue to the Selous Scouts, SAS, RLI and RAR among others are of course genuine.
I have differentiated between the word fakes and the word copies. My definition of a FAKE is an item of militaria that is not authentic or genuine or did not exist. My definition of a COPY is an item of militaria that is an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original. Both are as bad as the other if being sold as genuine.
DEFINITIONS from Dictionary.com
fake- verb (used with object) 1. prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent):
copy- noun 1. an imitation, reproduction, or transcript of an original:
reproduction- noun 3. something made by reproducing an original; copy; duplicate:
Some pointers that a prospective buyer should be aware of when buying Rhodesian militaria:
SERVICE NUMBERS: The name or service number of a person written inside a uniform, on an item of clothing or on a piece of equipment does not automatically guarantee authenticity.
PRIVATE LISTINGS (AUCTIONS) ON EBAY: I am always concerned when a seller on eBay uses ‘Private Auctions’ where a bidders ID is kept private. I cannot see any reason that a person would want their eBay username from being listed as the winner of an item. If it is a ‘Private Auction’ then the username of the winning bidder will only ever be known if and when he/she leaves feedback for the seller but one will never be able to see the item that was won. Obviously not all items being sold by ‘Private Auctions’ are fakes. However if someone wanted to sell a fake on eBay, a good way to do it would be to list the item as a ‘Private Auction’. Some of the biggest sellers on eBay of Rhodesian fakes have had their auctions listed as ‘Private Auctions.’
I have been a member of eBay since March 2002 and I have a feedback rating of 887, 371 of that feedback is as a seller but I have never listed anything as a ‘Private Auction’. Caveat Emptor!
FEEDBACK RATINGS ON EBAY: A seller on eBay that has a feedback rating of 100% or is a Power Seller does not guarantee that they don’t sell fakes or copies.
ITEMS BELONGING TO RELATIVES: The seller claims that the item came from a relative or a friend who served or lived in Rhodesia. Well that could be true but it doesn’t make the item genuine. It could also be a lie so do your research before bidding.
LETTER OF AUTHENTICITY: A letter of authenticity from the seller really doesn’t mean anything, because anyone can write what they want. A letter of authenticity from a recipient is an entirely different matter altogether.
PHOTOS OF ITEMS FOR SALE: As a prospective buyer you are entitled to see clear, detailed, close-up photos of the item that is for sale. This includes photos of the reverse of badges, patches, insignia and wings, as most fakes and copies can be discovered this way. Any seller that refuses or makes excuses for not supplying these photos I would be wary of.
MEDALS TO SPECIAL FORCES: On a number of occasions I have seen medals that are listed as belonging to a Trooper and the seller states that the recipient obviously served in the SAS, Selous Scouts or the RLI. What the seller has failed to tell you is that there were also Troopers in the Grey’s Scouts and the Armoured Car Regiment.
AUTHENTIC DESCRIPTION OF A GENUINE ITEM: Some items that are genuine are described as something else or the description is enhanced to suggest that the item belonged to a unit that was Special Forces or a unit that saw more action, therefore hoping to attract a higher price at auction or point of sale. Once again Caveat Emptor!
AUTHENTICITY: If you can’t substantiate the authenticity of an item and you have doubts, my advice is to not buy it.
DONATIONS TO CHARITIES: Be cautious of sellers who claim that a percentage of the sale price of the item is being donated to charity, unless they have a donation link direct to the charity or you have absolute proof that the seller has in fact donated to the said charity. Being a donor to a charity doesn’t mean that the seller is not selling fakes.
The majority of the sellers below have been notified by me that there is something wrong with the authenticity of their item or items. Sellers who are continually listing fakes are no longer notified by me but have the links to their listed fake items placed here.
The items listed below are not genuine but are fakes, copies or made-up to appear genuine.
This is a story about a former eBay seller and ‘Walter Mitty’ named John Pierce.
He has also traded under the following names on eBay:
musicjack123 (now no longer used)
deltaexective (now no longer used)
headlesswhiskas (now no longer used)
This seller (real name John Pierce) came to my attention several years ago and is the person in the photo above. This photo was taken at an Armistice Day parade in Porthleven, Cornwall, England. This person is wearing an SAS beret and the medals are in the order he is wearing them; Bronze Cross of Rhodesia (BCR), Rhodesian General Service Medal (RGSM) and the South Atlantic Medal which was awarded for the Falklands Campaign.
This person never served in the Rhodesian Security Forces, the Rhodesian SAS, the British SAS or the Parachute Regiment. He also never served in the Rhodesian Bush War or the Falklands Campaign.
To read more about this person being exposed as a Walter Mitty and to see other photos, please see the following links.
The following items were sold by John Pierce on eBay over a number of years.
One of the statements commonly used on the listings by the seller was: “I bought a box of Rhodesian Army militaria and these were in the box.” The seller also lists them as genuine but also states that he wasn’t 100 percent sure. That statement looks contradictory to me.
The following is an example.
“For sale a set of Rhodesia SAS wings. I got these wings from a member of my family who served in the Rhodesian Bush War. I have no other history of these wings.”
“Selling Rhodesian C Sqn wings in good condition. I have no other history with these wings, other than they were given to a member of my family by a member of the Rhodesian Security Forces.”
The above item sold on eBay for AU$190 and was listed as a RARE MILITARY JACKET (SELOUS SCOUTS RHODESIA, AFRICA). Part of the description on this listing stated: “THIS UNIFORM THE SELOUS SCOUTS WAS FROM A SPECIAL FORCES TYPE OF UNIT IN THE EARLY 1950’s IN AFRICA ALONG WITH THE ENGLISH SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT IN AN ELITE TYPE OF MILITARY ENCOUNTERS.”
I am sure that even though a small number of soldiers in the Selous Scouts were English, the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of the Selous Scouts were Rhodesians. Of course the Selous Scouts did not exist in the 1950′s, but that is not the reason this jacket is listed. The seller stated that the tag inside the jacket read: “ADDER BOX 1 POF ADDER 8890 REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA”.
This brand of South African manufactured uniform was not worn in Rhodesia by the Rhodesian Security Forces.
The Selous Scouts rank slides are also not genuine and I notified the seller that this was the case. The seller never put this information on his listing.
EBay seller old_club_badges is listed here because of his selling of copies of Rhodesian militaria, some of which he lists on eBay as GENUINE. This seller also trades under the username of germanbadges.
Just yesterday (14 January 2008) he sold what he listed as: RARE ORIGINAL RHODESIAN RHODESIA SELOUS SCOUTS OFFICERS SILVER BADGE THIS IS A CAST BADGE WITH MAKERS NAME AND SILVER TO REVERSE 37MM TIP TO TIP 33MM HIGH.
This is a fake. Why?
As my web site states: As with other Officer’s insignia made by Reuteler Mfg, these were also made from solid Silver, highly detailed and ‘Struck’ NOT ‘Cast’. The only exception was the SAS Officer’s Collar badges which were constructed from bi-metal.
The Selous Scouts Officers Beret and Collar badges made by Reuteler Manufacturing ALL had brass lugs. There were no exceptions.
The lugs are shoddily made and are not the usual ‘Reuteler’ style lugs although it looks as if there has been an attempt to make them look like Reuteler style lugs..
The reverse of the badge shows pitting and a course surface which is what you would get from a badge being cast. This was not the case of Reuteler made Officers badges as they were all struck. There is also no striations on the reverse of the badge and this is important.
I messaged the seller to inform him that this was indeed a copy and not a genuine Rhodesian Selous Scouts officers beret badge. I never received a reply back. The seller also never bothered changing the listing or never added my comments to the listing after I had informed him that it was not genuine. The badge then sold for GBP109 (AU$239.22). Someone has bought what they think is a genuine badge when in fact they have bought a badge worth very little and a fake.
This auction was also listed where the User ID is kept private. While sellers have the choice when they list an item on ebay, that they can have the User ID (Bidder) kept private, I have never understood why. This always concerns me why sellers choose this option. I can see no reason why this option would be chosen other than to hide the bidders names so that they cannot be contacted and informed that they are bidding on an item that is not genuine.
The above photo is of two ORIGINAL Rhodesian Selous Scouts officers insignia taken from my website so that you can clearly see the differences between these and the fake above.
The above original Selous Scouts officers beret and collar badge was sold on ebay by the same seller on the 16 February 2008.
If this seller was able to list and sell an original Selous Scouts officers beret and collar badge on the 16 February 2008, why was he not able to tell the difference between these and the faked Selous Scouts officers beret badge that he listed and sold on the 14 January 2008? I would have thought that it would have been very easy to tell the difference between them.
The above badge is a FAKE.This badge has been stamped on the back of the slide to fool buyers into believing that it was made by Reuteler Manufacturing in Salisbury. A number of these badges have been sold by this seller over time. He says that these came from original Reuteler stock in 1980′s.
I want to put this to rest once and for all.
Reuteler NEVER made any Rhodesian insignia with slides.
The RhSAS NEVER wore any Beret badges with slides.
These NEVER came from Reuteler stock, because he doesn’t know anything about them and never made them.
A friend of mine sent me an email on the 19 Jan 2008 to tell me that he had seen Werner Reuteler on that day and again asked him about any badges he may have made with a slide instead of loops/lugs, and Werner confirmed he never used slides at any time.
As Werner Reuteler (Reuteler Manufacturing PVT) was the maker of RhSAS Beret and Officers Beret and Collar badges, this shows once and for all that these badges are indeed fakes. This demonstrates that when the seller is stating that these came from original Reuteler stock in the 1980′s that he is lying!
The above wings that are meant to be Rhodesian WWII aircrew wings are all fakes.
These wings were sold by Alex Bateman who trades on eBay under the username of gayt1. The above wings are in fact genuine British WWII aircrew wings and then Bateman either adds the name ‘RHODESIA’ or the ‘Lion and Tusk’ to the wing. These wings command a lot more money by being sold as Rhodesian than they normally would.