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How to Identify Fake Political Buttons and Pins


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One troubling thing can always stand in your way when trying to find political memorabilia that you're interested in. You may even grab that last bid to win an item labeled "authentic" or "vintage" that turns out to be a lame, valueless reproduction or "repro." Here is a guide that will help you identify reproductions, help you avoid buying misrepresented items, and help you find actual authentic items.

One thing to do that helps you avoid coming across reproductions while searching on eBay is to exclude words from a search. You can do this by entering words like "reproduction" and "repro" in the exclude words box in advanced search. Or you can do the shortcut of entering a dash (-) in front of the words (separating them by commas) you want to exclude when searching for items in the search box (ex. Woodrow Wilson Pin -reproduction, -repro, -replica). Before you purchase an item look through all of the item's description and all of the pictures provided. In the '70's companies like Kleenex and the American Oil Co. mass produced reproductions of famous pins. Therefore if these companies are mentioned in an items title or description it is probably a reproduction. Looking at a pin's backpaper (the paper attached to the reverse side of a pin) can indicate the age of the pin and who made it. Furthermore, beware of pins inscribed with repro,

reproduction, MFG or AO on the side, or pins that show evidence of scratching on the pin's curl (indicating that such inscriptions are trying to be covered). If there aren't images shown that would help you verify that there aren't such inscriptions, don't take the risk. Don't bid on items in which a seller claims not to know about an item and its authenticity because they probably do know. Additionally, out of place dates (for example no authentic Theodore Roosevelt pin should have a date from the 1970's) also indicate whether an item is real or fake. It is important to use precedent when buying pins. Look at the past items a seller has sold. If they don't seem to deal with political memorabilia, no matter how good their feedback is it's a risk buying with them.

APIC is a trusted organization when it comes to political pins and buttons. Members of the organization will probably never knowingly sell you a fake. Visit to report fakes seen on eBay, to see about upcoming Political Memorabilia Conventions, and access a free encyclopedia of all known reproductions ( ).

To read about the history of political pins, learn key-terms, and hear suggestions for collectors in another one of my guides: CLICK HERE

BELOW- Sets of valueless reproductions sold on eBay (remember reproductions often are sold in sets like these).

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