Sunday, April 17, 2011

Michter's fakes. What to do when you think you've got a fraud...

Yes, believe it or not, there are fake Michter's items showing up on the collector's market. I've been the recipient myself of a few fakes. I know others who've gotten ripped off too. So I am publishing this blog article to make you all aware of the situation, give you some examples of known fakes, and give you some information what to do if you think you've spotted a fake.

Known fake Michter's items:
It's hard to determine what is real and fake when it comes to certain Michter's items since many items the distillery made were changed or tweaked over the course of the years. One thing that is known is that at least one individual is emptying glass bottles and decanters of their whiskey and filling them with brown water. They are using stolen original tax straps (Starting with 037) and making them look completely legit. However, they often leave behind some sloppy glue work on the tax strap and the brown water inside quickly clouds up or discolors. Today I saw a fake Michter's barrel that was stenciled with the stolen Michter's barrel stencil also. The barrel was painted and rubbed in varnish. It looked and smelled awful and was an obvious fraud. There have also been people trying to pass off home-made Michter's shirts and coats as originals. According to Dick and Elaine Stoll, there were not uniforms or coats anyone wore there that were Michter's specific.

What to do if you think you've spotted a fake:
Contact me! Send me some pictures and a description of what you have and why you think it may be fake. I'll review the information and consult my resources and give you the most accurate answer I can.

To those making fake Michter's items:
While it's difficult for me to determine what is legit and what is not, there can be obvious fakes. A freshly varnished barrel is pretty much a dead give-away that something is amiss. There's really not much I can do if I discover a fake other than steer away potential buyers, however, when tampering with things containing actual liquid liquor, certain infractions can be a federal offense. And Michter's stuff just isn't valuable enough yet to be creating fakes. The effort and time it would take to counterfeit items wouldn't yield enough profit to make it worth it.

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