(Revised AUGUST 2100)
NAMES IN RED
ITALICS ARE REPEAT OFFENDERS
CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE
photo 1905 shows 979 Ashtray and 803 Stamp Box
On the left is a "979"
Tiffany Studios ashtray and if you read
the listing, this seller runs on about how TiffanyFakes.Com
in error and his ashtray is the real thing. The real 979
below the fake in a photo from page 486 of Tiffany Lamps
and Metalware (2007) by Alastair Duncan author of numerous
about Tiffany including Tiffany At Auction, Art
Tiffany Windows. This seller has contributed to TiffanyFakes.Com
before and that is why his/her Ebay name is in italics. The
also knows where the "matching floor ashtray and matching
lamp with tray are located in upstate New York" and
that these pieces were made for an "old wealthy family
in the early 1900s". Cannot wait to see those beauties.
If you buy this piece
and return it within three (3) days with a "signed
with proof" - probably means affidavit - your money
will be refunded.
Remember three days. NEW NEWS- Someone cancelled the listing.
The above appears to be a joke but
it is a very serious attempt to sell a fake ashtray
for a minimum of $400 and with a close examination of the photo, it
is obvious that it is junk.
Who stamped the Tiffany signature and number on it and why is there
so much of this type of thievery? Where did the number come from?
Someone took one of the old books that show
Tiffany numbers, looked under ashtrays and found a number where there
is no corresponding
picture and they are in business. Who would know? The problem is that
there are books now
that show more numbers than the old books and then it becomes easy
to see what is happening.
If you just take a few minutes to look at the listing you can see
the first problem where it
indicates that the item location is Midwest, USA. That is clearly
an attempt to hide something
and it is a ploy used by the group offering most all of the fake Tiffany
lamps. Read these listing carefully and it will save you the fate
of the many people who have lost thousands and
thousands of dollars in these types of scams. Most sellers believe
if it is signed, it is real.
This is not true and buyers and bidders need to be aware that there
is a group of thieves
out there who sole function in life is to sell these fakes to you.
THE FINAL CHAPTER
In an effort to save space and so
as not to bore you with constant details about the people
involved in this scheme, we now offer a very shortened story of this
fraud. We begin
with 12 to 15 fake and fraudulently signed Tiffany lamps. To this
we add approximately 25 different sellers who registered to sell on
Ebay and there was not one single honest person involved. At the time
in the middle of 2005 year, someone figured out how to register as
seller on Ebay and at this time Ebay had no checks or balances in
place and the philosophy
was, the more the merrier. All that needed to be done was to register
any name, any address
and any telephone number and you were immediately a new Ebay seller.
The group of fake
lamps were photographed, each lamp about 6 - 8 times and then listed
for sale on Ebay.
As soon as listed, we were able to tell that they were fakes and they
were placed on the site.
After 3 or 4 had been placed, we began to realize that this was a
concentrated effort to steal
as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time. We guess
this scam worked for
about 9 to 10 months and what happened was that these lamps were being
offered for sale from different locations throughout the US. Several
were sold and delivered to the buyers who immediately discovered that
the lamps did not rise to the quality of real Tiffany. Attempts were
made to contact the sellers who had no interest in hearing from the
buyers as they had moved
on to trying to entice new people to pay for these fakes. Sometimes
the lamps would not sell
and then they were relisted from another fake location and we began
to see the very same lamp
that was photographed on the very same table which told us that it
was just a repeat but there
was a new seller name and a new location. The one constant was that
any money collected
was to be sent to the Atlanta area, was to be by wire transfer and
was to be sent immediately. Shills were used to up the bids and when
the shill ended up as the high bidder, no problem
as the lamp would just be offered for sale again or, they would just
contact the real bidder
saying that the high bidder did not have the money and how lucky you
were to get this
opportunity to buy a lamp at your price. This worked and another lamp
was sold and
payment was received. One lamp went to a buyer in the Northwest and
that buyer somehow
got in touch with us and pretty soon we were e mailing several who
had paid for and received these fake lamps. One was as far away as
Paris and the amount lost were averaging about
$20,000 for each lamp. We never could figure out how to stop this
scam but one day we received an e mail for someone who said that all
one needed to do was place a bid on one of the lamps.
As soon as a bid was placed, the bidder was able to go to Ebay's SITE
MAP and click on
FIND CONTACT INFORMATION. At this time this feature was reserved for
bidders and since that person had placed a bid, their contact information
was received by the seller and the seller's information was sent to
the bidder. All that needed to be done was to dial up the listed phone
number and if the number was disconnected, you were being scammed.
E mails were then sent to Ebay and after 3 or 4 days, the lamp was
removed and any record of that sale was gone. When
you could not find any record, you knew that Ebay was behind the removal.
The sellers adapted quickly, quicker than Ebay, and they kept the
names of the bidders and were able to contact them and offer to close
the deal immediately. As unbelievable as this sounds, there were several
who fell into their trap and could not wait to get the money in the
mail or wire. Again, all of the money went to the Atlanta area. Ebay
required no proof of any kind and did no checks on the sellers. There
was no PayPal at this time so it was not a red flag that someone wanted
to get paid by wire transfer. More and more complaints came into our
site and we told all of them to notify Ebay.
Ebay in it's lofty perch did not seem to care and they were almost
impossible to get through to them. The sellers continued on and finally
a seller in the Northwest contacted the police and they were as hard
to deal with as Ebay. That seller eventually got in touch with the
FBI and after several weeks, we were notified by the seller that something
was being done and the case had moved from the Northwest to the Atlanta
office of the FBI. We were contacted by the FBI and
were pleased to sent a packet of paperwork which showed the seller
names, their phoney addresses and most damaging, photos of the very
same lamps being offered for sale from many differed locations. With
this information in hand and the ability to get in touch with Ebay
the ability to get copies of the wire transfers, the scam was shut
down. We have heard from the people injured in this scam and the last
news we had was that no one had received any money
back or that any arrests had been made. So much time has passed that
we believe the case is probably been closed with not a single arrest.
As Ebay has grown, there are some stops in place that would make it
unlikely that this could happen again on such a scale. Smaller scale
frauds continue to happen almost on a daily basis and it is doubtful
that it will ever be stopped completely. No future references to this
particular scam will be reported unless we hear that arrests have
There were several things that
should have made you aware that you were getting involved in a scam.
First and foremost, all of the seller were new to Ebay, all of the
sellers have little or no history with Ebay and all of these sellers
had little or no feedback. Pay attention and be careful. While the
US allows Ebay a lot of freedom and Ebay has prevailed in court
case that their defense of "we are just a venue", this
is not the case in other countries. Ebay has never done enough to
stop fraud so it is up to you to watch for it.
DO NOT BID
If you are looking at a piece of Tiffany that is for sale and the
base is not shown, you are buying in the dark. The finish of the
base and the signature are very important and any seller offering
a piece of Tiffany without a base picture is hiding something from
you. Demand that the base be shown.
on the left is a fake but the story about coming from the
"high rollers" room at Tiffany & Company is
a bigger lie. That story is not an example of provenance.
The seller on the right
is a frequent contributor to this site and they always call
it Tiffany but in the listing it is guaranteed only to be
"100% old and original". Read their feedback.
WARNING FROM ANOTHER
For a long time we
have preached about buying Tiffany from those who do not accept
Some absolutely will not accept it and then there are those
who offer a Tiffany lamp which
should sell in the tens of thousands of dollars but refuse
to accept Paypal for any item over
$1000 but the starting price is $3000. Normally they accept
Paypal and you have got to wonder
why they quit taking it for this item. See that scam coming?
If you find an Tiffany item listed
this way, run. In an edition (on line) of Maine Antique Digest,
there is an article about a seller
who offered an Indian relic which sold on Ebay. The buyer
paid with Paypal and then found that
the item was not genuine. He contacted Paypal and the money
was refunded but that is not the
end of the story. The seller continues to believe that the
item is genuine and he wants it back.
No way says Paypal. They do not return these items. This is
a wonderful way to rid the world of
so many of these fake Tiffany pieces especially those same
old lamps that continue to be offered
for sale by the same old group with new names and low feedback
and no guarantee. If the reason
they do not accept Paypal is because of the fee, offer to
pay the fee as it is very cheep insurance.
Of course, none of this matters if the buyers do not have
the piece verified by someone with Tiffany knowledge. Remember
that just because it is signed Tiffany, that does not make
it Tiffany. Most of these fakes are guaranteed to be signed
but not guaranteed as to who signed it A link to this informative
article is listed immediately below. Read it and learn. http://www.maineantiquedigest.com/stories/index.html?id=172
The student lamp on
the left might be correct but the shades on the right
were not made by Tiffany.
This is a brand new (09/06/07)
name of a seller that is mentioned on another page of this site.
You may not be able to bid on their current listings since it
appears that after just 2 or 3 days, they are no longer for
sale. On other pages they were known as CIRCA1897 and less than
2 weeks before they took that name, they were knows as ARTGAL97.
RayRob (now MYGUY58), one of the hanger ons of this group sent
an e mail saying that we are wasting out time as they have more
names then we can even imagine. Wonder what he is up to? The
interesting part of their new listing is that it is the turtleback
seen many times before but this time it is (correctly) not called
Tiffany in the listing. The base is signed on the bottom but
a picture is not shown and the signature is not identified.
What's with that? Watch out for this new name.
For more fakes click here for