This reproduction belt buckle is another example of the many buckles on the market for which the presence of a specific type of image or a year date can give the false illusion of age. This is a buckle that would appeal to collectors of circus memorabilia and the year date in the design makes it easy for beginning collectors to mistakenly assume the item must be a century old. The front design shows images of clowns and a large hot-air balloon with flags, stamped with lettering which reads, ‘Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show On Earth -Season 1908’.
There are several marks on the back. The bottom right corner has 0-37. There is a busy and important looking maker’s mark stamped on the base plate in which two back to back capital B's are superimposed over a capital W. This ornate cipher belongs to the Bergamot Brass Works, a company that sells their own lines of various metal products, including belt buckles, as well as making customer designed items to order. The company was not even in business until 1970, so no item bearing their registered mark could have been produced prior to the year they began. This is a contemporary item. The year 1908 is simply part of the design, it does not indicate the year it was made.
Another mark seen on the crosspiece for the hook is a lady's head with what appears to be words encircling it. What those words might say (being too blurred to read) is immaterial, since it's only the placement and overall look of the mark that is important. They make it appear legitimate. The other marks may be left over from faithfully copying an earlier example. This particular buckle design can be found with various oddly incongruous maker's marks. At least five different company marks placed on the back of this design at one time or another have been documented, including a false Tiffany & Company maker's mark.
Even if reproduced more recently by a company to which they can clearly be attributed, examples of this design are realistically only reproductions of the 'original.' And the 'original' was a late 20th century fake.
This piece can be found mentioned among other fantasy and fake buckles on the Bogus Buckles page noted in this shop's Favorite Links.
This buckle measures 3 and 1/4 inches by 2 and 5/8 inches.
Item ID: 2007RP000131
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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