This example is a well-made fake given the very realistic appearance of being an antique shaving mug at the time it was made. By virtue of the apparent original purpose of the item (shaving mug for brush and soap), the seemingly worn gilt highlights (applied to look worn at the factory), and the 'antique' look of the primary decoration (flower transfer shown on one side and a hand with four aces on the other with "Lucky Spots" written above it) this item has all the deceptive qualities necessary to encourage a novice buyer to part with more money than it is truly worth.
This particular item is an import from Japan that came into the American market via a fake and reproduction wholesale supplier. It could be ordered from their catalog along with other fake scuttle mugs and 'occupational' shaving mugs. Wholesale sources began to offer brand new 'antique style' shaving mugs for 'decorative' purposes and gifting as soon as the prices for authentic pieces began a serious climb in the 1970's.
After only a few years on the market the origin of such things as this can become more and more obscured to buyers and sellers. When people start to muse to themselves and seem to recall, 'Didn't Dad or Grandpa have one just like this?' it can become easier and easier to ascribe an age to an item that is far from the truth. So, reliance on memory, not fact, can become a problem in regard to items like the example seen in this listing.
When presented with any old shaving mug always be sure to keep in mind that its body and/or decoration can be, and might be, an exact copy of the real thing. In the case of this particular item the blue Brandenburg and anchor mark on the bottom immediately gives it away as a fake. This mark isn't one that will ever be found in a book on old china marks, as you might expect to be true for a genuine mark. That's because it is a known fantasy mark that will only be found on mugs made in the modern era. An almost identical mark with slightly different spelling of, 'Bradenberg' with anchor can be found on the fakes/reproductions that were made in China and offered for sale by the same wholesale source.
As a rule we recommend not relying on marks to identify an object, because they can be added or altered or be spurious to begin with, but for items clearly marked with this kind of importer's mark, it can be used to quickly identify the item. Because it was never used in the dim and distant past, only in contemporary times.
This item is similar in shape and size to an authentic example. And, of course, a little logic when examining it visually can go a long way. For instance, despite the 'wear' suggested by the heavily (and falsely) worn gilt decoration, it has pristine interior surfaces. It has never actually been used, despite having had a supposed intended purpose.
Item ID: 2007RP00089
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
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