This example is another fake belt buckle made up to look like a legitimate old advertising piece. The front of the buckle says, “Southern Comfort - Under Your Belt" and on the back is stamped “Official Souvenir 1892” and “NTY Tiffany Broadway New York - Rare Stones”.
This of course is not an authentic antique Tiffany-made buckle, but it is illustrated as if it were on page 69 of the fantasy book, "Tiffany & Gaylord Express & Exhibition Belt Plates." That book is listed here in this shop under Item ID: 2007RP00049. The author of that book created these buckles, new, and then engineered the book hoax in order to sell it, and others, as if they were antique buckles, for outrageous prices.
The tale told in the book about this particular buckle reads:
"The Southern Comfort Company of St. Louis, Missouri, sold this fine belt plate for one dollar on entry to the famous Machinery Hall, which was built at the World's Fair. The plates sold at the World's Fair bear the stamping "Official Souvenir - 1892" sunk deeply into the back of the plate.........The amount of belt plates produced by the Tiffany Company for the Southern Comfort Whiskey company are unknown, but thousands upon thousands must have been manufactured as these plates are quite plentiful today, but still warrant a high price."
Collectors of World's Fair memorabilia will immediately catch the first mistake in that text. While Southern Comfort did win the gold medal at the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, that happened in 1904. There was no World's Fair held in St. Louis in 1892.
The second mistake in the book text is that the amount of Southern Comfort belt plates produced by the Tiffany Company is actually known. That amount was zero. They made none.
Other problems some people might notice, but not others; Southern Comfort is "A New Orleans Original" according to their label. They were not based in St. Louis, Missouri in 1892. Also, while the image depicted on the front of this belt buckle is a close match for the image we still see today on the label of their bottles, that image is a device of the 20th century. The original 19th century drawing by Alfred Waud, which depicts a Louisiana Plantation scene, was not licensed by Currier & Ives to the Southern Comfort company for their use until after prohibition ended in 1933.
Due to the misleading markings on the back and because these belt buckles were made in heavy weight metal, they are still frequently mistaken as authentic pieces. Unfortunately these fantasy concoctions originally produced solely to perpetrate fraud on a marked group of collectors in the 20th century may continue to cause issues for everyone for many years to come.
Measures approximately 4 inches by 2 ¾ inches.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.