Established in 1998
Message from the President.
Message from the Editor.
A Comparison: Authentic and Fake Agate Basins.
Building a Clean Collection.
To All AACA members,
It is hard to believe it has only been a year since I took over from Jim Fisher as AACA President. This year has been an active one where I have talked with and met a large number of our good members, and one in which the AACA has met head-on and tackled many problems. The Board of Directors saw fit to re-elect our other officers and myself to a full two-year term just this month, so I expect that we can get even more necessary improvements made in the future.
Also, Director Eric Wagner of Ohio is now our new Vice-President, on the resignation of Grier Brunson of Texas.
One of the AACA’s continuing projects has been our eBay Fraud project. Working with eBay has been a challenge to all involved but the project has been highly successful! As a result of our efforts, there will be some needed changes made in eBay’s artifact related structure. Ebay will NO LONGER tolerate auctions listed within the pre-1940 category that are significantly different than described. Also, effective early October, the pre-1940 category will be changed to
pre-1600. This change, coupled with eBay’s cooperation, will provide a much “cleaner” pre-1600 category in which to buy and sell ancient artifacts. Auctions that are not as described and are reported will be cancelled. Our members may have already noticed that the pre-1940 category and its subcategories are much more ancient overall, than they have been in the past. Please use the auction reporting form at http://www.theaaca.com/AuctionComplaint.htm to report fraudulent auctions to the Association.
The Board of Directors has also approved a slight rule change. The auction feature known as “private feedback” has been banned except by Board permission. This change has been added to rule #12, the rule banning “private auctions”. Rule #12 has been in effect since private auctions were first conceived and there has NEVER been a request by any of our 3200+ members to run private auctions! This feature was and is still the biggest scheme used by sellers to get your money without any feedback strings attached, so please BEWARE!
Greetings AACA Members,
The fall issue of the AACA newsletter appears to be directed at artifact fraud and prevention. With Cliff’s announcement of the date change and clean-up effort of the Native Americana pre-1940 category on eBay, the artifact collector must remember that education is still their best defense against fraud.
This issue contains an excellent article by Richard Thompson comparing ancient and modern points under magnification and Mark Neeley has assembled some examples of modern artifacts commonly sold as ancient. We also have an article featuring the website Arrowheads1.com. It’s a great place to meet other collectors and talk rocks.
I encourage you to contact me at the email address below if you have suggestions, ideas or articles that you would like to contribute for future newsletters.
Authentic and Fake Agate Basins
Here are two Agate Basins.
One of these, the larger, more impressive one is a fake although on first impression, it looks and feels old and would fool a lot of people.
It got me back when I first started buying. It was made purely to deceive and the faker went to considerable lengths to make this one look old.
The smaller recently acquired specimen is authentic. The differences will become more obvious in the microscopic views below.
Here is a 10X microscope view of the authentic relic. Looking at the surface and part of the edge we see authentic patina, surface age and wear, mineral deposits, and patina/mineralization penetrating underneath flake hinges........all things we like to see.
This shot of a like area of the fake point when compared to the above really shows the differences. It just doesn't look right. The "patina" appears to be a gooey, artificially applied material, there are no real mineral deposits and what looks like deposits and dirt appears to be held in place with the "patina" goo. Furthermore, the entire surface, particularly all the higher areas appear unnaturally smoothed or sanded down.
Here is a side by side comparison. The basal edge of the authentic Agate on the left shows authentic flaking, grinding and age.
The edge treatment on the fake is quite different and the grinding appears much flatter, a red flag for modern abrasion. The differences are obvious and after careful study, nothing on the fake looks correct anymore.
If you have some time on your hands, I recommend that you check out the website Arrowheads1.com It is a definitely a site with something for everyone. Designed for the artifact hunter/collector in mind, you could easily spend hours there browsing through all of the different sections.
Arrowheads1 is a labor of love for AACA director and webmaster Matt Rowe of Oklahoma. As a hunter and collector himself, Matt has a very good idea of what other rock hounds are interested in reading.
Arrowheads1 has a chat board titled Rock Board where after registering, you can view forums ranging from personal finds, questions about artifacts, scams pertaining to relics, suggestions for the site, pottery and flint restoration and even a section just for posting jokes. I counted over a dozen different forums for posting in and viewing.
Arrowheads1 is unique in that it has an arcade room where you can play games ranging from Asteroids to Pacman. The arcade has dozens of games where members can show off their game playing skills and challenge each other to some friendly competition.
The site also boasts a live chat room, Artifactslive, which makes it stand out from other chat boards. Similar to MSN or Yahoo Messenger, members can enjoy a live forum where not only can you type and read other members’ posts in real time but audio and video are also available. Besides arrowhead talk, on certain evenings there are also live auctions and games. Just getting the chance to listen to Matt yodel is worth the few minutes it takes to download Artifactslive.
In addition to what is already available for members to view, Matt has numerous plans for the future of Arrowheads1. He is currently working on a comprehensive typology guide for the U.S., a lithic material guide for identifying mineral types used in the production of stone artifacts, a pottery identification guide and also a guide to help collectors determine the difference between authentic, ancient artifacts and modern reproductions.
User friendly, informative and loads of fun, Arrowheads1.com is assuredly a site worth checking out.
Building a Clean Collection
The study and collection of ancient artifacts has been going on for countless decades. For some it's a passing fancy, a serious hobby or an outright obsession. Many collectors are very much aware that fakes have been around almost as long as artifacts have had monetary value. There are many novice collectors that still find it hard to believe that modern man can replicate ancient items that are good enough to fool the average collector as well as the novice.
The monetary value of an artifact has many determining factors. The type, general condition and supply and demand are parts of the dollar sign attached to artifacts. In other words, a rare artifact in pristine G10 condition will bring top dollars when offered for sale. But what make these items valuable are the very things that also make them easy to fake.
These perfect artifacts can be found everyday at on-line auction sites, flea markets and antique stores. A novice to this hobby will see a perfect bannerstone or perhaps a G10 Clovis style projectile offered for an unbelievable bargain. It’s hard to pass up a $1,000 artifact for $50, what a sweet deal!! I have seen it so many times; a lack of experience, education and a slip of common sense will help line the wallet of an unscrupulous seller.
Replicas priced at $30 to $50 can be found everywhere and the less than ethical waste no time in trying to profit from them. The person buying these items thinks they have a good artifact and can pass it along not knowing the truth behind the item. Thus, fakes of every type can be found world-wide. Serious collectors don't normally fall into this trap but it has happened and will continue to happen. As faking techniques continue to improve, the ability to spot a fake becomes paramount when wanting to keep a clean collection.
The items pictured below were all previously sold as authentic, ancient artifacts. All are modern with the exception of the first point in the second picture, top row. This is a broken artifact that has been modernly re-chipped and was then sold as a Clovis.