MADE IN INDIA - MODIFIED IN THE U.S.A.
The lock on the left is a current production (new) import from India. Despite the many sales claims to the contrary, it is not old, nor is it a "reproduction." Locks such as the one on the left, are available through various importers and on-line retailers in nearly any desired quantity, and unfortunately - with a few simple tools - can be turned into the lock on the right. It is only necessary to attach the brass tags of your choice, chemically darken them a bit, and leave them outside to attain a rusty patina suggestive of age. Voila! Your $6.29 imports are now $250.00 antiques!
Regardless of your level of expertise, it almost always pays to do some research before investing your hard-earned cash in "antiques" or "collectibles." In this case, after only a few minutes searching the internet, I was able to find that the unaltered lock on the left, is available in no less than 9 sizes. I also learned, that depending on my choice of vender, I could pay as little as $6.29, or as much as $135.00 for the size most often targeted for "modification" (5"x3").
The usual method used to alter these inexpensive imports, is to affix a brass plate bearing the name of a real or fictitious company, to suggest some attribution which would make the lock desirable to collectors. The most prolific producers of these fakes, use small, easily fabricated, rectangular brass plates - as in the example on the right. Following, are pictures of the most common of these, although there are many more.

Note: Please forgive the poor quality of the images on this page. I do not own any of the items pictured, having culled most of the following images from eBay, where - incredibly - more than half of the items pictured below were offered as "rare" and "genuine" - and priced accordingly. Caveat emptor, indeed!

ALCATRAZ
DEATH ROW
ALCATRAZ
PRISON
45
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
18
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
38
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
43
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
54
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
56
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
57
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
59
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
72
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
85
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
88
ALCATRAZ
SAN FRANCISCO
305
ANDERSONVILLE
PRISON
CENTRAL UNION
& PACIFIC
20
CENTRAL UNION
& PACIFIC RR
18
CENTRAL UNION
& PACIFIC RR
PROPERTY
CHICAGO
ROCK ISLAND
RAILROAD
COLO. STATE
PENITENTIARY
CANON CITY, COLO.
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
3
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
30
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
32
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
35
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
43
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
63
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
92
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
92
COLT
FIREARMS
FACTORY
310
CUMBERLAND
MINING
COMPANY
FORT KNOX
GOLD VAULT
FORT SMITH
PRISON, ARK
12
FORT SMITH
PRISON, ARK
37
FORT SMITH
PRISON, ARK
39
FORT SMITH
PRISON, ARK
43
FORT SMITH
PRISON, ARK
46
FORT SMITH
PRISON, ARK
56
HANNIBAL
ST. JOE
RAILROAD
HUNTSVILLE
TEXAS
STATE PRISON
21
HUNTSVILLE
TEXAS
STATE PRISON
50
HUNTSVILLE
TEXAS
STATE PRISON
69
LEAVENWORTH
FEDERAL PRISON
26
LEAVENWORTH
FEDERAL PRISON
28
LEAVENWORTH
FEDERAL PRISON
55
LEAVENWORTH
FEDERAL PRISON
64
LEAVENWORTH
FEDERAL PRISON
84
LEAVENWORTH
FEDERAL PRISON
88
LEAVENWORTH
PRISON
PENNSYLVANIA
RAILROAD
PROPERTY OF
NEW YORK
INSANE
ASYLUM
PROPERTY OF
PONY EXPRESS
STATION / 3
PROPERTY OF
PONY EXPRESS
STATION / 4
PROPERTY OF
PONY EXPRESS
STATION / 5
PROPERTY OF
PONY EXPRESS
STATION / 6
PROPERTY OF
PONY EXPRESS
STATION / 9
PROPERTY OF
PONY EXPRESS
STATION /
40
PROPERTY OF
PONY EXPRESS
STATION /
99
REMINGTON
AMMUNITION
FACTORY
26
REMINGTON
AMMUNITION
FACTORY
39
REMINGTON
AMMUNITION
FACTORY
74
REMINGTON
AMMUNITION
FACTORY
80
SAN QUENTIN
DEATH ROW
SAN QUENTIN
DEATH ROW
6
SAN QUENTIN
DEATH ROW
49
SAN QUENTIN
DEATH ROW
86
SAN QUENTIN
DEATH ROW
97
SANTA FE
RAILROAD
STILLWATER
STATE PRISON
MINN.# 7
STILLWATER
STATE PRISON
MINN.#
44
STILLWATER
STATE PRISON
MINN.#
52
SUNNY SIDE
MINING
CO.
U.S. CUSTOMS
EL PASO, TEXAS
U.S. MAIL
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
15
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
18
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
38
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
43
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
46
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
50
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
58
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
64
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
87
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
89
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
93
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
95
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
248
WINCHESTER
FIREARMS
FACTORY
382
YUMA
TERRITORIAL
PRISON
1
YUMA
TERRITORIAL
PRISON
77
Although the small, rectangular plates pictured above are the modifications most often used to fool novice collectors, they are by no means the only ones. Here is a variety of non-rectangular plates. The Pullman and Wells Fargo plates - having been produced in large quantity - can be found affixed to many new items being manufactured overseas, including kerosene lamps and spittoons. Of course, nearly anything with a name or logo can be pressed into service in a pinch. The John Deere plate appears to be a cut-down key fob, while the Winchester oval looks to have been removed from another product. Fakers can be quite creative.

ABRAHAM FUR CO.
ST. LOUIS U.S.A.
ADAMS
EXPRESS
COMPANY
NEW YORK
ADAMS
EXPRESS
COMPANY
SAN
FRANCISCO
(Bulldozer)
CATERPILLAR
MOLINE, ILL.
GREAT
NORTHERN
RAILROAD
HARLEY-DAVIDSON
MOTOR
CYCLES
PONY EXPRESS
1857 1860
PROPERTY OF
C.O.C.&P.P.
EXPRESS COMPANY
PROPERTY OF
PULLMAN
SILVER
PALACE
CAR COMPANY
PROPERTY OF
WELLS FARGO & CO
EXPRESS
SAN FRANCISCO
DIVISION
WELLS FARGO & COMPANY
EXPRESS
TOMBSTONE
ARIZONA
TERRITORY
RAILROAD
RAILWAY
EXPRESS
COLT DEERE & COMPANY
MOLINE, ILL.
JOHN DEERE
MOLINE, ILL.
101 RANCH
SAN QUENTIN
DEATH ROW
SOUTHWESTERN
STAGE COMPANY
WINCHESTER
- W -

It is a rule of thumb in lock collecting, that if a lock has a company's name or logo stamped or embossed on a metal plate which is attatched to the lock, it was put there by someone other than the manufacturer. Manufacturers mark locks by stamping, incising, or embossing the lock directly. It is practically unheard of to find a lock so marked, which is legitimate. As this is becoming more widely known, fakers are - unsurprizingly - beginning to mark these locks directly. Here are a few examples.

A&T RR N.Y.C.
SECURITY
TEXAS-MEXICO
R.R.
UNION
PACIFIC
Unfortunately, the one thing we can count on, is that fakers will continue to
produce new "old" products to tempt the unwary to part with their money.


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