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The Researchers' Corner Research; the mysterious process which slowly sweeps away the passage of time to reveal the unique history within every award and unit.

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Old 06-07-2002, 08:44 AM   #1
Lapa
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Certificates of Authenticity

First of all, Hello to everybody. Although I have been in contact with quite a few people active here (hi Dave, Alexei, Art, Ed and others), I heard about this forum only 2 days ago. Great to see such a useful and well designed service finally available.

So, to come to my topic, I am sure that I'm opening a can of worms here. In short, how reliable are these certificates? I have no doubt that Paul McDaniel is beyond well qualified, but I cannot help wondering sometimes about simple things like human nature (in other terms, having a bad day), or the possibility of forging the certificates. After all, if something such as an intricate order can be faked almost to perfection, what prevents a crafty soul to fake a CoA? With my (limited) knowledge of desktop publishing, I cannot see any major obstacle in manufacturing fairly easily a fake certificate.

Just in case you wonder what twisted mind brought me to think about such a possibility, and the value/guarantee/reliability of the certificates, a few months ago I purchased an order of Nakimov 2nd class with CoA from Paul. One tiny detail attracted my attention: at 6, one of the links in the chain has a sort of "small platform" extending downward. It is plainly visible on the order, and also shows well on the Certificate. And from all the Orders of Nakhimov 2nd class I have seen (well, not that many anyway), I have never seen such a detail on any of them. Such a small platform is part of the die used to strike the order, which means that my order would have to have been struck from a different die than all the other orders I have seen to date. Is this a reasonable assumption? Then again, we are dealing with soviet orders here, so... (why didn't I decide to collect Japanese orders instead!!!)

Marc
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Old 06-07-2002, 09:01 AM   #2
Tal Inbar
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Hi Marc,

I think Paul uses laminated COA and a special decal, to protect it from forgery. A good point though is to introduce more sophisticate methods, like hologram (Of the order of Lenin?;) ).

It is a possibility of a dishonest seller to buy an order with COA from Paul, and forge it. (He need a COA to copy it and learn it's features).

I wonder if someone saw a faked COA...Maybe it is wise to ask Paul about it (and remind him the "August 2001" newsletter...)

Tal

Last edited by Tal Inbar; 06-09-2002 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 06-07-2002, 10:03 AM   #3
Lapa
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Hi Tal,

I do not believe that Paul's current CoA are secure at all. Hi best protection at the moment is his signature. Lamination is a somewhat effective protection against alterations, but not against faking.

I tend to agree with you regarding the use of a hologram or OVD (optically variable device). These days, they all have come down in price and should be quite affordable (especially since Paul's business seems to be both going well and set to prosper thanks to our "manufacturing friends back East").

Regarding the possibility of a seller to sell a fake order with an original CoA, I think it is pretty unlikely, as the picture on the certificate and the description are detailed enough to make it very difficult for a would be faker to exactly match things like patina patterns, dings, scratches, etc.

To me, the risk I see is of a fake certificate "authenticating" a fake piece.

Marc
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Old 06-07-2002, 11:08 AM   #4
tinmoldova
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If time wasnt an issue, could you just email Paul to check to make sure the CoA and the numbers therein match his records?
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Old 06-07-2002, 04:26 PM   #5
Art
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McDaniel is very good, but he is not 100% free from error. He makes this very clear on every COA. For those without one in hand:

"The information provided on this certificate has been researched in good faith by the signatory utilizing 9 years of professional experience analyzing and recording thousands of Soviet orders, medals, documents and associated items. However, no guarantee is made regarding the accuracy of any of the opinions or data conveyed above and no liability of any kind is assumed. It should be borne in mind that the authentication and evaluation of Soviet orders and medals are subjective and opinions can, and do, vary among experts."

Sounds like a rock-solid disclaimer :)


To forge one of these documents would be hard, but not impossible. However, when your purchasing an award that needs the important COA, it would be in your best interest to email or call Paul and at least check to make sure the certificate number matches the award. Suprisingly, I've never heard of forgeries of McDaniel's COA's. I still trust my eye and look at the COA second. If the award doesn't look "good" to me, I avoid it.



Art
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