THE SUNDERLAND SITE - PAGE 176
FAKE SUNDERLAND 'LUSTRE' PLAQUES

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On Apl. 4, 2010 an e-Bay listing re Sunderland plaques expired on e-Bay. It was not the normal e-Bay listing since absolutely nothing was for sale. Rather it was an attempt by the 'vendor' to draw attention to the scams that are commonplace respecting Sunderland plaques - i.e. over-painting them to enhance their apparent value.

This page preserves the listing content as it was. Since it deserves to continue to be available.

Fake Sunderland lustre plaque – information only listing

This is an information only listing. The plaque in the photo is NOT FOR SALE so please don't bid.

Over the last few years, many genuine Sunderland lustre items – jugs, bowls and plaques – with fake over-painted enamels have been listed on eBay.

How would you know if you've bought one?

Genuine Victorian enamelling was done in broad brushstrokes or washes over the top of the transfer. The items with recent fake painting, like the plaque in the photo above, are coloured in too neatly, leaf by leaf. 
The particular green and orangey brown on this plaque were NEVER used by Victorian potters on lustreware items. If you see a plaque, bowl or jug, with a similar green or orange/brown (the faker often uses this colour on the sails of ships), tread with caution. Even a seller's high feedback rating does not guarantee authenticity.

Recently I've seen a bowl and a plaque with fake anchors painted on them. If you've recently bought a bowl with an anchor, for instance, check the seller's buying history. Perhaps the same bowl will be there and you can see how it looked before the anchor was painted on it.

An eBay tip. If you suspect a seller is bidding up his/her own items, check their history for regular buyers. Click on the buyer in the history, and you'll be able to see how much of their activity is with that one seller. This can be reported to eBay as 'shill bidding'.

Other items have been painted with pink gloss paint to conceal rubbed lustre, and yet are listed as restoration free. You can tell if you've bought one, by scraping the pink paint with your fingernail.  Real lustre is under the glaze and will not come off.

Unfortunately, collectors have paid high premiums for items they believed to be genuinely well coloured. Many people have paid much more for items than they are worth.

To prevent other people being taken in, I've listed photos on the Mate Sound the Pump blog page, which can be found easily through an internet search. (Webmaster's Comment:- Here)

Please take time to read through the many comments below, now on their second page. Many people have been affected one way or another by this issue.

Please contact me if you want advice about a suspect item. (Webmaster's Comment:- Via here)

***The faked plaque with anchors has thankfully been removed from eBay.*** 
***A change is as good as a rest, so I've updated with a new photo, to show how fake enamels would appear on the sails of a ship. This orange brown colour was NEVER used on the sails of ships by Victorian potters. Sails were either painted yellow, or left white. This applies to jugs as well as plaques.***
***The jug sold for £87, far less than the same item without over-painting would have realised. It received no bids in the last 5 days.*** 

Did you know that you can leave follow up comments to feedback already left?
Click on 'Community' at the top right of the screen.
Click on 'Feedback forum'.
Click on 'Follow up comment to feedback left'.
Choose the comment you wish to follow up on.
Write the comment in the box and press 'Leave follow up comment'.
It takes less than a minute.

***The seller has withdrawn his Mariner's arms jug, which, to my eye, had a combination of genuine and fake enamels.
A buyer who previously left positive feedback has added a follow up comment as above.***
***A second buyer has left a follow up comment.***

The questions & answers that were submitted by e-Bayers re the listing:-


13) hello again - could i ask your opinion on a certain 12-sided child's mug currently on offer? on another point, i have asked several sellers for pics of the bases of items which always seem to be missing from questionable listings - i've never had a reply from any of them!!!
matesounthepump2010's response. The mug was also over-painted in my view. In other people's too, as it received no further bids, and sold for much less than it would have otherwise. You're right to ask about the bases of items if you're unsure. Grey's pottery reproductions have a printed mark. One buyer reported that he'd received a jug recently with the Grey's mark scraped off the base. Buyers shouldn't get too hung up about this though, as the Grey's repros are mostly identifiable enough, with or without the marks.


12) Hi, thanks for this. As I'm sure you know, but others may not, our 'enterprising' friend also has a lucrative line in Staffordshire figures; he is especially keen on cow creamers. And how fortunate he is to have several such loyal buyers.
matesounthepump2010's response. Thanks. Yes I did hear from someone else that this seller's efforts were 'primarily' focused on tarting up Staffordshire figures. He said that he was known to the local auction houses 'of old'. I must admit I've seen fewer of these though. I'd be happy to receive photos if anybody has them.


11) Thank you for revealing this. I have long had suspicions of this seller. Can we not get Ebay to explain why it does not respond to complaints about the raud?
matesounthepump2010's response. eBay have a collection of standard replies they send to complainants. One of them states that the measures they take might not be visible, and for confidentiality reasons they can't discuss what they've done. When the seller continued to list fake items and bid them up himself, I complained again and pressed to speak to a named individual. This time I was told that eBay wouldn't take action if a seller had a clean feedback record. Two well-respected experts on 19th century ceramics have also written to eBay in support of my complaint, and neither has received more than a standard reply.


10) hi - someone has a ship jug for sale at present with this fake overpainting you describe- i then checked out feedback for another sunderland item they had sold and that buyer's feedback is ALL from this seller - i smell a big fat rat - thank you for the warning!!!
matesounthepump2010's response. The seller of the ship jug removed a plaque with 4 anchors he had listed, earlier today.


9) Hi. Many thanks for all the advice you have given but if "Dealers" offer you a discount rather than getting a negative feedback, Are they not addmitting "FRAUD".
matesounthepump2010's response. It's an interesting question. The dealer in question claims ignorance and says he bought the items in this condition. The before and after photos on the internet (see mate sound the pump) prove this to be a lie.


8) thank you for exposing the scam , please name the cheats, so they can be avoided.
matesounthepump2010's response. I fear that would controvene eBays rules, and this listing might be removed. However, look at the Sunderland lustre currently for sale on eBay and compare the colours with the plaque I've listed. For instance, a plaque/jugs/mug, might look wrong to you. You could also do a wider search and find out what people are saying on Sunderland plaque blogs.


7) Hi there - I think what must be remembered here is that not all dealers are crooks and in fact, they have often bought the Lustre items in good faith from the AUCTION HOUSES. They are the ones who have been cheated in the first place. These lustre items are all too often listed in Auction Houses catalogues as 19thCentury. The auctions these days are selling more and more repro items and you have to be very clever not to be caught out by them. Staffordshire figures are the same. If in doubt, don't buy.
matesounthepump2010's response. Some of my best friends are dealers (as the saying goes), so I've certainly nothing against those making an honest trade. I agree about auction houses. A dealer buying a repro and listing it as original in good faith is one thing. A dealer buying a drab item and decorating it to appear more saleable, then listing it as restoration free, is quite another.


6) I bought a bowl which had been overpainted and after you contacted me I appraoched the seller and was given a large discount. I have not bought any lustre since.
matesounthepump2010's response. Thanks for contacting me again. I'm glad you got a large discount. That's great if you like the item, and are confident using paint stripper (many of the items over-painted have a strong commercial value, if only they'd been left alone!). If buyers can't live with what they've bought though, they should be firm about 100% refund and postage costs.


5) matesounthepump2010, I do hope that e-Bay will agree with me when I thank you for this this 'not for sale' item. For bringing attention to a matter that deserves to be better known. But how to fix the basic problem? I would like to think that e-Bay would investigate any complaints on such an issue. A pro-active e-Bay response is required - awaiting negative feedback is surely not enough. Since most e-Bay purchasers are not pottery experts & may never know that the item that they acquired is the result of trickery, let alone find out in time to leave negative feedback. But what use is negative feedback? When the vendor can simply set up another e-Bay moniker & cheat the public ad infinitum. What is needed is for e-Bay, once it finds that the vendor is crooked, to deny him an e-Bay account via his electronic computer address. I can see no other way. And in the meantime, the vendor is laughing. Mainly at e-Bay, alas. But also at the unsuspecting buyers of his items. Peter
matesounthepump2010's response. Thanks for your response. I couldn't agree more. In the end it makes business sense. If buyers trust eBay's anti fraud procedures, they'll feel more inclined to bid.


4) I have seen these lustre items which have been ENHANCED on Ebay and got stuck myself. They are even more difficult to spot when the photos are poor, and have shadows and/or light reflection. Keep up the detective work. e penna
matesounthepump2010's response. Thanks. The issue has obviously infuriated many people, judging by the responses I've received.


3) What a great idea to list this FAKED up plaque. Several of these dodgy plaques have been listed on Ebay in the past. It is very sad that some people entering this rubbish on Ebay need to deceive sincere buyers. I hope that your listing succeeds in warning buyers to watch out for these "enhanced " items in the future.
matesounthepump2010's response. Thanks very much for your support.


2) Thanks for posting this info. A friend of mine bought a plaque that was heavily overpainted. How do these sellers who are basically criminal, get away with it?
matesounthepump2010's response. I've reported the problem to eBay, but they will only take action if the seller has received negative feedback. As he mostly offers refunds, buyers are reluctant to leave negative comments.


1) I have seen some before and after images of plaques which have been "enhanced", initially sold plain on eBay and then reappearing a bit later with the colouring added. Is the plaque you illustrate one of these?
matesounthepump2010's response. Yes, that's right I purchased it a few years ago. By my estimation there must be more than 200 items with fake over-painting out there. I've spoken to people in the UK and the US who have bought them.

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