In September when President Obama was ushered into the majestic Konstantinovsky Palace for the G-20 Summit comments may have been made about the architect and design being from the 1700’s, but those facts tell only part of the story. The palace is closer to fifty years old than one hundred.
There are various reasons a replica is presented as authentic. One reason is a sincere effort to recreate something lost with great historic or emotional significance, as the above palace which was destroyed during World War II. Another reason being that the original is so precious or fragile that it no longer can be used without irreparable damage being done- as in the christening gown worn recently by Prince George of Cambridge. Unfortunately, The most common reason is to present the reproduction as original.
Buyers of art and antiques have always had to be on guard against forgeries, but never have the desire to claim ownership of original works been greater, nor has the market been as saturated with false masterworks.
How bad is the situation?
Russia is awash in counterfeit imperial antiques, including work reported to be by the likes of Faberge.
China’s markets cannot contend with the volume of works with questionable provenance.
What can be done?
First, work only with trusted dealers. Work with someone who can discourage a sale if the item is suspect- even if they lose the commission.
Secondly, do the necessary homework on an item. If the asking price is too good to be true under a given set of circumstances, it probably should be looked at closely or declined. All the well-known creators have specific markers- it would be wise to know the difference.
Lastly, there are no guarantees. Only buy what is loved, and only spend that which can be lost. Art collecting is pure speculation, the value of a piece of art could evaporate like the tulip, ostrich feather, or beanie bears in years past.