By Cadet Rich Gronquist as told to Cadet Ed
have always been a problem when prices for collectible items increase.
As prices increase so do the chances that fake collectibles will
begin to appear on the market. Disney collector's have dealt with
this problem for years. One that I remember well is the "Mickey
Mouse Sun Rubber Belt Buckle" from 1935. Nice buckle manufactured
into the early 70's but not the real thing. It was recognized early
and many were sold as known fakes.
Space collectibles are a different problem. Many space items were
made as generic toys during and long after the "real"
characters blasted into space for the last time. Some are manufactured
fakes sold as "the real thing", which makes it important
to read and heed what other collectors have experienced. A special
thanks to Rich for sharing his experiences with Space Patrol fakes.
There may be other fake memorabilia on the market and if you know
of any "space fakes" please report them to the Academy
so others may not be fooled.
The story goes back quite a few years ago when little was known
about premiums, especially what all was out there. I heard about
Jimmy Dempsey from a fellow collector, whom I had dealt with quite
a bit. Jimmy always wanted 6 or 7 of my premiums for one of his.
He always had something I never heard of so it was hard to pass
up a trade. At the time I had a lot of premium rings and was getting
interested in Space Patrol. I guess I was ripe for dealing and Little
Jimmy took full advantage of it.
made a premium called a Space Patrol Helmet Vision badge by taking
a satellite pin, which has been on the Internet a few times, and
cleverly converted it to a fake Space Patrol badge by super imposing
a picture of the Terra 4 on the bottom. When you pulled a string
it would light up the picture of the Terra 4. He did a great job
and it sure fooled me.
Jimmy also made a Space Patrol magnifying decoder ring out of a
plastic shoe store ring. A picture of the Space Patrol emblem was
made and reduced down to fit inside. Wow! What a ring! No one I
knew had one, I wonder why?
He also took a battery operated
space port toy and put a picture of the Space Patrol crew in front
that would light up when the toy was running. There are no pictures
of the faked space port unless another collector has the item. His
cleverness and dishonesty were truly amazing, he even put out a
book on premiums.
Jimmy resold the rings he got from me to a well known collector
for a pretty high price. All this was never discovered until Tom
Tumbusch was researching his book on premiums (Space Adventures)
and visited the collector who had most of my collection. After the
publication of SPACE ADVENTURES, the fakes were resold to
a dealer who I have lost contact with. Where these items went from
there are unknown.
As far as I know nothing was mentioned in Tom's book about these
pieces and I don't think these pieces were made on a large scale.
Jimmy passed away a number of years ago and I don't know whether
the other collectors who had the fake premiums are still around.