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By Perry M. Frohne

This headline represents the total made by one individual selling fake CDVs, in the first four months of this year. By my count, there were 74 fake images sold on the largest continuous online auction website by this seller in that period of time. That’s $1,851.55 per month, and a per image average of $100.08.

That is a lot of hard earned money effectively stolen from collectors. And this is just one example of how much just one of these crooks is actually pulling in. There are many more. The buyers of his junk could have used this money to buy some spectacular authentic images from professional dealers.

The number of fakes seems to be increasing. As I’ve discussed in past columns, better technology has made it easier to make these monsters. I have seen some very scary new fakes recently.

“Activate your “Fake Radar,” and learn to pause and THINK BEFORE YOU BUY.”

Rising prices for higher-quality images are part of the problem. Being in a difficult and challenging economy doesn’t help. Bottom line: It’s easier (and far more profitable) to create and sell modern fakes of Civil War era images. Also, it can be difficult (and sometimes next to impossible) to get your money back. So I recommend buying from those who have full money back return policies.

How do we stop, or at least slow down, those who blatantly defraud collectors with these fakes? Knowledge, knowledge and more knowledge! Over the last few years I have given you the tools you need to activate your “Fake Radar,” and learn to pause and THINK BEFORE YOU BUY. I’ve also covered a majority of the fakes appearing on auction sites and at shows. Through feedback and conversations, I have helped a lot of people to do this, for which I am truly grateful. But there remains much to be done.

Please take some time to review my previous columns. I highly recommend my Winter 2020 column, “CDVs That Never Existed,” which addresses the majority of the type of fakes being sold by this individual. Many other websites discuss fakes as well. Try typing in “fake civil war photographs” into any search engine.

I’m pleased with the trend of people taking the time to expose fakes and sharing their knowledge with others. Let’s put these fakers out of business!

Perry Frohne is the owner of Frohne’s Historic Military. He has been investigating fake images for more than 20 years. He is a MI Senior Editor.

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