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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 16, April 16, 2006, Article 23

TED BUTTREY ON FRANKLIN, FORD, AND FAKES

Regarding Dave Bowers' recent comments on Paul Franklin, Ted Buttrey
writes: "It is good to see Bowers coming on board.  He says that he
was suspicious of certain Ford/Franklin pieces, and did not like
“Ford-supplied research about certain new coins”.  He acknowledges
the Republic of Texas fraud.

Those who would argue that Ford was conned by Franklin present us
with a very curious picture – a man who on the one hand exhibited
the utmost sagacity, a true scholar, deeply learned in the minutiae
of American numismatics (including counterfeits – he served on the
Counterfeit Committee of the IAPN), and not just the numismatic
material but the underlying documentation, all of this testified to
universally -- but who at the same time was so innocent and naïve as
to be duped by Franklin’s faked material – not just a couple of
rarities, mind you,  but ingots by the dozens and dozens, with no
history as issues, no plausible proveniences individually – with
Ford continuing in this haze over decades.

I don’t think it is unfair to suggest that those who accept this
implausible scenario are more comfortable with the notion that Ford
was conned by Franklin, than with its alternative, that they themselves
were conned by Ford.  No, there really is no doubt about it: Ford
and Franklin were a team, Ford thinking up the bars and confecting
the historical setting – my favorite is the vanishing Duke of Carlyle
--, Franklin producing the objects, and the two of them (but mostly
Ford I believe) getting them out into the market.  For further
details see Full Story.

On Fred Holabird’s note in E-Sylum v9n14: he has undertaken a
mammoth task which will include the metallurgical analysis of certain
of the Western ingots to a very fine scale.  This is wonderful, and
all of us can only wish him well and look forward to the results of
his investigations in antiquarian metallurgy.  Just one caveat to
what he says, that we must “let science do the talking, and make the
discoveries regarding authenticity through applied science”.

The implication – perhaps not intended – is that authenticity can
be established only through metallurgical analysis, and therefore
not now, and only later, much later, when those tools are finally
ensured.  This of course not the case at all.  There is plenty of
expertise already available today in the study of American
counterfeiting, whether coins or paper or ingots.

Counterfeit coins have been identified with certainly by the
trainload, and not 1 in 1000 has been subjected to metallurgical
analysis.  On the simplest level, e.g. historical misplacement,
you know that a silver dollar dated 1806 is wrong; and so too with
equal certainty are purported Western ingots with erroneous punches.
Metallurgical analysis is one tool, and may it be a fruitful one,
but it is only one."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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