Nested weight set - fakes

The demand for nesting weights is great because of their beauty, but as there are so few genuine sets some clever-boys thought "let's make some new ones". After reading an article about reproduction nesting weights, I found that the ,best' set of my collection is false, and so I thought it would be a good idea to make known the main characteristics of repro weights as a warning to other collectors. Until the end of the l8th century, it is said, all nesting weights were made in Nuremberg. In the l6th, l7th, and l8th centuries Spain and Portugal were the main customers for Nuremberg weights, outside Germany's direct European neighbors. It is very easy to see this today. Nearly all weights for the Spanish market have, an the left side of the lid a small S and those for Portugal a small P.
faketopfganz.jpeg (8407 Byte) If the decoration of the outer cup is too nice - be careful ! This Spanish reproduction has on the lid two elephants which support the handle

faketopftiere.jpeg (5034 Byte)

PATINA. On original old weights the inner cups have mostly a lighter patina than the outer cup, and the lid, on the contrary, is a little darker. The reproductions are the same color all over. Very often they have an unpleasant spotted yellow-green color when made, but it is also possible to see examples that have been cleaned. Because the repros were made in large quantities, it was necessary to have an economical way to artificiality patinate them. This was done by using acid, and so they had the same color on all parts. Sometimes the patina was nearly black.

faketopfboden.jpeg (4706 Byte) Also no justage on the bottom of the house
and the inset weights.

TRACES OF ADJUSTMENT. Genuine weights normally have a bottom which is thicker than the sides. This was necessary so that material could be filed away until the proper weight was reached. So, the traces of filing may be a sign of authenticity.

faketopfoben.jpeg (5209 Byte) Inside, the weight look real - but here are
also some mistakes.
If you take the weights out of the house...
faketopfrand.jpeg (4154 Byte) ... you see maybe some mistakes in the

ACCURACY OF FIT. An old rule of the weight casters of Nuremberg says "The inset cups shall not move or rattle if the lid is closed "  The reproduction ones rattle !

faketopfseite.jpeg (4560 Byte) ... and the weights are to tall.
The mistake is that the fakes made from
the house as first, to the pill at last.
So the bottom is not big enough
for a calibration or justage.

The little weight is the pill !!!
( see how tall it is ! )
falschtopf2innen.jpeg (7179 Byte) In this nested weight you find some weights
made of brass with wrong mixture.
Have more the look from iron or silver.
The marks on the weight are fantasy.
falschtopf3aussen.jpeg (6846 Byte) This weight is outside ok
it have the mark
1 Prussian pound with
the Prussian eagle....
falschtopf3offen.jpeg (8045 Byte) ... the weights inside may lost and so
the owner made some new,
but wrong weights. Also no mark,
no calibration and the pill is to tall.
All pictures before show you weights where you may think that you know that they are fake or maybe only not really OK. This weight is one of the best copies. I know a lot of collectors who buy this weight for a lot of money. It is a great item in perfect look. But the mark on each weight, and also on the top of the weight are fantasy.
falschtopf4aussen.jpeg (7353 Byte) VERIFICATION MARKS. Mainly, the Spanish reproductions show a lot of unarranged Roman capital letters on the lid. They were supposed to be verification marks. Often they bear dates, mostly between 1750 and 1760. Sometimes they are stamped on the inner bottom of the outer cup, together with other fancy signs. On the lid there are sometimes Roman figures about 100 years later in style than the supposed date of the set. All these letters, numbers, figures and signs show a modern type style, and that is one of their defects. The other is their arrangement. An adjuster has always been precise (it is necessary in his profession). He would have made his marks one after the other in a nice succession, and would not make such an unsightly chaos. Sometimes, the reproducers made another mistake. For economy, the false marks were stamped during the production of the lid, and not on the completed weight. As a result some parts of the signs maybe under the fastener or under other parts.
falschtopf4innen.jpeg (8203 Byte) Inside also a great weight, all look real.

falschtopf4linse.jpeg (3505 Byte)
EQUAL WEIGHTS. It is very easy to prove the authenticity of the inset cups by weighing. You need an equal-arm scale, and, if some inner cups are missing, you will need some equivalent weights. The outer cup, complete with its lid, is a weight and it is equal in weight to all of the inner cups. Usually, the set has nine inset cups, but here begins the first of the difficulties with the genuine sets - they are very seldom complete. The smallest cups are usually missing. Because buyers prefer complete sets, the smallest ones are often replacements, and you must learn to recognize them. There are the three rules

1. The smallest weight is solid and has the same weight as the following cup.
2. Each bigger cup is twice the weight of the next smaller cup, which fits into lt.
3. Each cup is equal in weight to all the cups which fit inside it. - not always !

Example: House 4lb cup 2lb - 1lb - 16 lot - 8 lot - 4 lot - 2 lot - 1 lot - 1/2 - 1/4 - 1/8 + 1/8 lot
House 4 lb cup 2lb - 1lb - 8oz - 4oz - 2oz - 1oz 1/2oz + 1/2oz

Other system 1 lb by 30 lot : House 10 lot,  cup 10 lot - 5 lot - 2 lot -1 lot - 1 lot - 5 q - 2 q - 2 q - 1 quetchen
or 1 lb by 500 gram : House 250 gr, cup 100 gr - 50 gr - 50 gr - 20 gr - 10 gr - 10 gr - 5 - 2 - 2 - 1 gram
falschtopf4boden.jpeg (4344 Byte) Also on this weight, no calibration
on the bottom of each weight
echttopfkompl.jpeg (7586 Byte) At last, after all this fake, a real weight.

This weight is made in Nuremberg.
The measure is 1 pound. It include 9 insert

The house have a 1/2 pound or 16 LOT.

The inserts:
8 - 4 - 2 - 1 - 1/2 - 1/4 - 1/8 - 1/16 - 1/16 Lot
All inserts together 16 Lot like the house.

echttopfloden.jpeg (7502 Byte) At each bottom you see calibrations...
echttopflinse.jpeg (7711 Byte) ... and the pill, yes this is real.
Small like it have to be.

A complete nested weight is very rare and
is sometimes very expensive ( up to 600 $ for 1 pound )
But if one weight is lost the price have to be the
half or lower. So have a look of the pill, may it
is a copy.

And again, if you have pictures of fakes or copies, please contact me !!!
COMPONENT PARTS. Genuine outer cups were composed of six pieces, but the reproductions are not. To avoid using complicated moulds some pieces were left off, so that there are mainly three pieces cup, lid, and fastener. Also, there are no tooling marks. lt is necessary to look very carefully because the smallest details, like rivets and separating lines, are cast integrally on the reproductions.

MATERIAL. Nesting weights from Nuremberg were cast in brass and other alloys containing copper. Soft metals like tin or aluminium were never used because they would wear away in use.

HISTORY. Until the early 1960īs the price of nesting weights was not high enough to make repros profitable. Around 1964/65 the first tin weights appeared on the market. They came mainly from Austria. Their defects: No adjustment marks, bad fit, weights not equal, light alloy metal. But they were well finished and the inset cups were turned. Mostly they were complete - as were all repros. On the left side of the fastener you often find a crown. The second series was the Spanish type, with elephants, which weighed 16 to 18 pounds, and had a black patina. Then followed the Portuguese type, beginning in 1969/70. There were more than 20 different models from 200g to 20kg. Their defects: Too nice, spotted, yellow-green patina, and a lot of unarranged signs. There is another primitive type which came from Spain, weight 500gr to 5kg. Their defects: Only three or four cups, the set is complete, a simple untooled sand casting. The last Spanish type is the "Technical-weight" . lt is the most dangerous type for the collector because lt shows perfect reproduction. Their defects: No copper in the alloy, only 5 or 4 components.

1976 H . Lockner / Translated from U. Schmidt EQM 1980

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