This fragile house of cards provenance is all based on the ebay bugle being the same one as in the archival photo.
The key to the bugles being one and the same is the Major Dent seen on both bugles.
The seller says the bugles match, and then, since the photo is related to the Camerons, he ties the bugle to the Camerons.
Since this is a Boer War era photo, he makes this a Boer War bugle.
Since there is a VC in the photo, he ties the bugle to the VC as well.
Might as well go all the way... This is the bugle whose call rang in the VC's ear as he won the Victoria Cross.
Wow! we say. And it attracted gullible bidders...
Except, we find, this is all a wild flight of fancy, and a fragile house of cards.
Our Conclusions: "As you can see the dents on the top match up perfectly." (Capt. Harry Flashman)
We failed to see any similarity in the pattern of dents that the motivated seller seems to see.
The dents on the brass guard plate are missing.
The Major Dent is not in the same place on both bugles, but considerably lower down on the ebay bugle.
The angle of the dent, taken from two reference points on each bugle, is - at least - 12 degrees off the verticals each time.
We cannot find any minor dents that line up.
The entire linchpin for the seller's argument and provenance disappears - totally.
It's absolutely not the same bugle as in the archival.
So it's not proven to be a Cameron's Own Highlanders bugle.
It's not proven to be a Boer War bugle.
It's not proven to be related to the VC Winner in the photo.
It's not proven to have been blown in his ear when he won his VC.
All totally made up, based on a wishful misidentification, by a motivated seller.
And the photo - We did not investigate if the seller is any more accurate with that than with his bugle.
It could be the Camerons; it could be Sgt. Farmer.
Even if it was, they have nothing whatsoever, to do with the ebay bugle.
|100% Positive Feedback
On our fake bugle pages several ebay sellers offering fake bugles have a 100% feedback rating, supposed to be an ebay Gold Standard for reliable sellers.
But these sellers are clearly grossly misinformed, and just dead wrong in what they are selling, or think they are selling.
Or greed for a good sale just overcomes the best intentions in all of us. At some point, everyone, it seems, has their limits... Will you end up the victim?
If you want to avoid ending up buying fakes, avoid over spending on items that are just too good to be true - like a bugle that urged a famed Victoria Cross winner on to glory - without an exhaustive analysis using your own common sense.
Clearly several eager buyers were offering over 100 pounds for a $30 bugle, one willing to pay over $200 dollars...
As PT Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every day."
Luckily, ebay's "bidder privacy coding" prevents us from discovering the identity of the misguided bidders at their supreme moment of embarrassment.
We just hope it wasn't you...
Finally, this rigorously critical approach in evaluation should be done for every single piece of historical memorabilia you buy, whether ceramic, artwork, or furniture.
The fakes are all around you, and the unscrupulous sellers willing to take you for all you're worth...
Here's a gude, for starters:
|Further Considerations -
The cord ring appears to have different shaped mounting base, flattish-sided in the archival, rounded on the ebay bugle.
Furthermore, the seller admits there is no inscription on the bugle to suggest it is a Camerons bugle.
The seller admits there is no date, military crowfoot or broad arrow on the bugle. Could the Camerons Own not afford a regulation military bugle, but have to make do with a "home band" one?
Capt. Flashman's text, is overwhelmingly hyping the photo, the VC incident, and very real people involved. There is only the most superficial comment on the bugle itself.
There is no provenance whatsoever for the bugle itself, only the most circumstantial conjecture, about resemblances of dents, that our expert just could not establish as being accurate in any way.
Flimflam sorry Flashman, says Hobson has produced equipment for the military since the 1850s. OK, but when a bugle was made for the military, they wanted it stamped with a WD and a broad arrow, and often a date, all of which this bugle lacks. So it is probably far more likely to have been a Salvation Army, school, girl guide, or small town band manufacture from 1850 to 2011.
He forgets to mention Hobson was making bugles last week..
The seller demanded some $700 for his bugle, a huge sum.
Yet he published only two minimal pictures of the bugle itself, both inferior, low resolution images, one a wide shot from too far back, and the other an ultra close up, from too far in.
But he published three pictures of the Boer War photo of the Camerons and the VC guy.
Clearly he's publishing to prove an association he's trying to make, in the mind of the buyer, to real historic people, a real historic event, with his ebay bugle he doesn't want you to get a real good look at.
This is at gross variance with other sellers who offer historic bugles. They publish lots of huge pictures of their bugles, all in high resolution, and taken from ever side, top and bottom and ultra close-ups. A dozen high res pics is usual, not one-and-a-half low res ones.
They're proud to show their genuine historic bugles in every detail.
This is starkly, not the case here, with Capt. Harry
Flashdance sorry, Flashman.
Capt. Flashman failed to produce good pictures. When we repeatedly asked the good Captain for further images - using a variety of personas and email addresses, so as to get as full a response as possible - he hemmed and hawed and finally did not produce them, either to his posting on ebay, or privately, even though he had promised to do both. What is he afraid that better pictures will show?
The seller finally admitted, in a private email, that the mouthpiece doesn't match, one of the glaring differences in the photo, that seemingly escaped his original notice, or did it?, as well as his first ebay posting. Why publish and undermine his claim to the unwary. Though he amended it when we pointed it out.
So he finally allowed that the mouthpiece - the most easily identifiable part of the bugle, is not in the picture with the Camerons, is not Boer War provable, and was not blown for a VC. The ever inventive and nimble Capt. Flashdance "suggests it was replaced very shortly after the photo was taken." More conjecture...
There is an easier, more plausible explanation, for the fact that the most identifiable part of the bugle doesn't match, and has disappeared from the photo - the rest of the bugle disappeared as well... It wasn't in the picture either... That takes care of all the anomalies we noted above...
And further, Capt. Flashdance says - "No returns accepted." Is he scared of what you'll discover once you have the bugle in hand, not a couple of poor low res pics, to analyze?
None of it very good for a very hyped bugle and "incredible photographic provenance."
Provenance in antique collecting, is supposed to be documentary proof, not wishful thinking from a motivated seller.
You're on your own if you bid on Capt. Flashman's "Major Dent" bugle.
Our own estimation - this bugle was made sometime in the 20th century by Hobson, which is still grinding them out today. That gives you 100 years to play with; you add the dates, the wars, the people who blew it, as you wish... You might even be able to find a better soldier photo to go with it...
Value - bugle possibly $35.78, and the photo - very spotty etc. - possibly another $24.98.
Finally - Until better pictures and better provenance comes along, right or wrong, that has to be our evaluation.