Reproductions and fakes abound in the world of antiques and collectibles. Many are so good that even an experienced collector can’t tell the difference without a close-up, thorough examination (or even testing) of the item in question. Others are cheap, obvious knock-offs.

Keep reproductions and fakes top of mind, so you don’t get fooled. Learn the telltale signs of reproductions in the categories you focus on. When in doubt about an item, consult an independent specialist or show pictures to other knowledgeable collectors to get their opinion. And remember: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Also note that reproductions are not always worthless. Some high quality repros, made with authentic materials and craftsmanship, can be very attractive and valuable to collectors. But even at best, they’re rarely as desirable as an original.

Many websites provide detailed information on reproductions in their specific categories, and may be worth checking out to get a sense of the types of reproductions on the market. Some examples:

And so on... you get the idea. Do your homework before you buy.