The Argentine Fakes

Original Italian - Originale Italiano

July 28, 2008 - Beginning in 2007 numerous fake relics from Argentina began to make an appearance on eBay from several dealers (or the same dealer using different names). All are similar enough in appearance that we ascribe them to the same counterfeiter..

The alleged "relics" are enclosed either in small glass vials or in round, silver metal thecas with a smooth board backing without a cover. This type of theca was used in Belgium and Holland at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

The glass vials, all sealed with red wax, are always accompanied by an "authentic document" which the criminal would have us believe was stamped and signed by Msgr. Fortunato Antonio Rossi, archbishop of Corrientes, Argentina, from 1983 to 1994.

The thecas, on the other hand, besides the already mentioned archbishop of Corrientes some also carry documentation from by the Postulator General of the Dominicans or the Redemptorists Postulator General. In fact, in several cases, counterfeit Ferrante documents have been used. The background of the thecas is usually a cheap white or burgundy colored cloth rather than the usual silk. Neither the Redemptorist nor the Dominicans have ever used such thecas.

Most of the theca labels and documents all relate to the years 1985 and 1986 and are printed with an inkjet type of printer that did not exist in those years. Others have been printed using an electric typewriter.

The criminal who prepared these fakes has only a rudimentary knowledge of the Latin language and makes some very gross errors in both the theca labels as well as the authentic documents. We do not intend to provide a comprehensive description of the numerous errors but, suffice to say, these errors would not be committed by a church official. We have no intention of assisting the counterfeiter to produce more believable frauds. However, one glaring error should have been obvious to even a person with absolutely no training in this language. One theca was labeled to contain a relic of St. Liguori. There is no such saint and no cleric preparing a relic whould ever use this terminology to describe a relic of St. Alphonsus Marie Liguori.

The seller also tries to use blurred photographs and partial images of the authentics to help him disguise his fraudulent productions. It is apparent by the low prices most of these "relics" have sold for that this idiot is not fooling very many people. However, we need to put a stop to this criminal as long as he attempts to carry on this dispicable trade.

We have posted a few images of this Argentine junk.

October 11, 2008, UPDATE
When we originally looked at these fakes a few months ago we were somewhat at a loss to explain the thecas. They resembled older thecas originating in the late 19th century. Where would a counterfeiter find a large number of these thecas today? This morning our Guido found the answer. To the left are a couple of photos of cufflinks packaged for sale - in packaging that ever so much resembles a theca.

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