Peter McBride

Antique and Old Tools

Updated :- Sunday, 17 March 2013  

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Mathieson and Son, Glasgow -  Infill plane Faking & Forgery
UPDATE...another one found.
Two of the infill planes pictured below were purchased on eBay late in 2011, and another bought recently from a Canadian tool dealer, who quite ethically informed the buyer of his suspicions about the marking of the plane.

Here are pictures of the 3 planes.
and a close-up picture of the punch marks.

No doubt these are all from the same punch.

I would encourage any owner of Mathieson tools to inspect the maker's marks very carefully to determine if they were marked fraudulently with the same punch as these planes have been.

Especially look closely if you purchased a tool for a significant amount of money, and the tool was sold as..... "POSSIBLY UNIQUE" or "VERY RARE".
Look at the marks left by the punch, because there are more than 10 distinguishing characteristics that are obvious in the three marks seen here.

Click HERE for a high resolution image of two of the punch marks

math_stamp3.jpg (108792 bytes)


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The first unhandled infill smoother stamped with an owner's name and a mark of the firm A. Mathieson & Son Glasgow.
It is obvious the owner's stamps T. Hibbins on the front bun are consistent with the age of the plane, as they are filled with the same material as other openings and cracks in the wood. HOWEVER....the stamp A. Mathieson & Son, Glasgow looks VERY recently stamped into the wood , and is white, crisp and fresh without any hint of accumulated dirt, wax, body oils etc. It has been stamped much later into the finish on the wood.
The plane is cast iron with a cast  brass lever cap and screw, it is filled with a timber that looks like Mahogany. The pin holding the lever cap is badly positioned and the infill is not anywhere near the standard of a genuine Mathieson product.

I believe this is forgery. An old Mathieson & Son punch, or more likely a recent (poorly made) one having been used to put the marking there to increase the sale value of the plane.
This is about as blatant a forgery as can be seen. I have heard reports for 15 years about the Mathieson punch being used to mark tools and deceive collectors.


math_forg1.jpg (37773 bytes) math_forg6.jpg (91926 bytes)math_forg3.jpg (47569 bytes)

  math_forg5.jpg (44091 bytes)math_forg2.jpg (49162 bytes)math_forg4.jpg (35959 bytes)

The next plane, another unhandled infill smoother was purchased in Canada.
Although chalk has been rubbed into the mark, it is fresh and crisp compared to the user names seen below it.

math_forg_can_01.jpg (41362 bytes) math_forg_can_02.jpg (56422 bytes)

Here is another plane bought from the same eBay seller as the first plane, and the comments from the purchaser....
I recently bought a plane on ebay item #180750834140 a Mathieson shoulder plane ...................
In the photos not the most detailed I must admit, the plane looked ok , no damage I put in my bid on the private listing (I hate those as you know they are probably being schiled) and won the plane.
when I receive the plane it is hideous, a poorly made owner made thing of dreadful quality and on the nose ... a mint newly struck Mathieson stamp, UNDER that stamp is the makers scrolled name !  obviously faked, ...............a young lady selling off her fathers never ending collection and she knows nothing about tools?!!. At the same time as I won the shoulder plane there was a cast smoother and level with the same stamp. Math didn't make cast smoothers !! so of coarse it was listed as super rare.
I have enclosed photos of the plane.
George Anderson


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math_forg_02.jpg (24240 bytes)

Copyright Peter McBride 2012 - 2013