Real or Faux? Original Enfield tompion?

KHyatt

Corporal
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
I found an "original" Enfield tompion on eBay, for which I paid $20.38, plus $6.00 for shipping. Not too bad, right? It arrived today and when I opened the package I thought to compare it to a reproduction that I purchased some months ago. The similarity is remarkable. I thought too much so. I took both apart, and you can see how they compare in the pics. (And I'm sorry that the photos aren't any better.) The tompion on the left is the "original." The only difference, other than appearance, is that the one I bought some time ago has a brass washer, missing on the other. I'm suspicious, not just because they are identical, but also because the one I just purchased seems to have been artificially aged, and not very well, at that. The hidden portions of the brass and cork seem to me to be too clean to be 150+ years old. Anyway, what do y'all think?
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KHyatt

Corporal
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
The seller has high marks and doesn’t seem to have sold a lot of ACW relics. Giving the proverbial benefit of a doubt, its possible he didn’t know. I haven’t contacted him yet but I will today. Stay tuned...
 

KHyatt

Corporal
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
I sent the seller a note through eBay just a few minutes ago. I made no accusations but simply told him that the tompion was a reproduction and asked him what he proposes to do about it. I then searched for "enfield nipple protector" on eBay and surprise! - there is another listing by the same seller for a "RARE ORIG CIVIL WAR ENFIELD RIFLE NIPPLE PROTECTOR COMPLETE WITH LEATHER & CHAIN" that, I believe, is also a reproduction. A few minutes later I found another tompion identical to the one I bought, also claimed to be an original. Again, I don't want to make any accusations and wanted to believe that the seller might have been misled by someone else. However, with this second reproduction tompion and a reproduction nipple protector being represented as original relics, I'm now wondering if I might have been too generous. I don't want to use his name, but if anyone wants to check these others items out and share their opinion...
 
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TNBandit

Cadet
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
That particular Ebay seller is well known for selling fake goods. Demand a refund and never look back. At least it wasn't one of his CSA buckles...
 

MBorders

Cadet
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Give it a smell, unscrupulous dealers will also sometimes stain their items to age them. Had a friend get me a pair of "original wooden dice" as a gift once. As soon as you opened the back you got a whiff of coffee which is what was used to stain them.
 

KHyatt

Corporal
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
I received this reply from the seller on Monday: "It is original - it came from the famous Bannerman Castle of military surplus." I haven't yet had time to call bullsh** but I will later today and I'll keep y'all informed.
 

ucvrelics

Colonel
Forum Host
Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Joined
May 7, 2016
Location
Alabama
I received this reply from the seller on Monday: "It is original - it came from the famous Bannerman Castle of military surplus." I haven't yet had time to call bullsh** but I will later today and I'll keep y'all informed.
In the future if you check with us first it will save you a lot of trouble.
 

KHyatt

Corporal
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
In the future if you check with us first it will save you a lot of trouble.
Thanks for the advice. I have checked with y'all when I've considered major purchases like the three or four rifles I've acquired but I just didn't think to when I was looking for the tompion. And truly, in years of both buying and selling on ebay, this is the first time I've met anyone unscrupulous. Maybe I have just been lucky.
 

KHyatt

Corporal
Joined
Jan 7, 2019
Tonight I sent another message to the seller:

"Comparing the item that you sold to me with documented originals, I offer the following evidence that the tompion is not genuine: The cap is bright brass inside, without any trace of oxidization. The patina on the exterior is uneven and clearly has been applied artificially. Unlike the originals, the cap has been drilled through without being tapped to receive the shank. Therefore, the small, round, blued steel keeper nut is not merely a keeper but necessary to hold the entire assembly together. The shank and washer are brass, not steel, and the washer has been soldered, not riveted to the shank. The portions of the shank and washer that are not visible are as bright as if they were manufactured yesterday. Finally, inside the cap where the cork has not been artificially darkened to appear aged, the cork shows no sign of oxidization or discoloration that would indicate that the cork is genuinely old.

"I purchased a reproduction tompion from a reputable sutler some time ago; it is not just close, but exactly like the tompion that I purchased from you. The price for that item was $7.95, plus postage. If you wish, you may refund to me the difference, or $12.43 and I will keep the tompion; or, you may refund to me the purchase price plus the $6.00 that you charged for postage plus another $6.00 for return postage, or $32.38, and I will return the tompion. Please advise which option is your preference."


I know to some it may seem ridiculous to make an issue over just a few dollars, but what dollar value does one put on integrity? I also don't want to waste any more of my time or y'all's so if the seller won't rectify this I'll just report it to eBay and be done.

I remember something that my father once said to someone with whom he had a similar, minor dispute: "I can do you a lot more good than you can do me harm."
 
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