The Railroad Commissary


Welcome to The Railroad Commissary's New York Central  /  NYC counterfeit advisory page.

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Mercury Pattern Brown

Beware counterfeits.  Various chocolate, tea pots, cups and saucers, plates, bowls, etc. have been counterfeited in this pattern.

HALL Watch for and avoid those pieces backstamped with the modern Hall backstamp, which looks like the word "Hall" surrounded by a television shaped box (i.e flat top and bottom, convex sides).  Also watch for and avoid the word Hall spelled out, but not in a logo.  A period Hall back stamp would be the word "Hall" inside of a circle logo.

Homer Laughlin Likewise, any NYC Mercury china with a Homer Laughlin back stamp is a counterfeit besides UP Winged Streamliner china, Homer Laughlin made no authentic railroad dinig car china (except for some early CofG pieces that are too rare to worry much about).  Also, some pieces have been seen with no back stamp be very wary when considering such items.

BTC Further, any NYC Mercury china with a BTC back stamp is counterfeit.  It is almost assured that BTC (or Bel-Terr China) never made any authentic dining car china.

Buffalo Here it gets a bit trickier, as Buffalo made both originals and some pieces used to make counterfeits. The originals have; the picture of a buffalo backstamp; the Buffalo - Ye Olde Ivory backstamp; or maybe the script type Buffalo backstamp, the counterfeits have a plain sans-serif backstamp. While I don't recall seeing any, the raised buffalo (cast into plate) backstamp would also be a counterfeit, if found. Don't give up too easily though, authentic Buffalo NYC Mercury pieces are the most prized of the pattern... and of course, the counterfeits are junk.

If in doubt, only buy from a reputable dealer. These counterfeits were made in the 1980's and are not at all uncommon.



"Black Logo" Pattern<::><::><::><::><::><::><::><::>

These are not so much counterfeit pieces (because they copy no real pattern), but rather toys.  Alas, unscrupuous antique dealers often try to palm these off as "vintage" pieces.  They often site the glaze crazing as proof of their age, but it more closely reflects that such pieces are truly cheap imports.  They must have been made by the shipping container full, as they exceed the level of common.  They usually come as a set that includes the shown creamer, a mustard pot and a tiny plate, but recently a demi set has been seen for sale.  They truly have NO value, except as toys or to dupe the unknowing.  Don't let talk of "my grampa worked for the NYC", or "my consignor said it came from..." fool you, they wouldn't need to justify it if they didn't know it was counterfeit.



"Green Stripe Toy" Pattern

Beware mustard pots with a blue NYC logo and green stripes around the top and lid.  Some sellers misidentify these pieces as "sugar bowls", but that doesn't make them any less false.  As they copy no real pattern, these are not so much counterfeit pieces but rather toys.  Alas, unscrupuous antique dealers often try to palm these off as "vintage" pieces.  They often site the glaze crazing as proof of their age, but it more closely reflects that such pieces are truly cheap imports.  They must have been made by the shipping container full, as they exceed the level of common.  They truly have NO value, except as toys or to dupe the unknowing.  Don't let talk of "my grampa worked for the NYC", or "my consignor said it came from..." fool you, they wouldn't need to justify it if they didn't know it was counterfeit.



(Note: The use of the word "counterfeit" to describe this china is not meant to imply that it is "good" or "bad" - for our purposes, the intentions of the counterfeiters are irrelevant.  Authentic dining car china was made to be dining car china, counterfeit china was made to look like dining car china.  Well done or not, it is not authentic dining car china, and if it is not clearly marked as a reproduction, then it is counterfeit.)


send questions or comments to:  rrcomm@sonic.net