Fake it to make it

Never let it be said that there are no imaginative swindlers running amok in the world. Of course, I’d love to be able to say that and have it be true, but then again, we’d have very little to talk about if everyone were good boys and girls. That being said, if you’re going to be such a cutting-edge crook that you’re going to fake an antique absinthe bottle and label combination, you really should learn how to read first. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking silly when the glass seal on the bottle reads “Pernod Fils,” while the label itself reads “Premier Fils.”  Yes, yes, I know, there are only a few letters of difference there in the middle, but they do tend to be important.

It probably won’t be shocking to anyone to discover that the bottle pictured below was being sold on eBay recently. Oh how I do miss the relatively innocent days of endearing “ghosts in a jar” and “Mother Mary on toast” auctions on the ole’ Bay. What’s particularly said is that the bottle itself does appear to be a genuine 19th/early 20th century Pernod Fils bottle, and the “Premier Fils” label likewise also appears genuine (although this is more difficult to tell based on pictures alone). Unused vintage labels can be found without too much difficulty, though, so it’s likely that some unscrupulous person bought one of those and artificially aged and distressed it so that it would appear to be a time-worn antiquity. Of course, it isn’t necessarily the seller who did this (hey, it could even be a 100-year-old fake or gag, which would actually be appealing if proven), but one does wonder how it escaped his attention, or why he didn’t mention it in the auction description if he did in fact notice it.

In any case, it sold for 42 euros (about $65), which isn’t unreasonably high for an authentic Pernod Fils bottle without the label. Whether the buyer would have the heart to tear the presumably antique label off of it or not is something of a Sophie’s Choice, and I’m surely glad that my name isn’t Sophie.

But don’t call me Shirley, either.

Premier Fils label on Pernod Fils bottle

Pernod Fils bottle seal

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4 Comments

  1. daseger said,

    March 2, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I cannot believe that you commented on my blog and now I have found what I desperately want: an expert on absinthe! So looking forward to perusing all your posts in detail in the coming weeks.

    • March 2, 2012 at 2:26 am

      While it may not yet be available as a major at UCLA, I do know enough about the green fairy to teach at least a 200 level class in the degree program. I’ll do my best to keep you well informed about my favorite aperitif!

  2. March 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Just found your blog. Nice catch on the Pernod/Premier Fils thing.

    Sante!

    • April 1, 2012 at 6:57 am

      I only hope that folks who considered bidding on the bottle caught it as well! Thanks for reading, and a hearty “Prost!” right back at you.


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