The pain of junking... - massacred trilobites vs. fake?

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

Just a thought (a provocation, if you like) considering all the worries about fakes vs. 100% authentic fossils in the collecting world, usually coming from beginner collectors buying their first Moroccan trilobite fossil... What is the difference between a fake trilobite (a cast) and an authentic massacred trilobite (very poor fast commercial preparation)?


In both cases, it's the resellers that make the profit, not the poor Moroccan people who produce such casts, nor Moroccans who can't afford better preparation tools - so you are only helping with the destruction of the real fossils (as unfortunate as that might sound) or you are just paying another margin on old preparations in circulation...


Both (fake and destroyed real fossils) have about similar educational value. Or maybe there is actually more educational value in a good detailed replica than in a massacred trilobite, because a good cast can contain more or the same detail as the cheapest fully destroyed authentic trilobites. Safer to handle, cheaper to produce/purchase.


Low budget reasons are understandable, but there are many authentic affordable decent good prepared common species of trilobites to chose from (although obviously, not for 20$) or cheap replicas...

So unless you are a reseller, not familiar with what you resell, or scamming beginner collectors trying to resell fakes and cheap massacred trilobites for profit... Why buy 100% authentic massacred cheapests trilobites and worry about fakes? Think about it, what's the difference? Is it the subjective feeling that you are holding a real fossil of a creature, that lived hundreds of millions of years ago, although you are not really sure what you are buying or holding in hand? In my personal opinion it's better to save your money and buy one really nice prepared real trilobite every year or every few years and have a nice collection in time. Better to have a few exceptional fossils, then to have an instant collection of hundreds of mediocre in fast commercial preparation destroyed specimens. The other choice is going into the field yourself...


Let's see what I mean in examples...


A massacred authentic Psychopyge (butchered in commercial preparation, probably old preparation)...that sold in auction for 518$!

Close up of the same specimen as above, with preparation damage to all spines and exoskeleton, painted over...:


Below is a typical fake of Psychopyige, which is often sold cheap, if you know that it is a cast. I will leave all judgments about what is a better value (the butchered authentic specimen above or the fake below) to you:


A fake, cheap cast of a Psychopyge... Costs 10-20 euro from honest Moroccan sellers. Zoom in to notice air bubbles in resin...

Do some research before buying trilobites and be carefull with resellers, who sell fakes as authentic trilobites to unaware buyers, this is another fake (sold for 160$ in auction):