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):

I don't mean to say what's right or wrong, no judgments, everyone is free to spend money as they please and we were all beginner collectors once, but think about this: when you worry about fakes, why don't you also worry about preparation quality?

This provocation is just meant to encourage readers to seek knowledge, to learn and to be curious, to be able to identify fakes and restorations, and more important - to interpret them... And to learn the difference between a good prepared trilobite and fake or a butchered one. Here is an example of a detailed prepared good preserved Psychopyge - I am sure the difference between the fake one and a real one is clear to all beginner collectors now:

100% authentic professionally prepared Psychopyge trilobite...all spines are real too...

You could ask these questions as - what's the difference between a real trilobite and a fake and the answer would be perhaps: "a real trilobite is still a fossil". But is that all that should matter? Because it's also the fine details, the "information" hidden in stone for millions of years, that makes trilobites (/fossils) valuable and interesting as fossils, for science and collectors. And the story... Well, the story of all brutally massacred trilobites is, that they were massacred after hundreds of millions of years... Without fine details in specimens professionally prepared, does it really matter if you just display a fake as decoration on your topshelf? Why do you "need" a 100% authentic in preparation destroyed (butchered) trilobite?

Or the same question in a different way, but as mentioned - a provocative question, why would you buy a car like this?:

The pain of junking... photo courtesy:

Think about it... And happy holidays! ;)

More about fakes with photo examples:

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Trilobite Design Italia NON vende fossili Italiani.

In Italia è vietato il commercio e la vendita di fossili provenienti dal territorio dello Stato in quanto ritenuti beni culturali e rientranti nei beni tutelati dalla normativa n.1089 dd 1 Giugno 1939 e la nostra azienda NON commercia questi campioni. La presente ditta TDI di Gianpaolo Di Silvestro esclude nella totalità qualsiasi campione fossile d’origine paleo-antropologica. In accordo con la legge Italiana tutti i fossili sono importati ed esportati regolarmente.

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