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Feeding the fanboys, or how to sell a piece of junk as a high priced vintage razor

April 12, 2013 — R

 

This one is dead, Jim.Every now and then, we stumble across eBay auctions that take even our breath away. Like this Puma: "It may have been exported to Japan in the late Meiji Era (c. 1910) as it has A German name: Solingen on the blade and Puma embeded on its handle in a silver metal." We analysed the ad, and here is the summary: "This was handled by a massive idiot, who first managed to lose 1cm, scratched the surface, then honed with such a heavy hand on a brick he created 2mm honewear, focused on the toe."

But let us take a look at the full ad first, then dissect it.

This is a vintage razor I picked up at an estate sale in Japan. It may have been exported to Japan in the late Meiji Era (c. 1910) as it has A German name: Solingen on the blade and Puma embeded on its handle in a silver metal (see picture 7). Also on the tang of the blade is written the company name, "Puma Solengen" as well as, "Made in Germany from Best Puma Steel" (see pictues 6 & 7). The blade is still razor sharp and, and in fine condition. The handle is made of a celuloid (pre plastic) that has a very iv_ry look about it.

It has been in storage for most of its life and shows only slight signs of use. The blade sets very smooth and straight into the handle. Measures 9 1/4" overall (23 cm). Blade area is 2 1/2" (6.2 cm) by 3/4" thick (2 cm). A great collectors' straight razor from the past, and still razor sharp.

You'll love it, I guarantee it.........If you purchase this item and are not completely delighted with it, you may return it for a no questions asked refund within 14 days of receipt.

That sounds delicious, does it not? One of Germany's finest brands, exported to Japan before World War I. Silver and ivory. Hardly used, fine condition.  A collectors' item, even. 
Well, not quite. Here is the list of things that are wrong with this razor:
  1. One completely fucked up PumiIt clearly has been shortened by about 1cm.
  2. The etching is completely gone.
  3. Instead of the etching, there is deep pitting, and massive scratches.
  4. The scales originally were a yellowish orange, not ivory. 
  5. Apart from having been shortened, the toe has been sawed off and rounded, too, probably to hide a chip.
  6. There probably is a chip towards the tip.
  7. The honewear is massive, and additionally uneven.
  8. The razor was made much, much later than 1910.
  9. But like the kamisori in the heading, the seller knows that fanboys love a good hype, so he threw in some random Japanese era to make it more interesting.

In short: If you buy razors from eBay, you will be ripped off. Especially if you buy them from Japan where there seem to be a few people who cash in on the fame of Japanese steel processing.

PS One of our readers kindly came up with this brilliant idea: Use an image editor to check the size of the blade.

Pumi photoshopped