The mould is too thin to function as a gingerbread mould and you wouldn’t expect to see the exposed tunnels of the woodworm larvae from normal use.

You are right this is the fake! The mould is too thin to function as a gingerbread mould and you wouldn’t expect to see the exposed tunnels of the woodworm larvae from normal use.

Our expert Adam Schoon has a few tips to spot which are genuine and which are fake:

  • Wood is a relatively soft material and as culinary moulds were made for hard use they should display natural signs of kitchen wear and tear – such as the rounding of sharp angles both on the edges of the moulds and the patterns.

  • Also expect to see that the wood colour has bleached from use and there may be drying cracks as well as marks from woodworm attack.

  • In contrast, fakes try to emulate these traits that often took generations to come about so always be wary of “forced ageing” where the faker has used sandpaper, heat or staining to make it appear older than it is. Remember moulds were never put in ovens or over a flame so if a faker has tried to age it with burn marks this indicates a rogue.

  • Many fake moulds use soft and inferior timbers such as pine that are so much easier to carve instead of harder woods such as boxwood or fruitwoods. Sycamore and lime were also used too as these woods don’t absorb a taste or unpleasant smell. Remember that inferior wood types such as pine can be stained up to look like other more likely woods.

  • Crude “folksy” carving can appear on genuine old moulds but remember that many modern copies are produced by unskilled woodcarvers so are crude anyway. Look for confidence and some fluidity in the carved lines and shapes that appear on genuine moulds, but if you feel the detail is rather hesitant be wary.

  • If the decoration uses a rare subject or carries a date then ask yourself “is this too good to be true”. A rare subject should, if genuine, be of a reasonably high quality. Remember that it is easy to persuade yourself something is right if faced with the chance of acquiring a bargain. Be on your guard and trust your instincts rather than the seller’s label.

  • Some double-sided moulds (mainly thicker gingerbread ones) can be cut in half by the unscrupulous who want to sell two moulds at twice the price of the single! These are genuine moulds, so they have the age factors but are now too thin for practical use and indeed look far too thin.

  • Moulds are still relatively inexpensive objects to collect and despite the above warnings attract less attention from fakers as they turn to more expensive and lucrative collecting subjects. Buy from reputable dealers and salerooms and handle as many as possible to “get your eye in”.

 

 Watch Adam's explanation to Fiona.