Many scientific, military and surveyors instuments are being copied in India and whether by mistake or design are being sold as genuine items on eBay. I hope this guide will let you know how to pick the genuine Mk111 compass from amongst the fakes.
1)On the compass base, the genuine compass has a serial number engraved directly below 'T.G.Co.Ltd.LONDON'. The fake does not have a serial number.
2)The date on the fake is below the 'Mk111', It should be above it.
3)On the fake compass, the M.O.D. broad arrow mark, to the left of the centre hole, on the base, has an arrow head at each end. The genuine compass has one arrow head at the top.
4)The prism guard on the fake is made from thin, easily bent, sheet brass. The genuine one is much more substantial and not easily bent. On the genuine compass the underneath of the prism guard has a sighting groove cut down the centre, which is painted white.The guard on the fake is not marked at all.
5)On the genuine compass the prism focus system slides on two round steel rods. The fake has a single rectangular brass rod.
6)The prism focussing system is held in place by a rectangular spring plate with two screws, one above the other which pass between the steel rods. On the fake compass, the prism system is held in place by a brass plate with two screws side by side, which pass either side of the rectangular brass rod.
7)On the genuine compass the two steel rods, on which the prism slides, are attached at their base, to the the lanyard ring. By pulling down or pushing up on the the lanyard ring, the prism can be accurately focussed on the compass card. On the fake, the rectangular brass rod, on which the prism slides, has a screw at the end of it to prevent it pulling out of the slide block. Also the lanyard ring on the fake is attached to the slide block by two screws and cannot be used to adjust the focus of the prism.
8)The lanyard ring on the genuine compass should describe part of a perfect circle. The fake has two parallel sides.
9)On the genuine compass the hinge is cast into and forms part pf the body and lid. On the fake compass the hinge is a separate item which is held in place by four screws.
10)On the genuine compass, the head of the bezel locking screw is 10mm in diameter and is solid and slightly domed. The locking screw on the fake is smaller and has a screw thread protruding through it.
11)The genuine Mk111 compass was always fluid damped. After 60 plus years, some of the fluid may have evaporated and an air bubble has formed. The fake compass does not contain any fluid, and is usually described as being 'Air damped'.
Be aware also, of the F Barker and Son Mk IX compass. On October 29th 2014 there were 4 of these for sale on EBay. Ranging in price from £75:00 to £299:99. A very expensive mistake if you purchase one of these. These fakes are very easy to detect because they all have the same serial number:- B13066.
Look out for the Mk 111 compass, 'captured' by the Germans and re-issued with Nazi eagles and swastikas. They are also fakes.
Spotting the British Army Mk.111 compass fakes
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29 October 2014
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