I can assure you that empty blanks do exist, last year there was even a small cache of them that sold on ebay. For that matter, they are merely punched aluminum discs, any competent machine shop could make them. Allan Crane out at AEF Supply
has blanks made, but his are thicker than originals so you can tell them apart, but there isn't anything that says they have
My comments were not intended to denigrate George Harris, who I have found to be peerlessly honest, but more to point out that for "personality" items, especially ones like this that are so easy to fake--and very high priced, one should be automatically suspicious.
No doubt that George believes this to be a genuine item. I wouldn't presume to question his motives. Still, as advice for the neophyte collectors on the board, I stand by my statement that I wouldn't consider such an item without iron clad provenance
There are two points I would like to make here. First, the eBay seller is GBHMEdals, who is George Harris, whom I put up there on the lofty heights near the late Al Gleim. George Harris was one of the first dealers that I ever dealt with as a youth, getting his medal catalogs in the mail and then calling him with a budget that wasn't really worth his time. He is a true gentleman and has been a pillar in the medal collectors' hobby.
The thought that he would knowingly sell a fake or even a suspect piece is beyond the grasp of my comprehension. I can tell you that if George says it is good, you can take it to the bank.
My second point is that a number of Smedley Butler's items have ended up out in the collector community. Why is it beyond the realm of probability that this one piece couldn't have also come from the family?
Finally, where do the blank WWI ID disks come from? I've collected for over thirty years and have only ever come across ONE. Does anyone have a source for these? If they are so common, then why haven't we seen Eddie Rickenbaker and Alvin York's dog tags come up for sale?