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USMC First Aid Pouches -- Original or Replica?


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Good evening gentlemen,

Lately there’s been a lot of debate about the possibility of a generation of high quality fake USMC depot made first aid pouches (FAP’s) aimed at deceiving collectors. This post is long overdue and I feel like I still ‘rushed’ some of my points and left a few things out but I’d like to get the discussion rolling.

As we know, original examples of USMC FAP’s are extremely scarce and can be broken down into three variations that are accepted as authentic.

I’ve decided to start this post with some photos of textbook original USMC FAP’s:

Top left: Type III

Centre left: Type III

Bottom left: Type II

Top Right: Type II

Centre Right: Type I

Bottom Right: Type II

Fronts:

13746757815_ca4633e57b_z.jpg

Backs:

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In the following photos the questionable pouch has taken the place of the original type I pouch, centre right. I have taken the unmodified type I pouch out of the photo because the questionable pouch has little in common with it.

13747148714_69ee304288_z.jpg

Backs with questionable pouch:

 

13747149014_1507d09e7a_z.jpg

I will be the first to admit I purchased one from a forum member (who very generously offered me a full refund!) and for a while I too thought this was an original USMC FAP. It was another respected forum member who helped come up with the list below (many points I didn't notice on my own), and I hope he will join the discussion as he's an advanced USMC FAP collector.

 

I will mainly be using a rather nice condition original type III pouch for the detailed comparison below. The original pouch is on the right of this photo:

13746758135_07d5696e92_c.jpg

 

Here’s some characteristics of the questionable pouch:

1 > The female portion of the button from the exterior is slightly larger despite having the correct interior Carr markings. Originals are typically slightly more dome shaped. The female button has convinced a lot of collectors this is an original item because it does in fact have the correct markings on the interior.

13746758985_f11fa202e9_z.jpg

2> The male portion on the questionable pouches always lacks the Carr markings on the back found inside the pouch. Every FAP I’ve ever owned or examined that I’ve felt was original has these markings. The only pouches to lack these markings are the style in question. Properly marked male buttons are also used on original USMC DQP .45 mag pouches.

Original:

13747150114_3b899dd62a_z.jpg

Questionable:

 

13746787833_be68dc649e_z.jpg

 

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3> The material used to hold the USMC bent wire hanger is not typically correct on the questionable pouches. I think the ‘artist’ used many original materials but could not find enough original stock of this thick webbing for this detail. I’ve suspect the ‘artist’ has occasionally salvaged the material from canteens or other gear as well, so just because the material is right for the hanger doesn’t automatically make it okay.

Original:

13747150964_855c033942_z.jpg

Questionable:

13746759565_e3c9afc987_z.jpg

4> The pouch is dimensional different in many ways as evidenced by the photos. One of the big issues is the placement of the male buttons. There’s no logical reason why the Philadelphia depot would change the design of type III pouches once in production. (See photo above point number 1).

5> The pouches are always in mint or near mint condition. Sometimes they have some fake weathering, or fake worn field dressing. They also at times come with fake names stamped on them. Mine was stamped ‘P. ROBERSON’. I had Alec look this ‘Marine’ up for me when I got the pouch and he couldn’t find a possible match (not to say it’s impossible, but it’s not a surprise there was no match). When these pouches are ‘named’ the creator always uses the same set of stamps that don’t resemble the period name stamps or style. Compare to other named authentic examples to get a feel for what’s original in my photos above. The ink is also not correct or period convincing. Most other questionable pouches posted here on USMF have had this same style fake name stamp somewhere on them, or they were unnamed.

6> My example had a USMC bent wire hanger that is questionable. Next to the original examples it just doesn’t feel right, probably created by the ‘artist’ and the same one being used on all the fake ‘rigger made’ items that have also trickled onto e-bay. I think the metal itself is also somehow different, more like darkened brass than steel.

7> Now, one of the biggest problems for me is that these were not made on the same sewing machines as any other DQP item I’ve ever owned. I have DQP shovel covers, FAPS, .45 mag pouches, packs, and none of them have stitching like these pouches. I don’t believe this was sewn on the machines in the Philadelphia depot, in fact I think it’s impossible. This is where an experienced eye will come in, and this is a very important factor as the fakes are getting better and better. Note the extra line of stitching as well.

Original:

13746758525_65e63dfaec_z.jpg

Questionable:

13746788133_ed071cef50_z.jpg

Other considerations:

These pouches have been typically coming off of e-bay from sellers listing them with a ‘buy-it-now’ of usually around $250. The pouches have been consistently selling, and the sellers who have them usually have other fake or humped up USMC items.

No salty example of this pouch has EVER surfaced that I've seen, all of them are ‘mint’. Take a look at your other original USMC DQP gear, these items are typically salty, bleached, rusty, and worn. The six original pouches above are the result of years of searching for the best examples. How could it be possible that every questionable pouch is always ‘mint’ or fake weathered and stamped? This was an item the Marine Corps used up and wore out. I have one original type III pouch shown above that's named to no less than three Marines, I never got the impression these were available to spare.

I’m looking forward to hearing other thoughts, and I’m curious how many other USMC gear collectors have one of these very questionable pouches in their collection. If you own one of these, it would be great if you could post photos of it along with where you got it. I would really like to get to the bottom of this and right now I only have a few ideas of where they might be coming from.

Regards,

-Steve

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mattsmilitary

Great thread!!!!! Very easy to understand and point out great things to look for. Thought me something!!!

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I have a lot more to add to this thread as time permits.

 

I believe the same 'artist' has also been making very advanced fake DQP shovel covers.

 

If I were to guess, it's probably the same 'artist' who's been making 'rigger made' items as well. I've seen a bunch of bogus rigger made items, and some appear to be done by the same hands.

 

Here are some (of many) more examples I feel are questionable:

 

 

13707274273_077260f890_z.jpg

 

13707618414_f49c22d84d_z.jpg

 

With obviously fake wear on the field dressing:

 

 

13707618824_a86b76e294_z.jpg
Here's another one:
13771098013_c109ae4d30_z.jpg
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And a very advanced bogus (in my opinion) shovel cover (But this is a whole other post for later!)

 

 

13707273973_b88f9256a4_z.jpg

 

13707618244_54630338b3_z.jpg
These are just some examples from e-bay auctions. Eventually these questionable pouches and other gear get easy to spot.
-Steve
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Well, Steve, you did a very good job and I have to thank you to share the conclusions with us.

 

Now I just have to check my type III FAP ... and cry or smile, depending on the result :wacko:

 

Regards, E

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We have some older threads on this topic, each of which have further details. In this one Craig Pickrall posts some good photos of the real thing: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?/topic/136451-wwii-usmc-rare-early-first-aid-pouch-double-snap/

 

This five-year-old thread shows that the flood of fakes is not new: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=39327

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Hi Bob,

 

I think these pouches have been around since the 1990's. Just like the bogus 'rigger made' stuff including camo shovel covers made of shelter half, bayonet scabbards, army style camo first aid pouches, ect. Some of these items even ended up in older USMC collecting books.

 

I don't believe these were ever common or cheap items. Same with the DQP shovel covers. I'm happy to say that those of us who bought shovel covers from Harlan Glenn I'm 100% certain those ones are original and have several from him.

 

Some of the pouches I've seen in other threads give me a bad feeling but I'm not entirely sure because the photos are not good enough and they don't show the details we need to see to get a better feeling if they're original or not. I'm hoping more members with questionable pouches will post them in this thread so we might be able to piece together the full story, and maybe where they're coming from.

 

I think Bagmans comments in Leonardos thread you link to regarding the snaps is very important. No original pouch with unmarked male snaps has ever surfaced, and from there the other details start to be questionable as well.

 

-Steve

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You make a great case here, Steve. Thanks for taking the time out to put this together.

 

Would like to hear the opinions of other collectors such as Craig, Bagman, et al.

 

Feel free to use my pictures I posted for this thread.

 

This is much more better and thought provoking than "every one of 'em is a FAKE!!!"

 

Thank you!

 

LF

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Hi uplandmod,

 

I too am looking forward to replies from those members, I hope they stop by this thread. Certainly not all type III's are fake, I have two originals shown above, but these are what the questionable pouches are based off of.

 

Would you be able to take a few more pictures of your pouch and post them here?

 

The following clear photos would due:

 

Hanger material and stitching from exterior.

Hanger stitching from interior

Name stamp, which appears to be from the same set as used on mine?

Buttons, most importantly the back of the male snap.

Dimesions, and placement of male snap

 

Thanks,

-Steve

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Well, here are photo of 2 of my USMC FAP ... others are on mannequin, and all type II, identical to the one I shot.

 

Both are identified, the type III was found with a very nice M1912 belt, USMC marked and also id'd to the same Marine.

 

102_3959.jpg
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Detailed photo of the type II :
102_3962.jpg
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102_3964.jpg
... and type III :
102_3965.jpg
102_3966.jpg
102_3968.jpg

 

Regards, E

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Hi etienne,

 

I'm happy to say the examples you posted are 100% textbook original. The buttons, stitching, thread, and wear make your pouches in my opinion great USMC items :)

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

-Steve

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  • 5 months later...

Wow...amazing thread. Thanks for the education!

I have three Model 1911 or M-1911 first aid field dressing pouches, two in their original configuration ("type I") and one ("type II") that I'm presuming was modified by the USMC Quartermaster's Department Depot of Supplies in Philadelphia (aka the Philadelphia Depot) prior to or during the early days of WWII.

I have owned these pouches for just over 20 years and they are absolutely original and unaltered by me. When I first saw them in a humongous pile of pre-WWI and WWI militaria, I purchased as many as the people who were selling them would part with...which turned out to be only three once they got suspicious as to what I was doing (i.e. I was sorting through and buying all their best and earliest pouches!). I did luckily also get some M-1904s, M-1907s, and early M-1910s before I was cut off, however.

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Steve,

 

Through a collector on Facebook I was able to get a name of the person who made the fake pouches, while you made a great case that they were indeed different it was a detailed message from a fellow collector who stated some crook was making fake pouches to deceive people.

 

Because of your thread and the collector giving me a heads up, my pouch is indeed a fake.

 

Thank you!

 

LF

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While I don't necessarily have any new information to add to the "real or fake" discussion, but after reading the entire thread (threads, actually) I think that perhaps some people have become confused by the several descriptions given by various members as to whether a M-1911 pouch is fake or not. In my opinion, which is almost entirely based on what I have read in this forum's pages, is that the suspected fakes all have the same characteristics.


Here they are: the name stamp is the same style stamp (font and style-wise) in the same place on each pouch; the female part of the snap closure has the Carr marking on its inside but the male part does not (on its rear/the interior of the pouch); the flap seems more rounded off than originals; they are all the "type III" pouch; and they are all typically in better (oftentimes mint apparently) condition than all the other known real specimens. Also, according to my eye and via the photos in this forum, the suspected fakes all look somewhat smaller than the known originals (but it might just be the proportions are off). I do not have any original "type III" pouches in my collection so I am unable to have any original comments about legit "type III" pouches to add to this discussion, I am only trying to point out (or re-state) what I think a few members have potentially overlooked regarding the similarities between the suspected fakes.


Cheers!
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Steve,

 

Through a collector on Facebook I was able to get a name of the person who made the fake pouches, while you made a great case that they were indeed different it was a detailed message from a fellow collector who stated some crook was making fake pouches to deceive people.

 

Because of your thread and the collector giving me a heads up, my pouch is indeed a fake.

 

Thank you!

 

LF

 

Thanks for the update --- that pouch managed to trick a lot of us!!

 

I've only ever managed to find six originals (and one fake). I recently listed for sale here on the site because I had three of the type II variety.

 

I think the fake version of the type III's are now well documented for what they are, hopefully nobody will get tricked on them again. I believe most people who bought and re-sold them simply didn't know and I put full blame on the original maker of these fakes.

 

I would love to know how/where he found the original snaps and convincing wire hangers. These fakes were well done.

 

Evets: Thanks for your input as well, I tried to cover those points in the original post.

 

-Steve

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Steve I will send you all the info I received from the other collector between your info and his it's very clear who made them.

 

He had access to original hardware.

 

LF

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Here are the three pouches I own (two type I's and one Type II; I just put the type II up for auction):

 

M1911a.JPG

 

M1911b.JPG

 

M1911c.JPG

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Nice pouches! Thanks for posting them.

 

It seems like the majority of the type I's are missing one of the eyelets -- mine has the same issue. I'm still searching for a stone mint type I.

 

-Steve

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Yeah, obviously a design flaw, and perhaps one of several reasons the M-1910 was designed and produced (?); one of my pouches (the one in the middle) has no eyelets left at all. I've even seen other similar pouches that still had the eyelet on the hook but it had pulled through at some point.
The pouch at the top is the closest I ever got to a mint condition one. I'm sure there were some that were in better condition in the pile I got mine out of, but as I mentioned before I was unable to purchase any more of them.

 

Thanks again for the entire thread...it's amazing. Great job, I've learned a lot.

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VolunteerArmoury

Would someone care to explain the difference between a M1911 1st Aid Pouch as described here & the Army's first M1910 1st Aid Pouch? I understand they look a lot alike but don't know the difference.

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