W.H. Bossons, Ltd., of Congleton, England, gained a place in collectors' hearts with its whimsical character studies, plaques and wall sculptures despite their relatively short production period. For just 50 years--from 1946 to 1996--Bossons produced figurines that captivated collectors with their lifelike detail. They still trade actively on auction sites today, and while many of the character studies are quite common, there are those who try to pawn off fakes. Here are a few key things to look out for in order to identify a true Bossons figure.
Check the backside hooks. There are four common hook types on Bossons, including the inside hook and three types of outside hooks. Inside hooks are nothing more than a bar set into the plaster in a carved-out half cylinder. Outside hooks are either square wide, square narrow or ringed. Each outside hook hangs beyond the plane of the back of the Bossons, and they are mounted directly into the plaster.
Check the back for an incision including the name “Bossons” as well as a copyright date. Sometimes the date is replaced with the word “Reserved.”
Look for Congleton, England, on the back of the figure near the copyright. Many sculptors in the early days of Bossons moonlighted at other English companies, so similar figures bearing a stamp that says simply, “Made in England,” does not necessarily mean it’s the genuine article. In fact, it probably isn’t.
Inspect the material. Bossons are made from gypsum (with a few exceptions). If you are considering a popular Bossons design like Highwayman, Smuggler or Tibetan, and it is made from any other material--wood, metal, different kinds of plaster--it’s a fake.
Check for obvious giveaways. Bossons manufactured their copyrighted designs from 1946 until 1996, so a stamped date falling outside that range is an obvious and inept attempt at fakery.
Second-guess rare designs. Experienced collectors know which designs are coveted and which are a dime a dozen. For the rare items, trust a professional before you spend your hard-earned cash. They know how to grade the gypsum and spot the irregularities that betray a forgery.