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Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Royal Crown Derby fakes cause concern


Bosses at Royal Crown Derby fear a wave of imitations from China could pose a serious threat to the company's future.

Increasing reports of cheap copies turning up at auctions and markets around the country have got the Derby-based porcelain manufacturer concerned.

Royal Crown Derby fake
A close look at a genuine-looking fake reveals imperfections in the detailed paintwork

One copy was so convincing, nine different experts identified it as genuine.

Now managers are hoping that by making the public aware of fakes being circulated, it can put a stop to the counterfeiters.

Derby-based antiques expert James Lewis said: "When the Chinese begin to fake something and find it's profitable, they start to fake it in vast numbers - and that's worrying."

The rush of fakes couldn't come at a worst time for the factory, which is already on short-time working because of the frail economy.

Chairman Hugh Gibson said: "If there's a total lack of confidence in our brand then we're dead in the water - it'll be the end.

"So we need this like a hole in the head."

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