ROM Hawks Forgeries


By: Amy Stupavsky

Even this jade cicada from the Han Dynasty got ripped off.

Even this jade cicada from the Han Dynasty got ripped off.

Courtesy of the ROM

Looks really can be deceiving. On January 9, the ROM will pull the wool off our eyes with Fakes and Forgeries: Yesterday and Today, an exhibit devoted to separating the real McCoy from the frauds.

The interactive exhibit delves into the science of counterfeiting, with tips and tricks from the pros on how to spot the fakes. It includes 11 cases brimming with objects ranging from antiquities and money, to designer goods, computer games, and everyday items. It’s a little bit like the Antiques Roadshow: The wares are on the judgement block as visitors’ detecting skills are put to the test. After careful examination, finding the forgeries is no mean feat. This discerning reporter was fooled more than once!


Paul Denis, curator of the exhibition, admits that even the ROM has been duped many times. He also points to the exhibit’s usefulness.

“It’s educational,” explained Denis. “It’s very interesting to show the public a comparison between the fake and the genuine, and to show them how to tell the difference.”

Counterfeiting and piracy is the world’s largest growing crime wave, with approximately $22 billion lost annually in tax revenue, investment, and innovation in Canada alone. Buying counterfeit can result not only in monetary loss, but illness and death.

“I think people should be worried about food, toothpaste, and medications,” said Denis. “What interested me most in the exhibit, besides the antiquities, was finding out how prevalent knockoffs are in society.”

Fakes and Forgeries: Yesterday and Today runs through April 4, 2010.

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