Production Used Jaws Clapperboard?

Prop Store

JMSupp

Active Member
I've been researching the heck out of these clapperboards for the last few months, for completely unrelated reasons, when this came across my desk.

Coming up in Heritage's November 4th auction is a Jaws clapperboard:
Heritage Jaws Clapperboard

It sure looks right, right?
Jaws Clapperboard HA1.jpg
Jaws Clapperboard HA2.jpg

The slate, tape numbers, and all the wear seems to match this photo:
Jaws Clapperboard PS1.jpg

So it's a slam dunk! Wait, is that a Prop Store watermark? Yes, yes it is. In fact, they sold one quite similar a few years back, in 2016:
Jaws Clapperboard Prop Store Auction
Jaws Clapperboard PS2.jpg
Jaws Clapperboard PS3.jpg

In fact, it's really similar. Like, almost identical. Down to the wear marks, paint chips, the tape... the only differences is the Heritage clapperboard is "A" Camera, and the Prop Store one is "B" Camera, and W. Butler has been covered up with R. Metz.

So, there are some sort of shenanigans going on here. Was the "B" slate changed to match the Spielberg photo? Then why does it say "A" Camera? Is the A slate a copy? If so, it's a good one!

I have my suspicions. The "A" slate has wear, but it looks much "fresher". The wood hasn't oxidized, and the nails through the wood guide dowels on the back look new... and there doesn't seem to be holes below the guide dowels for screws or hooks that the elastic bands attach to that make the jaws "snap". The painted text on the front appears to be from a stencil that matches the inconsistencies of the "B" slate.

Provenance aside, the "B" slate seems to have more appropriate wear, and the tape with R. Metz and the date tapes accurately reflect the filming of the underwater severed head scene, rather then the photo, makes it seem more authentic. That, and it sold over 5 years ago... giving someone plenty of time to replicate it. So that's where I'm at for the moment.

The question is, which one is real? The "A" slate? The "B"? Both? Neither? Has the "B" slate been altered to look more like the Spielberg photo?

That's just my take. I don't think that there is any ill intent here on the part of Heritage. If one is fake, it's a darn good one. If it's been altered, that's a scary thing.
 

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Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The first thing that stood out to me, is the “A” Camera one doesn’t have the period after “PROD”. The one Spielberg us holding and the “B” Camera one both have it.

Plus there are more spots and paint chips missing on the “A”. But looking at the “B” and the one Spielberg holds, and those match up perfectly. I’d almost say the “A” is fake. I could see if they had more than one board used, and it would make sense, but the fact that there would be a lot of markings and imperfections so close to the “B” clapper, makes that suspicious. A second board would have its own characteristics, but too much in common with the other one, screams manipulated to look like the other one.

99BEED83-0147-4603-B81D-D8C973A0A873.jpeg
3647A472-6753-4946-8DA4-8CD1012260A1.jpeg
688E8A70-6935-4E2A-B107-66EF4E1BD489.jpeg
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
And let’s not forget this is HERITAGE AUCTIONS we are talking about. With their questionable listings lately, and suspected fakes, this just screams another fraudulent item.
 

ch3ckme0wt

New Member
I strongly believe the A clapperboard listed at HA right now is a fake. It looks too similar to the B we know is legitimate. They even copied where the damage on the board is.
 

ch3ckme0wt

New Member
This is the B clapperboard overlapped with the Propstore one. I believe that its pretty much a perfect screenmatch. I believe this is the real deal. The A board has too much of the same defects, and they look newer - it just doesn't make sense.
 

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JMSupp

Active Member
This is the B clapperboard overlapped with the Propstore one. I believe that its pretty much a perfect screenmatch. I believe this is the real deal. The A board has too much of the same defects, and they look newer - it just doesn't make sense.
How does the A match up? I'm heavy on the B being right, and the A being a copy. A very good copy.
 

ch3ckme0wt

New Member
How does the A match up? I'm heavy on the B being right, and the A being a copy. A very good copy.
I didn't have time to do the A yet. I can work on it. It takes a long time to try to align them like that. Just looking at the photos I can see they tried to copy the defects of the B board though. I'm almost 100% certain the A board is fake. Why would two clapperboards have almost the same wear? Makes no sense.
 

ch3ckme0wt

New Member
How does the A match up? I'm heavy on the B being right, and the A being a copy. A very good copy.
Here is a comparison of A and B. The A board clearly does not show the same age. The defects are almost in the same spots. The writing looks almost identical and is in the exact same spot. I want to see anyone write the exact same thing on two boards and make it look identical in the same location - it's pretty much impossible even if you're trying to do it without having something you can copy. That doesn't happen by chance.

It looks like someone used the B board from the Propstore photo as a reference to make this. I say this is almost certainly fake.
 

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JMSupp

Active Member
That's pretty much a clinch for me! So... Now comes the time for idle speculation!!

So "B". I assume it's real, and there is no reason that I know of to believe otherwise.

So at some point, someone chose to replicate it down to a crazy high level of detail, apparently from the auction photos. They changed it just a bit to better reflect the Spielberg photo, and... Then what? Was it originally intended to be a fraud? Or a fan made copy?

I can't imagine someone with that sort of eye for detail copying the B slate so faithfully, and then attempt to pass it as original. Frankly, with the apparent skill shown, if they would have not copied it exactly, I don't think we'd be having this discussion. If the B slate didn't exist, I think this would pass muster for most people. I don't think I would have gone over it in such detail, that's for sure!

Was it commissioned as a fan piece, taking advantage of a skilled craftsman, and then passed by the buyer to Heritage to make an easy buck? Are there several links in the chain, and the consigner is unwittingly trying to sell a fake? Or was deception and fraud the goal from the beginning?
 
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ch3ckme0wt

New Member
That's pretty much a clinch for me! So... Now comes the time for idle speculation!!

So "B". I assume it's real, and there is no reason that I know of to believe otherwise.

So at some point, someone chose to replicate it down to a crazy high level of detail, apparently from the auction photos. They changed it just a bit to better reflect the Spielberg photo, and... Then what? Was it originally intended to be a fraud? Or a fan made copy?

I can't imagine someone with that sort of eye for detail copying the B slate so faithfully, and then attempt to pass it as original. Frankly, with the apparent skill shown, if they would have not copied it exactly, I don't think we'd be having this discussion. If the B slate didn't exist, I think this would pass muster for most people. I don't think I would have gone over it in such detail, that's for sure!

Was it commissioned as a fan piece, taking advantage of a skilled craftsman, and then passed by the buyer to Heritage to make an easy buck? Are there several links in the chain, and the consigner is unwittingly trying to sell a fake? Or was deception and fraud the goal from the beginning?
The consigner is definitely aware. It says it includes a letter from someone who worked on the film (as does the godfather one). This isn’t an accident. I’m willing to bet those pieces were consigned by the same person.
 

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JMSupp

Active Member
The consigner is definitely aware. It says it includes a letter from someone who worked on the film (as does the godfather one). This isn’t an accident. I’m willing to bet those pieces were consigned by the same person.
It's possible, sure. It's also just as possible that the consigner bought the items from a fraudster, or the chain is longer then that. There is no way for us to know.

The way the Jaws description reads, "Originally acquired from Jaws cinematographer Bill Butler and comes with a letter of provenance from the collector who purchased this and other Jaws-related items from Butler.", its unclear if its consigned by the original collector, or someone who purchased it from the original collector.

I hate splitting hairs on this, but there is a lot we don't know. Aside from the "A" slate appears to be a direct copy off the "B" slate.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Real, fake, I don't f**king know. But I am impressed with all the reseach and attention to detail in this thread! Great work!

And yes, there are fakes or misrepresented items in almost every auction. No company is perfect--mistakes happen! Always do your due diligence if something seems off.
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Real, fake, I don't f**king know. But I am impressed with all the reseach and attention to detail in this thread! Great work!

And yes, there are fakes or misrepresented items in almost every auction. No company is perfect--mistakes happen! Always do your due diligence if something seems off.
Yes, they do. Maybe once in a while for any given auction house, but with Heritage Auctions, this is becoming the norm. Plus that video that was released that shows their history of dirty tricks dating back to the early 1980’s, only makes them seem more sneaky lately.
 

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Tom

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yes, they do. Maybe once in a while for any given auction house, but with Heritage Auctions, this is becoming the norm. Plus that video that was released that shows their history of dirty tricks dating back to the early 1980’s, only makes them seem more sneaky lately.

I did watch that video, actually. But in terms of the movie prop department, I have been dealing with Joe and Brian (formerly of Profiles in History) as a buyer and a consignor for over a decade, and I know they would never intentionally include anything fake in their auctions. And if they catch you doing it intentionally, you're blacklisted forever.
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I did watch that video, actually. But in terms of the movie prop department, I have been dealing with Joe and Brian (formerly of Profiles in History) as a buyer and a consignor for over a decade, and I know they would never intentionally include anything fake in their auctions. And if they catch you doing it intentionally, you're blacklisted forever.
So what about the Trek prop that sold recently? People pointed out all the inaccuracies to them and they all chose to just look the other way and ignore it. Sounds like potential cash takes priority over re-examining items when good questions about the legitimacy comes up. I’m sure Joe and Brian were reputable when at PIH, but working for someone else could have put them in a bind to just “go along or get fired”. Just speculating here, lol.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So what about the Trek prop that sold recently? People pointed out all the inaccuracies to them and they all chose to just look the other way and ignore it. Sounds like potential cash takes priority over re-examining items when good questions about the legitimacy comes up. I’m sure Joe and Brian were reputable when at PIH, but working for someone else could have put them in a bind to just “go along or get fired”. Just speculating here, lol.

I don't know about the Trek prop, but I was just talking about Joe and Brian. The world is an imperfect place, lol.
 

Moviefreak

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't know about the Trek prop, but I was just talking about Joe and Brian. The world is an imperfect place, lol.
 

Tom

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks for the link. As I said, it's not a perfect system, but you hurt my brain when I saw 81 pages, lol. We should always be in search of the truth, wherever that leads.
 

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