Many collectors seek out antique cast iron doorstops such as those made by Hubley. Since these pieces are desirable, a considerable number of reproductions are also on the market, some of which, upon first glance, appear to be old and original. In fact, the original Hubley molds were used to create some of the reproductions. Determining whether that Hubley is an original often comes down to distinctive maker's marks on the bottom of the piece. Both original and reproduction markings are documented, which will help you find out the truth about the doorstop.
Look closely at the doorstop to determine if it is made from two molded pieces of iron or one. If two, flip the doorstop around or over to see how the pieces are held together. An old, original doorstop should have a slotted screw rather than a Phillips head screw, which is newer.
Notice whether the pieces of a two-piece doorstop line up nicely, or if they seem askew. If they don't line up neatly, the piece may be a reproduction. Feel the texture of the doorstop, including its edges along the back or bottom. If the piece feels rough and grainy, it is likely a reproduction. Original Hubley pieces were smoothed by hand, rather than some reproductions which were made ready for sale using grinders and other power tools, resulting in a rougher metal.
Flip the doorstop around or over, looking on the bottom and back for telltale maker's marks, such as a manufacturer's number. A Hubley doorstop typically had a three-digit number on the inside, bottom or back, although some early reproductions using the same molds kept these numbers intact. The word "HUBLEY" is sometimes imprinted on hollow doorstops. There should not be a name or initials that imply any other manufacturer. If the doorstop is a cartoon-style person with a somewhat Art Deco style, check the front for the word "FISH" and a copyright symbol. Artist Anne Fish, a cartoonist in the 1920s, teamed up with Hubley for a series of doorstops, all bearing her last name and a copyright symbol on the front.
Inspect the paint finish on the piece. It should look old and aged, but detailed. Many Hubley doorstops, especially their earlier models, were completely handpainted. Later models were sprayed for base coloring, with painted details added by hand. Reproductions tend not to be as detailed. If the paint finish looks brand new and not quite neat, the piece is likely a reproduction.
Doorstops are highly collectible, so there have been books published featuring specific manufacturer numbers, as well as sizes of real vs. reproduction pieces. Check your local library or ask an antique dealer to look up specific information about your doorstop to verify its origin.
Only buy antique doorstops from a reputable dealer. There are numerous reproductions on the market, and an educated dealer can usually tell the difference.
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