I have purchased numerous sonnets via the internet over recent years. I have so far encountered only honest vendors, and have been pleased with what they sold me. My luck has however run out. Sonnet fanciers will have seen recent very cheap sonnets advertised from China, and some of these are straight copies of the French originals: the 'silver circle' and 'gold circle' copy the tartan ST and GT from the 2003 sonnets, and the 'silver diamond' and 'gold diamond' copy the premium silver and gold lustre from 2008. I bought a Chinese gold diamond a while back for £8.99 just to have a look, and I got what I paid for: a cheap and cheerful look-alike but instantly recognisable as not the original and genuine.
I was looking for a Premium gold lustre, and encountered one for €120, sold by a southern European vendor with a flashy website. The wording and photos were just a bit unclear, and the vendor's replies to my emailed queries were nearly enough satisfactory. So I paid up. And it has arrived. And despite the signed 'certificate of authenticity' and other paperwork it is clearly one of the Chinese £8.99 variety. One lives and learns. CAVEAT EMPTOR, as they used to say where the pen came from.
So that others may not suffer the same fate, the photo herewith shows a genuine sonnet on the left; the Chinese £8.99 effort on the right; and my current disaster in the middle. Note the following:
- the arrow fletches in the real thing are fine and taper to each end, but in the other two they are blunt ended, stamped into the metal
- the date stamps on both 2020 pens, and a couple of other Chinese ones I have seen, are all IIIQ
- the date stamps are not so deep or clear (NB genuine 2008 sonnets have the stamp in the centre of the band, so in this respect the Chinese ones are like the genuine ones)
- the hatches in the lines are clumsy and irregular on the cap of both modern Chinese pens - real ones are grouped more like on the barrel of these pens
Older and wiser...