I could've sworn there was a specific word for the situation where someone in the present makes up some historical detail to appear authentic, manufactures an antique that is actually anachronistic for the period it is supposed to be from, or attempts to restore some historical artifact with incorrect details.

In a sense this word would be opposite to "retrofuturism" as it is a similar mistake made in the opposite direction of time. But more than anything I want to describe the incorrect restoration of some historical artifact, in an attempt to hide the fact that it was not original.

e.g. "The door latches, while historic looking, were actually a(n) [word] that didn't actually fit the time period of the building's construction, and we know they were installed in the 90s by someone trying to pass them off as original"

While anachronism would fit, it doesn't describe the act of the item being fraudulent, and has a more neutral connotation.

  • 4
    Alternate history pieces?
    – Davo
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 15:42
  • 4
    Why not "counterfeit" which is applied to something that is faked with the intent to defraud?
    – dclxvispqr
    Commented Sep 13, 2022 at 23:16
  • 1
    what is the intent of this item, is it for sale as a fraud or to fit into their victorian house but be more handy?
    – WendyG
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 9:26
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    There is historical negationism but it involves illegitimate historical revisioning or forging of historical records/documents/text. It doesn't talk about artefacts or antiques; so I couldn't be sure if it is the term you are looking for.
    – ermanen
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 12:12
  • 1
    Ersatz is an adjective that can come in handy, too.
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 16:16

4 Answers 4


If the maker or presenter of the reproduction is actively pretending that it's genuine, I'd call the reproduction a sham.

Sham is defined by Merriam-Webster as "an imitation or counterfeit purporting to be genuine."


The technical term is (historical) replica.

See Wikipedia: replica

faulty, inaccurate, inexact replica

Just one example of inaccurate replica:

The newly resurfaced painting bears similarities to inaccurate replicas of the original, potentially suggesting that it’s a copy of a copy, according to Prignitz-Poda.

Smithsonian and Frida Kahlo painting


If you visit the USS Constitution in Boston these days, the cannons you’ll see on her gun deck aren’t the originals launched with the ship. The guns aboard the ship are replicas, and only two of them are capable of firing salute charges. Even when the sailors aboard Constitution fire salutes, it’s a far cry from the way cannons were loaded and fired when Old Ironsides was first laid. [...]

In fact, they’re inaccurate replicas, with 18 of them even bearing the Royal Cipher of King George II.

Original guns and inaccurate replicas

  • I am in the antiques business actually and yes, this is the most useful term. Further, in the question "didn't actually fit the time period" we would say the replica was of a style not contemporary with the work. Or in "a later/earlier style." The OP seems to assume any later modification of an artifact is intentional misdirection instead of, say, repair or changing taste. Things break and people 50 years later prefer machine-pressed brushed nickel over hand-made brasses
    – Yorik
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 17:52


"Historical sophistry". Sophistry, the clever use of arguments that seem true but are really false, in order to deceive people

A few words can be combined with "history" to mean "history" that has been altered. Examples would be

"Fabricated"/"engineered"/"counterfeit"/"forged"/"spurious" history.


"Newfangled" may mean recently made for the first time, but not always an improvement on what existed before. It does not however mean "forged antique piece/s". Word combinations such as these can be used to mean "forged antique piece/s"

"Imitation antiques"

"Ersatz goods" Ersatz: used instead of something else, usually because the other thing is too expensive or rare:

"Faux antiques", Faux not real, but made to look or seem real


Is it be of the following?

*counterfeit *bogus *sham *mock (mock-up) *spurious *inauthentic *unauthentic *imitation *factitious *dupe *dummy *forgery *phony *approximation *impression *semblance *knockoff *rip-off *fabrication *feigned *Janus-faced

I will do a more thorough search if not but I figured I’d attempt a quick attempt to locate the word. If it’s not one of the words I’ve listed, then I have a feeling that it’s likely to be a slang word, or word that’s popular in a particular region. Let me know either way, thanks.

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    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 16:17

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