How to Spot a Reproduction Part
of a National Brass Cash Register
There is nothing wrong with repro parts on an National Cash Register, but you need to know it is one. I will try and give some tips on spotting the telltale signs of a reproduction parts with an emphasis on top signs.
By far the most common reproduced part is the top sign. Following that one might find drawer fronts, ears, NCR tags, small pieces etc.
There are good repros and bad, the good can be hard to spot. I would say most signs have been copied by now so be careful. An original sign is can be worth $175-$500+. Repros cost $75+ from the folks who make them well. In most cases any NCR TS will make a register sell for more.
Here is what to look for:
National Cash Register reproductions are cast from originals using a lost wax casting process or sand molds and often are a bit smaller than originals but unless you have an original this won't help you any!
Ok, the best way to spot a repro is by examining the feet. The casting gets poor in the feet. Look at the hole drilled in the foot if is drastically off center this is a good sign it is a repro. Originals have milling marks for the bottom of the feet because NCR used a cutting tool to shave the bottom on the feet flat. This is not done on repros. Next, just look at the overall quality of the detail in the sign. Although NCR did make some poor parts; most are outstanding in the detail and in the grooves of the painted letters.
Here is a good tip: if a TS has a personalized name on it chances are it is original because it would be really hard to make a repro with your name on it (but it can be done!!) If you find a sign that says Coke on it or "Shave and a haircut 5cents" it is definitely fake.
Here are some views of repro top sign feet:
Both of these are dolphin top sign reproductions.
Here are some views of original top sign feet:
Just note the fine detail and how the holes are centered and precision drilled into the feet. Also you can clearly see the milling marks that sweep across the bottom of the feet.
400-500 class top sign foot
model 33 top sign foot
Hope this helps……