Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Pequannock History Book Fights Counterfeits

By Christopher Lotito

It would be easy to presume that the biggest obstacles to preserving local history in small-town New Jersey suburbia would be development, apathy, and maybe lack of funding, but few would imagine that counterfeiting would play a role in destroying the history of Pequannock Township.
Butler Genealogical Map

There are already a couple great books about Pequannock History, including Emil Salvini's and George Parr's.  Limited print run affairs, these works have become history themselves and so though a market exists among the hundreds of members of Facebook group such as "Friends of the Pequannock Historic District Commission" and others, a dearth of materials in print makes for a desperate situation when it comes to local history research and genealogy.  There is a thriving secondary market for used copies of these books, as well as works such as old Pequannock High School yearbooks and the Holy Spirit 25th Anniversary book, which is frankly pretty "gray" as markets go, with little concern as to where these works are sourced from and whether they will end up benefiting the public at large, or just a single enthusiast.  What readers may not be aware of is that there is a black market in knock-off historic Pequannock documents, photos, and postcards.
Aerial Detail, Pompton Plains, 1950's

Really, the counterfeit materials are not the problem, after all the Pequannock Township History Museum sells a limited run of local history postcards, and reproduction postcards are a wonderful way for everyone who wants or needs a copy of these historic images to add them to their personal collections.  The real issue arises when these images are reproduced month after month after month on sepia toned card-stock and then sold on eBay as the "real deal."  Collectors who buy these may not realize that they are really purchasing a reproduction, since these are often sold as legitimate.  Buying a counterfeit piece of Pequannock history off of eBay will cost you between $2 and $15 as of this writing, but the cost to local history is immeasurably higher as we start to see these counterfeit cards entering circulation and ending up in the hands of next-of-kin, again mistakenly thought of as legitimate antiques.  Add to this a high number of errors, mis-labelings (on the part of counterfeiters), and an overall low quality of reproduction and you have a growing number of obstacles to researchers working to educate themselves and others about the history of Pequannock.

Postcard, "The Pequannock River"
To combat this, I'm seeking to reduce or eliminate the demand for these low-quality counterfeits by publishing a photo-book, at the printing cost, containing high resolution and enhanced copies of hard to find historic images of Pequannock and Pompton Plains, and which is clearly a reproduction.  The book, "Lotito's Visual History of Pequannock - Vol. 1" includes 26 high resolution scans of historic images with a number of postcards, a ton of maps, unseen aerial perspectives, and original work spot-lighting specific historic eras and transformations (like the restoration of the Pompton Plains Railroad Station). (http://www.lulu.com/shop/christopher-lotito/lotitos-visual-history-of-pequannock-vol-1/paperback/product-21317312.html)

A complete list of plates follows:
List of Plates:
Pompton Plains R.R. Station (col. 1900's)(cover)
East and West Jersey (Worlidge, 1800's)
Pequannock, Montville, Boonton (1800's)
Butler Genealogical (1800's)
Pequannock Genealogical (1800's)
Pompton Plains R.R. Station #1-#4 (2004, unrestored)
Pompton Plains R.R. Station #1,2 (2012, restored)
Guardbank South of Spillway (1920's)
Culvert, Pequannoc (1920's)
Pequannoc Spillway (1920's)
2012 - Railroad North from Jefferson St. - Comparison shot.
Pompton Dam, Pompton Plains (2012)
Pequannoc Spillway, Pompton Plains (2012)
Railroad North from Jefferson St. (2012)
The Pequannock River (col. postcard 1900's)
Swimming Pool, Camp Madison (postcard 1900's)
Welcome Wagon / Country Furniture Shop (1950's)
First Reformed Church Postcard #1
First Reformed Church Postcard #2
First Reformed Church Burnt #1
FRC Burnt #2
Pequannock, 1950's Aerial w/ Church
Pequannock, 1950's Aerial w/ Village

The book can be purchased at this link for just $19.95: http://www.lulu.com/shop/christopher-lotito/lotitos-visual-history-of-pequannock-vol-1/paperback/product-21317312.html  -- Proceeds go towards producing more history books!

    Christopher Lotito is a member of the Pequannock Historic District, Open Space, and Flood Control Advisory Commissions as well as the author of  "Torrent," a book about flooding in the region.  Lotito's personal mission is to reduce new taxes, drastically reduce flooding, and preserve more green spaces for our children.  Christopher Lotito Profile

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