Last week a homemade Panther Saw showed up on Ebay. There were two signs that immediately told me it was not genuine. However, I gladly made the opening bid of 99 cents because I would love to have this guy as a side by side comparison with my genuine Panther saw.
However, a couple of days ago the seller canceled the auction and relisted it with a Buy It Now price of $349.99.
Here are the three pictures that accompany the auction.
Is it just me, or does this saw appear to only have a "panther" carved on one side of the handle? Wow, that is what we humans would refer to as a "RED FLAG." (In other far, far away galaxies they would call that "A disturbance in THE FORCE.")
Also, do you see that pointy area inside the opening of the handle (in the area where the ring finger knuckle would be)? That shape (pointing toward the front of the saw) is normally seen on other saw brands (like Disston Saws). Woodrough & McParlin, the company that patented the Panther Saw, is often seen with a rounded opening inside the handle. I believe I've seen "pointy" areas on some Woodrough & McParlin handles, but I have never seen a Panther Saw with an outwardly pointy area.
Here, let's look at the opening on my Panther Saw as a comparison.
So I realize that this much data would not carry any weight with OJ's jury, but to me, it more than implies that the saw on Ebay was an experimental carving by someone. Nevertheless, I wanted to get additional information. Also, I wanted to let this apparently genuine seller realize that she was most likely overstating the authenticity of this item. So I sent her the following question through Ebay's proper channel:
Subject: jeff has sent a question about item #230528219160, ending on Sep-26-10 10:07:24 PDT - Unusual Old Carved Handle Lion's Head Saw (Panther?)
Sent Date: Sep-20-10 08:05:22 PDT
It appears you have a fake/home-made Panther Saw. Can you confirm the "panther head" is only on one side? Also, on a real panther saw the area of the handle was enlarged at the front to allow enough room for the head to be carved. From the photos you provided it appears a Boy Scout carved a tiny little panther head into the existing wooden handle (and only on one side).
Do you have any Larger/Better Photos available?
Folks, I honestly thought I was being helpful. Then, a few hours later I receive this response:
You don't have to be rude. If you don't like the saw don't bid. This saw was inspected by a Director of the Midwest Tool Collectors Association, and he set the value.
I will admit her response triggered multiple WTF thoughts in my head. And after months of experiencing what TRUE internet rudeness is and just trying to avoid anonymous conflict, I made the decision that as the owner of a genuine Panther Saw I would defend the honor. (It's sort of like those websites where a genuine former Navy Seal goes through the effort of out'ing all of the Seal impostors who attempt to pick up chicks by saying they were Navy Seals during the Revolutionary War.)
So, here is the latest email I sent to the seller of the "Carved Disston Saw":
What part of asking if you have other (different) photos is rude?
Also, I was trying to help you avoid the suffering in case you got a buyer who would immediately realize what you have is NOT a Woodrough and McParlin Panther saw.
As for your statement that you had it inspected by someone with the Midwestern Tool Collectors Association, I don't know of any M-WTCA guys who would look at a saw with a Disston handle with a "panther" carved on one side and declare it to be a genuine Woodrough and McParlin panther saw.
So, please, rather than incorrectly calling me rude, are you able to answer the questions I posed?
1) Is the panther carved on only one side?
2) Do you have additional (better...more detailed) photos available?
That's it. That's where we stand. I will let you know if we get a response to my questions. By the way, if you are inclined to jump over to Ebay and pay $350 for a home-made Panther Saw.... take a look at the Medallion, too.
Gee, is that a Disston Keystone I see??? Oh yeah, I'm sure "This saw was inspected by a Director of the Midwest Tool Collectors Association."
There is one other thought....perhaps in the early 1880's Disston paid Woodrough & McParlin for the rights to put a panther of their own on this very special saw. Holy Crap!!!!!!!!! Call Antiques Roadshow!!! I just realized that what we have here is...... An American Treasure.
(Now if we could just figure out why the patina on the blade doesn't line up with the "panther" head. HMMMM....)
Note to self (and my father)...when I Google'd images of "Woodrough and McParlin handle" on the WorldWideWeb and was greeted with my own pictures of my adorable dog (Peyton), I got the best belly laugh I have had in weeks.