An unusual one has turned up, not a fake Magnum Opus this time, but a model not made by Hetchins at all.
As with many such replicas and fakes, it exhibits anomalies which betray its bogus pedigree. We'll start with the head lugs:
Nice lugwork, but unknown for a Hetchins.
Now let's check the serial number: H6065.
This is a valid Hetchins number, and would make it a 1966 build, the 65th frame made that year. This is prima facie an indication of genuine pedigree. Or is it? Look closely at the other stay end where it meets the dropout, and compare it to the dropout farther below:
Notice the seat stay ends. The photo immediately above shows how Jack Denny finished off stay ends; I refer to this as "chiselled." Denny started doing this in the late 1960s and continued like this until he quit building frames in 1986. The blue frame in question is done differently: notice the ridge inside the stay end, above the dropout, indicated by the red arrow. This is not what one would expect from Jack Denny. Moreover, the seat stay end on the left side dropout (farther above), looks sloppily done. Furthermore, the font is different.
According to the legders, H6065 was a Vade Mecum Mk ii, 23-inch, curly, first sold on 5 July 1966. The lugs on this frame are nice, but not Vade Mecum Mk ii. Below is a close-up of the seat lug.
Compare with those below, showing the VM Mk ii lugwork:
Examine the top eyes on the genuine VM Mk ii above, the one in black and white: plain flat wrapovers. Compare the top eyes on the blue frame: it has engraved top eyes. These were introduced in the mid-1970s. The top eyes on the blue frame are anachronistic. So are the panier mounts, for that matter (though these might have been added later--but my suspicion is that the entire frame was built later).
Below, two views of the whole frame. On the whole, it is not badly proportioned or hidesouly ugly, as some replicas we have seen before.
But look at the bb shell, below:
We have seen this sort of butchery before, but never on a genuine Hetchins. The stays didn't fit the bb shell, so shims were added.
Finally, the fork crown is over-elaborate, as marked in red. This was the usual fork crown tang as fitted to the MO, not to lesser models.
The propenderance of evidence indicates that this is a replica.
Finally, it is disquieting that a valid frame number appears on this one. Maybe it was just a lucky coincidence, or maybe the frame builder happened to know of just that one genuine Hetchins number. In any case, this is a fake, revealed by the many anomalies noted above.