Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, this is the Frequently Asked Questions page, where you will find the many dark secrets of how I create and produce the reproductions you see for sale here (well, most of the dark secrets, anyway). If there's anything you'd like to know that isn't covered here, feel free to ask me here. Thank you!
1.) How do you reproduce these artifacts?
In a way, I trace them. I start with a scan from my personal collection, or a detailed scan or photo of a piece from a friend's or a museum collection, place it in a vector format document, and reset the type and images using the scan as a template.
I kern and space the text after I match the original font, add whatever lines and borders are needed, and then paste any images into the file that is needed.
I then print them on the same quality and color paper as the original, with the same color inks, taking care to provide a good quality print that is every bit as durable as the original (and in some cases, more so). I trim it to the correct size, and in the cases of motion pictures, age and/or distress the appearance as needed, and send it to you in the most timely and secure manner possible.
2.) Why don't you sell or give away your files?
As an artist, I take a great deal of pride in the quality of my work. As long as I can control the printing, the quality and color of paper, the color of inks, and the detail and resolution of the images, I am not ashamed to put my name on each and every piece I sell. Unfortunately, if I can't control all of that, I cannot guarantee the quality I demand and you deserve. Therefore, I do not give away files for you to print yourself. Besides, there are people out there who neither understand nor appreciate the legal concept of copyright, and will sell my products as their own if given the chance. So, I don't give anyone that chance! I will eventually have a free downloads section, but I have to pay for this website first!
3.) Where do you get the stamps that you use for completing the packages?
Again, I use images from original paperwork and scan the stamps on them at very high resolution. I then trace the stamps, or completely reconstruct them, resetting the type, and saving them as high resolution files or in vector format to be made.
Once the rubber stamp impressions are made, I cut them apart and glue them to a piece of wood to use as a print block. Since I don't take these stamps to reenactments, especially not living history displays, it does not matter that they do not look like period stamps,only that the impression is correct.
In the event that I do need period looking stamps, I frequent flea markets and antique stores looking for old stamp handles that I can recycle as a World War II era stamp; I pry the old impression off and glue my impression on.
To date, I have over three hundred different stamps from French towns and cities to Italian Communes, from German Arbeitsamten to US Postage cancellations, all at my own expense, to provide a better, more accurate reproduction product for you!
4.) Are you a reenactor?
Yes, I am. I have the same love of history that you do. As someone who strives to be as authentic as possible in everything I wear or carry, I feel qualified to offer these items to you and give you my personal promise to make these reproductions as accurately as possible.
My wife and I met reenacting over twenty-five years ago. I currently reenact or have reenacted the Middle Ages, the English Civil War (Prince Rupert's Blew Rgt), the American Revolution (1st No. Carolina Inf. Rgt. of the Line and HMS FALCON), the Creek Indian Uprising of the 1820s and 30s, the American Civil War (8th Florida Vol. Inf., 13th Indiana Inf. Rgt., and U.S.S. HURON), and World War II (197th Guards Rifle Rgt - USSR, Civil Defense Air Raid Warden and 36th Infantry Div - US, and SS-Kriegsberichter and Hermann Göring Div. - Germany).
I have always found that when I carry the correct paperwork, I feel more like the soldiers I portray, knowing that I have the same kind of items that they carried. Nothing impresses a visitor at a living history event or museum more than reaching into your pocket to show them your I.D. card, Gas Ration card, or a letter from home.
5.) What do you do when you aren't reenacting?
I am working right now at the University of Florida as a refrigeration mechanic, though I admit, it is not my first love. I miss doing artwork and design, so if anyone is looking for a graphic designer, please keep me in mind!
I am also a science fiction novelist (none published yet, but I'm working on that) and short story writer. I have been published in "Locus" and "Military History" magazines, and my illustrations have been published in Martin Caidin's book "Natural or Supernatural."
So, between work, this website, my writing, and my freelance art, I am not bored.
6.) Do you take PayPal?
I do indeed! In fact, as a long-time PayPal customer, they were the first ones I turned to for my shopping cart. And you don't have to have a PayPal account to purchase anything off this website; you can order with your credit card by filling out the appropriate spaces in the order form. I'll even pay the fees at no extra charge to you. If you would like a PayPal account, there's even a place on the order form to start one.
If you don't have a credit card, contact me and we'll work something out. I have been known to take money orders and personal checks, but I don't ship your order until they have cleared. Please bear in mind though, that I must charge sales tax if you are a Florida customer. Sorry, but the Governor does insist on getting his share.
7.) Do you have... ?
To make a long story short, if it's not on my web pages, I don't have it... yet. I do have a rather respectable collection of originals, and I plan on reproducing every piece I have (I'm constantly adding to that collection, too), but I admit that I do not have a copy of everything that's out there. So feel free to ask; if I don't have something, I'll let you know, and if you have something that I do not have, I am willing to deal with you to get scans of your originals and start reproducing those for yourself and others.
8.) What do others have to say about your work?
Here's a few testimonials from folks that have received some of my work:
reproductions are fabulous! My wife and I just got our sets of 1943
French papers, and we're delighted with them. The Gestapo will never
suspect a thing! For repro paperwork, Mattski is a master, and no
can attest that Matt's work is fantastic. He'd make a great
forger! ;-) My French ID is a work of art."
so much for the cool looking ID!!! It will go nicely with
our train reenactment! ...I really appreciate your making
it for us! I love the stamps and official looking handwriting!
Your handwriting looks just like what I've seen in the old books."
sitting here looking at my papers and thinking "HOLY CRAP!!!".
They look just like originals! They are absolutely awesome. Thanks."
I can say is wow!! The paperwork just arrived and is great, that
leningrad pass is virtually perfect. Thanks."
"Got the ration books today!
Thanks, they look great!"
American Revolution era stamped paper was recieved today. Nice to
finally see a historically accurate and affordable 18th century
it has arrived and it is absolutely first class – I am very,
very happy comrade. I have sung your praises on the Army Group South
line down here."
received the paperwork in today's mail. All I can say is WOW! It
all looks fantastic! I will definitely pass your name on to my friends.
You do a great job! Thanks again!"
talk about "Is it real or is it Memorex" - these items
are NOS, not reproductions...they are that good - ...Thank
you so much for the wonderful and professionally done items - they
are indeed works of art"
Matt - got my package today - all I can say is they are superb and
I will recommend anyone to your site, in fact I just have:
got my paperwork today. The items I ordered are superb and the extras
you threw in have the rest of my unit salivating. Thanks again,
Matt...I received my Birth Certificate and it is FANTASTIC.....!!!...Im
very pleased with it......also liked the other "goodies"
in the package......Thank you very much
Package just arrived the other day, Your Reproductions Look GREAT!!!
I am very happy with the purchase.
received the wallet and tickets today. Really great work!
can't speak highly enough of your work on my Soldbuch. The finished
product is amazing! The quality of the stamps, variation in handwriting
and ink colors, and the detail you put into it really make a difference.
You should definitely consider offering regular completion services
- I know I'll be sending people your way if you do. Well done!
for the stamps
I can't say how pleased i am over the results!!!!! If I was british I would problebly say "Top notch work lad" or something like it :)
ID book: wonderful, im really impressed over the result! The pen and ink you use, are they correct for the time? because I havent seen that ink/pen mark before, so it looks old school
notebook: nice surface on the outside, looks like it will hold long
and my name on top of it make it looks more personal, thanks!