Q: I’m preparing a program on piano babies for our doll club and have read several articles that say if the hole on the baby’s bottom is big, the baby is “fake” and not original to Germany. Is this true?

A: There are several clues to spotting “fake” or reproduction piano babies or other ceramic figures. Early pottery and porcelain pieces have a smaller hole in the bottom than later reproductions. The hole let gas out so the figurine didn’t explode during firing. Older porcelain figures are heavier than newer reproductions because more clay was used to make them. Reproduction figures, made from a mold cast from an original, are smaller because the material shrinks as it cools.