Lyons said handcuffs have been around since the early age of man, when strips of animal hide, tree bark and vine were used for restraint.After the dawn of the Bronze Age, more secure device with locks and keys developed.The numbers and names stamped into each pair of cuffs can help in tracing an item’s maker and provenance (history of ownership).Crude construction made to look old fashioned and modern welding techniques are also dead giveaways of fraud.He believes he owns one of just two surviving pairs in the world.He also spent ,900 (the most he ever paid) for a rare pair of 1850-era Stotz leg irons from Germany.
He finally bought his first set, the Japanese EIGs, from a police uniform supply store in his 20s.
Most collectors, he said, favor the beauty and engineering of 19th and 20th century German and Finnish cuffs.
Fakery is rife in the handcuff collectibles industry and Lyons is often called on to identify reproductions.
For most of his life, locks and keys have had a hold on Mark Lyons’ heart.
He’s run a North County locksmith business for decades and he’s a safecracker-on-call for local law enforcement agencies.
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Handcuffs also became popular with the general public thanks to performers like Houdini.