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Authentication and Forgery Alert

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Authentication and Forgery Alert

Discuss authentication issues within the industry, including but not limited to 3rd party authentication. It's also a "clearing house" for suspected forgeries.

Members: 303
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Discussion Forum

Does Personalization make it more authentic?

Started by Donna Campisi. Last reply by Donna Campisi Oct 16. 6 Replies

Just wondering if seeing an autograph that is personalized to someone makes it more authentic?  I would think that a forger would not put a name on a signature knowing it lowers the value........or…Continue

beware expensive alleged George Reeves signature on ebay

Started by Jet Jackson. Last reply by Jet Jackson Oct 4. 2 Replies

This seller thinks that by fancy, cheap, multi-mat packaging, you just won't look close at the signatures. After all, who would fancy frame a fake??? And to further make sure you don't look close, he…Continue

Beware of this Ebay seller. EVERYTHING I've seen them sell are fakes!

Started by Bob Salvati. Last reply by James McCay Oct 4. 19 Replies

The seller is kbmacrodeals and he's selling fakes. This Bowie is bogus and he's selling bogus KISS, AC/DC, Van Halen, etc.Continue

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Comment by Todd Mueller on October 5, 2010 at 11:22am
I might add. A great authenticator can do the following. It may not look like the signature but also a forger would never forge something like this. Than you look at the characteristics that are always present with a real signature. If they are there, than it may have been rushed, or a mood thing. Being able to see outside the box and understand from first hand experience how signings actually take place can be very informative. The end result is the celeb's autograph. What others do does not concern me, the celebrity or my customers. I suggest that if dealers quit accepting opinions of those that cannot authenticate real material from a documented signing the authenticators lose ultimately, not the dealers. Because the customers are convinced the autograph is real, the dealer guarantee's it and the customers no longer use third party simply because what's the point? They won't get a refund anyway. The process only works if dealers recognize it and accept it. Dealers will only do this if the authenticators know what they are doing and if they don't, ask questions for there is nothing to hide.
Comment by Todd Mueller on October 5, 2010 at 11:14am
Roger-

In 2001, we did a sit down with Muhammad Ali, our third one. Ali's signature at the time was a tiny little scrunched up mess. So we had talcum powder placed on the photos so his hand would move smoothly and duck taped the pens so they were the size of a rake handle. This way he had to fist the pens so we got larger signatures. To ask "Ali, The Greatest" to write bigger is just not something I would ever want to do. Notice the most recent signatures that look nothing like anything. The "M" looks like an "N", yet they passed these.

Chuck Berry would only sign photos in person on a River Boat he gambles at in Louisiana. He did this on three ocassions and was paid in cash. To ask for a "prettier" signature would have got us booted off the boat. We could only get what we could get and stopped when he started signing; "Berry," Bery".

Olivia De Havilland wrote 25 letters about where to sign the photos, what to add to them etc. For awhile I thought the signing would never happen between each little detail being asked from Paris-Texas and back. I came to the conclusion she just wanted to be pen pals but ultimately she did it and a perfect job. She was a perfectionist.

Jerry Lee Lewis, met at a hotel and came down to the lobby in his underwear to sign the photos. He also did a pretty good job but had he not, I probably wouldn't have argued with a guy in his briefs.

Farrah signed most of the photos on the airplane trip to Germany which was shown on the documentary; "Farrah's Story" so I was not present nor could I tell her what to do.

Alan Shepard, agreed to sign memorabilia after his book signing at Taylor Bookstore. He started with a full signature, than started signing; "Alan Shep," than A.S." We were lucky to get anything. Correcting him would have ended everything which ultimately happened.

Mickey Mantle almost always signed perfect. When I was at his mother, Lovell Mantle's home in Del City, OK and Billy, Whitey and Mickey were drinking and telling stories I got some weird signatures and did quit asking, but I would never tell these three legends to slow down, for one they were pounding the drinks.

Bettie Page would sometimes write; "Bettie Bettie," and forget the Page or write; "Bettie Pagge." No one else but Hugh Hefner and I had acess to her and she would complain and get distracted but I did the best to keep her focused.

Millvina Dean, The youngest Titanic survivor would sometimes write extremely small. I would tell her to write bigger and she would state she has tiny hands.

Gene Sarazen used a bucket of ice at age 96 to keep his hand from becoming inflamed. You do what you can to do the deal, not what you suggest unless there is an appropriate time to do such, but usually that ends the deal for they look at you as criticizing them instead of appreciating the time they are giving you. Most celebs don't need the money but do it to stop the forgers from making money off them. When the forgeries are called real, because forgers try to mimic something real, and the real items are questioned it mock's the entire process.

In a perfect world, your scenario works but I never brought celebs to shows as I don't do shows. I did the signings at either their homes or an agreed upon location, or simply sent the images to them, requiring someone to photograph the event. Sometimes, you can only get what you can get and I disagree for it isn't "like not getting one at all." If an authenticator cannot authenticate an autograph that does not look right they shouldn't fail it. They should communicate or learn the circumstances for otherwise they are calling facts lies and ultimately this makes them look bad, not the seller who was there. There should be a third option that basically states; "We don't know" I am never placed in an awkward position for doing a signing. I did the deal and if someone else fails it, that's on them, not me for the truth always prevails.
Comment by roger epperson on October 5, 2010 at 9:58am
Todd
If asking them to slow down (since you are paying for these) so they are sellable (which he knows you are doing) is direspectful, please explain why. I have been there when signings were being done and they were asked many times to slow down or resign one because it looks wrong. You are doing business and for an item to sell it needs to look right. How can you blame an authenticator for not being able to authenticate an autograph that does not look right? Once it changes hands after your sale then that collector has to relay the story to sell it and so on...

Like I said, if you get an autograph that does not look like thier autograph it's just like not getting one at all. It's not collectable because it doesn't look right. This puts the collector, the authenticator and yourself in a very akward position just because you didn't ask them to slow down.
Comment by Todd Mueller on October 5, 2010 at 9:17am
Wow- Dave I appreciate your comments. There is always someone in the peanut gallery that just doesn't get it. He has his God given American right to not bid with us just like I have my God given right to block him if he tries. I would take 10 AB's over one nut. Enough on this for it doesn't truly deserve even a response.

Roger- You raise an interesting point which I agree with. During our signing with Farrah she obviously lost her train of thought. She signed one photo twice, and one not at all. During our signing with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley both got to a point were they began writing sloppily. Quicker than most signatures you see but slop. I have done over 200 private signings with all walks of fame and I would never ask a celebrity to slow down or write to where it can be authenticatable because it's disrespectful and the celeb's I have dealt with don't even know third party authenticators exist. So knowing situations like this happen first hand, they are still sellable. So this brings us to the inevitable bermuda triangle. I sell an authentic autograph, someone else offers it on say ebay, and they are kicked off simply because someone else cannot authenticate it. This use to come back to the seller when the seller recognized these opinions, not so much anymore. But assume a seller respects these type of opinions but knows it's authentic. Should he throw away the signing? Or, may I instead suggest, these authenticators should not accept money for an opinion on a service they simply cannot provide?
Comment by john reznikoff on October 5, 2010 at 8:13am

Comment by john reznikoff on October 5, 2010 at 7:51am

Regarding the J. M. Bakker Elvis Lyrics forgeries. This was a painful but educational experience. Everyone thought these were real at first including Christies and other major auction houses. Todd Mueller said they issued certificates but I think in fact they simply sent letters showing they were interested in selling them, which of course were used in some way to verify authenticity. TM was the original purchaser and he brought me in as a capital partner and because I had customers who were interested in purchasing them.
Roger raised some serious doubt at one point and that led me to conduct an in depth study. I had sold several hundred thousand dollars worth, but as due diligence would require, I set about trying to prove them wrong. I was successful. The key, I discovered, was certain letter formation, which so that history does not repeat itself, I will not detail. Also, I found that the letter formation was consistently consistent, and Elvis”’ true and known hand was not. Another key to the investigation was that the quantities were just too high. The greed factor had kicked in something Todd and roger have discussed here. I have seen recent examples in the marketplace such as Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson where experts think the first few might be good but when a quantity appears the red flags come out. I know of a similar case more in my own field with Ronald Reagan. The day came when I knew I would have to recover the Lyrics and write a very big check. Todd fully refunded his portion when it was time to disgorge our profits.

The illustrations I show are Scans of the Lyrics themselves, not the artificially aged paper and peculiar, never before seen ( except at Hans house by Roger) purple handstamp. Hound dog if real, would have been worth no small fraction of a million dollars. The sheets with the red notations on them are examples of my original worksheets . The “Q”’s represent excised words and letters from the Questioned document, while the “X”’s are from known and accepted handwriting. Note the “Habits” in the questioned document and the fact that these habits are broken in the known. This is the methodology I use when I am testifying in court and I often make poster board blow ups as visual aids. Of course this was a case where I paid rather than being paid. Big time. The final scan is a beautiful certificate issued by Bakker, which along with 5 bucks will get you a coffee at Starbucks. I have also included the original folder that some of the lyrics came in that show Bakkers’ handwriting. Hmmmm intersting letter formations that look familiar!


Comment by Dave Dodd on October 5, 2010 at 7:40am
Sounds good Steve, Have a great Day.
Comment by Steve Moore on October 5, 2010 at 7:37am
Dave, I agree with you in general about being positive and lets leave it at that!
Comment by Dave Dodd on October 5, 2010 at 7:23am
Yea, but they worked it out. AB has purchsed tons of stuff from Todd and has been happy with everything but the Tiger item. Todd and Ab have come to an agreement. Its done! Lets not jump to conclussions and think that Todd sold AB a Tiger item that he knew was not authentic. There is no reason to boycott Todd. Even AB said Todd was a great guy and has been a pleasure to purchase from. Why are we so quick to judge?
Comment by Dave Dodd on October 5, 2010 at 7:13am
Why not keep the blog informitave and helpful for the collector. Why start up more problems.
 

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