Authentication and Forgery Alert


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: 361
Latest Activity: Sep 8

Discussion Forum UK

Started by Bernie. Last reply by David Jones Aug 10. 14 Replies

I ran across this site while doing some researchI have no experience with them, but the site seems to be doing a reasonable amount of businessAre they considered a "safe", "reputable" dealer? Any…Continue

Emerson Lake & Palmer Signed Art Print, possible scam

Started by Seleznev Dmitri. Last reply by Seleznev Dmitri May 24. 5 Replies

Emerson Lake & Palmer - Fine Art Print, possible scam Posted by Seleznev Dmitri on May 24, 2016 at 3:58am in Music Autographs & MemorabiliaView Discussions Last year I discovered on the…Continue


Sandy Koufax Autograph Collectors Thrown for a Curve, Agent Warns

Started by Steve Cyrkin, Community Manager. Last reply by TradeGeek Jan 2. 50 Replies

"Collectors should be especially concerned with jerseys, photos and single signed baseballs that have a hologram with GAI/Global Authentications on them."Fake Sandy Koufax autographs and unlicensed…Continue

Tags: Global authentication, Harlan Werner, sports placement service, ', GA

Todd Mueller Autographs

Started by Scott. Last reply by Ian A. Baldock Jul 7, 2015. 7 Replies

Hello! I'm new to collecting and need some advice on purchasing through Todd Mueller. The site appears legit and a basic check of signatures appear to be authentic. Any advice.

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Comment by Todd Mueller on October 5, 2010 at 11:50am
I think we understand each other and I agree to disagree on this one subject. Here is what happens so everyone understands. I do a signing with say Arnold Schwarzenegger. He decides to sign; "Arnold Schwarz....." because to spell out each characteristic on hundreds of photos doesn't make sense to him. I offer them knowing they are authentic. The customer buys them knowing they are authentic. The few that want another opinion can send them in. They are failed. The few of the few who contact me about this are sent photos, copy of the bank check etc proving this took place and than they quit using third party. Makes sense to me if that is how it needs to continue going. I was just hoping there would be some common ground to where third party didn't suffer the consequences from not being able to differentiate a real autograph from possibly something that wasn't real. Communication could circumvent this but if they don't want to communicate, than why should anyone else with them?
Comment by Todd Mueller on October 5, 2010 at 11:42am
This is where we can agree to disagree. First, I would never compare human handwriting, which changes based on time, mood, age etc to a machine that prints script or images. Chuck Berry probably knows how to spell his name better than any of us....for after all it's his name. To shorten it most celebs sometimes (like Farrah or Paul McCartney) only write a first name, yet people authenticate them. To walk away from an Ali signing where he also travels to be present still cost the amount of the signing so you either get what you can get, or you pay six figures for nothing. I have seen you and others justify certain signatures that don't look right. The only difference here, is the signatures I am referring about are documented where these others are not. This is hypocrisy to state walk away from Ali when we are seeing the most ridiculous Ali signatures ever, being authenticated as we speak by third party. With all due respect, you get what you can get versus nothing at all. Knowing it is real allows one with a reputation to sell such. If other's side elsewhere, so be it but it makes zero sense to give a refund for something 100% authentic when a third party knows nothing about the circumstances and won't even guarantee their opinion.
Comment by roger epperson on October 5, 2010 at 11:41am
I hope we can agree to disagree on this. You do business your way and I will mine. Blaming the authenticator because your client didn't sign his name like he always does is not right. I have been to signings before, I understand how they work.
Comment by roger epperson on October 5, 2010 at 11:37am
All of these stories are great but when Chuck Berry can't even spell his own name right or Ali has to have "homemade" pens just to right then you should just walk away from the deal in my opinion. It only makes things troublesome for your client when trying to sell it down the line. How many times have you been offered signed items that you know the person got them signed but didn't buy them because they didn't look right and would be impossible to sell? Why should this be done then to your clients? I would take my money and go home with no autographs.

This isn't a game of "stump the authenticator" it's just business. I own a printing company and if each piece doesn't look like the other I can't sell the job. What if Bo Diddley just signed "B D"? Would you continue to let him do this and pay him for it? I wouldn't because I know I couldn't sell them even though I know they are authentic because I saw him sign them. I have trashed 100's of things I got signed myself because they were smeared, signed bad or the pen skipped. I can't sell that. It's not just the fact that you know they are authentic that counts, it's that anyone who knows that autograph can tell it's authentic. It's not that anyone is calling you a liar it's that you aren't there after the sale to explain why they look like they do everytime one comes up for sale.
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

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
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!


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