PLEASE ASK QUESTIONS IN THE DISCUSSION FORUMS, NOT BLOGS.
READ THIS BEFORE YOU POST, THANKS.

It's happened more times working with experts than I can count. It goes like this:

  • "Ringo does this almost every time he signs, but the forgers almost never get it right. I'm telling you but don't publish it. I don't want the forgers to find out what they're doing wrong."
  • "See this same [signing characteristic] on all of these genuine Obamas? The forgers get it wrong almost every time. But don't put it in the article. We don't want the forgers to fix it."
  • "Most bad Armstrongs [signing characteristic]. But don't tell anyone. We don't want the forgers to know." 

I understand why we don't want the forgers to get better. But I think there's nothing more important than making it as easy as possible for collectors to detect potential fakes themselves.

These "secret tells" will help collectors avoid buying forgeries in the first place, and give them a better chance of getting their money back if they've been cheated. And just as important, it will help identify the criminals forging and knowingly selling and authenticating forgeries.

The more victims, suspects and evidence we can gather for law enforcement; the better the chances of getting these criminals arrested, out of the hobby—and into a different line of work when they're out of prison. The timing is right—the authorities are listening more than ever.

So what do you think?

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Replies to This Discussion

I am always happy to share any knowledge I have and have done so through videos articles and right here on LIVE. Of course family and career limit my time but I don't think I've turned down anyone, as long as they are patient. And yes, I work for free for both services and a few other major players. I do however get paid by near daily attacks from forgers and forgers protectors like koschal. Comes with the territory and those who know me know I will fight till my last breath.

I do think it is important to keep 1 step ahead of the forgers and I do keep a few unimportant or otherwise redundant tells out of print at least. We must educate the public as much as possible but not print a guide book for forgers .... A tough line to tow. This web site has been the most valuable tool, along with isitreal.com in fighting forgery in the hobby .

Thanks a Million John for speaking up on the subject. We appreciate you being here for the "Lowly Collector". Points well taken from DB as well.

I faced this dilemma myself.

 

I contributed to the UACC Neil Armstrong autograph study (soon to be published.) I did a letter by letter analysis, which could serve as a blueprint for forgers. I was concerned about this, so I held a few things back.

 

Did I spill too much? I really don't know.

I don't think so.

spoken like a true forger    (lol)

 

where is the armstong one coming out...  was scott cormish involved?

Scott did contribute, although I'm not sure to what extent. Also not sure of the release date.

Thanks as Scott is also credited with being very knowledgeable on the armstrong and considered a goto guy from a number of places, especially on Armstrong....  Now that I jinxed him ;-)

I've asked Mike Hecht, UACC president,  to offer an authentication class in Burbank on April 1  (the Friday before the Hollywood show at the Burbank Marriott).  It looks like he will do this so if anyone else is interested in attending please let Mike know (or post here and I will tell him).  It will be a couple hours and at low cost.     I consider this in the category of "every bit of knowledge helps." so I thought I'd post this item here.
Knowing what to look for and making mistakes are two different things.   I doubt that you would find anyone 100% free of errors.  In any case you shouldnt generalize that everyone at the UACC is therefore not qualified.  Education is proclaimed, at least, to be one of their prime directives. 

actually Greg - R&R loves that kind of stuff.  They are unique in many ways.

 

the problem of policing is that it takes long hours, considerable time including the actions the hope that something might come from it as a result.  Lets focus in on the b - dlist aucrion house for a 2nd - do u think for one moment they give a rat's riddly rear end whar Cyrkin, Rez, Epperson, Daniel Cohen or even Mr. Bill  or even the knowlegeable about a certain signature think?  Only, if they can figure out a way to make easy money with litigation.

 

That's why I don't have a big issue if they don't open up their kimonas (actually that is probably a good thing) with all their secrets.

When I started really focusing on autographs a few years ago, I was working closely with R&R.  Much of what I had was from an estate sale - a huge number of autographs.  I set up a meeting with Bob Eaton, and I took a flight from Chicago to their headquarters in New Hampshire.   I brought a sample - a small box of autographs hoping to get some idea how to proceed with the sale of these.   Bob spent some time going through them - picked out some he wanted to auction - but really told me nothing about the rest.  Either they were not of sufficient value or were considered suspect.  When I questioned him on one - a Jeff Chandler it was - his response was "he was familiar with the autograph and knows what to look for."  Thats good for him, but didnt help me at all.  I continued consigning things to R&R but eventually gave up trying to please them.   I will admit though that it wasn't all negative, Tricia helped me quite a bit with Bogart autographs - but for the most part I felt we were just out there "on our own" to learn the secrets of the masters without the "book of secrets."
You are quite right.  Auction houses pick and choose what they want to sell - and thats OK really - what bugs me is that when you come to them looking for advice you find you are just wasting your time (usually - I dont want to say this is so in EVERY case - but usually it is so).   Most of what I sell on eBay fits in the under $100 category that they dont want to touch and so I am left to trying to authenticate as best as I can with the resources I have.   Actually, the references I have available now are considerable but I still consider myself an amateur.  How indeed does one step up a notch and be reasonably respected - well for one, refunding immediately anything found suspect which was sold (which I do even without "third party" statements - which are usually unsigned and without credible explanations any way).   Sure I've made mistakes but they have been honest ones.   I still strive to get better.

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