A hoard of thousands Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams signed photos have flooded the market over the last few years. All authenticated by Global Authentication Inc., with COAs signed by former GAI executive Mike Baker.
The hoard has driven down prices on these legendary Baseball Hall of Famers by 50-percent or more, and it's not rare to find one for well under $50.
Every baseball expert we asked is emphatic that they're forgeries. And they've had that same opinion since the hoard came out of Florida in 2008.
If the experts are right—and I don't doubt that they are—not only are thousands of collectors stuck with these worthless photos. Thousands more have unfairly suffered a catastrophic drop in the value of their genuine Mantles, DiMaggios and Williams due to the flood of fakes.
Why Do So Many Think They're Forgeries? Let's find out!
If you're a regular collector like me, it's hard to tell good Mantles from decent forgeries. DiMaggios and Williams are easier, but I'd never buy without an expert opinion. So I thought it would be a great education for those experienced in these autographs—experts and experienced collectors—to show us why they're so widely considered forgeries.
I've included a few of the GAI authenticated photos to start with. Feel free to upload more. Ask questions, share your knowledge...and help make collecting these Hall of Famers safer for everyone!
Here is a mass-produced set of Mantle and Williams forgeries.
GAI "authenticated" thousands of forgeries before they went bankrupt in 2009.
oh no, I fear the worse - the Triumphant return of the Fudjical ;-)
but as important does GA have a true responsibility (aka Steve Sipe) to make EBay's Fraud Division aware of the ones on EBAY that aren't any good or has this already started (as we know it did in NASCAR) or if not what would be the reason for delay?
I can't answer that. I do know that Steve works very close with the same people at ebay that we do. However, I don't know anything about when these were authenticated and by whom. All I know is that Mike Baker was NOT an authenticator. If he is calling himself that now, it's news to me. I don't think it is right for Global Authentics to get the blame for something that was done under a much different team. I know for a fact that Steve Sipe is willing to help anyone though, even if they are inquiring about the old GAI coas. It's something he doesn't have to do.
When Steve Sipe took over, he had ebay pull a large amount of GAI items that they were critical of. I'm sure it still happens when it is clear that they are bad. Sadly, I'm not so sure it is as clear as some people think in all cases. From what I know, there was assistance of one of the primary FBI Op Bullpen agents. That's all I can really say because it's really all I know. I wish Steve could recall EVERY Baker, Rocchi, and Priddy coa and have it re-examined and either re-certified or destroyed. However, that is impossible and really shouldn't be his task to do.
I have heard both sides of this debate and gladly have no opinion on it. Some people will say that PSA and JSA are trying to control the market by claiming they are fake. Others will claim that they are fakes because PSA and JSA say so.
Hopefully, there will be concrete evidence that will help people decide because the whole Operation Bullpen situation simply showed that the market was flooded. Then again, nobody can dispute that these three personalities signed THOUSANDS of items at various different signings.
I would LOVE to see some of the original contracts for the autograph sessions. It would be interesting to see how many autographs these players were payed to sign each year.
Thankfully, Baseball has always been a huge bore to me LOL!
Steve, do you know if Steve Rocchi ( the founder of GAI ) was actually the founder and former President of PSA? That's what I have always seen reported and what I was always told. If so, I'm sure the falling-out ( which I will NOT mention because I don't know the truth ) was major.
He was the president of PSA, not a founder. There are no founders, it's a division.
There was no falling out. He and Baker left to start GAI.
Thank you for your reply, Brandon. It's not so much the third party authenticators that get my goat, it's the scores of websites that sell supposedly authentic items that have been proven to be, or highly suspected of, being forgeries. I know of one particular thorn in the collector's side (I'd mention the company's name but am unsure if I can do that here) where the owner has a past conviction of selling forgeries...and yet he's back in business and no one seems to be interested in stopping him from duping the unsuspecting public. I filed a formal complaint against him with the FBI and their reply was that unless I suffered a loss of $1,000,000 or more, they wouldn't waste their time on the case. I've looked for class action suits but that seems to be a dead end there.
Other than by word of mouth (plus this magazine), there MUST be something we all can do to rid this industry of these cheats. Any suggestions?