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

Steve you are dead on correct.  The more INFORMATION the public has the better we all can fight the crooks (even if the crooks have the same info).
I agree 100 percent

As many of you know, I write many NASCAR autograph studies...When I decided to do this, I asked myself the same question Steve has asked here.  when I thought about it I really felt that accurate information was more valuable to the hobby than NO information.  I have found that my studies have been used buy many buyers and collectors in a very positive way. If they are being used to help create forgeries...well, it's my job as the NASCAR expert to be on my game and still determine that a fake is a fake.


As we have seen with the Heston study, too little info for too long of a time is actually quite dangerous to the hobby.  Even if my studies can help one person and / or protect them against a NASCAR forgery then it is worth it.


I also like to give sellers the benefit of the doubt . Many times, a seller is simply a victim too and does not realize her/ she is selling bad items.  It's easy to have perfect hindsight and realize that a seller could have done more to avoid selling or offering bad items.

up to a point but since we know many lowlifes monitor this site I would not want to give them one inch of information.  The Heston, Fawcett, Hendrix, NASCAR, Gleason,  and several others would be nice if they were all located in one area so we are not going all over the place looking for them however "don't give away the keys to the kingdom"

2ndly, I don't think that a number of experts would share too much too begin with as after all that is their bread and butter as well as a revenue generator.  We know there are also by invitation only closed threads and that is ok but it would be nice to have some results posted that could be shared.

Case in point - we go round & round with Mickey Mantle with examples ad nauseum but don't have a study that would help a majority of sports collectors 'cept for some excellent opinions (right or wrong).

the discussion of the Mantles which is pretty much saying that company ABC or XYZ only certified fake mantles is simply too loose. WHY DO THE EXPERTS THINK THAT? Its very confusing to buyers who simply can't tell the difference on their own. Leaving them to pay someone a silly amount of $ for a quite vague "yes" or "no". Its pitiful. In the end, it makes some people think that nobody knows what is real and I know for a FACT that some people will simply state that its just a "war" between experts.

Markus, you kind of made my point. Yes, an expert went bad, but the other experts were able to catch the problem because they were on their toes. If the experts are asleep at the wheel (as it appears some have been as late as this week or last regarding heston) then customers can be hurt. However, more info is still best in my opinion. The most info possible for FREE.

...I thought that for many years as well as it is necessary that knowledge people working together and educate each other instead of fighting against each other where forgers benefit at the end.


 I believe at the end there should be a solution where general findings will be discussed public and the final and expert statements could be just be viewed or download after login and record with original name and login (where they have to agree to some rules). If after that "new" and more quality forgeries appear on the market (where expert are still able to catch the problem) you have at least a database where you could find out which people had this background and they have to be very careful as they maybe broke the rules are become suspended or could get claimed....


I am not sure if I could describe my thoughts well enough in English but hope you at least could follow my thoughts and considerations.

You stated it perfectly! And as long as the information discussed is passed to the hobby, I 1000% agree. Nothing irritates me more to hear of a buyer who receives a "fail" letter from an authentication company which is simply a ct and paste generic letter that sounds important. The information is usually accurate in these letters but if the customer wants to follow-up by actally getting the "why" and "how" something passed or failed. Forget it! Those situations do not help the hobby I'm afraid to say. Even when they are done through the best intentions by the authenticator or company.

Very interesting topic !


From my experience with we have to be aware that forgers very carefully read public threads and discussions and non of us like to educate "the wrong site". Such information's are very dangerous as forgers will focus on them and forgeries are getting better as well as the stories behind their offers.


We had a case where a previous expert in the soccer field become highly educated because he had the rights to join our expert forum where only selected people discussed about high end forgeries. Together with those information's he started to forge in quantity and had been even able to consign hundreds of items to a known auction house until our team could claim the case and he get a visit from the police where pens, forgery samples and chemicals had been found together with selected "backround information's".


A good sample is also the previous IADA Neil Armstrong study. After this study the quality of the forgeries increased highly and previous signature hinds like the paralellics and angels had been forgered very well.


Of course I am open for such discussion's but it should be safe that ONLY selected people could join.


It is sad but the criminal power is more strong as most of the collector's are aware. had been several times professional attackts with Pishing Virus and Server crash just to keep major forgers in the business.

Be aware . Please !!!!


@DB:  I believe that is the right place where the final findings of secretarial's and public forgeries  should be published for the autograph community. We very rarely publish authentic examples exactly for the reason that the next day they are published the quality of the forgeries increase. Of course it is helpful on secretarial examples but always keep the other site in mind who should not be educated too much else it become more and more difficult as it already is


@Mike Aring: It is important that expert, dealers,  independent knowledge collector's as well as In-Person hunters join such discussions who are not connected to an authentication company. Our expert team had been carefully selected so "self interest" from Rolf Ramseier and me as professionals are in the right balance with the true collector's.


@Steve: I would highly recommended to add a kind of "agree" or "disagree" button to the replies of those discussions.  Therefore good and often "agreed" threats could be filtered and finally be published in a kind of database or for as part of a result for the final study or findings. Don't be afraid that AutographLive members with fraud account voting several times for wrong statements as you should be able to trace and delete them if you check their IP address (we have many experience in this case while our forum had been open for the public)


I think the reason you don't hear a word from the "Authenticators" is simple...I thought it was that they don't want to help the forgers. I think now that that is a misnomer. The simple reason is that they don't want to work for free. I see their point to a degree, but where has the tight lips helped this industry? I don't see it. It's the same reason JSA/PSA doesn't tell you why they fail your item for $100.00. Sure they give you a form letter, but they are not there to educate. Otherwise, how could they keep taking your money if you knew as much as they did?.

Teachers don't want to teach this stuff to the common collector. It is up to the buyer in the end, not the authenticator to make the sound buying decision. If people want to continue being morons and buying this fake stuff, let them. My suggestion is to sell all your stuff now, because in 10 more years, this industry will have gone the way of the Dodo Bird, which it has been well on it's way for years. Largely because of the disenchantment of collectors like lowly FUDD finding out that they have been swindled.


I wish you would see more experts doing something, but they have to protect their livelihoods too. I don't want to work for free either, but this isn't work for me. I will spill whatever I can whenever I can, authenticators obviously not so much. I personally think they should have a collective change of heart...It couldn't hurt. Travis knows this would be better for JSA & PSA to share with their customers "actual reasons" for their findings based on education, not form letters. How are you all going to feel when those stupid JSA & PSA stickers are on your prized possessions and they hold as much weight as the GAI Certification? It’s coming, just wait and see.


I'm hoping the "Authenticators” Pull their heads out at some point and see the BIG PICTURE? REALITY CHECK... Your SILENCE ISN’T WORKING GUYS. It’s BROKEN. Your 20 year path of silence has not worked. Time to try something different. It’s called the TRUTH as Greg stated. This clam up B.S is getting to be GD ridiculous.

Well for the record I refuse to make any money off of my authentication. I give my opinions for free to any individual or company that I work with. That's my personal belief as a collector 1st. I don't want anything to sway my opinions especially $. That being said, I also understand why this can't be done in some cases especially for psa, jsa, Global Authentics and others. They hav a business to run and with the authentication, customers also receive other services. I do believe that this site has become a place where experts are welcome and feel safe in offering general opinions. About autographs.

Herein Brandes as you say & Fudd is the fundamental problem;


I believe that is the right place where the final findings of secretarial's and public forgeries  should be published for the autograph community. We very rarely publish authentic examples exactly for the reason that the next day they are published the quality of the forgeries increase. Of course it is helpful on secretarial examples but always keep the other site in mind who should not be educated too much else it become more and more difficult as it already is


I also suspect that some of the experts Cyrkin is inferring are the Rez, Epperson's and even our very own Mr. Bill.   We did something similar before the Farrah thread (ferget which one it is) but revealing the "secrets" ain't gonna happen on a full disclosure.  It's not just 3rd parties Fudd.  


The heston one was very enlightening but do you not think the forgers amongst us didn't take notice and are now buying up those pictures from web sites (if not now in the future).   


 The Heston thread blew the lid off the entire "secretarial" issues but I'll bet a $1.00 we will still see an abundance of them on a number of websites continue over and above ebay.  Just look at Ebay - 64 of them and some have the "R" an overabundance of "dbl L" brand including some foolishly authenticated by PSA/DNA although they appear to have gotten a few right along with some in the grey zone. 


I think I'll go report that UACC dealer Brandon as he still has some fake ones up for sale!  Actually why bother as the reporting categories are worthless and difficult to navigate and only reportable if you have rec'd a fraudulent item!  And even with Experts chiming in we will continue to have these type of disclaimers, "We have been Professional, full-time autograph dealers since 1990 and have one of the best reputations for authenticity, integrity and customer service within the Autograph "Community". Member UACC, IACC, IADA; Three Time Invited Advertiser In The "Sanders Price Guide To Autographs".

"Three time invited advertiser in the Sanders Price Guide to Autographs?" I never heard anyone use that. Sadly, there are about half a dozen advertisers in Sanders 7th edition I wouldn't let advertise in it today.



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