An Autographed Bra -- and stories about fake autographs

We all know about the auto pen. If memory serves, I remember reading they were first used by politicians. Of course, anybody that goes for autographs in the mail has to worry about secretarial signatures. We know about the actors that have used them for long periods of time (Jack Lemmon and Clint Eastwood, to name a few).

When I was the sportscaster for a radio station, I ran into a number of athletes that told me great autograph stories. Sometimes when baseballs were handed over the railing and into the dugout, they’d just hand them to ball boys for them to autograph. Sometimes it would be one player grabbing the ball, and signing other players’ names on it.

I recently mentioned Lakers broadcaster (and former NBA star) Stu Lantz in a previous blog. Well, he told me about one of the many reasons they hated signing autographs. He said, “After the games we’d stand there for an hour signing autographs. We were tired from the game, we wanted to get home to our families, and we’re in the cold trying to make the fans happy. The next morning we show up for practice and we saw scraps of paper with our autographs on them…all over the ground!”

He told me another story about how he and Hall of Famer Pete Maravich would sometimes sign each others names when people asked for their autographs on airplanes. They did it to entertain themselves, and I’m guessing the fans didn’t realize or care. Perhaps if they were passed down to their kids or grandkids…and they were being sold on eBay, somebody just said they weren’t authentic without knowing why they weren’t authentic.

In one of the many books I read about The Doors, somebody mentioned two young girls asking for Jim Morrison’s John Hancock (perhaps I shouldn’t use the name “John Hancock”, as Morrison was once charged with indecent exposure after supposedly whipping it out during a concert). Anyway, Morrison signed the picture they had with the name of a poet from the 1700s that he admired. The girls were so gitty with excitement, they probably didn’t even realize it until they got home (and back then, they didn’t have the luxury of Googling to find out who the name was Morrison signed). The signature probably got thrown away, which is a shame.

A lot of those stories came back to me recently when I saw a mention of this bizarre story in the sports section of our local paper. It was about a sports memorabilia collector in New Jersey that is making accusations about some New York Giants players scamming him.

Eric Inselberg filed suit against quarterback Eli Manning and the owner of the Giants, John Mara, for what he claims they did. He thinks they doctored helmets, jerseys, and other equipment to make it look like it had been used during games. That way these pieces could be called “game-worn” and garner more money.

There’s no way this guy will win this suit, because it’ll be so hard to prove. Yet I’m guessing things like this have happened before.

I remember in the early ‘90s at my radio station, we auctioned a number of things off for a charity. Our big ticket item was a motorcycle. We had an attractive DJ that was rather busty. A guy called and wanted us to auction one of her bras. Autographed! We called her at home to ask her, and she hung up on us after saying, “Absolutely not!”

Now, because I’m a charitable dude…I called her back and asked, “What if I go to the store and buy a bra, in your size. You wouldn’t have to wear it or even put it on. Just autograph it.”

She agreed to that.

The bidding got up to around $900. We were happy. The charity was happy. And somewhere there’s a person with a bra that they’re doing who knows what with…that is none the wiser. 

Views: 568

Tags: Autographed bra, Eli Manning, Pete Maravich, Stu Lantz, The Doors

Comment by JXE on February 3, 2014 at 10:04am

In the Eli Manning case, doesn't the plaintiff actually have internal emails on Giants servers confirming they are fake? 

Comment by Josh Board on February 3, 2014 at 10:11am

Hey JXE...thanks for posting that. I didn't know anything else about the case. Can you give us more details? Now...that being said...let's say there are emails that say "Can you scuff up the jersey to make it look game worn," well...it wouldn't be hard for them to SAY in court "We said that because...we've found in the past, if something looks clean and nice, people don't believe it was actually used in the game. They have this illusion that things need lots of grass stains, mud all over them, etc. So, we thought to make it look a bit more like that, would make the buyer happier. That's all we meant by that. The stuff was used in the games though."

Comment by Steve Zarelli on February 3, 2014 at 11:00am

Nice article. It was not unheard of for astronauts to sign each other’s names as well.

I reviewed an Apollo 11 crew item for RR Auction that had a good looking Armstrong and Collins, but the Aldrin was off. After reporting my findings to RR Auction, the consignor told RR that his father was in the military and obtained them in-person at a restaurant. All three signatures MUST be real.

I stood by my initial findings, and after a bit of back and forth with RR, the consignor admitted that his father got the signatures at a restaurant, but the waiter carried the paper to the astronauts table and returned the item signed. They were not actually signed in the presence of his father.

Mystery solved. One of the other astronauts signed Aldrin’s name. It definitely was not him. Over the years I have seen many crew photos with one or two good signatures and the remaining one or two suspect. They could be flat out forgeries, but in some cases I am sure it was another astronaut “pinch hitting” for an astronaut who was not present to sign.

Comment by JXE on February 3, 2014 at 11:16am

Heres some info on the Eli situation:

http://nypost.com/2014/01/30/eli-and-giants-created-fake-memorabili...

If those emails can be proven as real, that's pretty damning. Also, the age of HD will help in matching up the torn clothing to the actual game footage.

Comment by Carl Ryan on February 3, 2014 at 7:20pm

Unfortunately in our day, money solves everything. If you have enough money, any problem goes away. Thus we have the current state of our nation and the world in general. In my opinion nothing will happen with this suit, b/c a deal will be struck out of court. When you start involving very wealthy people who have friends who have a great deal of pull in society, problems go away, and really messed up things happen. Sad but true

Comment by Dane on February 4, 2014 at 2:34am

I actually don't think that the case will succeed. The plaintiff (if you want to call him that) was a suspect in a criminal fraud investigation. He claimed Manning and the Giants staff faked the items and did various nefarious things to exhibit extra game use. Given the emails are essentially from one staff member to the plaintiff, the attorney would need to establish knowledge of the event by Manning and Mara to successfully sue them. I do hope this doesn't end up getting settled out of court, as the guy claiming the fraud would then have a "reasonable doubt" defense when he ends up having to go to trial for selling the faked items. After all, he sold Steiner the fakes and that's how he ended up in trouble, from what I could tell in various articles.

"Katiperry" was a DJ at your radio station? It's interesting how close that signature looks to Katy Perry's actual autograph. :)

Comment by Josh Board on February 6, 2014 at 4:54pm

Hahahhaha...no, Dane. I just went looking for a photo of an autographed bra to use for added effect!

Another reason I think Manning will win is...he could always claim "Look, these were game worn, but we thought the fans would like looking at something with more grass stains, etc." It's kind of like that Eric Clapton signed guitar where he made his signature better looking so people could read it, then the people claimed it wasn't real!!! Sometimes these stars just can't win. Now, that doesn't mean Eli Manning WASN'T doing this, but...he'll probably easily win the case in court.

Comment by Sidney Fields on February 8, 2014 at 1:07pm

I suspect this lawsuit will be settled.  The Giants don't need further taint on their golden boy.

the most interesting aspect of the case for me is that I used to go to the dry cleaner implicated here....the guy who supposedly did the dirty work.  I recall seeing the jerseys (and the Devils' jerseys, too) hanging in the shop ready for pick up.  But all I know is...my shirts always came back clean.

Comment by Dane on February 14, 2014 at 3:48am

Mara, Tisch and Manning all said they plan to fight the suit. Mara even went so far as to say he's going to fight the merit of the suit and push for the case to be tossed. I can't see the Giants settling in this case, since it will open the floodgates for civil liability from anyone defrauded by Eric Inselberg on Giants memorabilia. Also, settling the civil suit from Inselberg would create enough basis of suspicion that a criminal suit could be brought up. I expect the Giants organization to fight this with all their resources.

Even if they were guilty (which I assume they're not), it would make sense to fight the case. The last thing Eli needs is the FBI getting search warrants for his apartment, his dad's house, his brother's house, all of Peyton's Papa Johns store, etc.

Also, Sidney, it doesn't surprise me that teams would send their uniforms to the cleaners. It's probably a lot cheaper to do that than have laundry machines and whatnot on site and hiring a group to wash uniforms. It would also push the insurance liability onto the cleaner in the event uniforms get damaged in cleaning.

Comment by JOEY DALUCA on March 9, 2014 at 7:30pm

good post ole joshy boy.  back when i was a kid my good friend lou birkett had a crush on my sister and stole her bra.  he didnt want it autographed though he just wanted to do pervert stuff with it.  funny thing is I was at his house and he told me that he stole a pretty ladys bra not considering he stole it from my sister.  that was the last day i was friends with ole lou birkett i punched him straight in the gut and kicked him in the nuts and that was that.  course his ma called my ma and i got grounded for a week but that ole SOB deserved what he got.

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