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In the News, January- June, 2007
Breaking News:
December 14, 2007
 
Andy Alas, UACC Official, Gets Nailed!

The October/November 2007 issue of Autograph magazine ran a four page story on the Rock & Roll autograph collection of Andy Alas.

Andy Alas is a long time official with the UACC (Universal Autograph Collector’s Club). Presently he is the head of the club’s Registered Dealer program and is also a member of their Executive Board. During Mr. Alas’s interview for the story, he stated the prize of his Rock & Roll collection is a guitar with 23 autographs. Actually, Mr. Alas needs to count the signatures on his own guitar as it contains 24 signatures. Mr. Alas led the person interviewing him to believe that he obtained all the signatures in person. Autograph magazine illustrated on a full page, in color, the 24 signatures on the guitar. After reading the article and closely examing all the signatures, autograph authenticator Roger Epperson determined each and every signature on the guitar was forged.

What you won’t read elsewhere is that when Mr. Alas was confronted about the signatures, he held firm and stuck with his “in person” story. Mr. Alas even went to the length of creating a “spread sheet” which listed the signatures he obtained himself and which signatures his brother got on the guitar.

Mr. Epperson looked at the spread sheet and knew Mr. Alas was not telling the truth. Steve Cyrkin, Editor and publisher of Autograph magazine confronted Mr. Alas and under the pressure, Mr. Alas finally came clean.

Mr. Alas now states he purchased the guitar at auction. Mr. Alas who is supposed to know the autographs of Rock & Roll stars claims that he went as far as checking the signatures on the guitar against the database kept by R&R Auctions on past items sold. After checking what R&R has sold, Mr. Alas was convinced the signatures on his guitar were genuine.

Since the story broke, it has been suggested to Mr. Alas, that he resign his membership in the UACC. The December issue of Autograph magazine contains a lengthy apology by Mr. Alas. Mr. Alas stated: “I foolishly led him (senior editor of the magazine) to believe that I had obtained the signatures in person”. The article also states that the UACC is investigating the story however there is no mention who in the UACC is doing the investigating. It also doesn’t state whether the UACC has turned this matter over to their Ethics Committee. In the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of the UACC club pamphlet there is no mention of this situation.

Another interesting note is that Mr. Alas was a member of the UACC Ethics Committee from March 1, 2000 thru February 29, 2004. During his term (Nov. 2002) Mr. Alas received a complaint from UACC member in good standing William Decker against Paul Carr, President of the UACC. There were several requests, in writing, from Mr. Decker demanding his complaint be acted upon by the Ethics Committee. No action was taken by the Ethics Board on the complaint other than Mr. Decker’s membership in the club was eventually terminated.

This unfortunate Alas situation is just another scandal during the term of Michael Hecht as president of the UACC. The autograph community is closely watching how the club handles Mr. Andy Alas.
Breaking News:
December 14, 2007
Memory Lane Inc. Most Everyone Is Watching

This article could have been published nearly a week ago however www.autogaphalert.com wanted to see how the management of Memory Lane Inc. was going to handle the following situation.

It was on the 10th of December 2007 that www.autographalert.com was notified by Ron Keurajian that Memorylaneinc.com was holding an auction and in this auction was offered a 1900 Christy Mathewson signed Rookie Contract with a minimum reserve bid of $25,000. Mr. Keurajian stated the contract was NOT signed by Christy Mathewson.

Ron Keurajian is known to many who collect the autographs of those in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Mr. Keurajian is presently working on a book regarding the autographs of members in the Baseball Hall of Fame which will hopefully be published in 2008. He has written numerous autograph educational articles for Sports Collectors Digest and is also the author of the Christy Mathewson Signature Study published in December 2004.

That same day other respected baseball autograph authenticators, who have genuine credentials authenticating autographs, came forward stating the signature of Mathewson on that contract in not genuine.

Www.autographalert.com notified Bill Dorvall of Memory Lane Inc. regarding this situation. At that time the bids on this contract were up to $28,000 less the buyer’s premium. Bill sent us up the ladder in his organization and put us in touch with Roger Cameron. There was nearly a 45 minute phone discussion with Mr. Cameron and a representative of www.autographalert.com regarding the signature on the contract. It was explained in detail to Mr. Cameron why the signature was not hand signed by Christy Mathewson. Mr. Cameron appreciated the information and asked for names of respected autograph authenticators who could also confirm what he just learned. Mr. Cameron was given the names of three seasoned autograph authenticators who have some of the best documented credentials. The three names are some of the most respected names in the sports autograph industry.

Now, just hours before the end of the auction, Memory Lane Inc. has not removed the item from the sale and bids are at $32,000.

PSA/DNA and JSA, James Spence Authentication Certificates of Authenticity accompany this lot.

Breaking News:
December 14, 2007
PSA Gets A New Better Business Bureau Rating

PSA of Newport Beach, a California sports card grading company and autograph authenticating firm has received the very low rating of “D” from the Better Business Bureau of Southern California.

The Bureau’s description of a “D” rating states: “We have enough concerns about this company that we recommend caution in doing business with them”.
Breaking News:
December 10, 2007

PSA/DNA Authentication Disaster

Who are the persons at PSA/DNA who were hired to be called authenticators?

PSA/DNA is long known to have authenticated many stamped signatures, machine signed signatures, printed signatures and forgeries as “genuine.” This company has outdone itself by authenticating a signature of a baseball player who doesn’t exist.

One has to ask themselves, how does a person who is hired to authenticate autographs, authenticate a signature of a person who doesn’t exist? They go one step farther and even grade the signature and baseball. According to the ebay seller located in California, the baseball in question was graded and encapsulated by PSA/DNA. The ball cube comes with its own certificate of authenticity. The seller claims this ensures the ball is authentic.

PSA/DNA Certificate of Authenticity states the item is Examined (by who?) And Certified (by who?). Grade Certification # 81941338 and Autograph Certification G58519.

PSA/DNA identification tag on the case identifies this ball was signed by Ernie Davis and that the ball is signed on the sweetspot.

Has anyone ever heard of a baseball player named Ernie Davis?

A check with baseball-reference.com does not list any professional baseball player named Ernie Davis.

A quick check of the actual signature on this ball by most who are novices in collecting autographs will tell you that Clem Labine actually signed the ball, the all-star relief pitcher for the Dodgers in the 1950s.

Bottom line, the quality of PSA/DNA’s authentication service of this item is inexcusable.

How can the “authenticators” at PSA/DNA authenticate a signature of a person who doesn’t exist? How come the “authenticators” at PSA/DNA did not recognize the fairly common signature of Clem Labine? How many authenticators at PSA/DNA examined this signatures and discussed it?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with the answer to the above two questions.

Some people in the autograph industry would like to make the authenticating of autographs a controversy. Yet, not one of these people will get in a public arena and openly discuss the subject of autograph authentication.

For those new to the autograph industry, it’s fairly easy to determine the qualifications of an autograph authenticator.

When you talk to the authenticating company to submit your item, ask who will personally examine the autograph?

If they will give you a name, ask for the authenticators’ documented qualifications. The key word here is documented. Answers like my mother collected autographs or I took a one week mail order correspondence course are not acceptable. If they refuse to give you a name, it's time to call someone else! Ask what professional autograph organizations does the authenticator belong and for how long? Ask who was their autograph mentor and for how long did they study under them? Of the 14 autograph educational courses taught around the United States, ask them how many have they taken and do they have a signed certification of completion.

Before spending your money with any autograph authenticator, check with other collectors, not autograph sellers or auction houses, on the reputation of the individual authenticator.

Another eye opener: you may want to check with the local Better Business Bureau of the authenticating service. Save that for last! Maybe skip the last thought, we don’t want to scare you from collecting autographs altogether.


Breaking News:
December 6, 2007
 
 
R&R Enterprises Autograph Auction
NOTICE
A California attorney has requested the following notice be placed on www.autographalert.com. Ethics rules require that he address only California residents. However, there is the hope that others will contact him as well.

NOTICE: If believe you have been harmed by the practices of R&R Enterprises, an autograph auctioneer and authenticator frequently mentioned on this site, and if you are a California resident, please contact attorney David Alden Erikson through his website at http://www.daviderikson.com

Breaking News:
November 30, 2007
 
R&R Auction Item Is One Of The Reasons Some
Celebrities Declining to Respond To Autograph Requests


Collecting autographs through the mail was once the most exciting part of this hobby. The thrill of writing your favorite celebrity and waiting for that response was a rush for many. Collecting autographs through the mail is still the most active part of this hobby. Most members of clubs and subscribers to autograph trade magazines can’t wait for the next issue which contains celebrity addresses.

This part of the hobby has been permanently damaged by a few who for financial gain have taken and continue to take blank sheets of paper, usually removed from a signed book, and create a fraudulent document.

Then there are the sellers of these items who give these “mock” pieces national exposure. The following is a perfect example, an item offered in the Februay 2007 R&R auction. The item number was 321 and is listed as a “..mock souvenir check....signed by (Supreme Court Justice) Ginsburg.” See illustration below.
 
Illustration of mock check bearing the signature of Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
 


Letter from Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg in her recent letter of November 16, 2007 stated: “Thanks for alerting me to the one-cent check bearing a signature that certainly looks like mine. Similar reports caused me, some months ago, to decline to provide signatures in response to mail requests.”

A quick look at the last several R&R Auction catalogs indicate many similar “mock” items being offered.. Many are presidential including Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, Nixon, Ford and even a war criminal Saddam Hussein.

 
Breaking News:
November 30, 2007
R&R Enterprises Autograph Auctions
Raises “Buyers Premium”

We have been advised by some of our readers that R&R Enterprises Autograph Auctions has the following in print in their latest auction catalog. “A 20% Buyers Premium will be added to each winning bid.”

Www.autographalert.com has tried to correspond with Bob Eaton of R&R Enterprises regarding this
increase to potential bidders. We also asked the reasons for this increase. Mr. Eaton does not respond.

Breaking News:
November 23, 2007
 
James Spence Authentication Hits New Bottom

The business of autograph authentication finally seems to be slowly falling apart. As collectors gain more knowledge about this new business the less they are supporting it.

Recently a major sports autograph dealer in Florida closed his shop. This dealer sent everything he purchased to one of the 3 high profile authenticating companies. At a sports autograph show several months ago this same dealer was purchasing autographs from another booth. The purchaser stated “you know I will send all these autographs to so & so to be authenticated.” The seller said: “send them to whoever you want but “guesses” from those authenticators under no circumstances will not a reason for refund.” The buyer bought the autographs anyway. However, many collectors have begun to boycott those dealers who support the handful of self proclaimed autograph authenticators and the result is, the dealer mentioned above has closed his doors.

Word is out about the “fast bucks” to be made by authenticating autographs. It seems anyone can pull it off and more are trying. The newest authenticating service has a wonderful impressive website. Who is their so called expert. The website won’t give you a name. The website won’t list their “experts” credentials.

One of our readers called the phone number listed on the website in order to determine who is this company’s expert. It took some drilling to get a persons name. It is an name not recognizable to the few seasoned persons in this hobby who have now heard it.

It’s been proven over and over, the more people that use these authenticators, the more bad material will be flooding the market with Certificates of Authenticity. One major seller of autographs loves the authenticators. He can send anything he wants to be authenticated, the good and the bad. Some bad comes back as good along with a COA. The seller likes the fact he can’t be held liable and states: “I’m selling it because the authenticator said it was good.” Now who paid the authenticator?
Who has the power over the authenticator?

The autograph authenticators are beginning tp get hungry and some are on the road trying to convince card shops to let them be their authenticator. As word spreads amongst collectors, it’s not going well for those who claim to be autograph authenticators.

Case in point, some authenticators would like to be at a shop or show where they can authenticate autographs that were signed that day by a celebrity who is appearing at the show. The uneducated consumer would think this is the ultimate place where an authenticator should be able to study first hand the celebrities signature. WRONG!

They can’t even get that right. Click onto the link below, then click on video, and take another autograph educational course. Some more are saying...JSA- Just Stop Authenticating:
 
http://stricklerautographs.blogspot.com/2007/11/video-jsa-authenticates-forged-sal.html

Breaking News:
November 19, 2007

Robert F. Batchelder, Noted Autograph Dealer, Dies

Robert F. Batchelder of Ambler, Pennsylvania passed away in September 10, 2007. Www.autographalert.com felt it appropriate to publish something about him by a collector, a dealer, and a former co-worker/Pastor:

As a collector, my first memory of Bob Batchelder began a forty year friendship. Bob was the most honest gentleman I have known in the autograph business. Some of the highlights in my collection of vintage aviation autographs came from Bob. I was very saddened to recently learn of his death this past September. Our autograph community lost a very important and irreplaceable man.
Bill Noel
Autograph Collector
Lincoln, Nebraska

For forty years Bob Batchelder was a giant in the autograph industry. His illustrated catalogs of autographs was a staple on every autograph dealers reference shelves. I have known Bob since 1967 as he was one of the first dealers to purchase from me and he continued to do so for forty years. I have such keen memories of his visits to my office in Florida. Bob had an eye for “the best” and he always purchased my high end items that would appeal to his wide range of clients. We would speak for hours on the subject of collecting and also of the changes in our business. He was an honest man with a even temperament. His catalogs, his counsel, his friendship will truly be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Stephen Koschal
Autograph Authenticator
Autograph Dealer
Miami, Florida

About 1965, I decided to give up coin collecting and went to the nearby town of Ambler, Pa. To sell the coins to to a dealer named Robert Batchelder, whose office was in an old bank building, vault and all. I had begun to collect autographs the previous year, and was thrilled to discover that Bob also sold historical autographs. I ended up trading the coins for autographs and never looked back. About 1966, I went into business for myself, and Bob was one of my major sources. I well remember my first purchase from hi; “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s commission as major General of the Armies, signed by George Washington and Henry Knox in 1797, which subsequently ended up at Wayne’s house. I also remember buying a letter of Henry VIII asking Cosimo de Medici to welcome an Englishman who was traveling to Italy “on a certain business of ours.” The business was to assassinate Cardinal Pole. That ended up in the collection of Ray Rawlins. Having a penchant for the “great” autographs like that, but not the pocketbook, I decided it might be more fun simply to work for someone who dealt in such items, and so about 1978 I approached Bob and he hired me gladly. I remember trips I took with him to new York for both coin and autograph shows, and the fantastic autographs I catalogued for him over a ten year period, and the friendship which lasted until I left Pennsylvania in 2002 to enter the United Methodist ministry in Alabama. Bob had a great gift for searching out autographs of extraordinary importance, never afraid to spend whatever was necessary, trusting his instincts that what he bought he could also sell. Bob moved in great circles of the heyday of historical autograph collecting of the 60's, 70's and 80's. These circles included Mary Benjamin, Charles Hamilton, Gordon Banks, Mabel Zahn and Paul Richards, one of his closest friends. Alas, all those are long dead, and sadly in September of this year Bob joined them in that heavenly pantheon. I will never forget his kindness and generosity, and the knowledge he imparted to me and to many other young dealers. Bob leaves behind his wife, Gail and a daughter, Annie. Another daughter, Virginia (Ginny) died some years back, the great tragedy of Bob’s life. A giant of the autograph field has gone, and we may not see his likes again.

Pastor Neale Lanigan
Camp Ground United Methodist Church
Muscadine, Alabama


Breaking News:
November 9, 2007
James Spence, More Bad News For JSA

Many autograph collectors and dealers are still talking about James Spence’s appearance on Fox News where Spence authenticated forged autographs as genuine. The autographs were forged by graphic artists at Fox News and when the autographs were brought to Spence’s office he convincingly told the reporter that an autograph was genuine but all the reasons why it was genuine. A most embarrassing moment for Spence and the authenticating trade.

Apparently Mr. Spence has not learned much about dealing with the news media. Earlier this week on Sunday, New York Channel 9 a similar report was aired at 10:30pm. The story ended up portraying Spence’s authenticating company in very bad light. James Spence had a booth at a local New Jersey sports show offering on-site authentication. A woman reporter went undercover and got an in person signature of Sal Bando. She then went outside with her camera crew and on a blank Bando photograph forged Bando’s name on it. They went and submitted the photo with the forged signature to JSA Authentication “Follow The Leader..”

The Spence authentication team only looked at the signature for a few seconds an determined the signature on the photograph was genuine. JSA also issued a certificate of authenticity for the signed photograph.

Bando was interviewed about this incident and expressed surprise that something like this could happen.

Mollie Ann Bricigliano promoter of the show was also interviewed and was stunned by what took place. She was nearly speechless and stuttered through the interview. She said “I don’t know what to say other than I am sorry and embarrassed.” She added: “I can only hope that plenty of people saw this and maybe will think less highly of these authenticators.”

Afterwards, James Spence when asked about this latest fiasco had no answer except to say he was sorry.

www.autographalert.com has seen the demise of several autograph authenticating companies during the last few years. As collectors become more educated about these so-called autograph authenticating companies the less they will use there services. With the extremely high volume of mistakes made by authenticating companies many believe if you se an item that comes with a COA from an authenticating company, a red light immediately goes up as that item should get a second opinion from a reputable autograph dealer. Word has been spreading rapidly amongst collectors and in cases such as this we would have to believe that the above show promoter has learned her lesson the hard way and will not be renting space to authenticating companies in the future.

We have also found that some high profile self promoting autograph authenticators have been traveling around the country to card shops trying to be the shops authenticator. The reputations are starting to follow these authenticators and recently one of the major card shops in Florida, who hold regular private signings, told the authenticator there was no need for his services. We have also been told that collectors are beginning to boycott shops who use autograph authenticators. Most say, “I need the shop owner to guarantee what they sell, I don’t need an opinion or guess from someone who is not competent authenticating autographs.”

Breaking News:
November 9, 2007
Global (Autograph) Authentications Bites The Dust?

Global Authentication, a company that got its start when former members of PSA, Steve Rocchi and Mike Baker broke away and started their own company. Most know Global as GAI with their one man full-time autograph authenticator Justin Priddy. Priddy who is now 25 years old claims he started to authenticate 6-7 years ago and was on the road doing shows about 35-45 weekends a year. His claim to what he believed was his success was “his experience.”

Last week we heard rumors from an excellent source that Global may be going down the tubes. Yesterday it was confirmed by several of our readers. One reader confirmed Global went “belly up” and the company filed dissolution papers two days ago. Another reader claims Global “shut down their website.”

If you call Global’s phone you will receive a message stating the number has been disconnected.

It is said that a collector stopped by the company’s headquarters and found the office empty, the doors locked and an eviction notice posted on the front door.

It is important to note that complaints have been filed with an office for the City of San Clemente from clients of Global who have submitted items for grading and authentication and were worried about the status of their submissions.

At the time of this writing, no official comments from the management of Global.

Breaking News:
November 4, 2007
 
Mystery Signature of the Year!
We would like to hear your opinion.

This signature appears to read as “Jim Donogpia” or “Jal Donogyia”. See illustration below.
 


Several of the autograph experts we have shown this signature to simply laughed. One person who is in the business of authenticating autographs actually attached his name to this piece by writing a Certificate of Authenticity. See illustration below.
 
 

LOA from James Spence “Follow the Leader”

Along with a Certificate from James Spence stating this was a genuine Joe DiMaggio signature on a baseball bat, the item was put up for sale in a Strike Zone Auction as item #849 in their Jan.5-26, 2006 auction.

Www.autographalert.com would appreciate your comments on this authentication. Send your email whether you agree or dis-agree with Spence’s authentication. Send you comments/opinion to autographalert@aol.com

Breaking News:
November 3, 2007
 
 
UACC’s Latest Blunder-
Those misled need to request a refund!

Once again under the UACC presidency of Michael Hecht this club finds itself with additional problems. For a few years this club has been selling 11"x14" photographs of a sailor planting his famous kiss on a nurse in Times Square, New York on VJ Day to their membership. This photograph was of two people celebrating the United States Victory over Japan that ended World War II.

Time Magazine heralded this photograph as one of the top ten greatest images in the history of photojournalism.

In 1989, Edith Cullen Shain came forward and identified herself to the photographer Eisenstaedt as the nurse in the Pulitzer prize winning photograph.

Since then, scores of men have come forward claiming to be the sailor kissing the nurse in the photograph. Through the years, not one has been able to prove it. Among some of the claimants was a Rhode Island fisherman named George Mendonsa. Mendonsa’s claim was “the minute I looked at it I said Damn that’s me.” Also coming forward several years ago was Carl Muscarello. Muscarello’s best claim was that he “was 100% sure he was the guy.”

With scores of old timers claiming to be the sailor and none with actual proof, why would any organization who is involved with autographs go forward and hold a signing with someone who simply claims to be the celebrity?

Www.autographalert.com has tried to address this issue with Michael Hecht, president of the UACC, but he does not respond. We had hoped he might respond to our questions because this issue is in the best interest of UACC club members.

To satisfy everyone’s curiosity, the sailor kissing Edith Shain in the photograph is eighty year old Glenn McDuffie. He was able to provide the proof that he was the sailor by submitting to a lie detector test. In addition to the test, McDuffie made himself available to Lois Gibson, a Houston police department forensic artist and a specialist in the analysis of photographs. Gibson finds that McDuffie is the sailor kissing the nurse in the famous photograph.

From an autograph standpoint this causes multiple problems. Holding a private signing without credible facts is simply unprofessional. Even as late as August 2005, the nurse, Edith Shain claimed that she was not sure it was Muscarello who planted the kiss on her. Yet, the UACC continues to sell these basically worthless photographs for $25.00 plus $4.00 shipping.

The problem escalates. These photographs can be found all over the autograph market. Some have appeared in dealers catalogs and others in auctions. These photographs have been resold in auctions, some with minimum bids of $100.

It is the hope of this website that the UACC do the right thing. Step up to the plate and announce the above information to its membership in their club journal. Those who have purchased these basically worthless photographs are due a refund!

The UACC will be holding their elections shortly and through the grape vine we hear Mr. Hecht will not be running for re-election. The UACC Ethics Board has received a second reminder to act on the complaint filed against Mr. Hecht and still there is no response! Most likely, it appears the ethical charges filed against Mr. Hecht will be swept under the carpet and after the elections it can almost be predicted that Mr. Hecht will get an obligatory award from the club.

 
Breaking News:
October 30, 2007
 
University Archives Takes A Double Hit

Many in the field of autographs are wondering how much more bad publicity can the fellow who runs this company sustain?

Collectors and dealers are watching University Archive’s latest problem very closely. Earlier in October, University Archives placed on ebay, item #280159237476. Their description stated it was an Extremely rare 1926 and 1927 New York Yankees team signed autograph album. They even graded the 75+ year old signatures a perfect “10". Starting bid was $25,000 with a Buy It Now price of $32,000.00. End time of the auction scheduled to be Oct. 12, 2007.

The seller of this autograph album is John Reznikoff of University Archives who is also on the authenticating team of PSADNA. This album also comes with an LOA from James Spence (Reznikoff is also an authenticator for James Spence).

Problem with this album is that several seasoned and knowledgeable sports autograph dealers and collectors who looked at the illustrations of the signatures in this album believe that many of the high end signatures are not genuine.

Complaints were made to ebay and one of the ebay authenticators agreed and had the item removed.

Shocking to everyone, several days later, University Archives placed the album back up for sale on ebay.

Several of the industry experts on sports autographs discussed the signatures in this album with additional experts and for a second time brought the matter to the attention of ebay. A second time, ebay removed the album from their auction site.

A copy of a signature Lou Gehrig from the album is illustrated below.
 
 
Presently, the item is no longer for sale on ebay, however University Archives is offering the same item on their company’s website (Stock Number - 50137) and has raised the asking price to $35,000.
 
 

Breaking News:
October 10, 2007
 
The UACC and its Ethics Board

Before writing another article about the UACC which some may take as a negative, we tried our best to find something positive about this club we could write about. It is an effort to show www.autographalert.com is not biased. It is very difficult to discover anything new about this club because the Board of Directors don’t respond to requests. They refuse to meet and discuss autograph related subjects. In an effort to find something, we looked at the UACC News in the latest issue of Autograph magazine. There was little there to find. More than half the page was about a collectors collection with a quarter page “boasting” about the Registered Dealer program having 175 members. Last time we checked they were close to issuing the next dealer #300. What happened to the 125 dealers who are now among the missing? That could be one heck of a story!

There are autograph forums popping up all over the Internet including many with discussions about the UACC. Some of the newer collectors still think the UACC has the capability of fixing things including the club itself. However, it has been said in more than one place new blood is needed on the Board to even try to revive this club. For a club who appears to love to keep writing new rules and changing others, you would think by now someone on the Board would suggest creating term limits not to exceed eight years for elected Board members. Also aren’t most of you just fed up watching this group give themselves awards each year? For a change, how about letting the membership get involved in the club and let the members vote who should get the awards.

Have you ever noticed that it appears Board members never have ethics complaints filed against them? Or is it they are just kept from you!

There have been several complaints filed against Board members during the last several years and not one has been acted upon by the Ethics Board. Maybe we all missed something and somewhere in the club Constitution it states the rules are only for the regular membership. As you read this article, there is a detailed ethics complaint filed with the UACC against Michael Hecht, President of the UACC. The complaint was sent to Al Hallonquist on August 3, 2007. No response as of today. A second request for a response was sent several days ago.

Basically, for over 10 years, the membership of the UACC has been kept in the dark about all the allegations and complaints against Board Members filed with the UACC Ethics Board.

After a little research the last complaint filed with the UACC Ethics Board that was acted upon was ten years ago. It was against a UACC Board Member and was filed by an autograph collector Ann Boyle from Hollywood, Florida. Her complaint was filed with Tom Solecki on July 28, 1997.

This collector addresses 13 issues in her complaint. We quote from a copy of her complaint:

“I would like to list some facts regarding a distasteful experience that I have had with a member/dealer of the UACC.”

1) At a Florida show held May 19, 1996, I purchased a photo that was supposed to be signed by Richard Gere. The price on this photograph at the show was $50. I asked the dealer if he could do better and he offered me a 10% discount. The price was now $45.00 plus $2.50 sales tax. Total $47.50.

2) I paid $47.50 with my check #448. It was my credit union check, dated May 19, 1996 and cashed May 21, 1996.

3) NO sales receipt was ever issued during this sale which I now discover is in violation of U.A.C.C. guidelines.

4) Upon request, I was issued a Certificate of authenticity, dated May 19, 1995.

5) Since this purchase, I have discovered that the signature of Richard Gere is NOT GENUINE.

6) On January 12, 1997 at an autograph meeting I saw this dealer and told him of my findings. I was not happy with the photo and wanted a refund. He said that he wanted to investigate this further. Strangely he asked me “if anyone else knew about this.” I said “No” I just wanted my money refunded.

7) The dealer instructed me to send the item back to him via Registered Mail. We both live in the same town, but as per his request I shipped it to him at a cost of $5.50.

8) On May 17, 1997 I received a letter from this dealer stating “No refunds unless origianl receipt is enclosed (one was never issued) and that he checked his records using the number off of my Certificate of Authenticity and NOW miraculously he comes up with an invoice in the amount of $25.00 plus $1.50 sales tax.

9) His refund check was enclosed for $26.50 with his letter stating “he is closing this file to prevent potential abuse.”

10) I write on the dealer’s refund check that this is ‘partial payment for my refund.”

11) Dealer has not refunded my full amount to date which is an additional $21.20 and the cost of mailing $5.50 plus $2.50 to get a copy of my check.

12) The dealer has chosen to close this account “to prevent potential abuse.”

13) The dealer, nearly a year later, produces a TYPED invoice also with the wrong date on it so as to match my Certificate of Authenticity. His TYPED invoice, is not only wrong, it has been made up at a later time, with the wrong date and indicating only half the purchase price.

Attached to the complaint was a copy of the TYPED invoice, the dealer’s partial refund payment and a copy (both sides) of the collectors check made payable to this dealer for $47.50 dated 5/19/96.

The response from the UACC Ethic’s Board was on August 13, 1997 stating “that a violation of the code of Ethics does not exist.....” Apparently this was decided without even contacting the Board member about the complaint. The collector was furious about this result and began to go public with the complaint. This caused Mr. Solecki to call the dealer and finally advise him of the complaint.

Most interesting is Michael Hecht, current president of the UACC was on the Ethic’s Board at this time. After some investigating this was the last time the UACC Ethic’s Board acted upon a complaint against a UACC Board Member. All others have been ignored. This is how things were handled when ethics board members were supposedly voted into office by the membership. New rule, now the Board of Directors will hand select those who will serve on the ethics board.

Should your curiosity get the best of you and you want to know who the dealer was, who is still on the Board, write to the UACC and request a copy of the complaint. Supposedly, copies of complaints are available to all club members. That rule could also be changed.


Breaking News:
October 6, 2007
 
PSA/DNA & MastroNet Continues To Strike Out!!

Collectors and even dealers come to us stating they got burnt and how can they go about getting a refund on something they bought in an auction. Enough has been written about this subject here and elsewhere. Bottom line, if you're dumb enough to bid in any auction that states "no returns" you basically deserve what you got.

We have printed so many stories about the sophomoric mistakes that have been made by PSA/DNA that we have to believe those who need the message, got the message. Every once in a while we will post a new horror story for those to read who are new to this site.

First, a word about rubber stamped signatures. These are not usually hard to detect even by a novice. There is almost no excuse for someone who claims to be an authenticator to pass a rubber stamped signature as genuine. In a case such as Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame, his rubber stamped signature easily is identified. Articles have been written about his use of a rubber stamp, especially for signing photographs. One would think, someone who wants to be an autograph authenticator would have this information.

For a company who has been in business several years and not know this information is absolutely inexcusable. Even if the company began collecting autograph reference information the day they started in the business of authentication, the information on Oliver Hardy using a rubber stamp had to pass through their hands at least a few times.

The latest authenticating embarrassment was during the MastroNet auction of December 2006. Lot #297. The lot description states “This publicity photograph was inscribed and signed: “Hello Marie! Pres. Taft 1937, Stan Laurel (9) and “Oliver Hardy” (10).

This item has been examined (yes, examined by a so-called expert) by one or more PSA/DNA experts. On behalf of Collectors Universe, it is our considered opinion that the signature(s) is/are genuine.
The “experts” who have allowed their signatures to be placed on this Letter of Authenticity (and one or more have examined this photo) are:
Bob Eaton
Roger Epperson
Steve Grad
Mike Gutierrez
John Reznikoff
Zack Rullo

To take this ridiculous situation one step farther, the rubber stamped signature of Oliver Hardy was graded a 10 by one or more of the “experts” at PSA/DNA.

The look on the faces of Laurel and Hardy in this photograph almost appear they have read the Letter of Authenticity from PSA/DNA. Oh My!
Breaking News:
September 30, 2007
 
UACC Problems Continue To Escalate

This club according to many has hit bottom. Just a few months ago a well respected dealer in autographs and a Regional Director of the club questioned some of the autographs being sold by a few low numbered registered dealers. One of the dealers is a club officer, the other a director. Result, the Regional Director’s job was eliminated as well as the other eleven Regional Directors. UACC Officers or Directors having their autographs questioned by any of their regional directors has been solved. They Regional Directors are gone!

To solidify their protective shield, the same Board has changed the club rules and the persons on the Ethics Board will no longer be appointed. The Ethics Board will be hand selected by the Executive Board.

It was just several years ago the club membership enjoyed the many shows run each year throughout the United States. Shows were run in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Washington. Recently the club, under the presidency of Michael Hecht has had only one show a year. The show was convenient as the club needs to have a Board meeting each year anyway. Membership dues is utilized to pay for the airfare and hotel expenses for each of the Executive Board and the club Directors. One would think the meetings would be held in a city where the airfares would be in the best interests of the club and its membership.

At this years meeting the Vice President of the club stated “no decision was made on the location of next year’s show or on whether it would include a show.”

This statement hit some of the club members and autograph collectors hard. The club is down to one show a year and that may be eliminated.

Many in the autograph collecting world have watched the UACC basically come to its knees during the last three who have held the office of President. The United States membership of the club is nearly half of what it once was. The UACC focused abroad to build membership. That has not worked as the UK has recently formed its own dealer organization and the country now has its own autograph collector magazine. Those we have talked with in Europe basically want nothing to do with the UACC.

To add to the club’s latest problems, it has just been announced that the editor and publisher of the club’s quarterly booklet “decided to call it quits.” Basically the only contact club members have with their club is the club’s quarterly booklet and shows.

To solve the show dilemma, one of the club’s original Registered Dealers, Matted Memories (RD#13) who is based in Florida talked with several other Florida respected autograph dealers about running a major autograph show in Florida. The thought was the UACC can’t get a show going so try a show where all legitimate autograph dealers could exhibit. Many well know, seasoned autograph dealers are based in Florida but are not UACC Registered Dealers. Some of the Florida dealers who agreed to participate in the event were Remains To Be Seen (Lynne E. Keyes), Star Shots (Arnie & Barbara Meyrowitz), Bill Corcoran, Steve Koschal, Jim Stinson Sports, Matted Memories (Robert Knoller) and David Gindy. Other dealers from New York, the Washington area, Las Vegas and California also showed interest in doing the show. There was also talk of having celebrity guests and having an auction house hold a “live” auction the day before the show.

A hotel was selected, The Ft. Lauderdale Sheraton, just a stones throw from the airport runway. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to and from the airport. The fees for renting the ballroom was so reasonable that no admission fee was to be charged for entering the event.

Since everything was in place the only concern of many of those involved was publicity. An Executive Board Member of the UACC was contacted regarding having the show listed in the UACC’s quarterly booklet under their show schedule. In the last issue the club booklet only two events were listed and one was not even a show but an auction. The UACC Registered Dealer trying to get this event organized was basically told the club would not publish the news of the new autograph show. This would have been just another major autograph event held in the United States where the membership of the UACC would not have been advised. Many autograph collectors are still upset because autograph events were held in New York, New Hampshire, Chicago, Los Angeles and Florida and the UACC refused to publish the information regarding the shows in their club booklet.

The UACC Constitution, Article 1, number 2, Section “a” clearly states: “To foster, cultivate, promote, encourage, and popularize the collecting and the study of autographs.” The club rule has clearly been violated by the UACC Executive Board member.

The Executive Board members have been scrambling trying to find a way of building its membership. Now it appears they have a much larger problem. They have to figure on how to hold onto existing members who are simply fed up the club’s lack of leadership.

Breaking News:
September 20, 2007
 
UACC - Has This Club Become Delusional?

Can anyone tell us what’s going on with the Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC)? The chaos, the sudden rule changes, the elimination of all the Club Directors and no more electing Ethics Board members (they are now hand selected by the UACC Board). Is the UACC finally admitting their Registered Dealer program didn’t work? They are now going to explore licensing their autograph dealers.

Why has the club not mentioned to its membership in the club journal the reasons the Board of Directors has removed the name of Herman Darvick from their Hall of Shame? Darvick is the disgraced former president of the UACC. His membership in the club was terminated because of ethics violations. This latest surreptitious move by the UACC Board of Directors has upset many collectors.

Why is the club membership kept in the dark over the recent lawsuit filed with the UACC. Many of the UACC members/registered dealers mentioned in this suit are panicking yet no mention to the members in the club’s journal?

Now continued panic amongst the Board with regard to not only the drop in membership but the difficult time the club is having attracting new members. Wasn’t it just a few short years ago the current president, Michael Hecht ran on a platform of rebuilding the dwindling membership. Let’s not forget that same election started with a major scandal known as “HechtGate.” The Board was not happy with someone who was running for vice president. The collector member of the UACC had valid ideas for what he believed was improvements/changes for the UACC. While his name was officially placed on the ballot by the club, the UACC Board with Hecht running for president, threw the member in good standing out of the club. Shocking, the UACC member was told he had no opportunity to appeal the Board's decision! They placed his name in their Hall of Shame.

The club is now referred to by some as “Michael’s Folly.” Four years later under Hecht's presidency the club is still in terrible shape. Recently, panic stricken Hecht is calling for the entire membership to help bring in new members.

Just a few short months ago, the UACC Board of Directors has been given several opportunities to talk to others about the direction of the club from concerned parties from both the United States and abroad. The Board was even given the opportunity to participate in a forum at their last annual convention. They did not even have the courtesy to respond!

The club magazine has become a travesty amongst collectors on certain autograph internet forums. Matter of fact, autographalert.com has been asked to do a book review (in the future)on their latest issue of the Pen & Quill.

We quote from the “President’s Message” page 2 of the July-August 2007 issue of the Pen & Quill.
Hecht states: “Do not believe everything you read! Word has reached me that nameless individuals, using Internet forums, are besmirching the reputation of the UACC and UACC Registered Dealers. We can make mistakes, of course, but the UACC has a Code of Ethics and we have an Ethics Board. The UACC dealers hold themselves to higher standards, and the UACC Ethics Board enforces those standards.”

The UACC Ethics Board????

The UACC Ethics Board received a very serious complaint several weeks ago regarding Michael Hecht. Each and every one of the points in the complaint are well documented. Mr. Hecht’s Ethics Board did not even have the courtesy to respond to or acknowledge receipt of the complaint. The only thing anyone has heard is that a new ruling is now in place. In the future, the Ethics Board members will be hand selected by the Board of Directors.

Because of the seriousness of the complaint and the failure of the UACC Ethics Board to act to enforce the rules of their own Constitution, www.autographalert.com publishes the complaint in its entirety. You are asked to read this complaint and decide for yourself what actions should be taken.
 
Stephen Koschal
P.O. Box 311061
Miami, Fl 33231

August 3, 2007

Filing Ethics Charges Against UACC President Michael Hecht

Mr. Al Hallonquist
P.O. Box 712
Hobe Sound, FL 33475

Dear Mr. Hallonquist,

You may or not be aware of some past ethics charges against UACC Board Members that have never been acted upon or even acknowledged as received by the UACC Ethics Board.

It is long overdue that charges be filed against the current UACC President, Michael Hecht for his failure to comply and follow three of the four UACC Objectives in Article 1, Number 2, Sections “a”, “b”, and “d” of the UACC Constitution.

Section “a”: To foster, cultivate, promote, encourage, and popularize the collecting and the study of autographs.

Mr. Hecht has not abided by this rule in more ways than one. Professional autographs shows were held throughout the United States. They were held in the following cities, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, New York, N.Y., Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California. In all cases the UACC was notified well in advance of the show and it was requested that the UACC list these events in the show schedule of the Pen & Quill. Never was one of these shows listed. These shows were run professionally, in many cases, a free one hour educational course taught by some of the pillars of our industry. To name a few, Christopher Jaeckel, Joseph Maddalena, Dan Weinberg, Bill Butts and Kenneth Rendell were the instructors. In each and every case, the membership of the UACC was not advised of these autograph shows or the educational courses. Therefore the club did not foster, cultivate, promote, encourage an popularize collecting violating Article 1, Number 2, Section “a” of the UACC Constitution.

In addition, more that half of the dealers exhibiting at these shows were members of the UACC. The UACC failed to list shows in the P&Q where many UACC dealer members were exhibiting. This is also a violation of Article 1, Number 2, Section “b” of the UACC Constitution.

More recently Mr. Hecht wrote frivolous and unfounded statements to the autograph industry’s most respected educational site www.isitreal.com
Mr. Hecht attempted to suppress interaction between autograph collectors from exchanging information on a discussion forum. Mr. Hecht went as far as requesting that the Forum be taken down. Attempting to bully one of the persons who is involved in the site who is also a Regional Director of the UACC, Mr. Hecht “officially” asked the person to resign from the UACC. Mr. Hecht’s actions obviously did not to foster, cultivate, promote, encourage and popularize the collecting and the study of autographs. He also did not increase and facilitate cooperation among various national and international organizations and individuals dedicated to the collecting of autographs, thus violating both rules “a” and “b” of Article 1, Number 2 of the UACC Constitution.

Educational studies have been written by several autograph historians and scholars. To name a few studies, Gerald R. Ford Signature Study, Robert F. Kennedy Signature Study, William Jefferson Clinton Signature Study and Absolutely, Mister Sickles? Positively, Mister Field! New Light on the Eugene “Pinney” Field II and Harry Dayton Sickles Forgery Case have been published. In every case Mr. Hecht has received copies of these studies and not one has been mentioned or reviewed by the UACC. Continually, the membership of the UACC has been kept in the dark regarding autograph educational material available thus Article 1, Number 1, Section a has been violated by Mr. Hecht.

On more than one occasion, Mr. Hecht had been notified about the publication of a new autograph reference book. Press releases for this publication were sent directly to Mr. Hecht for publication in the Pen &Quill. The press release was not published in the Pen & Quill but the book did get a very fine review by Bill Butts and that was published by the Manuscript Society in their journal. The title of the book is The History of Collecting Executive Mansion, White House and The White House Cards Signed by the Presidents and their First Ladies. This very popular book is now in its second printing. To take it one step further, Mr. Hecht selfishly took the time to inquire for himself, through a third party, of the value of the information in this reference work. After receiving a good review from an autograph collector/dealer Mr. Hecht ordered a copy for his own library.

On another issue, a few on the UACC Board clandestinely wrote sanctions which were frivolous and unfounded to say the least against myself. Of the handful on the Board at the time, one Director told me he didn’t vote for the sanctions, another told me he was new on the Board and was told how to vote. I wrote to Mr. Hecht well in advance of the UACC Show held in Cocoa Beach, Florida from June 7 thru June 9, 2007. I requested a meeting with Mr. Hecht, the Board and all the UACC members who wished to attend to go over each and every alleged sanction in front of the membership. Also I wanted the memebership to be aware these alleged sanctions were created without my knowledge, mailed to me and with NO CHANCE OF APPEAL. No chance of appeal is in violation of the UACC Code of Ethics. Section I states: “the sanctioned party shall have the right of appeal.” Section D states: “The highest levels of impartiality and fairness shall be observed by the Ethics Board members at all times.” Both these sections of the Code of Ethics were violated as Mr. Hecht did not address nor respond to my request.

In all the above mentioned incidents, Mr. Hecht has violated not only Article 1, Number 2, Sections “a” & “b” of the UACC Constitution but in each and every case he has violated Section “d” which is “To uphold the highest standards of honesty in the activities of the membership.”

It is my belief that all the above charges are very serious and the membership of the UACC has suffered immensely from an educational standpoint.

Mr. Hecht should resign his position as President of the UACC within 21 days of receiving this complaint. A more responsible person needs to lead the organization in a positive direction. Mr. Hecht’s lack of leadership in a professional manner has not only cheated the UACC membership but driven it to very low membership levels.

Should Mr. Hecht not resign, I believe the very serious violations in this ethics complaint need to be acted upon by the Ethics Board.

Unfortunately, in the past, not all serious complaints filed with the Ethics Board are acted upon or even acknowledged as being received. For this reason I have chosen to go public with this complaint with the hope that many members of the UACC will be aware of its existence.

I hope to hear from you shortly.
Sincerely,
Stephen Koschal

cc: Michael Hecht

There are numerous other reasons the UACC is losing membership. There has been a grass roots movement of not renewing membership in the club as a protest to how this organization has been run over the last dozen years.

Www.autographalert.com foresees many new problems for this club in the next several months. It is the opinion of many that unless all the deadwood is removed from the Board of Directors the club faces more serious problems. New blood is desperately needed to replace the entire Board of Directors just to be able to save this troubled autograph club! Some of those who we spoke with that are knowledgeable and capable of making the necessary changes just don’t want to get involved in this club’s politics.

Breaking News:
September 12, 2007
 
 
MastroNet Press Release
What Doug Allen Doesn't Tell You!
The following is a Press Release sent out by Doug Allen in reference to the Mastro/Daniels Law Suit.
The paragraphs in italics is what he forgot to mention.

"
Dear Customer:
As a firm, we have always preferred to handle disputes with professionalism and discretion, even in the infrequent occasion that it is necessary to resolve them in court. Recently, we had what became a very public dispute with a former customer, autograph dealer Bill Daniels. Due to the public nature of this dispute, a number of you have asked about the legitimacy of his claims. Last week, the Honorable Matthew C. Kincaid from the Boone (Indiana) Superior Court issued a 46-page ruling. We thought it appropriate to communicate his findings, and resolution of this dispute, to our customers. Following is a synopsis of the judgment that the Court issued."
 
Mastro's report and the actual ruling have little in common. Mastro misrepresented a lot and got caught. They got punished, not as badly as they could have been, but Mastro still lost the case. They will misrepresent the judgement also in their statement as they misrepresented the lot in question.
 
The Court found that Daniels' statements that Mastro Auctions defrauded him, and conspired with PSA/DNA to do so, were defamatory. The Court also found that Daniels "affirmatively sought republication of defamatory statements in national media outlets such as Barron's and New York Daily News." In particular, the Court characterized Daniels' conduct as "picayune, foolish, errant, resultant from a lack of understanding of his rights to publicly declare his complaints outside of a judicial proceeding and overzealous." As a result, the court held Daniels liable for damages to Mastro Auctions' reputation in the amount of $1,000.
 
Yes, Daniels spoke about the case before trial. No argument here. Sum and substance of filings do not leave the courthouse by way of either party until after adjudication.

The sentence before that in the ruling (p44) that Daniels statements to the press were not " malicious, fraudulent, grossly negligent or oppressive". Daniels was fined for opening his mouth, not for what came out of it, and fined accordingly.
 
The Court found that the proposed experts Daniels produced at trial – Richard Simon and Stephen Koschal (whom Daniels had testify that Mastro Auctions sold him forgeries) – were not qualified to render expert opinions. In particular, the Court found that Simon had undergone a "wholesale demolition in his deposition" and that Koschal was "not qualified to render an opinion on anything having to do with autographs." Simon and Koschal were offered as witnesses after five other proposed experts "all refused to testify on [Daniels'] behalf."
 
No, actually the finding of the Court was in fact that Simon and Koschal failed to meet a burden of proof sufficient to have their testimony accepted.

Koschal failed in this burden by adding " nothing but a bottom line" according to the Judge, which fails to meet a standard of judicial process cited on p.36. He testified in detail for one day and a half on video that SOME signatures could not be what they were purported to be. Koschal used exemplars from the original lot carefully explaining how items of the same celebrity were signed by different hands. But to claim constructive fraud against Mastro, as was the charge, the entire lot would need be scrutinized as a point of law. Damages can't be awarded as such because we do not know how many of the items in the lot were or were not genuine is essentially how it would work.

Daniels attorney also failed to update the court on sum and substance of witness testimony which is neither Koschal's nor Simon's burden to bear. Their testimony would have been excepted in any case as a sanction irrespective of its value. After their testimony, they left the jurisdiction and were not available to be recalled ( p 40) (nor were they requested to be called, both Koschal and Simon could have easily returned if requested by Mastro's attorney or the judge). As a result their testimony is disallowed as a point of LAW not a point of expertise.

Simon fails because his testimony falls " outside the scope of his knowledge" according to p 36 of the ruling. This is based on the fact that Simon had never been paid to " grade" signatures nor attended a " grading school" in the PSA grading style. Who has?

Does one of these institutions exist ? Where is it's handbook or course of study ? PSA makes you compare apples to oranges from a legal point and then says " You don't do it our way, so you can't say what a 5 , 7 or 9 is . Next, both Simon and Koschal are considered "non-experts" essentially because they are not using the PSA grading system and in this narrow scope that is correct, thus they can't reliably testify to how PSA slabs and numbers items. So, for this purpose, yes both are " unqualified" to discuss autographs, as would be the Curator at the Library of Congress if we narrowed it down to this fine point.
 
The Court sanctioned Daniels for his conduct of the litigation during discovery, specifically citing Daniels' failure to disclose relevant documents timely and to "represent his claimed harm accurately." As a result, Daniels was fined $2,000.
 
This is also true, as Daniels had sold items from the lot and needed to get them back into the corpus of the lot. He also failed, as we discussed earlier, to update the court on testimonial subjects from experts, a part of this sanction.
 
The Court found that Daniels presented "no evidence" of fraud and that Daniels' claims that Mastro Auctions defrauded him—and conspired with PSA/DNA to do so--were "false." The Court entered judgment against Daniels on those claims and awarded no damages.
 
Fraud is difficult to prove in court and let's say the charge was downgraded to " Breach of Contract" in a similar way that criminal charges are reduced from Murder1 to manslaughter . The victim is still just as dead, someone did it, they did it without meeting the evidentiary standard of Murder1.

Lost in here are many issues. One is that the consigner of this lot is Mr Zach Rullo. Yes the same Zach Rullo that is employed by PSA/DNA as an authenticator. Mr. Rullo consigned this privately, not as a member of PSA which is perfectly legal, but it does lend an air of impartiality, not legally but perceptually, to the authentications as PSA, the company who employs Mr Rullo, authenticated this material. Daniels claimed that this constituted fraud and it legally does not, according to Indiana precedent, but it does look like George Steinbrenner officiating at Home Plate during a Yankee game.
 
Daniels was given $608.85 because a small portion of the 2,012 photos Daniels purchased in December 2004 were not as described in the lot description. Mastro Auctions offered to replace those photos shortly after the auction, but Daniels refused.
 
" A small portion" of the photos at Mastro had descriptions where someone played fast and loose with the description as compared to the actual items in the lot. Some were not color, some were not the right size etc. It was 130 actually that were not correct or about 6% of the overall lot.
 
The only negative of the judgment was that an additional award to Daniels was made on the basis that our catalog stated "LOA from James Spence & Steve Grad / PSA DNA," but Steve Grad was the only one to physically sign the LOA on behalf of the PSA/DNA team. Our attorneys will ask the judge to reconsider that portion of the ruling.
The " only negative" is that Mastro was found guilty of a breach of warranty and resulting cases are cited by the Judge that Mastro is not relieved of it's duty to represent faithfully the certification it provides. This is found on pages 23 & 24 of the ruling and are clear. Daniels was awarded $ 8,944 as a result of the breach as described by the Judge. Basically Mastro completely misrepresented the sum and substance of the authenticity letters it would provide in the catalog when the winning bidder took possession of said lot. That is the cause for the breach of warranty, and the subsequent damages were awarded accordingly on p 26 of the ruling.
 
Overall, Mastro Auctions is very happy with this result. Although it is unfortunate that this dispute had to go all the way to trial, we are pleased that the judge sent what we believe to be a resounding message against Mr. Daniels' exaggerated claims and conduct of his lawsuit.
 
Here is the bottom line- Mastro Auctions misrepresented in numerous ways the corpus of a lot( Specifically lot 2322) to their buying public. They said that all were 8" x 10" color photos with dual-signed certificates of authenticity in describing this. The fact of the matter is that :
1) Not all were color
2) Not all were 8" x 10"
3) LOAs were single, not double, signed
.
Mastro was slip-shod in the extremis in their description of many items, as many did not meet the description set forth in the catalog in at least one constructive way. Thus Daniels prevailed on his Warranty claim. To prevail on the fraud issue, he would need concrete proof that Mastro, with or without PSAs help intentionally defrauded him, as opposed to a printing error, a slip of the pen etc. This would constitute a paper trail between Mastro employees etc or some special treatment of Daniels to get him to buy the lot.

Is Mastro happy; of course, the outcome could have been much worse. They failed to provide adequate warranty to the tune of almost 45% of the value of this lot ( 9,000 award vs 20,000 selling price) as it stands.
Also included in the decision is a finding of fact that Mastro HAS taken material back as returns from Daniels in the past, calling into question their ALL SALES FINAL idea.

The Boone County Courthouse has a full copy of he filing and is cause # 06D01-0502 -PL- 0060 should you care to look at the entire finding.

What was not addressed by Doug Allen's Press Release was that both Simon and Koschal never met the judge. They were never in his court room. Their testimony's were held in an attorney's office and their depositions were video taped. Bidding records for this lot were not available. Opening bid was $900. Mastro personnel could not produce company records of who the underbidders were. Somehow the bid went from $900 to $19,000.

PSA/DNA authenticated 56,000+ autographs in 48 man hours. They charged Mastro Auctions $7,000 for this service.
Zack Rullo in deposition was shown 9 photos from the lot he consigned. He could only identify 2 players.

Many of the photographs in the lot had dates printed on the back. Some of the dates were just two weeks before the lot was to be submitted to the auction house.

In deposition Rullo admitted that he was the one who authenticated the lot for PSA/DNA.
 
Sincerely,
Doug Allen
President
Mastro Auctions
Breaking News:
August 19, 2007
 
eBay and Global Authentication
Another Dark Day for Autograph Collectors


As collectors are becoming more educated they are starting to ask questions. How can this possibly happen? How can such a simple well documented signature pass any company who claims to authenticate autographs? What's the real truth behind these authenticating companies?

Bottom line, it appears quite obvious that many of these authenticating companies can’t properly authenticate many autographs. Worse, is that some of these companies are those chosen by eBay to be their experts. These authenticating companies on many occasions have been successful in having genuine autographs removed from dealer sales on eBay claiming they were not genuine.

Dealers simply disgusted with eBay have left the big auction site and have been successfully selling via their own independent auction sites.

The following is a perfect example of the lack of expertise by an eBay chosen authenticating service. eBay item number110160823983, Muhammad Ali Autographed 8x10 Boxing Photo with GAI (Global Authentication, Inc.) COA. At the time of this writing the item has 6 days to go and three uneducated collectors already have bid this nearly worthless item up to $103.38.

This items comes complete with a Certificate of Authenticity from Global Authentication, Inc. Certificate # GV 231705 bearing the signature of Justin Priddy, Global Authenticator.

The seller of this items pushes the fact that the photo comes with the Global Certificate. The mention of Global is no less than seven times in the description.

Problem here is the signature on this photograph in NOT GENUINE. It is not hand signed by Muhammad Ali. The signature on this photograph was signed by the Autopen machine. This horrific mistake is a major embarrassment not only for Mr. Priddy but for the authentication company as well.

The second major problem is why aren’t the “experts” at the authenticating company aware of this machine signed signature? This Autopen signature is well known to the autograph community and it has even been published in a trade magazine. Don’t the “experts" at authenticating companies maintain files of Autopen signatures? Don’t they use exemplars? Are their “experts” capable of using exemplars? By the way, who calls persons hired to authenticate autographs "experts"?

There is absolutely no excuse for this major blunder! Proof positive not to have faith in those COA’s.

Let’s not forget these are the type companies eBay recommends you pay a fee to have an item authenticated (an opinion) before bidding on an autograph listed on eBay. Oh my!

 
Breaking News:
August 15, 2007
 
Sports Collectors Digest
Where Have You Gone?
Many in the hobby will tell you it wasn’t long ago that you needed an entire afternoon to read your copy of SCD.

Shocking is the June 8th issue of this magazine was reduced to a mere 60 pages. Cover price for the magazine remains at US $4.99 or $6.99 Canadian. With the recent reduction in size of at least half the magazine why not reduce the cover price to $2.95 US or even $1.95 or less?

Even more interesting or as some have said “insulting” is how a dedicated subscriber is treated by this publication. For your loyalty, you are treated with your next issue of SCD with a cover page warning in bold letters “Your Next Issue Is Your Last Issue!” You are given the opportunity to tear off the “Renewal Savings Card” and pay just $42.95 for the next year. They will even throw in a gift which the average collector care less about .........a free Hartland Vendor figurine. Who collects or wants this, wouldn’t any collector be more enticed to renew if offered a discounted rate?

Not sure we want to renew......$42.95 for only 60 pages just to read a lot of self promoting auction advertising!

More bad news, just been informed the next issue of SCD, June 15, 2007 was reduced to 54 pages.

Surprisingly, a letter arrives from T.S. O’Connell, editor of SCD. The letter starts: “Come back to Sports Collectors Digest for just $24.96 and get a Limited-Edition Collectible Figurine FREE!”

He continues: “It’s almost like getting SCD again at no charge. But this is your last chance to score with SCD.” Can you imagine the next scenario? O’Connell continues: “I had to fight tooth and nail with my publisher (he’s the guy who runs the business end of SCD) before I finally convinced him that you deserve this special reinstatement offer. I went to bat for you. And I won! You’ll come out a big winner, too, when you jump on this offer. And jump you must......So, I can only hold this last-chance, come-from-behind offer open to you for the next ten days. After that, it’s all over.”

Incredible, we’ve got neighbors for years who aren’t this kind. What a guy this O’Connell is! His P.S. states: “It comes to a measly 96 cents per issue....” We are starting to feel the pressure, a decision has to be made. We look over our last several issues of SCD and are disgusted with much of the content. What happened to some of the good “accurate” articles? What happened to the articles on autograph authentication written by someone who should be writing the articles on authentication?

Hum, 96 cents an issue. No, we’ll pass, price is still too high!

Wait, another letter arrives from T.S. O’Connell. This one reads in part: “The Plug has been pulled. Your subscription has gone blank.” He continues: “I just can’t bring myself to call you a former subscriber. So I’m going to do something I rarely do.” Wow, we are starting to feel very special! What a guy. O’Connell continues: “Yes, the very same 83% savings! And yes, I’ll also give you a FREE 8x10 photo of an old-school all-star...” An old school all-star, maybe I wished I’d taken the first offer on the Hartland figurine! One has to love O’Connell’s P.S. “This is the LAST TIME (heard that before) I will be able to offer you this exceptional one-year renewal offer...”

How can we resist? When do we start to take this guy serious as this is our SECOND last chance and the free gift is getting less attractive each time. We feel the pressure! Editor O’Connell ends this letter with a P.S. “This is the LAST TIME......instead of paying $4.99 for an issue at the newsstand (who has a newsstand) get it for just 83 cents...”
Eighty-three cents and issue, another little discount as his first last chance letter was quoting 96 cents an issue.

They must really miss us! After all, we have been long time subscribers and it’s starting to feel good getting all this personal attention, not to mention all the special gifts we are sure to treasure.

Didn’t realize SCD had a website. Let’s take a look. "Special Introductory Offer" to any stranger who happens to click on the website.....$27.98 for a years subscription. My goodness that’s only 53 cents an issue. Nearly half price of what a loyal subscriber gets offered. Now that’s a better deal maybe we’ll have a neighbor subscribe for us.

Better yet with the new subscription, maybe our gift will be, no new letters from O’Connell batting for us “tooth and nail.”

Still didn’t go for it...sure do miss those ridiculous articles on auction results....$500 for a signed photo of JFK or Marilyn Monroe and we paid $3,000 for ours elsewhere. Guess we don’t understand a bargain when we see one!

Breaking News:
August 14, 2007
Collecting Checks of Celebrities?
Autograph Hobby’s Newest Dilemma!

As an autograph collector or dealer are you familiar with the word “Repligraphs?”

Apparently this is name given to “high quality facsimile’s of checks.” A company in California is now advertising that they are the distributor for “Repligraphs.” For $59.95 you get your choice of many high-quality facsimile of a check signed by notables along with Museum quality framing 14" x 17" also includes a photo of the person who signed the check.

Chose from: Baseball Greats - Babe Ruth, Thurman Munson, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Lou Gehrig, Walter Johnson, Honus Wagner,

Hollywood Stars: James Dean, Sean Connery, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and more.

Presidents: JFK, Lincoln, Truman, Reagan, U.S. Grant & more.

If these checks are as described: “high-quality facsimile” how long will it take before these checks are removed from the frame and start to appear in auctions. When in auctions you can be assured they will come with a COA from some high profile authenticating company.

Any reader of www.autographalert.com has already learned that some of these well know self promoting companies who claim to authenticate autographs cannot tell a printed signature from genuine ink! Take extreme caution when purchasing your next check.


 
Breaking News:
August 13, 2007
 
Herman Darvick
Noted Autograph Forger,
20 year Member of the UACC Hall of Shame,
and now
The Latest Addition to the PSA/DNA Authenticating Team

The name Herman Darvick has been around for quite some time. He is a “Charter Member” of the UACC and was President of the UACC from 1968 through 1987. His career as president ended when ethics charges were filed against him by a club member. The club’s three member ethics board found Darvick guilty and he was expelled from the club. For over 20 years Darvick’s name has been listed in the club’s Hall of Shame. His listing in the Hall of Shame has mysteriously disappeared since he recently joined the PSA/DNA authenticating team. The UACC has not advised their club membership of this sudden de-listing in the club pamphlet.

During the late 1970's at a UACC New York autograph show held in the Abbey Victoria Hotel, Darvick thought he was impressing some friends with his ability to forge signatures. At that show he signed a Gerald R. Ford signature. That signature, illustrated below, was used as an illustration on forgeries in the Gerald R. Ford Signature Study.
 

On the same day, Darvick also signed/forged signatures of Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Darvick’s creations of Nixon and Carter are illustrated below.
 
 

A few years later, in 1981, Herman Darvick published a beginners guide to autograph collecting. Its title is Collecting Autographs. Apparently still very proud of his forging ability, Darvick wrote the following presentation inscription in one of his books. See illustration below.
 

Darvick clearly states “you will never (and he underlines never) be able to guess which autographs in this book were actually (he underlines actually) signed by me (he underlines me). There are two of them. Read ....and enjoy!” Darvick is quite convinced that the two autographs which he actually signed to be used for illustrations in his book cannot be detected. Www.autographalert.com thinks there’s a clue in Darvick’s inscription. Look at his presentation inscription and carefully look at the word “Read.” Look at the shape of the “R.” Does that resemble the “R” in Reagan’s signature, exactly?

Readers of www.autographalert.com need to ask themselves what type of individual writes a book that is supposed to be a reference book and guide to autographs and the author signs/forges some of the signatures that are used for illustrations?

Darvick started an auction business selling items in all fields of collecting. The following illustration of his offering a Babe Ruth letter is illustrated below. Look at the handwriting and signature....enough said. Darvick ran into financial problems with the auction and had difficulty paying consignors. The auction eventually closed down.
 


Darvick somewhat disappeared from the autograph scene in December 2000 as he had a heart attack. He underwent quintuple by-pass open heart surgery on December 13, 2000.


Herman Darvick has recently been chosen by PSA/DNA to be their newest autograph authenticator. His printed signature can now be found on their Certificates of Authenticity. Enough Said!

Breaking News:
August 13, 2007
 
The UACC booklet Pen & Quill
Becoming an Industry Embarrassment!


Muhammad Ali may float like a butterfly but he stings the UACC’s quarterly booklet like as bee. The gloves need to come off about this quarterly booklet. The continued mistakes printed on authenticity in this booklet published six times a year seem basic and endless. More on Ali, later in this article.

Wasn’t long ago, September/October 2006 issue that UACC ex Board member W.W. “Skip” Hensel who claims to be an “expert” on presidential signatures illustrated in his article a well known and documented “stamped” signature of Garfield as being genuine. It took four months, January/February 2007 issue for the club to post a notice to their membership about the error in the President’s Message.

In the very next issue of the Pen & Quill, March/April 2007, was an article about signatures of Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson illustrating what the author believed to be “authentic examples.”. In the very next issue, July/August 2007, page nine basically apologizes for the past article on LBJ stating: “LBJ signature was actually accomplished by Johnson’s amanuensis, Bruce Thomas.” Too add to the embarrassment the article continues : “Further, the Lady Bird is an Autopen.”

In the same issue, just five pages later, the Pen & Quill folly continues. There is an “educational” article written by a current Board Member who is also a “UACC approved authenticator.”

Page nine contains an article entitled: If it Looks to Good to be True....

Below are two illustrations taken from the article. The author (UACC approved authenticator) states the boxing scene photograph contains a genuine signature of Muhammad Ali. As the author (UACC approved authenticator) attempts to educate the club members, he illustrates another photograph of Muhammad Ali which he states bears an AUTOPEN (machine) signature of Ali.
 

Take a moment to study both signatures. It is obvious even to a novice that both these signatures are from the same matrix. How in the world did this seller of autographs and UACC approved authenticator determine the first signature is genuine?

At www.autographalert.com we rely on our readers to bring us articles and news from all sources. One of our eagle-eyed followers did just that. Matter of fact, several readers have brought this autograph injustice to our attention. We appreciate the time our readers take to get to the very core of the autograph hobby. It tells us we do a god job attracting those who are sharp, interested in furthering the hobby in a positive and accurate direction and passing valuable information to the collectors around the world.


Breaking News:
August 11, 2007
 
James Spence, JSA Authentication,
“Follow The Leader”.
We have, again and again and again and this time he lands in a sand trap!

The errors continue and many are on a grand scale. Mistakes made by this company, who claims to authenticate autographs, would be hysterical if it weren’t for the high amount of dollars being spent by collectors who continue to be duped.

One of the latest atrocities in authentication was the auction of an expensive Robert T. Jones, Jr. letter, dated June 11, 1940 that appeared in a Signature House (UACC Registered Dealer) Auction # XXXII, held April 27, 2007, item number 1055. The auction catalog stated this letter was estimated to sell for $2,500-$5,000.

The letter sold for $3,100.00. However, after the sale the buyer decided to invest another $100 in this letter and send it for a JSA, James Spence Authentication. For Robert T. Jones autographs to be authenticated by this company they do not offer their “Basic Certification.” One must go to the next level and pay $100 for the upgraded “Standard Service.”

On May 23, 2007, James Spence issues his upgraded “standard service” certification, Submission Number W16862. In this Certification, Mr. Spence states: “We regret to report that after a thorough examination of your recently submitted autograph we are unable to certify its legitimacy. It is our considered opinion that the submitted item is not, an authentic example. Several factors became apparent during our inclusive examination that prevented us from certifying the autographed item. The apparent results of these inconsistencies are as follows:

1) Atypical letter slant, angle, and/or pitch
2) Autograph is a non malicious secretarial version
3) Excessive pen pressure and/or improper shading
4) Irregular overlapping of strokes
5) Irregular spacing between letters
6) Lacks spontaneity, rhythm, conviction, and/or movement
7) Poor line quality and transition between connective strokes
8) Sizing of letters disproportionate/Exaggerated/Undersized

On behalf of James Spence Authentication, we have opined this conclusion based on our extensive working comprehension and involvement with the autograph memorabilia hobby, expertise in the area of autograph analysis, and our acknowledged professional experience...
Signed, James J. Spence, Managing Member.

Impressive??? That’s a lot said and information for the mere $100 fee. However the buyer of this item could have received an even more detailed letter of authentication for just spending $500 for the “Ultimate” letter of authenticity.

At the bottom portion of the JSA, James Spence Authentication, Follow the Leader Certificate, Spence continues with more vital information that was discovered during his thorough examination. He adds: Writing Implement: Steel-tip Fountain
Color: Blue.

The purchaser of this letter returns the Jones letter and Spences’ COA to the auction house for a refund. The auction house returns the letter to the consignor. The consignor who has a long history of not accepting “opinions” from third party authenticating companies sent the letter to Stephen Koschal for his opinion. At first glance, it was obvious the letter was not hand signed by Robert T. Jones, Jr. The letter was a form letter containing a “printed signature” of Robert T. Jones, Jr.

Shocking is that upon examining the signature under the slightest of magnification, it is clearly evident that the typewritten closing of the letter is over the printed signature.

More shocking and embarrassing is the long presentation from James Spence regarding the letter is signed with a secretarial signature and discussing the excessive pen pressure??????? Irregular overlapping of strokes (on a printed signature?????) How about the writing instrument being a “steel-tip fountain (pen) using blue (ink).”

Another interesting aspect about this very incident is the use of that expensive “video spectral comparator.” These machines which were not produced for autograph authentication, at one time cost about $30,000. Similar machines can be bought at any major coin show in the $2,500 range. Isn’t Mr. Spence with his $30,000 machine able to differentiate ink from a pen verses a printed signature?

Earlier on this site, www.autographalert.com published a story about these machines and stick by our original comments that a twenty dollar black light and a few magnifying glasses of different power will do a better job when authenticating signatures. From our personal experience, looking at a signature directly with the eye and magnification can be much more accurate than examining a signature on any screen.

As always, we have attempted on several occasions to contact James Spence and discuss his examination of the Robert T. Jones letter. As always, Mr. Spence will not respond! After all, what could he say?

 
Breaking News:
August 4, 2007
 
Lawsuit Filed Against UACC and
a Number of Its Registered Dealers

Recently, a Federal copyright infringement lawsuit against the UACC and a number of its Registered Dealers has been filed in California by photographer Barry Rosen.
Some of the UACC Dealers involved in the lawsuit follow.

Autograph World, LLC/J.D. Bardwell/Bob Jones
R&R Enterprises, Bob Eaton
P&P Autographs, Jim Puleo
Ed Bedrick
JG Autographs, Jared Gendron
California Hotshots, Michael Tam
Autographed Cards, Cliff Yow
Gallery of History
A.A.C.S. Autographs, Anthony Roberts
PJ’s Collectibles, Paul Cross
Great Lakes Autographs, Rick & Gayle Herring
Autograph Pros, Michael Kasmer
USTAR.net, Robert and Esther Miller

For additional information go to:
www.dockets.justia.com/browse/stste-california/court

Plaintiff Barry Rosen: Defendant, Universal Autograph Collectors Club Inc, John Dwight Bardwell, etc.

All lawsuits must be taken seriously, but this is one that we suggest you follow.



Breaking News:
July 30, 2007
 
The UACC and the Evil That Lurks Within

The UACC (Universal Autograph Collectors Club) has a long history of scandals and the membership of this club has suffered tremendously. At this time there are at least two of what some collectors consider scandals which are being kept from the membership. More on these later.

Discussions recently held with some of the remaining members are similar. “I don’t know why I’m still a member of that club? Its been dead for years.” Or: “All my friends have left the club, I’m the last one left.”
There are many reasons for this mass exodus as educated collectors have long had enough of the silliness and foolishness of its age old Board Members.

The following illustration was taken from the clubs webpage.

The original photo was taken near Plains, Georgia while visiting with former president Jimmy Carter. The original photograph has been “doctored up” by someone who adds what appears to be an alien. This doctored photograph has been illustrated on the UACC website. To do this serves no purpose other than being childish and mean spirited and certainly unprofessional. Emails to Michael Hecht, current president of the UACC requesting the source of the photograph and who in the UACC is responsible for putting it on their site remains unanswered.

Obviously, after looking at all the recent numerous embarrassing mistakes of authentication printed in their club booklet one has to guess that the silliness is the best they can do. It's starting to appear that each club booklet has been apologizing for articles in the last issue.

The remaining holdouts of the UACC membership have been rewarded. They have been treated to a membership dues increase. The dues increase is partly due to the large loss of membership. Enough said!
 

 
Breaking News:
July 29, 2007
 
 
EAC Gallery 2007 Summer Auction
Is The Autograph Industry In Need Of Big Brother?

The autograph industry is basically in shambles. There is little direction and the very few who are trying to do the right thing by educating the public are constantly under attack. The autograph industry is riddled with forgeries. Many dealers, worldwide who are high profile are some of the worst violators.

Many say, if an item you purchased comes with a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) it is in your best interest to have it authenticated by a person who has documented credentials.

There are still some collectors out there who believe what they read like “only purchase from members of so & so club.” That is supposed to give you a feeling of security. That vessel is full of holes and sinking! Watch the dealer program, where have many of them gone? Look into the collector membership, it appears to be a disappearing act! The sellers of autographs who were given a status of “dealer” were all supposedly vetted before being allowed to be a member. Vetted by who? That’s another story to come.

Thanks to the internet and some autograph forums like www.isitreal.com collectors finally have an avenue to exchange ideas. More importantly, it gives the collectors the opportunity to exchange horror stories about what certain sellers of autographs are doing. This is most important as some club booklets usually only tell a one sided story.

There are many examples of how sellers of autographs don’t do their homework and www.autographalert.com would like to give you just one crash course as an example. There are many similar examples but we have some excellent illustrations for this story that you can easily follow in order to make your own determination.

We chose the autograph of the popular P. T. Barnum. Several years ago autograph authenticator Stephen Koschal wrote a signature study on a particular photograph of Barnum. That study specifically dealt with a “printed” signature of Barnum on cabinet photographs. This study was published in an International autograph magazine. Therefore one would think anyone who sold autographs would have read this study and filed it in their reference files (if they kept one). The following photograph was illustrated in the study. The study stated that this photo came with a printed signature and some others came with the identical signature but are dated “1885" or “1886.”
 


P.T. Barnum “Printed Signature” on a Cabinet Photograph
 
The study warned everyone that the signature on this photograph is printed (not hand signed by Barnum).

Since autograph industry has been advised in a trade magazine, how does the following happen?

In June 1996, item #28 in Donald Steinitz Autographs catalog lists a Barnum photograph with the same printed signature. $375.00. The last UACC Membership Directory list Steinitz as a member.



In June 2000, item #882 in the catalog of Signature House illustrates a similar photograph bearing the same printed signature clearly with a “1886" date, yet they describe it in their catalog as dated “1885.” Estimate $500-700. Signature House is a member of the UACC.
 
 
In June 2002, Ira/Larry Goldberg Auctions, item #1496 lists a similar photograph with the same printed signature with an estimate of $400-500.
 


In April 2005, EAH Auctions, item #18, same story. Catalog estimate $1400-1800 for this printed signature.

 
The Beat Goes On...EAC Gallery Summer Auction of July 26, 2007 offers you the big bargain. In their catalog description they state “Barnum lists in Sanders just under $1,200 in photo form.” This bargain starts with the low estimate of on $375.00. What EAC fails to tell you is that Sanders is listing “A GENUINE” signed photo for just under $1200. The item being offered by EAC contains a "printed signature" of Barnum. Even if EAC can’t tell the difference between real ink and a printed signature, where is their reference files? Their catalog description clearly states: “signed & dated P.T. Barnum 1886.”
 
 
EAC Gallery advertises that they are currently a member of the UACC.

There were additional sales of these common photographs bearing the same printed signature over the last ten years. We listed the above because the signatures on the illustrations were clear enough for reproduction in this article.

How could this possibly happen over a ten year period? Many sellers of autographs/auction house just don’t do their homework!


Breaking News:
July 1, 2007
 
 
PSA $2.35 Million Screwup!
Historic Honus Wagner Baseball Card
Trimmed & Encapsulated, Hid Imperfections
 

The vintage card world is buzzing again with talk about the "Holy Grail of Baseball Cards".
 
A photo of the world's most expensive baseball card, said to have been taken before it was encapsulated, shows the card was later trimmed, according to the New York Daily News.
 
Reporter Michael O'Keeffe, author of a new book about the high grade T206 Honus Wagner, obtained a copy of the photo after the book made references to its existence. The newspaper carried the story in its Sunday edition on June 25, 2007(see below image).
 
 
Alan Ray, who sold the Wagner card not long after its discovery at a Florida flea market in 1985, claimed in the book to have a copy of the photo which he says proves the card was trimmed to create a card with straight, even borders and sharp corners. The card was graded NM/MT 8 as PSA launched its authentication and grading service in 1991. It was sold earlier this year to a private and yet unnamed collector for $2.35 million.

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