With all the documented evidence
over several years of the incompetence of the high profile authenticators,
there are still some shops and shows that allow these authenticating
imposters to attend their events.
People who pretend to be able to authenticate autographs cant
tell the difference between real ink and printed signatures.
They all have made every imaginable mistake possible. Authenticated
as genuine are rubber stamped signatures, secretarial signatures,
machine signed signatures, and forged signatures. This is an
extremely common occurrence by all of the high profile authenticators.
Worse, in many cases, they have identified a signature that is
of a different person. How incompetent can you be when a high
profile company authenticates a Karl Doenitz (German Fuhrer)
as Americas Admiral Nimitz?
The autograph market has been flooded with their worthless mis-diagnosed
"guesses" and "opinions." Every one of them
will take your money and offer no guarantee for their uneducated
James Spence has been embarrassed more than once on national
television authenticating autographs as genuine that were forged
just hours before the interview.
PSA/DNAs top authenticator Steve Grad said during a deposition
that "I dont recall" when he was asked if he
was physically removed from the Chicago National Sports convention
for selling forgeries.
You can be assured that every shop and show that allow these
wannabe autograph authenticators to attend their events are well
aware of how incompetent these self- proclaimed authenticators
are. Yet they have no problem nor conscience allowing their customers
availability to the wannabe authenticators.
It is an absolute insult to all collectors when shops and shows
allow these companies to rent booths. They certainly do not have
the good of the collector in mind and the only reason has to
be greed, simply to collect revenue to rent another both. There
is basically no difference if the shops and shows would rent
a table to a forger! The authenticators are passing many bad
items for dealers and collectors and these items enter the autograph
market. Shame on the shops and shows that support these imposters.
Always keep in mind, these authenticating companies simply offer
basically an uneducated opinion. Try to find one of these authenticators
that has taken any one of the fourteen autograph educational
courses that were taught around the United States. We can assure
you that not a single authenticator has taken the free Internet
Autograph Educational Course and received the Certificate of
Completion available on this website. Try to find one authenticator
who will financially guarantee their guess.
Be it known, the bulk of professional autograph
dealers will NOT accept any one of these 3rd party authenticator
guesses for a refund. Basically, 3rd party COAs have become
worthless. No autograph needs a 3rd party COA to be sold. Choose
any one of the many professional autograph dealers and auction
houses. They will purchase your autograph or take it on consignment
based on their own expertise!
The autograph community is finally coming together.
Many dealers and collectors are protesting these authenticators,
and will NOT attend any event the authenticators are allowed
to exhibit; nor purchase any autograph that comes with one of
the 3rd party Certificates.
There are many websites that educate the consumer on the uselessness
of 3rd party autograph authenticators.
For additional information on the 3rd party authenticating scams
A Tragedy That Continues!
Is there any question that
the blight of so-called autograph authenticators has created
a catastrophic environment within the autograph industry?
Most of the wannabe authenticators have absolutely no formal
training. They have no formal training in handwriting, and most
never took one of the 15 autograph educational courses that were
taught around the United States.
There is even an educational Internet Autograph Course available
on this website. It is very popular with collectors and dealers.
Not a single person who likes to call themselves an autograph
authenticator has taken the course and requested a Certificate
The following are just a few emails from our readers
and how they feel about autograph authenticators.
"Dear Autographalert.com, thank you so much for what you
are doing and trying to accomplish Its too bad that
PSA/DNA, James Spence and the others are destroying the hobby ."
"Just wanted to drop a quick note to say that your site
is GREAT as I learn more about autograph collecting. The articles
I find most interesting are the ones about the so-called "experts"
in authentication and just how un-informed they really are when
rendering opinions faith is put in a PSA approval by many
collectors, but as Ive learned, their mistakes far outweigh
the good " Ryan
"Hi, I am an avid reader of the autographalert site. I think
you guys over there are doing great work these 3rd party
authenticators are a joke " Chris
"I just went to autographalert.com and greatly enjoyed it!!
Its nice to see the "high & mighty" PSA/DNA
get exposed for what they really are ..thanks for your long
and tireless efforts to make this a better business and hobby "
"..I had asked permission to reprint your articles in our
autograph collectors blog. I just wanted to tell you that I have
received overwhelming response from collectors and dealers in
reference to the third party authenticating mistakes "
"..I want to thank and commend you on your great site..great
to see the phonies being gradually exposed keep up the good
" how long can someone sit back and see PSA, etc. make
mistake after mistake after mistake? I love what you are doing
and as someone who recognizes that there are very few of us with
knowledge of autographs and the courage to stand up to this crap;
your efforts are much appreciated. I can assure you that I will
be referring people to your site " Alan
"I think you should re-visit the story where the TV news
reporter had the hidden cameras and got Spence to authenticate
a baseball that she had signed in the parking lot "
" 3rd party is becoming extinct ..believe it or
not the website is doing some very positive things for the hobby.
For one, perhaps the most important reason, it is killing 3rd
party authentication. The scam has been slowly peeled away and
it is unraveling at an unprecedented rate " Todd
"..First, I want to thank you for exposing these 3rd party
frauds. Your site breathes fresh air into our hobby .."
"of all the business experiences I have had I my life, the
worst part of it has been in the autograph portion, with its
fake autographs, crooked dealers and authenticators who dont
know what they are talking about. The worst thing that happens
is greed takes over and one loses his principles." Joe
"JSA is a joke ..they came to a local card store to
offer their great authentication services. I am an in-person
collector so I knew my autographs were real well, all the
baseballs I got signed in-person were deemed fake when the
store owner who knows me as an in-person collector questioned
them (JSA), all of a sudden my baseballs were now real "
"WOW!!! All I can say is wow! I will now officially be out
of the hobby until the Feds get involved big time. Why the FBI
is not involved by now I do not understand Unfortunately,
it seems to fall on the shoulders of the staff at autographalert,
Richard Simon and a handful of others who want to get the word
out there that there is too much corruption in our hobby. Maybe
its time for every collector to not get anything authenticated
until there are some serious guidelines in place." Charles
Roger Epperson seems to have a disdain for an autograph education.
In his recent email of September 21, 2009 to an author of several
autograph educational books he wrote: " any book written
by you would be a waste of my time "
However Mr. Epperson is very much aware of the damage third party
autograph authenticators have done to our hobby. Epperson writes
on July 28, 2009: "..lets deal with the facts. There
are more than 2 high profile companies passing off garbage ."
Yet a email we received from a collector titled "R&R
Educational Alert" states in part: " hes
had things he bought from Roger Epperson, submitted them to R&R,
and theyve been rejected "
Very, very common is that collectors and dealers have purchased
autographed items from those listed as "experts" with
authenticating companies. Many have found the item they purchased
is not genuine.
Who is to blame for all this? In some cases the collectors who
purchase any autograph that comes with a Certificate of Authenticity
from some authenticating company. There is certainly enough information
on the internet and through educated professional dealers to
teach you to avoid these worthless pieces of paper.
More fault can be found with the handful of auction houses who
support 3rd party authenticators. The auction houses are well
aware the authenticators are incompetent. They have been told
over and over by collectors and dealers. The few still use them
because the authenticators issue Certificates of Authenticity
for items they own, then consign them to the auction house. This
is big business for some of these auction houses. The auction
houses are starting to suffer as they learn they cant get
away with this much longer. Educated collectors are avoiding
bidding with these auction houses.
Want more proof right from a horse's mouth? The authenticating
companies seem to be well aware of how incompetent they are.
Collectors Universe is the parent company of PSA/DNA. The following
is a quote from Collectors Universe 2009 Annual Report.
"Additionally, we warrant our certification of authenticity
and the grade we assign to coins, trading cards and stamps bearing
our brands. We do not warrant our authenticity determinations
for autographs and memorabilia."
For areas of collecting they think they know something about,
they offer a warranty. Collectors Universe continues in their
annual report: ".we issue an authenticity or grading
warranty with every coin and trading card authenticated or graded
by us if a coin or trading card that has been authenticated
by us is later determined not to have been authentic, we are
obliged under our warranty to purchase the coin or trading card
at the price that the then owner paid for that collectible."
" in the second quarter, and in the third quarter of
fiscal 2008, we incurred warranty claims that were significant
in relation to our historical claims experience and, as a result,
we recognized the second quarter of 2008, an additional expense
of $822,000 for those claims "
It doesnt take a rocket scientist to imagine $822,000 is
chump change compared to what would have to be spent on autograph
authenticating mistakes. They are well aware of this and maybe
thats just why theres no warranty on their autograph
Collectors/dealers this is a notice to those of you who have
used 3rd party authenticators and have found their "opinions"
or "guesses" not to be accurate. Because of time restraints,
www.autographalert.com can no longer assist with your individual
problems with authenticating companies. Although we have not
found where they will refund your money, a few, after pressure,
may give you a voucher for a future authentication, free of charge.
Whoop de do!
November 21, 2009
RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
American Royal Arts Files Court Action
Concerning "Doctored" Photographs
American Royal Arts (ARA),
a Florida based company and recognized leader in the rock n roll
fine art and memorabilia industry, has once again stepped up
to the plate in an effort to protect the industry's integrity
and to protect the memorabilia fan, collector and consumer. On
November 18, 2009, ARA filed a complaint in the Circuit Court
of Palm Beach County, Florida, against Bruce Hall, d/b/a Gallery
of Dreams. In the Complaint, ARA alleges that Gallery of Dreams,
a California based company which has an established and continuous
course of business dealings in Florida, sent to ARA and other
similarly-situated companies, false provenance and altered/doctored
photographs which it represented supported the authenticity and
genuineness of the memorabilia it sold to ARA and others.
ARA's dispute with Gallery of Dreams began during a November
13, 2009 hearing in a lawsuit ARA filed in 2007 against Frank
Caiazzo, d/b/a, the Beatles Autographs, for defamation, unfair
and deceptive trade practices and unfair competition. During
this hearing, ARA's president Jerry Gladstone, during a cross
examination by Caiazzo's lawyer, was handed photographs of celebrities
signing guitars that were "doctored". In a rather dramatic
moment, (Someone from the Caiazzo camp notified the press) Caiazzo
and his business allies (Steve Cyrkin and Roger Epperson) thought
they dropped a bomb on ARA. It was, actually, a dud. Mr. Gladstone
vehemently denied having altered photographs or having any knowledge
that the autographs were altered. He promised to fully investigate
immediately following the hearing. In contrast, Caiazzo and his
lawyers had "sandbagged" revelation of this seemingly
legitimate concern with the photos to further their personal
concerted smear campaign against ARA. Caiazzo and his supporters
had no interest in immediately exposing their apparent discovery
of the doctored photos to protect the public from further damage.
No, there continued interests were self-centered and motivated
by self-preservation, rather than for the good of the industry
as a whole. In reality ARA did not tamper with any of the photos.
In fact ARA is now aggressively seeking justice against Gallery
ARA takes these issues very seriously. ARA has provided the press
with supporting information to confirm that it did not participate
in any wrong doing and that it was defrauded by Gallery of Dreams,
as alleged in the lawsuit.
A more dramatic point during the November 13 hearing was when
Frank Caiazzo admitted, for the first time in an open forum,
that he has no formal training what so ever to support his self-proclaimed
status as a "handwriting expert." It was also disclosed
in a deposition in that litigation that Caiazzo has placed his
own Beatles material (bearing his own certificates of authenticity)
for sale in major auction houses, including Christies, Sotheby's,
Alexander's Auction, and eBay. When Caiazzo was asked who checks
his work before it goes into auction his answer was "nobody."
Only he, who admittedly has no formal training what so ever,
authenticates these items!
Caiazzo was questioned about another document during the November
13 hearing, a Certificate of Authenticity he issued on a "Please
Please Me" Beatles album. His own counsel had placed the
item into evidence as a defense Exhibit! ARA counsel grilled
Caiazzo as to whether this certificate authenticated as legitimate
a "Please Please Me" album which was fabricated by
transferring three Beatles signatures from a menu and one from
a clip to the album. Caiazzo had already admitted to having certified
a "Sgt. Pepper's" album which bore signatures transferred
from another item to the album. In that deposition, Caiazzo testified,
under oath, that it was ok to transfer signatures as long as
one discloses it in the certificate. There was no such disclosure
on the "Please Please Me" album that Frank Caiazzo
certified on April 12, 2005. In addition "provenance"
was included in that Caiazzo certificate. He represented that
this Beatles album was signed by the Beatles for a young girl
waiting for them outside a venue! During the hearing on November
13, Caiazzo testified that it was possible that his April 12,
2005, certificate was for the very same "Please Please Me"
album. Chances are, it was, particularly if one accepts Caiazzo's
own suggestion that only had a handful of Beatles albums exist
bearing all four of their autographs.
ARA has been doing business for over 24 years with a stellar
reputation. It has an A+ Rating from the Better Business Bureau.
ARA was founded in 1986, and has held numerous worldwide publishing
and distribution rights for MGM/Rocky, Apple Corp., Disney Studios,
Frank Sinatra Enterprises, Twentieth Century Fox, Elvis Presley
Enterprises, Warner Bros., DreamWorks, artist Joe Petruccio,
Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin, and photography from the Hulton
Archive of London, MirrorPix, James Fortune Peter Simon and,
most recently, the Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp. ARA will continue
to do all it can to put an end to the unfair and deceptive practices
and to eventually restore peace, honesty and integrity to this
American Royal Arts Corp.
546 North West 77th Street
Boca Raton, FL 33487
November 18, 2009
Spence Authentication (JSA)
Simply No Excuse For All The Mistakes
We have not been publishing
all the mistakes this company has made lately because we feel
our readers got the message on this so called autograph authenticating
However, when a group like this hits a new low the story
needs to be told. Currently listed on eBay item # 110412169299
for $499 is a letter said to be signed by Warren G. Harding.
ANYONE who collects items signed by the presidents of the United
States would know that the signature on the bottom of this letter
is secretarial. And a well documented secretary at that. Reference
books on presidential autographs and educational articles have
been written about this "very common" secretarial signature.
It certainly appears as if the authenticators at this company
either just dont care, do no research or are just dysfunctional.
Harding Secretarial Signature mis-authenticated by JSA and
his team of authenticators
as an authentic Harding Signature
Illustrations of Harding Secretarial Signature and Authentic
Signature from a common autograph reference book
It certainly appears this autograph authenticating
business has become more of a scam than anything else.
JSA (James Spence) who likes to use the phrase "Follow the
Leader" is not only responsible for this blunder but takes
it one notch lower with extreme incompetence.
Look at the illustration of the signature closely. Notice the
oval coloration starting at the capital "H" and ending
near the "g" in Hardings last name? One of the
half wits working for Spence placed the JSA Certified sticker
on the back of the Harding letter basically right over Hardings
By the way, the presidential/political authenticator for James
Spence authentication is none other than John Reznikoff of University
Archives. Anyone surprised?
November 16, 2009
Roger Epperson's REAL Authentication Service Fails
Miserably In Authenticating
Normally we dont give space to all the little insignificant
people in this hobby. However, when one attempts to enter the
big leagues www.autographalert.com an educational site feels
the autograph community needs to be informed.
Who is Roger Epperson? Recently, he is a new full page advertiser
in Steve Cyrkins Autograph magazine. Epperson has also
become a member of Cyrkins gang named the "White Hats."
Well, heres another member of the "White Hat"
gang up to his neck in the dark stuff.
Epperson was once associated with PSA/DNA. According to him,
he left PSA/DNA for two reasons. One was because he claims "they
were very tough to get my money from." He also claims he
caught one of the PSA/DNA authenticators doing something extremely
unprofessional. Epperson was very specific about what he discovered
the authenticator actually did but thats for another story.
Now Epperson has associated himself with JSA. Epperson is also
supported by one auction house (RR Auction) even though the auction
house has been notified by some in the autograph industry multiple
times about Eppersons credentials. We are talking about
some of Eppersons autograph credentials that he would not
RR Auction who has been supporting Epperson and his authenticating
company "REAL" has been removing from its auction sales
on a fairly regular basis items that have been authenticated
by Epperson. Not only is Epperson doing the music authentication
for RR Auction, he is authenticating his own material and consigning
items to RR Auctions.
The following Epperson blunder is nothing less than disgraceful.
It clearly indicates his lack of knowledge, professionalism and
that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.
The following illustration is from a recent RR Action catalog.
Item #714 Michael Jackson signed photo bidding ends November
11, 2009. Pre-certified by Epperson/Real and the usual rubber
stamp RR Auction COA.
RR Auction Description:
Color glossy 8 x 10 photo of
a younger Jackson posing with Kermit the Frog, nicely signed
in gold ink. In very fine condition. Pre-certified Roger Epperson/REAL
and RRAuction COA.
The illustrations below were placed on Eppersons
website on November 3, 2009. Epperson states that Cyrkin (Autograph
magazine) Grad (PSA/DNA) and Epperson are going to educate collectors
on telling the good from the bad autographs of Michael Jackson.
He also states he will be announcing the name of the forger.
We cant wait for this!
5 Michael Jackson illustrations of what Epperson claims are
Please take note of what Epperson calls a fake
Michael Jackson signed photograph. Compare it to the first illustration
in this story. It is the identical photo that Epperson authenticated
"as genuine." OOPS! Clearly, the value of an Epperson/Real
COA is evident.
RR Auction, embarrassed once again by an Eppersons mis-authentication
has finally withdrawn the item from the sale. They say they are
pending further review, duh!
How much more proof is needed that these self promoting authenticators
just dont know and are simply guessing? What possible excuse
or spin will be made for this incompetence? The guys now
got the nerve to call himself "Mr. Rock & Roll."
The hobby of autographs has been filled with fraud, corruption
and autograph authenticating imposters. In addition, another
of Cyrkins "White Hat" gang has basically lost
his "White Hat" and sunk deep into the dark stuff.
He recently finished his deposition and due in court soon. The
information he divulged in his deposition is absolutely shocking.
Details so unbelievable, and beyond anything you can ever imagine.
Much more to come!
November 8, 2009
Autograph Media (Autograph) magazine
State of California Suspends License
The information displayed here is current as of
"Nov 6 2009" and is updated weekly. It is not a complete
or certified record of the Corporation.
Click on the name of the corporation for additional
Suspended or Forfeited: The
business entity's powers, rights and privileges were suspended
or forfeited in California 1) by the Franchise Tax Board for
failure to file a return and/or failure to pay taxes, penalties,
or interest; and/or 2) by the Secretary of State for failure
to file the required Statement of Information and, if applicable,
the required Statement by Common Interest Development Association.
Information regarding the type of suspension can be obtained
November 2, 2009
Cyrkin of Autograph magazine,
Suggest You Quit Your Day Job!
Hello readers of www.autographalert.com.
Let me introduce myself. My name is Harris Schaller. Im
a long time autograph dealer, starting back in the 1970s.
I was quite active up through the 1990s as a member of
the ethics board for the IACC/DA. I understand this hobby and
what I see going on by some of the new comers to this hobby (those
entering in the last 20 years) is nothing less than deplorable.
Theres one fellow that stands out as one of the leading
figures in this hobby for over forty years. His name is Steve
Koschal. I have known him for many of those years. I have witnessed
how he has worked tirelessly writing hundreds of educational
articles and reference books that were published only to help
educate the collectors and new dealers. I have watched him turn
an autograph organization almost upside down single handedly
all for the good of the hobby. Many of his complaints against
the club have been corrected by the club. Unfortunately, whether
it be because of embarrassment or just getting exposed, they
hold a grudge instead of sending thanks.
The recent attack against Koschal by Steve Cyrkin of Autograph
magazine was enough to bring me out of retirement. It is necessary
to have an interview with Steve Koschal to hear what is really
going on. After all, for those who know him, who knows the hobby
better than Steve?
Harris Schaller with Steve Koschal and George and Helen Sanders
Schaller on the right, George in red, Koschal alongside George
The above illustration is published to show a documented
background of Harris Schaller. This photo was taken on a cruise
vessel on the way to a vacation in the Bahamas.
Schaller: Hows the www.autographalert.com
Koschal: More popular each day. Its becoming difficult
for us to maintain. Because of the amount of requests for information,
collectors asking for reassurance about a dealer or auction house
they may want to do some business. Filing the complaints against
all the authenticators and a handful of sellers is also very
time consuming. On the bright side, the site has a huge following
of supporters. The following two emails are some of those that
were receive on a daily basis:
In a message dated 10/26/2009 7:32:27
PM Eastern Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
To whom it may concern
I'am a collector & dealer from the Toronto area who has been
doing this since 1990, I have been setting up at the Sports Card
Expo (biggest show in Canada) for the past 18 years. I would
be more than happy to promote your site at this years show which
is nov 13,14,15 by way of flyers or pamphlets. If you are interested
please LMK . I think your site is one every collector should
Subj: Great Job
Date: 10/26/2009 8:06:33 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I have been in the memorabilia business
about 25 years as a manufacturer and wholesaler. I stopped buying
autographs about 10 years ago because of the fakes that were
predominant, Beatles, Stones, Elvis, Marilyns etc. My best
story is when I still was still stupidly believing most pieces
were real, I had a customer looking for a signed Marilyn and
Clark Gable piece. I called a dealer in LA who said he had one.
Next time I was in LA he showed me the piece. It was a poster
signed by both of them for a JAPANESE movie poster. He gave me
a certificate BY Donald Frangiapani which really made me laugh
(Frank charged him 50.00 for the authentication by the way).
On the back of the poster was the copyright date of 1980. The
dealer did NOT tear the piece in front of me by the way. He also
had about 25 signed Beatles albums. I dont want to give
his name out, Im sure you know who he is. The UACC even
threw him out.
Everything we do now is engraved facsimile
autographs, wholesale to the trade, and I sleep better at night.
If you want to see some of our work one of our retail customers
shows its 3dpictureart.net
Of all the business experiences I have
had in my life the worst part of it has been in the autograph
portion, with its fake autographs, crooked dealers, and authenticators
who dont know what they are talking about. The worst thing
that happens is greed takes over and one loses his principals.
Keep up the good work.
Schaller: What has happened to this once wonderful
hobby of ours?
Koschal: It has been filled with corruption since the late 1980s.
The individuals doing fairly well are the educated collectors
and dealers. The ones who are making the most money are
the corrupt. Many of the corrupt dont want the collectors
to understand the hobby. They want to control the collector with
their game plan.
Schaller: Can you add some specifics?
Koschal: In my opinion this hobby has three major embarrassments.
One of them is the existence of third party authenticators. I
am not aware of one high profile authenticating company that
can accurately authenticate an autograph. They dont have
employees on staff with autograph credentials. Some of the principals
of these companies have been interviewed by the news media. The
media has made them look like fools. If authenticating something
"as genuine" the media has forged doesnt make
you look foolish then I dont know what will convince you.
I understand how incompetent these companies are, first hand.
Most of them have asked for my assistance authenticating. When
I understood how they operated, I would no longer have anything
to do with them.
Schaller: How do these authenticating companies manage to stay
Koschal: Only the uneducated collectors still think they need
their autograph authenticated by one of these companies. It is
my opinion when doing so, you might as well flush your $50 or
more down the toilet. You only get a worthless "guess"
or "opinion" backed by nothing! In most cases you will
never know the individual who rendered the useless opinion. They
hide behind a company name. A statement I said years ago seems
to have stuck to the hobby. "Companies dont authenticate
autographs, people do!" As for staying alive, its
hard to find a professional autograph dealer who promotes a third
party authenticating company. These authenticating companies
have been promoted by a handful of auction houses. The auction
houses in many cases are taking consignments from the so called
autograph authenticators. A horrific conflict of interest. In
my opinion many of the auction houses are to blame and I believe
many of them will be called out by name in the near future.
Schaller: Have you seen the recent statements by
Steve Cyrkin in his November issue of Autograph magazine where
he says some unfavorable things about you?
Koschal: If you are talking about his "Put On Your Seat
Belt" its too late. The magazine has already crashed!
He has published a few issues making statements and only focusing
on people or autograph dealers he cant control or against
those who refuse to take an ad in his magazine or support the
one autograph authenticating company he promotes. Cyrkin is not
only getting desperate but now appears to be visionless.
Schaller: What started the recent attack against you by Steve
Cyrkin of Autograph magazine? He claims in this November issue
that you have added his name to an enemies list and he doesnt
Koschal: Cyrkin is very creative and seems to enjoy just making
things up. He has said a lot of things which was just blowing
smoke. It seems to me that when he opens his mouth its equivalent
to someone else passing gas. For those who are International
that follow this site and dont understand what I meant,
Ill say it another way, when he opens his mouth, what comes
out usually stinks!
Schaller: Since Cyrkin still says "hes not sure"
about why hes ended up on your enemies list, can you tell
Koschal: Enemies List? I dont have an enemies list. This
is just another Cyrkin fabrication. Cyrkin and a handful of others
are attacking the legitimate dealers. The names of his few supporters
can be found in every issue of his magazine. If I hear from these
clowns one more time: "If youre not with us youre
against us" I will scream. Theres a handful of people
who think they are going to control this hobby. I have refused
to join them and my goal is to continue to expose the hucksters,
charlatans, snake oil salesmen, deceivers and we even have a
few imposters in this hobby.
Koschal: Absolutely. Just look at some of the names working for
the autograph authenticating companies. What else can you call
them? They are impersonating an autograph authenticator.
Schaller: Do you see anything positive coming out of all this?
Koschal: Absolutely. One major accomplishment was getting the
website www.autograhalert.com mentioned in Autograph magazine.
Cyrkin wont tell anyone the number of subscribers he has
but it is believed by many that www.autographalert.com gets two
to two and a half times the visits then he has subscribers. Its
still nice to see his handful of readers learn about this website.
Also positive, his magazine was recently called "a sinking
ship" by a very high profile autograph dealer who just recently
dropped their full page ad.
Schaller: Do you agree with the dealers statement that
Autograph magazine is a sinking ship?
Koschal: Absolutely, Ive seen the writing on the wall for
some time. So have many others. Since Cyrkin took over the magazine,
I would not write an article for them. I thought about it once
during the 911 incident but changed my mind. I didnt want
my name associated with the magazine.
Schaller: Do you have other concerns about with the magazine?
Koschal: The same concerns I hear from many others. Cyrkin bought
a company named Starbrite. Cyrkin was now in competition with
his handful of advertisers. Many were screaming foul, a horrific
conflict of interest. With the company came some very bad autographs.
I dont know how many people have told me they contacted
Cyrkin about the bad autographs he was listing for sale in his
own magazine. Even as late as a few weeks ago Cyrkin admits to
knowing about the forgeries in his inventory and even knowing
who the forger is. I cant and wont comment about
modern day autographs but a fellow who only deals in modern celebrities
said in a September 14th email "Steve (Cykin)is the last
person who would be an authority on autographs."
Cyrkin gave me the opinion that cleaning up his inventory isnt
taken seriously. In an email Cyrkin sent on Oct. 11 about how
he handled the forgeries in his inventory his reply was "I
fed them to my goat. I hope he didnt sell them behind my
Many others are disgusted with Cyrkin and his quasi journalism.
There are at least two people I know of at this time that want
to try and start up a reputable autograph magazine. One is trying
to get a list of writers to commit to the magazine and the other
is still trying to figure out the finances.
Schaller: That makes it pretty clear what you think Cykin is
all about as a dealer. What about Cyrkin the person?
Koschal: Unfortunately very recently he opened his big mouth
and it spewed a very anti-Semitic remark that will follow him
forever. By now everyone must know he called the President of
an Autograph company, who happens to be Jewish "a kike."
If you think this was dumb, he did this in writing. It doesnt
end here. I just received a copy of an email that was sent from
one dealer to another. This is word for word from the email:
" I had a problem with one of his (Cyrkins) employees
who was trying to blackmail me into buying autographs for me
to resale. It got to the point where this employee (Mike Aring)
was making crazy accusations and racial remarks in reference
to my wife (who is African American.) When I complained to Cyrkin,
he took the employees story at face value but when
he wanted me to run an ad in the magazine, I refused .thus,
he started to make comments about my business."
Let me mention an email from a collector named Michael Hollenbeck.
The following is a partial quote: " I was condemned
by Cyrkin for being against illegal aliens and my feelings on
gay marriage. He is very narrow minded and its either his
way or no way. His (Cyrkins) daughter is a lesbian and
he says that he is very proud of her and that he is looking forward
to being a grandfather of three children. I tried to tell him
that you cant have a child unless a man is involved and
he cancelled my subscription to his magazine. The guy is a wacko
and its no reason his rag is going under. He has no problem
of condemning anyone who doesnt agree with him ."
Schaller: Can there be anymore said about Cyrkin?
Koschal: Enough to fill a book. Instead of using his magazine
to attack galleries who refuse to use PSA/DNA (he co founded
the parent company and is presently a stockholder) he could have
used the magazine in a positive way to help educate collectors.
For example, there have been a handful of wonderful autograph
reference books that got excellent reviews in the Manuscript
Society magazine. The book reviewer for Autograph magazine has
submitted the reviews to Cyrkin. Steve Cyrkin wont mention
them in his magazine. Over the years, www.autograhalert.com has
received numerous requests for additional information about learning
more on this hobby. An Internet Autograph Course was created
and posted on this website. It has become extremely popular around
the world. Collectors and dealers are continually taking the
course and request the Certificate of Completion. Cyrkin got
a copy of the news release for the course an refused to publish
it. This guy has a serious problem trying to separate collectors
from educational material.
Schaller: Getting back to Cyrkins message in his November
issue about you. If he went wrong in his statements, can you
tell us where he got off the track?
Koschal: You can start with his first paragraph. Calling himself
the good guy. He calls the dark side of the hobby the forgers
and sellers of questionable autographs and those of ill intent.
To find them, all one needs to do is thumb through the pages
of his magazine and look at some of the names in those pages.
One is an authenticating company (which he co founded the parent
company) that has placed many thousands of forged, rubber stamped,
preprinted and secretarial signatures and passed them as genuine.
Add insult to injury, try to estimate how many good signatures
were failed by this company? Guess how many emails were sent
to the Chairman of the Board of that company asking him to confirm
that one of their lead authenticators was physically removed
from the National Sports Convention in Chicago for selling numerous
forged autographs? There was no response, yet this person who
was removed from the Convention was asked in a court deposition
if he was removed from the convention for selling forged autographs.
His response: "I dont recall." Hes still
authenticating for the company. Cyrkin must be proud of those
who follow him wearing the White Hats.
Another full page advertiser is about be exposed, big time. It
is so revealing Im afraid some may leave the hobby after
reading it. You certainly will not be buying any rock and roll
autographs from this advertiser. The advertiser is well aware
of the article about to be published and he is fighting back
very dirty. They have little or nothing in defense so are getting
personal. They are attacking on issues that have nothing to do
with the hobby. One of Cyrkins lowlifes has posted false
and imaginary stories about what was said by my mother said on
her deathbed. How can any collector, dealer or auction house
continue to associate with the likes of these unsavory characters?
Cyrkin has another full page advertiser by the name of RR Auction.
Simply put aside all the non genuine autographs this auction
house has sold but take a look at one of the authenticators they
utilize. His name is Scott Cornish. Go to www.autographalert.com,
past articles, April 2, 2008. Read the email Scott Cornish sent
to a competitive authenticator based in Germany. I part it reads:
" no wonder Hitler took over your country its
not like yall are still making lampshades out of human
skin or smashing babies heads against brick walls you have
no clue how ugly I can get ." Under pressure RR Auction
fired Cornish but an RR insider told us that it was just until
things cooled down. Cornish would be back. Indeed he is back
working for RR Auction. This is just another example of hate,
anti Semitism and racism that can be found associated with Autograph
magazine. You know, who Cyrkin calls the "good guys"
who wear the white hats.
Like Cyrkin, much of what is said by his few followers is just
creating things that come to mind. Incredibly embarrassing is
a full page ad in Cyrkins magazine from a person/company
which should be listed in a Guinness Book of Autograph Records.
Well documented they took part the largest sale in autograph
history of forged autographs. Sold was eight million dollars
of fake Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy signatures. Can you
guess how many refunds were given by Cyrkins advertiser?
Years ago, Mormon forger Mark Hoffman held the record of selling
three million dollars worth of forgeries. Today Cyrkins
full page advertiser, John Reznikoff has taken part in breaking
that record. This is just anther Cyrkin "good guy"
wearing a white hat.
It is absolutely evident to become a Cyrkin "good guy wearing
a white hat" all you need to do is take a full page ad in
his magazine. It doesnt matter if you make anti Semitic
statements, associate yourself with racists and those who sell
non genuine autographs, and forgeries.
Cyrkin continues his fantasy that this website is written anonymously
by me. He doesnt know this for a fact. He puts in print
what he chooses to believe. Yes, I am one of the cofounders of
this site. We all try to remain anonymous for good reason. We
receive threats from those we expose. Very recently one of those
full page Cyrkin advertisers has sent me several emails requesting
my home address. The person trying to locate me has been associated
with violence in the past. A gun was involved!
Cyrkin poorly attempts to convince his readers that "even
good authenticators make mistakes." Some say the rate of
mistakes made by these "good" authenticators is 50%.
They are either right or wrong.
Cyrkin continues to make false statements by saying I try to
discredit the UACC. All I have tried to do is clean up the mess
inside the club. I invite anyone to look at our files of complaints
from the UACC club members. Many of the complaints have been
against Board Members and Board Member dealers. You will find
it hard to believe what you read. Worse is the lack of action
taken by the club. They recently claim they are coming out of
a financial disaster. Did anyone other than those on the Board
know there was a financial disaster? I may just post an email
from a collector who attempted to join the UACC. The content
is shocking! Anyway, many collectors thought the UACC folded
near the end of last year. No magazines were published for several
months. What happened to all that member dues money that was
not spent printing and mailing all the magazines? It doesnt
end, just look at the dealer listing. It didnt take me
long to find a dealer listed who has been dead for a few years.
Worse is informing the membership of misinformation.
Cyrkin continues his rant "When customers ask about reputable
authenticators many of these dealers send them to Autograph Alert,
to scare them away to convince them to use forensic document
examiners ." This is another Crykin creation, quasi
journalism, possibly caused by eating a bad batch of mushrooms.
When he comes down from his trip, Cyrkin needs to read the stories
on this site. Who in their right mind would use what he calls
reputable authenticators to examine an autograph? No one I know
that has been educated. Try to find one story on this site where
ANY forensic document examiner has been promoted. Cyrkin is obviously
still seeing and hearing apparitions.
Cyrkin continues with rage stating this site: "publishes
articles filled with false and misleading information."
Not once has he contacted this site based on that statement.
Again, creative writing, quasi journalism. By now an intelligent
reader has to see though his nonsense and the damage he is causing.
Still heaving he continues: "Now several sellers of forgeries
have threatened to contact Autograph Alert, so other negative
stories can be written about us." Did this gimmick, quasi
journalism, lead you to believe he is now a victim? This is totally
made up unless he is in contact and shares information with known
forgers. I can assure you not one forger has contacted me, they
know better! At his point the readers of his column must be soporific.
Stay awake, he gets meshuga!
Cyrkin attempting to fly high, finally hits a nerve. He
opens up on some books I have sold or offered for sale. This
man clearly has little or no experience with autographs and foolishly
believed his trusted incompetent sources that fed him bad information.
Schaller: I cant let you get away with teasing me with
bits and pieces of Cyrkin hitting a nerve. Please elaborate?
Koschal: I said before when Crykin opens his mouth what comes
out usually stinks. This ordeal he has helped fabricate is a
perfect example. Cyrkin started his attack on me after I exposed
his anti-Semitic statement. He was bent on finding or creating
something wrong that I did and publish it. He wanted to get back
at me at all costs and this will cost him a bundle. I was part
of a deal where three signed Charles M. Russell books were purchased.
I personally authenticated the signatures and hand drawn sketches
by Russell as genuine. I was convinced they were genuine at the
time of purchase and easily confirmed this when I got back to
my office. These books were purchased from a lovely library in
a Palm Beach Estate. The estate was looking for someone to sell
the contents and I was invited to go along to look at what the
estate said had a library of books and framed autographs many
relating to Charles M. Russell. Framed on the walls of the library
were handwritten letters and signed photographs of Russell. The
person who was to handle the estate could not come to an agreement
about the value of the contents of the home but for our time
spent at the home we were permitted to outright purchase a few
items. Among the items were three thin books in wrappers. Two
books were signed by Russell and he added his famous steer skull
sketch. One was in pencil the other in ink. The third book contained
a pencil presentation inscription signed by Russell in which
he added his steer skull sketch. The person who was to run the
estate sale chose the book which was signed in ink. I bought
the two with the signatures signed in pencil. One of these books
I consigned to Alexander Autographs, October 2008 auction. Alexander
Autographs has their own in house autograph experts for Americana
related material and accepted the book. This book did not sell
as the reserve price was not met.
The second book, inscribed. was sold to Todd Mueller
Autographs. Mr. Mueller decided to consign his book to RR Auctions
and added a book signed by Salvador Dali that also included an
original sketch. Bob Eaton of RR Auctions returned the books
to Mueller stating he did not want to put the books in his sale.
When asked specifically why, Eaton said that John Reznikoff said
they were no good. Mueller asked Eaton if Reznikoff just saw
scans of the books and Eatons reply was Reznikoff did not
see scans or the books. Mueller called Reznikoff on the phone.
He asked Reznikoff how could he comment of something he didnt
see? Reznikoffs reply: "I knew the origin of those
books were from Steve Koschal, I guess I just wanted them to
Word got out the books were not accepted for RR Auction but the
guys who say they wear the White Hats will continue to make major
fools of themselves. I got emails from Roger Epperson (full page
advertiser in Autograph magazine) demanding to know where I got
the books. First he said he heard I got them from the Russell
Estate, then he changed his story to the Russell library. In
his crazed state he was all over the place. They were out to
get Koschal. Epperson continued, I needed to tell him my source
of those books. I need to come up with a receipt. He continued
"the books are not real." With his blood boiling and
thought to be hot on my trail he sent me several emails each
day. In another email Epperson goes on to say that Im not
going to get away with trying to legitimize the books by trying
to sell them through other dealers. Cyrkin gets on the band wagon
also demanding to know where the books came from and that I need
to supply him with my receipt of purchase. If I cant do
this then I am the forger according to Cyrkin. They even created
stories about things that never happened. For instance they started
the rumor that Todd Mueller asked me for a refund and I refused.
These people are not only desperate but evil. Mueller from day
one knew his book was genuine, never tried to return the book
and never asked for a refund. Just ask him! I just let Cyrkin
and Epperson continue to make fools of themselves.
Next I was told that the book I gave to Alexander Autographs
was a fake. So what Cyrkin and Epperson were now saying is that
Alexander Autographs tried to sell a fake book in their auction.
They said I was putting words in their mouth. So it seems to
be left, if I was selling the book is was fake, but not when
Alexander autographs was selling it. That issue was dropped so
fast, they new they screwed up.
Not Epperson nor Cyrkin knew that Reznikoff was the one who made
the foolish comment that the books were fake. I asked in several
emails who said the books were fake. No one could answer me because
it was all rumor they created. I would no longer answer to Epperson
or Cyrkin and took their emails as insults.
RR Auction, Roger Epperson and John Reznikoff were some of Cyrkins
trusted sources. All of them full page advertisers in Autograph
The venom continues to fly. Either Epperson or Cyrkin passes
on their fabricated story of the forged books to the boys at
the UACC. Does it surprise anyone that all this mis information
gets posted on the UACC website? Talk about irresponsibility.
"More About the forged C M Russell Autographs" heads
their gossip column. This club continues that well known auction
firms (known but just maybe not respected) around the country
are discovering the Russell books are forgeries. All are in pencil
(not true) and all include a small drawing. All are dedicated
like our sample to the right (not true only one was dedicated)
"But the fact is that the only thing original are the books
these forged signatures appear. All the forgeries are coming
from a single source out of Miami, Florida." HOW CAN ANY
CLUB BE SO STUPID TO PUT SUCH FALSE INFORMATION ON THEIR WEBSITE
WITHOUT DOING A SECOND OF RESEARCH? They simply trusted their
sources who Cyrkin claims wear the White Hats. If Cyrkin still
thinks all his followers including himself are wearing White
Hats, the only explanation for this is Cyrkin is wearing a patch
over his good eye!
The UACC continues: "The consigner when contacted
said he would provide proof." False, the consigner never
said he would provide proof. If that was done this foolishness,
unprofessionalism and quasi-journalism would never have been
Illustration of the inscribed copy the UACC chose
to use, without permission
Schaller: Wow! A remarkable story with what appears
to be a total embarrassment to the guys who say they wear the
White Hats. The story on the books is simply outstanding. What
was the final out come of the book the UACC illustrated on their
Koschal: While these books were getting their days of fame I
took the opportunity to contact the C.M. Russell Museum in Great
Falls, Montana. I asked them if they had any information on the
individual the book was inscribed to that was illustrated on
the UACC website. On Sept. 28 I received the following response
from Sharon McGowan from the Frederic G. Renner Library at the
C.M. Russell Museum. "Dear Mr. Koschal, Charlie Russell and Con Kelley, chairman
of the very powerful mining corporation Anaconda Copper Mine,
were close acquaintances and hunting companions. Russell did
a painting for the mantle at Kelleys Kootenai Lodge."
Wish I knew this valuable information before I sold the book
to Todd Mueller!
Schaller: Will this insanity ever stop?
Koschal: Probably not unless I get an apology from Cyrkin and
the UACC. I think the person at the UACC responsible for this
(of course name unknown) needs to also apologize to their membership
for feeding them erroneous information.
Schaller: I can hear in your voice you are getting
tired anything to say in closing?
Koschal: Since I ran down Cyrkins list of misinformation
I should close with his same thoughts. "Things may get rocky,
in the end all will be fine." I totally agree, it will all
end well as the ones who claim to wear the White Hats continue
to get exposed for what they are. Cyrkin has left the Titanic
and is in a lifeboat that is taking on water. Continue to watch
the sinking boat, he tried to convince his subscribers to pay
the same for six less issues which I think lasted for one month.
Wheres the better stories we were promised? What really
happened to Crykins website and his four pages of ads for
his "only in person" autographs? What happened to the
advertisers? One advertiser had two full pages in each issue,
for free, and dropped out. Imagine how bad it is to drop two
pages of free ads. One of the advertisers, who has had the back
page of the magazine for as long as I can remember finally gave
up the magazine. What do the subscribers get for reading some
of the trash, misinformation, creative writing and quasi journalism
not to mention some very bad addresses in the magazine? They
get rewarded with a thirty percent increase in subscription rates.
The rates went from $29.95 to $39.95. Thank You, Mr. Cyrkin!
I still believe the bulk of the people in this
hobby are good people with the right intentions. Many have strong
religious beliefs. I cant see how they can continue to
support his magazine. I cant see how many of the advertisers
will want to associate themselves with Autograph.
One more lesson to be learned, if you agree with Cyrkin that
there are these reputable autograph authenticators he promotes
(especially the one he has a financial gain when their stock
goes up) youll be happy to know of what they believe to
be an advance in the process of authenticating made by one high
profile authenticator. The new authentication process is we
dont have to see a scan of the signature or actually see
the item, just tell us where you got it. If the submitter is
not with us, their against us, so the item will not be authenticated
as genuine. Thanks to John Reznikoff and his uncanny ability
to get it wrong again, and for passing judgement on an item he
didnt see and for starting what has been called by some
October 23, 2009
PSA/DNA COA and Their Considered
Opinion of Experts Flunk in Court
The following is an email received from a professional
dealer in boxing autographs. A collector who purchased a high
end signed photograph from this dealer sent the photo to PSA/DNA
for their "opinion" or "best guess." The
so called "experts" at PSA/DNA failed the item.
Email as sent to www.autographalert.com:
Subj: Re: lawsuit/ruling in our favor 2
Date: 10/20/2009 1:12:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Id like to thank you for providing me with evidence to
prove the incompetence of third party authenticators. I recently
had a civil lawsuit filed against me where the sole piece of
evidence was a rejection letter from PSA/DNA denouncing an autograph
I sold. I actually printed some posts off your site (5/29/09,
5/11/09, 5/5/09, 12/6/08, 12/1/08, 8/8/08, 12/10/07, 5/23/06)
and presented as evidence in court along with a long list of
exemplars of the subjects handwriting. Together, with the proof
of this companys incompetence and with a signature comparison
of my item to a long list of authentic exemplars, I obtained
a ruling in my favor. I was expecting the plaintiff to provide
evidence from their authenticator, perhaps authentic exemplars
and an explanation as to the discrepancies, but the only thing
that was provided was this letter. My attorney pointing out there
is no evidence contained in the so-called document and it states
opinion in it by their own admission. Ive been
a longtime collector and dealer of autographs pertaining only
to the sport of professional boxing and do a thorough inspection
before obtaining and offering each signed item for sale. Ive
been filing exemplars and studying the hobby for quite awhile
before these authenticating companies existed. The legitimacy
of the item I sold was never in question to me so rather than
giving in to a demand for a refund I decided to take a 4 hour
and 15 minute drive (one way) to defend my name. I paid $500
for the attorney and spent $150 on gas and tolls but the experience
and outcome is priceless to me. Ive never had a complaint
about the authenticity of an item Ive sold and I knew very
little about these third party authenticators until this matter
arose. I was fortunate to discover your web site while searching
for evidence of this companys incompetence. I guess you
could say I hit the mother-load here. I just cant understand
how an authenticator can be considered legitimate when their
company provides no explanation or evidence to support their
claim. Feel free to use any and all information/photos provided
if you think it will be informative to your readers.
The following names are those listed on the PSA/DNA website as
their autograph experts.
The PSA/DNA Letter of Authentication states " ..it
is our considered opinion ."
Repeatedly it has been proven to trust your professional autograph
dealer or auction house who guarantees what they offer. There
is still a handful who dont want to stand behind what they
offer for sale and hide behind the "opinions" or "guesses"
of third party autograph authenticating companies. This avoids
responsibility. If the dealer or auction house will not stand
behind what they sell then these are the dealers and auction
houses to avoid.
October 15, 2009
Steve Cyrkin, Publisher of Autograph Magazine
calls American Royal Arts President a "kike".
Only a handful of collectors and dealers are aware of the current
autograph war that is presently going on.
It is believed by many much of the autograph fraud, selling forgeries,
authenticating items never examined and authenticating signatures
on items as genuine on pieces that were produced years after
the celebrity has passed on will be exposed shortly. This has
been allowed to exist buy autograph publications, a handful of
dealers and some auction houses who specialize in autographs.
Some of the self promoting well recognized names in autograph
collecting and autograph authenticating are involved. The information
coming in daily is ugly.
As some of you already are aware Steve Cyrkin owner and publisher
of Autograph collector magazine and owner of the mysteriously
removed website of Starbrite is very much involved. Even Cyrkins
usual four page ads in his own magazine for Starbrite have been
Cyrkins comments in two past issues of his column "Inscription"
about Frank Ciaizzo and American Royal Art in Florida are well
Steve Cyrkin is a co-founder of Collectors Universe parent
company of PSADNA based in California. He is still part owner
of this publicly traded company on NASDAQ. Their symbol is "CLCT."
On October 13, 2009 an email was sent to Steve Cyrkin from autograph
dealer Mike Frost. Mike asked Cyrkin if his attacks on Jerry
Gladstone of American Royal Arts are based on him being Jewish.
See illustration of email below.
Email from Mike Frost (Whoodee711) to
Cyrkin of AutographMagazine
From: Whoodee711@aol.com [mailto:Whoodee711@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 10:59 AM
Subject: Re: Authentication Fraud
Confidentially (NO copy here)
Is the problem you have with Jerry based on him being Jewish????????
The response from Cyrkin, just two hours later
is beyond unbelievable:
Email response from Steve Cyrkin, Publisher
of Autograph Magazine
Sent: 10/13/2009 02:02:08 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: RE: Authentication Fraud
Why would I care if hes a kike?
The Sanders Autograph Price Guide
Toll-free: 800.996.3977 x107
Direct Fax: 714.242.2098
Customer Service Fax: 714.459.5063
600 Anton Blvd., 11th Floor
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Cyrkins statement cannot be interpreted any
other way than being a "racist" statement.
This statement is shocking and offensive to all collectors, dealers,
authenticators and auction houses that has seen an advanced copy
of this information. Readers and advertisers of Autograph
Magazine will most likely be equally offended.
October 6, 2009
Wells Notifies Collectors of
Vernon Wells, actor in over 60 movies. Played alongside Mel Gibson
in Mad Max 2 and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando, has a word
September 29, 2009
UACC Threatens to Shut Down www.autographalert.com
apparently is unhappy with www.autographalert.com and has sent
an email to the host of this website: "about taking action
against the company or individuals who host the autograph alert
website." The email, filled with untruths and created
fantasies, comes from an Al Wittnebert.
Readers and supporters of www.autographalert.com have become
outraged upon learning of this recent threat. We are not sure
what article on this site has ruffled their feathers. However,
as mentioned on the homepage of this site it clearly states if
someone feels information posted is not correct, let the site
know for a possible correction. The UACC has not contacted this
The UACC has long been concerned about those, including their
own members, who voice their concerns about the club. A couple
of years ago, the Board voted to sanction its own members
who speak out with what the Board feels are untrue, unfounded
or frivolous comments on an internet forum or website which the
Board feels targets the club.
While attempting to smother the voice of its membership, voting
on subjects like this one, you can understand why the UACC has
had its share of problems which has affected its membership.
Have you ever noticed how many of this industry's major long
time dealers are not members of the UACC? There are many valid
reasons for not wanting to be associated with this group. In
January 2008, the president of the UACC was running for re-election.
He said he wanted to double the UACC membership in the next four
Well, its nearly two years later and finally he admits
in his new message on the club website that the clubs magazine
readership is at an all time low. If all the members get
a copy of the club magazine then what he is stating is membership
is at an all time low.
If membership is at an all time low, it certainly appears the
autograph community is making a statement and the Board of Directors
just dont get it. In that same message the president of
the club refers to the cubs detractors. He makes it sound
that if you question the UACC you become in their view a "dysfunctional
nay sayers". With this attitude its no wonder there
is a continued membership problem.
Not long ago in the May/June 2008 issue of the club journal the
club president states that the New Pen and Quill is on
its way to a banner year. Didnt take long for the journal
to disappear. What happened to the Nov/Dec 2008 issue? How about
the Jan/Feb 09 or the Mar/Apr 09 or the May/June 09 and the Jul/Aug
09 issues? Finally a Fall 09 issue and we read that the crisis
and panic is over. Did you know there was a crisis and panic
and belt tightening was needed? Belt tightening? Members paid
their yearly dues and lost a handful of magazines. The club must
have saved a huge sum of money not publishing a magazine for
several months, not to mention the savings from the cost of postage.
As for the club members who still stick with this club remember
what the club president said in his Jan/Feb 2008 message to the
membership and that is that you all have a chance to vote for
the people who can take the club into the future. The above few
paragraphs are the future!
www.autographalert.com receives complaints about the UACC on
a regular basis. Some of the content in the complaints is almost
unbelievable. For the good of the hobby, www.autographalert.com
is working on suggestions on how to improve this club. Suggestions,
that if implemented, will attract many of those who have left
the club over the last ten years and also attract new members.
These ideas will be presented to the UACC Board of Directors
via this website at a later date.
September 22, 2009
John Reznikoff of University Archives
Is back in the news and its not good!
With Reznikoffs horrific background dealing in JFK related
material you would think this guy would not want to be within
100 feet of anything related to JFK.
Headlines at CNN Politics.com "FBI seizes letter from Jackie
Kennedy to RFKs widow." The Dallas Morning News:
"FBI Investigates Jackie Kennedy letter at Dallas Auction
This case centers around a handwritten letter of condolence that
Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy sent to Ethel Kennedy. The letter was
sent shortly after Robert Kennedys assassination.
How did this letter enter the autograph community? It came from
the home of a Russell T. Nuckols, a plumber who at one time worked
at the Kennedy family home. Nuckols passed away in January 1999.
His son, Thomas Nuckols discovered the letter while going through
his fathers papers. According to an FBI affidavit, it states:
"Thomas Nuckols was dumbfounded upon discovery of the letter
because he had never seen it before and did not know how it came
into his fathers possession."
Thomas Nuckols contacts John Reznikoff of University Archives
in Westport, Connecticut.
Picture the average dealer being offered this historical and
extremely valuable letter from a stranger. The letter begins:
"My Ethel" and Jackie expresses concern for Ethels
health and for her children. Jackie continues: "I stayed
up till 6.30 last night just thinking and praying for you."
We asked several dealers and an auction house what they would
have done if offered this unique letter. Basically they all said
the same thing just using different words. "I would have
called the FBI (or law enforcement) the letter is obviously stolen."
Or "The letter is hot, the Kennedy family would never part
with that letter, it would be part of the RFK papers, call the
Reznikoff chose to take another path. He decided to purchase
the letter. To make an offer for the letter Reznikoff had to
know what he thought he could eventually get for it. Reznikoff
paid $6,000 for the letter and resold the letter to a New Hampshire
collector for $25,000. Fair dealings for a letter of such historical
Autograph price guides will tell you a fair offer from a dealer
would be half. That equates to $12,500 and not $6,000. So, the
entire ordeal went down privately and quietly. However those
in the business know that nothing stays buried forever. How many
of you have heard from a dealer "Im buying it for
my private collection" and the letter turns up at auction
in several months.
The letter did exchange hands through a few other collectors
until a collector decided to consign the Jackie letter to Heritage
Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas. Max Kennedy, son of Robert
and Ethel Kennedy learned of the letters whereabouts. He claims
that his family have never given, loaned or sold the note to
anyone. Max stated: "Its a personal possession of
my mother and obviously extremely personal."
We think readers of www.autographalert.com would have to agree.
When this letter was offered, law enforcement should have been
In a telephone interview with The News, Reznikoff said
he was not at his office and did not have access to his files.
Reznikoff continued that he vaguely recalled that Thomas Nuckols
told him that Ethel Kennedy boxed up some belongings one day
and told his father that he could haul them away. "A whole
bunch of things were being discarded, and she said just keep
them," Reznikoff said.
FBI Agent Skillestads affidavit says, "Thomas Nuckols
was dumbfounded upon discovery of the letter because he had never
seen it before and did not know how it came into his fathers
Now whose story are we to believe, the UACCs choice of
"Dealer of the Year" John Reznikoff or Thomas Nuckols?
September 17, 2009
Autograph Authenticators Bashing Each Other
It certainly appears some of those who call themselves autograph
authenticators are beginning to implode.
www.autographalert.com has a file of emails from those who have
been hired or working as consultant autograph authenticators.
Some are bashing competitors or other authenticators in their
own company. Roger Epperson seems to be on attack and is recently
bashing competitive authenticators such as Christopher Morales
and Mike Frost of PAAS.
In a recent email to www.autographalert.com Epperson writes:
" .there are more than 2 high profile companies passing
of garbage and the third is your old company PASS. I have plenty
of proof on them ..the lead authenticator (Mike Frost) is
the president of your old autograph association.." Whew!
If you think this guy sounds bitter, heres the topper.
You may recall reading on baseball websites scathing emails from
a foul mouth person who claims to be an autograph authenticator.
His name is Rick Giddings and goes under the email Pirate8@aol.com
and sometimes tries to hide his identity under the email Migetwitapistol@aol.com
Some of his emails cannot be reproduced because of the foul language
but the following email he sent to www.autographalert.com for
We reprint the email, the spelling is exactly as it was received.
Subj: Resignation---Giddings leaves GAI (Global
Here is a real story for you!
As of yesterday Rick Giddings, vintage authenticator and owner
of Gizmos Sportscards resigned from GAI!
1. There name carrys a bad taste in industry and will not let
my company be associated with that
2. Terrible management of people inside an out
3. Egos---wow--got a couple of guys there, with egos larger then
4. Too many guys, that claim there experts, who made Steve Sipe
an expert, he cant even get Jordan or woods right? And
hes in charge of authentication?
5. I just pray, Baker and Rocchi get out before the ship sinks
thats enough for me, how many more guys will leave, Priddy-authenticator,
Smith-pack grader, Hammond-ex ceo, Flynn-encapsulator, GAI is
a joke in my opinion.
In a separate email, the language too foul to reproduce
Giddings dumps on other authenticators as well. He especially
singles out an authenticator of racing autographs.
Giddings continues: "..and in my eyes, racing is not
a sport and your little buddy in Tennessee dont know shit
about it anyways "
September 5, 2009
John Reznikoff, UACC Dealer of the Year..
We meant to write this article earlier in the year but havent
stopped laughing long enough to put pen to paper. Our opinion
is that the statement "John Reznikoff, UACC Dealer Of The
Year" could easily win an award for the funniest autograph
related line of the year. It certainly has kept us energized
for the last several months.
How would you like to have been a fly on the wall in the room
of the UACC "officials" and hear the real reasons why
Mr. Reznikoff was chosen?
This hilarious announcement was placed on the UACC website as
they have not issued a club magazine since last year for their
The UACC simply makes the statement with no reasons for their
www:autographalert.com decided to research its own files on Mr.
Reznikoffs accomplishments simply to confirm he is worthy
of the title.
On his own website he is not truthful about the amount of years
he spent in college. This is the very first thing he lists on
Mr. Reznikoff was involved in the largest autograph forgery scandal
in the 20th century. Over 7 million dollars in forged Marilyn
Monroe and John F. Kennedy items were sold. No record of refunds
are to be found. Mr. Reznikoff turned on his partner to help
save himself. His partner went to prison.
After the Monroe/JFK scandal, Reznikoff continues to make mistakes
on signed JFK items and secretarial signed letters. Some of these
items authenticated by Reznikoff have been withdrawn from auctions.
Many, many more items in other fields authenticated by Reznikoff
have been pulled from auctions. For many of them there was no
excuse except for incompetence. One item, authenticated by Reznikoff
as genuine, said to be signed by Samuel Colt was not. Another
error appeared in a Heritage auction where Reznikoff authenticates
a document signed by the noted witchcraft judge, Samuel Sewall.
The document was actually signed by his son.
Reznikoff was selling a Ronald Reagan photograph that contained
one of the most common Autopen signatures of Reagan. This can
be found in almost any autopen reference book. He was told this
by a recognized expert in presidential signatures. Reznikoffs
lame excuse in three words: "new employee, thanks."
This man will not take responsibility.
Over the Monroe/JFK forgery incident, Mr. Reznikoff wrote a letter
of resignation to PADA, an autograph organization he co founded.
Hs resignation was accepted.
At one time, the US had only four autograph organizations. A
second club, The International Autograph Collectors Club and
Dealers Alliance received a serious complaint against Mr. Reznikoff.
Upon Mr. Reznikoff being notified of the complaint, he sent in
his resignation letter. It was refused by the ethics board. After
an investigation, the Chairman of the ethics board notified Mr.
Reznikoff that his membership in the club has been terminated.
Thats two out of the four clubs he could not be a member.
Mr. Reznikoff is on the staff of most of the companies who claim
to authenticate and he has made some very inexcusable errors.
Some of his mistakes are legendary.
Mr. Reznikoff stated in writing that a famous John Hancock forgery,
made by the Mormon forger "looks good." Any novice
could have gone to Charles Hamiltons book and see an almost
identical item was illustrated in the book. The value placed
on the item by a dealer now thinking it was genuine was $150,000.
Mr. Reznikoff was selling a signature of George III. The signature
was his typical scrawl while he was blind. Unable to read the
signature, Mr. Reznikoff illustrates the signature on his website
Mr. Reznikoff listed on his website a signature of Margaret Mitchell
of Gone With The Wind fame. However he illustrates a signature
of actress Maggie Mitchell. When advised of his error he demanded
proof that he was wrong. The seasoned and industry accepted autograph
experts word was not enough. Exemplars were sent of both Mitchells
and the item was eventually removed from Reznikoffs website.
Mr. Reznikoff authenticated as genuine a hand written presidential
oath of office of Ronald Reagan. Over thirty words in Reagans
hand and signed and he got it wrong not once but twice. He was
advised of the problem and still felt it was good until it was
proven to him by going over the forgery word by word.
Mr. Reznikoff tried to sell a pamphlet said to be signed by rocket
pioneer Tsiolkovsky. In actuality, the pamphlet only contained
a few words in his hand, in Russian, with NO SIGNATURE. This
is obvious that Reznikoff had no clue as to what a signature
of Tsiolkovsky looks like.
Mr. Reznikoff was involved in selling the forged Elvis Presley
lyrics. He did make at least one sizable refund to a well known
Mr. Reznikoff for a Mastro Auction authenticated as genuine a
common Andrew Johnson document containing a "stamped"
signature of Johnson. This stamped signature is very common.
It is well documented and known to every professional who handles
Mr. Reznikoff authenticated two Gerald R. Ford machine signed
signatures as authentic for another Mastro auction.
Reznikoff sold a Rogers Hornsby signature. The dealer who bought
it attempted to sell it on eBay. The item was kicked off eBay
because the signature of Hornsby was determined not genuine.
Mr. Reznikoff has made authenticating decisions on autographs
without seeing the item just based on how he personally feels
about the dealer.
Mr. Reznikoff has threatened a few dealers in writing. Because
of his reputation, another dealer has dubbed Mr. Reznikoff with
the nickname "Rezbollah".
Mr. Reznikoff told numerous newspapers that he purchased the
hair of Neil Armstrong. This has been proven wrong. He barber
sold the hair to another dealer and www.autographalert.com has
posted the cancelled check for the hair on a previous story.
When the barber was asked about Mr. Reznikoff his response was
"I never heard of him."
Mr. Reznikoff purchased 1,000 clipped signatures from a noted
dealer. The signatures were to be sold to a well known sports
card company. Mr. Reznikoff told the dealer that the card company
required the signatures to be authenticated by an authenticator.
Reznikoff told the dealer to send the signatures to a certain
authenticating company (which Reznikoff is one of their authenticators)
and put Reznikoffs name and his Connecticut return address
on the package. Reznikoff told the dealer that if the dealer
sent the signatures under his own name to the authenticating
company they most likely would not be passed as genuine.
Reznikoff recently sold a large collection of short handwritten
letters in pencil by Thomas Edison. The purchasing dealer complained
that some of the letters were just signed with Edisons
initial "E". Also, several other letters were unsigned.
Reznikoff responded by saying you can simply take a pencil and
sign the letter "E" to the bottom of the unsigned letters,
no one would know.
Lastly but certainly not least is the fact that Reznikoff in
2006 attempted to purchase www.autographalert.com with the hopes
of shutting us down!
The above is just a sample of what we have in our files on Reznikoff.
There is much more including complaints from collectors and dealers.
Its all documented.
John Reznikoff has been chosen "Dealer of the Year"
by the UACC. This leads you to believe this is the best they
got! Of the approximately 150 dealers still left in the club,
does no one have better qualifications to be chosen "Dealer
of the Year." This choice should not only be insulting to
all UACC Registered Dealers but also a kick in the groin to every
dealer who thinks they may be more qualified after reading all
Maybe just something to think about when its time for dealers
to renew their membership!
August 19, 2009
www.autographalert.com is shocked
www.autographalert.com is thankful to all those
supporters who responded to the last article published on this
website regarding the possible lawsuit threatened by Autograph
magazine. Those of you who have cancelled your subscriptions
to the magazine, it was your choice based on the information
you have gathered. We are told in at least one case Mr.Cyrkin
even placed a personal phone call to a long term subscriber who
cancelled his subscription.
To those who have emailed us with such statements as "if
such a matter ever evolves, you can count on me for a financial
contribution to defend this or any other erroneous argument"
we are extremely grateful for your dedication to this site and
your belief that both sides of a story be told. We especially
appreciate your offers of financial support. Thank You!
July 27, 2009
Autograph Magazine Bullies
the UACC Lawsuit Threaten Against www.autographalert.com
We would like to thank
all our readers for their support of our last article Autograph
Collector Magazine What were You Thinking?
To be fair we did get a half dozen negative emails basically
all reading the same way and same style of writing and all signed
using different first names. For the most part, it appears that
one person was behind most of the emails.
It is clear that a Florida based autograph operation with several
galleries throughout the State is under attack. American Royal
Arts has been in the business since 1986 and has grown to become
the leading publisher of Entertainment Fine Art in the world.
According to this company they have formed partnerships, many
exclusive, with some of the most important icons of the 20th
and 21st centuries in the entertainment world. America Royal
Arts (ARA) was Disneys largest dealer for over ten years
and Jerry Gladstone, President of ARA was chosen to be on Disneys
advisory board. ARA has held many worldwide publishing rights
including Apple Corp., Warner Bros., Dreamworks, Fox Studios,
King Features and many others. To name just a few, presently
ARA is under license with Frank Sinatra Enterprises, Elvis Presley
Enterprises, Joe Petruccio, and represents artwork from "Rocky"
under license from MGM Studios. ARA is an approved dealer with
Upper Deck and just had a signing with Tiger Woods and Michael
As mentioned earlier ARA has been in business for 23 years. www.autographalert.com
contacted the Florida Better Business Bureau and has discovered
this company has an A+ rating.
All the above is most impressive. ARA certainly got the attention
of companies who claim to authenticate autographs and the Universal
Autograph Collectors Club (UACC).
According to an interview www.autogaphalert.com had with Mr.
Gladstone we were told that a well known representative from
PSA/DNA contacted him requesting that PSA/DNA be the authenticating
company for ARA. Mr. Gladstone knew PSA/DNA had a very low rating
with the California Better Business Bureau and decided to pass.
The response from the PSA/DNA representative was one many of
us has heard in he past "you are either with us or against
The UACC took the initiative and it was they who contacted ARA.
A representative of the UACC, Al Hallonquist who holds the position
of Director personally sat down with Mr.Gladstone requesting
that ARA become a UACC Registered Dealer. Every member of the
UACC has read the clubs hype of how a dealer is completely vetted
by the UACC before being allowed membership. ARA was vetted and
Mr. Hallonquist even took the time and visited an ARA gallery
to look over the inventory. American Royal Arts was accepted
as a registered dealer, Dealer #301, and issued the registered
Registered Dealer Certificate issued to American Royal Arts by
It appears within days of ARA becoming a UACC Registered
Dealer word of this got to Steve Cyrkin, publisher of Autograph
Collector Magazine. Cyrkin sent the following email to Michael
Hecht (President of the UAAC) and to the UACC Board Members.
"Dear Michael and UACC Board Members:
I just found out that American Royal Arts has been made UACC
RD 301. Please accept my resignation, effective immediately from
the UACC and the UACC Registered Dealer Program. Autograph Magazine
is also terminating its working relationship with the UACC, effective
Publisher Autograph Magazine."
It is clear that the UACC quickly reacted to Cyrkins
email resignation. They had a chance to defend their actions
after chasing ARA to be a member, vetting ARA, visiting his gallery
and inspecting ARAs inventory and instead of declawing
a bully they folded like a cheap suit. ARA was stripped of its
UACC Dealer membership and the same RD#301 was given to the next
dealer in line. The membership of the UACC was not told of these
actions by their President and Board of Directors. It has been
kept quiet, until now. This is what happens behind the scenes
in this club.
It is a fact that Cyrkin is a co founder of PSA/DNA. He allows
PSA/DNA to run a full page ad in every issue of Autograph magazine.
Cyrkin wrote an article in the February issue of Autograph magazine
on How to buy Rock Without Getting Rolled". Cyrkin
writes under his Rule #4 about authentications: " The most
widely accepted ones for rock n roll are PSA/DNA.."
The very first one listed is the company he co founded and the
same company ARA refused to utilize as their authenticator. In
that same article Cyrkin specifically states: "There are
three major dealer associations that carefully screen their members .these
organizations are very careful about whom they let in, have dispute
resolution services and remove members when they find cause."
Whatever Cyrkins beef is with ARA, the proper procedure
as he knows it would be to file a complaint with the UACC Ethics
Board. The Board should follow there own procedures. What Cyrkin
did was bully the UACC with his resignation. He used the power
of his free space offered to the UACC in each issue of Autograph
magazine to force the UACC to remove one of their approved dealers.
www.autographalert.com asked Jerry Gladstone for a comment and
his reply was: "I have always been extremely cautious with
every autograph purchase we have ever made. I still feel that
for ARA purposes, to help eliminate concerns about conflict of
interest, using outside authenticators is beneficial. There has
been some attention brought to the signed memorabilia the company
handles, but in reality, much of what is offered by ARA is licensed
limited edition memorabilia which has100 percent provenance from
companies such as Elvis Presley Enterprises, Frank Sinatra Enterprises,
Brian Wilson, Sylvester Stallone, Upper Deck and others. I wish
others would stand up to the apparent hypocrisy throughout the
Last article on www.autographalert.com
That article was a wakeup call for many, opening
the eyes of those "out of the loop."
Www.autographalert.com simply printed what Autograph magazine
requested of ARA but refused to print. ARA wanted their side
of the story told and had no other choice but to do so in the
form of an ad in Goldmine magazine. We were avised Steve
Cyrkin called Goldmine magazine, bullying them by threatening
them with a lawsuit.
Shortly after our article was published on this website, Cyrkin
tried to bully us via email with the threat of a lawsuit. He
demanded the story be taken down by noon Tuesday (July21).
Author Kevin Nelson writes in his article "Whistleblower"
in the July issue of Autograph magazine: " Cyrkin
is another outspoken one, using the bully pulpit of Autograph
to call dealers and authenticators out by name in his editorials
and articles ." To many we have spoken to this appears
to be the problem. The dealers and authenticators Cyrkin seems
to go after don't have ads in his magazine. The ones he recommends,
most have full page ads and one is an authenticating company
he co founded.
July 19, 2009
What Were You Thinking?
For three years collectors from around the world have been asking
for educational information about the hobby of collecting autographs.
Many have been introduced to the hobby through this website.
Others claim they saw a link on other websites.
Many readers have been in this hobby or a short period of time
and dont know who to trust. Hobby veteran Steve Koschal
was asked to take on the project of creating the First Internet
Autograph Educational Course. Press releases were sent out
to all the autograph clubs, internationally and to Autograph
Autograph collector magazine refused to run the press
release because the course had to be taken by logging onto www.autographalert.com
In the past, too many friends/advertisers of Autograph
collector magazine have been exposed on www.autographalert.com
so it appears Autograph collector magazine would rather
hide their associates short comings from the collecting public
than help educate the autograph community!
The following is just a sample of the letters received from readers
of autographalert.com regarding the educational course:
a) "On the beginning collector course on the website much
needed by many." B.G.
b) "Wonderful, just what autograph collectors need, a step
by step guide, to avoid the many pitfalls in collecting autographs."
c) "I spent a good portion of my day reading though the
new autograph course on autographalert.com. It was full of excellent
information and obviously written by somebody very knowledgeable
in the field. Thank you for creating it and allowing people to
read it at no charge." L.P
d) "I read your autograph course on-line & found it
very interesting and informative. I learned a lot from it. I
wish I could speak to you and learn more " S.L.
e) "I have read your autograph course on autogaphalert.com
with great interest. It is a wonderful work.." A.W.
The owner of Autograph collector magazine, Steve Cyrkin,
is also owner of Starbrite Autographs. Many feel this is a terrible
conflict of interests. Many dealers will no longer advertise
in the magazine. One major dealer told us "why should we
pay the huge sum of $1,295.00 for a full page ad when Starbrite
our competitor can run four pages of ads for the cost of paper
and ink." The dealer continued: "it didnt make
sense as we barely got a call a month from that ad so we dropped
it. Steve Crykin called and said for the magazine appearance
we can continue to run the full page ad for free and we still
In the last slim issue of Autograph collector magazine
six pages were used for the magazine owners personal use. Has
anyone noticed his inside front cover (in color) ad? If you wanted
this space it would cost you $1,695.00. Obviously no one thinks
its worth it so Steve Cyrkin takes the space for his autograph
company. Cyrkin states "Strong Prices Paid." This is
what the handful of his other advertisers are up against. Hard
to compete with printed statements like this in one of the best
locations in the magazine. He continues to advertise his website
but take notice the website has been shut down for two months.
On June 30 the site claims it is shut down for maintenance. Two
months for maintenance?????? A week later the site says it should
be open August 6. We have heard some rumors about why this website
has been closed down and are trying to confirm what our source
has told us. Maybe more on this later.
Can the following just be an oversight or just a poor excuse
to thicken up a magazine? The same full page ad is repeated three
times in the same magazine. An autograph price guide being sold
by Autograph magazine on page 10 , page 69 and a third
time on page 91. How about an educational article to replace
two of those ads? Can Autograph magazine find one that
they think wont expose their friends or advertisers?
Notice the full page ad for PSA/DNA. Cyrkin has stated he is
a co-founder of this company and it is said he is still a major
stock holder in the parent company. PSA/DNA is the only third
party authenticating company advertising in this magazine. Interesting!
What is Cyrkins Beef?
How many issues of Autograph collector magazine has Cyrkin
mentioned the lawsuit filed by American Royal Arts against Frank
Caiazzo? The latest issue of Autograph magazine (July
09) states that Cyrkin is outspoken using the bully pulpit of
Autograph to call dealers and authenticators out by name
in his editorials and articles .trying to get the public
to see the difference between good and bad, real and fake
How about starting within his own PSA/DNA before going after
the competitors? One article Cyrkin wrote was titled "Thank
You Frank Caiazzo." Another article states: " Frank
Caiazzo a renowned authority on Beatles autographs who is being
sued by American Royal Arts for identifying what he and other
experts (no specific experts were mentioned) believe are obvious
All this certainly appears to be a one sided Steve Cyrkin story.
In fairness to all www.autgraphalert.com would prefer to bring
all the news to you, and you decide by hearing both sides of
In response to all of the Cyrkin stories the following is
a response from American Royal Arts.
Thank You Frank Caiazzo - We Dont Think So
Autograph magazine recently "invited" American Royal
Arts Corp to respond to Steve Crykins publication regarding
Frank Caiazzo, which was published in its October 2008 issue.
We did, however in a conversation with Jerry Gladstone, president
of American Royal Arts, Cyrkin said, "I am not going to
publish this. These guys are my friends, and I have to protect
them." This was already obvious to American Royal Arts based
upon the title of his editorial "Frank Caiazzo, Thank You."
Furthermore, Cyrkin said he needed more time to verify the facts.
Perhaps he should have taken the time to verify the information
he printed in his publication.
In addition, American Royal Arts believes it is important for
the readers to keep in mind that, although Cyrkin leads the public
to feel the magazine he publishes is an objective autograph collectors
magazine he owns a company that sells autographs and advertisers
in the publication under the name Star-Brite Autographs, an obvious
competitor of American Royal Arts, does not, from what American
Royal Arts has seen, use forensic science methods to authenticate
signatures on items it sells. With this perspective, the reader
maybe better able to make a decision as to whether Autograph
magazine is truly objective in its support of Frank Caiazzo.
At a fundamental level some in the industry see the battle as
between forensic experts and non-forensic experts.
"American Royal Arts goal from the beginning has been
to get the truth out."
American Royal Arts believes many of the statements made in Cyrkins
publication are untrue, inaccurate and misleading. American Royal
Arts believes that a more accurate portrayal of Frank Caiazzo
should include the following information for the readers
understanding and perspective.
-Frank Caiazzo is a self-proclaimed expert who lacks scientific
-Frank Caiazzo, at times buys, sells and authenticates
his own signed Beatles memorabilia.
In many aspects of his business, Frank Caiazzo appears to have
a strong conflict of interest.
American Royal Arts would also like to provide the following
more specific response to the points in the Cyrkin publication.
As quoted in Autograph magazine, "Even
Christies and Sothebys go to Frank Caiazzo."
-When Leila Dunbar, director of the Collectibles Department for
Sothebys was asked if they use Caiazzo, she responded in
writing: "We never had need for authenticating services
as the items all had provenance from being directly consigned
from the owners ." To clarify, the inquirer asked:
"So should I assume you never used Caiazzo authentication
services?" Dunbar replied, "Yes."
Simeon Lipman, the head of the Pop Culture Department
for Christies also denied using Caiazzos services.
Furthermore, a July 27, 2008, New York Post article revealed
the results of a "sting" operation during which a Beatles
album originally authenticated by Frank Caiazzo was sent to individuals
in the authentication business. These individuals rejected the
album, deeming it a fake.
One of the "experts" who reviewed this album during
the sting was Roger Epperson, who has authenticated for RR Auctions,
PSA/DNA and JSA Authentication. When Epperson looked at the album
Caiazzo had proclaimed to be authentic, he responded in writing
that "it is not authentic." When Epperson was told
the item had a Frank Caiazzo certificate, his response was, "Frank
would never say that is real."
The Revolver album that Epperson said was fake and Caiazzo said
was real is published in the July 3, 2007, Its Only Rock
and Roll Auction catalog.
Cyrkins publication also states, "in 1994 Caiazzo
uncovered what was at the time the largest and longest running
Beatles forgery scam ever." American Royal Arts challenged
Cyrkin from Autograph magazine to provide the factual support
for that statement. American Royal Arts doubts that any such
support exists. When asked for court reports or arrest records
pertaining to the matter, Cyrkin told Gladstone that it wasnt
really like that. He (Caiazzo) "just knew they were fakes."
So, again, in the publication, Cyrkin gives the impression that
Caiazzo was a hero who broke up a forgery ring. However, the
facts seem to suggest that Caiazzo was simply only circulating
the same defamatory stories then that he is now. It is circular
and misleading, American Royal Arts believes, to state that Caiazzo
"uncovered" any forgery ring under these circumstances.
Cyrkin also states that American Royal Arts "sued Frank
to scare him." Nothing can be further from the truth. American
Royal Arts has been in the business for 23 years, and this is
the first lawsuit it has filed. The real reasons for filing the
lawsuit against Caiazzo are detailed on www.FrankCaiazzoLawsuit.com
If anybody is trying to use scare tactics, American Royal Arts
is of the opinion that it is Caiazzo and his henchmen. For instance,
American Royal Arts has recently served and filed an Amended
Complaint against Caiazzo. Since that date, people associated
with American Royal Arts have been the victims of increasing
and renewed intimidation tactics. As recently as a few weeks
ago, forensic examiners associated with American Royal Arts who
have only recently been identified in the Amended Complaint have
been victimized by harassing and threatening phone calls. The
basic message from the anonymous callers was watch your back,
alienate yourself from American Royal Arts, or live with the
In response to Caiazzos and Cyrkins claims that very
few Beatles albums were signed by the Beatles, American
Royal Arts refers Autograph magazine and anyone else interested,
to the letter on the www.frankcaiazolawsuit.com
website. This letter documents that authors, such as American
journalist Larry Kane (who traveled with the Beatles) and other
celebrities, including Eric Clapton, witnessed The Beatles signing
items. The attest to the many times that the Beatles signed and
even gave away original and autographed material. To those who
question this issue, American Royal Arts challenges the readers
to visit You Tube to search the following to witness just a few
of the examples of how The Beatles were accessible for and did,
in fact, sign items.
-Mind Games John Lennon
-Paul McCartney signing autographs in Liverpool
-George Harrison signing autographs
-Ringo Starr autographs (He recently announced that after decades
of signing every imaginable item, he will stop signing this year.)
It wasnt just the Beatles, either. You Tube has videos
of Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and others
signing items for fans at concerts, backstage, in the streets
and a variety of other venues. Why is it such a surprise to some
that these celebrities often signed items for their fans?
The readers and the industry as a whole should know that two
additional, independent, competent and qualified professionals
have also examined the Revolver album at issue in the Caiazzo
lawsuit. Both have concluded that the item is genuine.
The first, ELyn Bryan, is competent and qualified to make
-Bryan is a Court-Qualified Forensic Document Examiner
-Bryan is a frequent lecturer, instructor and published author
on the subject of forensic document examination.
Bryan is president of the South Florida Investigators Association
and is a member of the National Association of Document Examiners,
the National Questioned Document Examiners Association, the Forensic
Expert Witness Association and the Southeast Handwriting Association.
The second, Robert J. Phillips, is also competent and qualified
to make this finding:
-Phillips has more than 30 years experience in questioned document
-Phillips has been an expert witness in more than 500 court appearances.
-Phillips has examined more than 250,000 signatures and documents
involving fraud, checks, contracts, lawsuits, ink and paper dating,
All of these true experts are willing and prepared to testify
in a court of law that the signatures on the item are genuine.
In his publication, Cyrkin next refers to "other experts"
who he claims state that the merchandise American Royal Arts
offers is "fake." One such person is Perry Cox. He
is another self-proclaimed expert and, importantly, an associate
of Frank Caiazzo. In fact, Cox sent a letter trying to raise
money to support Caiazzos defense of the lawsuit American
Royal Arts filed.
Under false pretense and in slander and defamation of American
Royal Arts, Cox wrote: "The LP was a later U.S. issue Revolver
In reality, the L.P. is an original U.S. release by Capitol Records
from 1966. The T2576 in the top right corner confirms that date.
Cox plainly lied. After his lie was exposed, Cox sent an e-mail
admitting he was wrong. However, he had already caused damages
to American Royal Arts by this time.
Yes, collecting rock and roll memorabilia has become a big business.
Yet, some continue to rely on self-proclaimed experts and conflicted
people, such as Frank Caiazzo, rather than relying on qualified
people who use scientifically approved forensic methodology and
who do not have conflicts of interest.
American Royal Arts goal from the beginning has been to
get the truth out. American Royal Arts hopes this statement sheds
some light on the issues. American Royal Arts has heard from
many others who have suffered similar experiences at the hand
of Frank Caiazzo. American Royal Arts is simply the first, but
not likely the last, to take a stand on the likes of Frank Caiazzo
in a court of law.
There it is, for the first time, the story from both sides.
On purpose, one side was kept from you. Now that you have read
both sides, this may help you make your own decision!
July 4, 2009
RR Auction Rejects a John Reznikoff Item As A Forgery!
To some it may appear this site picks on the same old characters
but unfortunately these tend to be the same old newsmakers that
like to maintain a high profile.
This story is just too good to pass, somewhat humorous but mostly
indicates what a sad state the hobby of autograph collecting
Lets set the stage. RR Auction, a monthly autograph auction
house. RR Auction acts as their own autograph authenticator for
each item offered however for "identifying historical items"
they use the services of John Reznikoff, who is also a PSA/DNA
and a JSA authenticator, to authenticate select presidential
and historical material.
Has anyone noticed how frequent there are items signed by Barack
Obama being offered by sellers of autographs. In the last several
months RR Auctions alone has had numerous items in each and every
auction. Everything imaginable including signed books, baseballs,
photos of all sizes, backstage passes, clipped signatures, signed
magazines, limited edition prints, souvenir Oath of Office, campaign
signs and even a pick guard for a guitar was supposedly signed.
One thing stands out, almost every signed presidential items
in the last several RR Auctions comes with a COA from John Reznikoff
of University Archives. However not a single item "supposedly"
signed by Obama has been authenticated by Reznikoff. Even though
Reznikoff has made so many mistakes in the past authenticating
other presidential and political signatures maybe even he feels
he doesnt know Obamas signature. Interestingly Reznikoff
is not authenticating RR Auction Obama items however he is selling
items signed by Obama on his own website such s a signed book
and a signed bumper sticker.
Reznikoff has stated to a mid west autograph dealer that he felt
many of the items signed by Obama in the RR Auctions are suspect.
Between RR Auction & Reznikoff, both who have made so many
mistakes in authenticating autographs throughout the years, who
does one believe, if any?
This comedy of authenticating autographs continues as a reader
of autograph alert sends us an email. We quote parts directly
from the email.
Date: 6/25/2009 11:21:51PM
" .thought you might be amused at a personal anecdote
of something that happened quite recently. I approached RR Auctions
here in N(ew) H(ampshire) with an FDC signed by the Apollo 11
crew ..I also was interested in seeing how they would react
to a vintage postcard of a French aviator in flight, signed by
Wilbur Wright. Both were rejected (by RR Auctions) as forgeries!
I expected the verdict on the Wright, as it had no provenance,
and I would have had difficulty standing behind it. But the irony
was that I had purchased the FDC nine years ago from John Reznikoff,
one of RRs authenticators. When I questioned how something
carrying one of their own authenticators COAs could
be considered a forgery, the answer was that they would re-evaluate
all items brought to them for sale, even if it had an RR COA.
Hows that for worthless?"
The Apollo 11 item has been returned to University
Archives, and John Reznikoff has issued a refund.
Who doesnt remember all that was written in the New York
Times and in various magazines and shown on television regarding
the huge JFK/Marilyn Monroe 8 million dollar forgery case that
Reznikoff played a major part? Eventually, his friend, the forger
went to prison. If all this is not bad enough, you may want to
go to the next level of dis-belief. Reznikoff who was selling
many of the JFK forgeries "as authentic" is still authenticating
items signed by JFK for RR Auctions , PSA/NA, JSA and of course
This alone is proof that this industry is screaming for some
sort of oversight and regulation. Why would a legitimate autograph
dealer or authenticator object?
June 27, 2009
eBay & Their Authenticators, Same Ole Crapola
We receive thousands upon thousands of hits daily on our website;
generally followed by email upon email with a wide range of content
reflecting "the good, the bad, and the ugly" in the
autograph hobby and industry.
Nevertheless, praise and criticism aside, the underlying
theme of the emails are fairly constant; something akin to "God-please-save-our-hobby-from-these-authenticating-rakes
and conmen!" A prime example of this is the following email
received from a frustrated collector/dealer trying to deal with
eBay and his ridiculous conversation with PSA/DNA's President,
Joe Orlando. Joe Orlando "...couldn't tell me anything about
his staff or where they get their training..." (What a surprise!)
Unedited and intact, enjoy the read and learn from it:
thank you so much for what your doing
and trying to accomplish! I've been an E-bay member since 2000,
and i have almost 600 positive feedback, on my personal E-bay
account. On my e-bay business account i have almost 60,000 feedback,
and spent 35,000 dollars with E-bay, in E-bay fees last year
alone. A couple weeks ago, one of my auctions was removed, because
of a third party authenticator for E-bay, who said in their opinion
it may not be genuine. I e-mailed E-bay, and told them what they
could do with their opinion, since i had gotten it signed in
front of my face, and I went ahead and re-listed it. A couple
days later when i tried to sign on to E-bay, my account was blocked
and suspended. I sent another E-mail venting my anger, and begging
them to go to autographalert.com. I was somewhat inappropriate,
in the heat of the moment, in my e-mails, which i later apologized
for, but this suspension is an absolutely pathetic joke, based
on the opinion of incompetent morons, if not worse, in this un-regulated
third party authenticating industry. As of 1 week later i have
heard nothing from E-bays trust and safety department, what a
joke, and the people i talk to on the phone, 3 different times,
say they can do nothing but send an e-mail to the trust and safety
department, which so far has accomplished nothing. I would think
that in this economy, E-bay would be going out of there way to
keep a 10 plus year customer who has spent 30,000 a year in E-bay
fees for the past 5 years, happy and in the mix, but apparently
not. They would rather profit somehow with being in bed with
incompetent third party authenticators, which i find sad, and
disturbing. In my ten years on e-bay i have never done anything
unethical, which is much more than 95% of the autograph sellers
on E-bay could say, yet im the one who is suspended indefinitely,
and cant even get a response. Psa/Dna is a pathetic joke, and
i talked with Joe Orlando on the phone for at least a half an
hour, and although i could hardly get a word in edge wise, he
wouldn't or couldn't tell me anything about his staff or where
they get their training. He also said if i sent back the 4 autographs
i had just gotten back from Psa/dna, all declined as not authentic,
even though two of the four i had gotten in person, he told me
to send them back addressed to him, and he would see what he
could do, implying he would change the opinions to authentic.
I never sent them because their opinion is meaningless to me.
I need a new outlet for selling authentic autographs, any suggestions?
Keep up the great work, and maybe someday we will get our hobby
back. im a 35-year collector, and its a passion that cant be
explained. It's to bad that Psa/Dna, James Spence and the others,
along with E-bay, are destroying the hobby. Thanks again, Erik.
June 21, 2009
- PROBLEMS CONTINUE
The UACC website states that
for $35 a year, members will receive the clubs journal every
two months! The last journal issued by the UACC was the Jan/Feb
issue which was mailed in December 2008. That issue had
stated that in the next issue (March/April) which would normally
be mailed the end of February will be about The day music died February
3, 1959..." Its beginning to appear the end of February
may be the time the UACC has started to go on life support. March/April
journal non existent. May/June journal .non existent.
Normally July/August issue would be mailed last week of June has
anyone received this one? Thats three issues or half the
years membership dues .for what?
All most everyone who may still be a member is well aware that
a fellow by the name of Mark Allen Baker has taken over the journal
over a year ago. His name is listed in several places throughout
the journal including a full page ad for selling autographs.
He is listed as editor and publisher of the Pen & Quill.
There is even an advertisement in the Jan/Feb issue called "Attention
Writers" where Baker requests that members send an article
for submission for that same issue Jan/Feb for stories on Project
Mercury. Baker requests that the deadline for the issue (you
are reading) to be December 1 (2008). Unbelievable! Baker goes
on to say deadline for the Mar-Apr issue for Buddy Holly - Rock
& Roll be February 1 and deadline for May-Jun issue Charlie
Chaplin - Entertainment be April 1, long passed.
The membership has not received any of these issues but the membership
has paid their $35 dues. Very upset should be the dealer members
who advertise. They have paid the advertising rates for the year
and as of today three issues of the journal are not to be found.
Is a refund coming?????
Rumors are floating around that the UACC is thinking about turning
their bi-monthly journal into a quarterly journal. Is this the
next surprise? If this becomes true, some members are thinking
about getting a refund of their membership fees. The cost of
savings to the club will be huge with no printing and mailing
costs for the journals not published and they get to keep the
full years membership dues.
The UACC website has finally made some sort of an announcement
on their website about the situation. However it doesnt
make much sense. An anonymous announcement stating that the UACC
Secretary John Laing has passed away and that another person
is being brought "up to speed." The P&Q will be
out as soon as they amend our database
What an announcement to the membership after all these months:
"the P&Q will be out as soon as possible ."
We went through our last several issues of the P&Q and dont
see where John Laing was mentioned as having anything to do with
the journal. Besides Mr. Laing passed away on April 19, 2009,
what does this have to do with the membership not getting the
March/April issue which should have been mailed the end of February?
Maybe its time for the membership to speak up and let the members
of the board know how you feel.
Who is telling the truth? The UACCs last published journal
Jan/Feb 2009 issue or the UACCs website? In the last published
issue on page 64 the UACC is looking for advertisers. In this
half page ad they tell potential advertisers that the clubs
NEW UACC website gets over 800 hits a day. HOWEVER, on the UACC
website the homepage clearly states the club website get 500,000
hits a year. That would be 1,369 hits a day. Which one do you
want to believe, if any? Does it sound like the right hand does
not know what the left hand is doing?
Autographalet.com has recently received the following email from
a long time and well known autograph dealer. We think this email
Date: 5/25/2009 1:31:09 PM Eastern Daylight Time
To: autograph alert.com
Greetings, Regarding your article about the UACC. I was a member
for 15 years and even acted as the N.E. Regional Director for
awhile. I organized several shows and was excited to be involved
with the club. Because of health reasons I dropped my membership
for about 5 years. About 2 years ago I sent a membership check
for $35 to the appropriate address which was deposited
according to my bank statement. After no response for
months I contacted several key officials and still have
gotten no membership information or club magazines after all
this time. This is not a condemnation of the organization but
just the facts and a sad commentary on what has happened
to a formerly great group. Thanks. Mark Vardakis.
June 8, 2009
Internet Educational Course on Autograph Collecting
During the mid to late 1990's,
14 different autograph educational courses were taught by some
of the leading experts in this field. Some of the instructors
of these courses are household names in the industry such as
Kenneth Lawrence, Bill Butts, Gil Griggs, Christopher Jaeckel,
Joseph Maddalena, Bill Miller, Daniel Weinberg, Stephen Koschal
and Kenneth W. Rendell.
The days of the courses are long gone yet rarely a day passes
that someone from around the world asks if there will ever be
a course that they could attend. The problem with a live course
is that the course can only be a regional event. In most cases
only local collectors and dealers would attend. Thus the International
Autograph community would not get the benefit from the course.
The time has arrived for the first autograph educational course
to be given on the Internet. It is a basic course on autograph
collecting and will cover most aspects of the hobby. The course
is free to all who want to click the link on this homepage. For
those who read the entire course, a Certificate of Completion
will be available, hand signed by the instructor.
These certificates can be framed and placed on display in your
office or place of business.
maybe the autograph industrys most popular web site. During
the last year the site received 1,277,882 hits. Many of those
from around the world have been introduced to the autograph hobby
June 3, 2009
Collectors want their money back!
Herman Darvick will tell you he was president of the UACC (Universal
Autograph Collectors Club) from 1967 to 1987 but it seems to
slip his mind that he was also thrown out of the club over ethics
violations. He will tell you he is now a forensic expert
and that he was a Consultant Authenticator for PSA/DNA from 2006-2009.
Why would any company want to have on staff someone who has been
thrown out of a club for ethics violations and who has
a very long history of selling questionable autographs. Some
are so terrible, they are not even be questionable.
The following item was sold by Herman Darvick as item #285 in
his 1991 New York Auction. Darvick states in his catalog description
this is a RARE early ANS (autograph note signed) of Babe Ruth.
This piece of garbage sold for $2,250.00.
Apocryphal Babe Ruth sold by Herman
Many persons have had problems with Darvick
in the past and a very few were able to be satisfied. During
the early 1990's Darvick owed one consignor over $100,000 for
several months after Darvicks auction. Darvick stopped
taking the consignors phone calls. The consignor drove
to a school in Brooklyn where Darvick was a teacher. In the school
hall way Darvicks excuse for not paying the consignor was
that his wife wanted a new addition put on their house and thats
where the money went.
There have been many other complaints about Darvick from both
collectors and dealers who have dealt with him.
Www.autographalert.com received the following email from one
of our readers:
Subject: Forged Autographs
Date: 5/29/2009 7:49 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Name left intentionally blank by autographalert.com
In the past I purchased many autographs from Herman Darvick that
I assumed were authentic because I thought he was one of the
best in the field at the time. In recent years I have consigned
some of them to R&R Enterprises and some have come back as
being secretarial or unauthentic in some other form. I obtained
letters from R&R for the unauthentic ones stating why they
arent real. I need to contact Darvick to try to get a refund
for them since he guaranteed them for life. How do I go about
getting his address and go about getting a refund? I am thinking
if he refuses I can contact the New York Attorney General since
he lived in New York when he sold them to me. Am I going about
this the right way? I saw your article on August 13, 2007 where
he forged autographs and am wondering how many I bought were
forged by him. I am out several thousand dollars if I cant
get a refund. Let me know how to handle this if you were me.
This collector needs
to get in line as there are some trying to get paid or get consignments
back from Darvick which he has not sold and will not return.
Darvick has been known to come up with an incredible statement
to others. Darvick has said the following: since I am no
longer selling autographs my lifetime policy expired.
This is one heck of a statement that no one should be able to
get away with. Imagine any dealer who gets in a bind regarding
a major refund, just stops selling autographs to get out of their
Lifetime Guarantee. Is this shrewd or just plain
crooked. In any event we can assure you Darvicks
statement is a lie. He has been selling autographs on eBay since
March 2001 and goes under the Seller name teacher33188".
We sent out our scouts trying to locate Darvick.
He claims to have worked for PSA/DNA, if you can get them to
answer an email they may give you Darvicks phone number.
We were told by someone who should be in the know that Darvick
works for John Reznikoff of University Archives and that Darvick
may be at Reznikoffs office a few days a week.
Darvick wrote someone who was anticipating writing a book about
the hobby and stated : Ill write something great
for the bookjacket which will really upset the UACC...
In that same email he listed his address as : 562 Lakeview Avenue,
Rockville Centre, NY 11570-3223.