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In the News September 2010 - December 2010

Breaking News:
December 30, 2010
 
 
James Spence & John Reznikoff
Their Authenticating
Mistakes Keeps Coming
John “psychic authenticator” Reznikoff is the person who authenticates presidential signatures for James Spence Authentications.

We understand why James Spence would need someone else to authenticate presidential autographs but why choose the guy who participated in the sale of 7/8 million dollars worth of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy forgeries to over 150 investors.

Be it as it may, here’s another classic error, mistake, goof, slipup, boner and blunder by this infamous duo.

Go to eBay, item #110412169328, President Warren Harding Signed Auto, JSA (James Spence) Typed Letter. See illustration below.


Harding letter on eBay for $499.00 with COA from James Spence
 
Go to most any reference book on presidential autographs such as one written by Charles Hamilton or the article written by Mary Benjamin and you will find the signature on the above letter was signed for Harding by his secretary.

www.autographalert.com will save you the trouble. The following is just one example published in reference books about Harding’s secretary George B. Christian.



Harding secretarial signature verses genuine example
 
Let’s no longer accept the “guess” or “opinion” from a psychic authenticator and those who need to hire someone else to authenticate for them.

Be your own “expert” and match the secretarial signature on the letter authenticated by Reznikoff/Spence as genuine and you choose which signatures are alike/same.

Can you image someone still pays good money for these authentications? What word would you use to describe an authenticating service that makes such irresponsible goofs?

Breaking News:
December 27, 2010
 
 
ABAA and a John Reznikoff Sighting

The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America was established in 1949 and was generally considered a prestigious organization throughout the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

This organization boasts of a membership of approximately. 450 dealers who pay $625.00 a year to be a member.

They publish on their web site a “Code of Ethics” which is adequate, but only if it is adhered to.

The following email was received by www.autographalert.com

Subj: Reznikoff at Boston ABAA Show
Date: 8/2/2010 11:03:53 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: (name removed as per request of sender)
To: autographalert@aol.com

“Hello. Thank you for being the only voice of Reason out there for the Autograph Collecting Community. I read your Breaking News as soon as a new article is on your site. I find it disheartening, when after reading about John Reznikoff, I then attend the Antiquarian Book Sellers Show in Boston and see him sitting at his University Archives Booth. It is disgusting. The ABAA obviously has no knowledge of his Track record. Please contact them! Please do not publish my name or email address, as I live in MA, not far from Reznikoff and do not want him bothering me. I have small children. Please keep up the Good Work that you are doing! Best Regards….”
 
We have news for this individual, the ABAA is well aware of Mr. Reznikoff and his past.

Mr. Reznikoff of University Archives, Westport, Connecticut was involved in the sale of over seven million dollars worth of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy forgeries. One hundred and forty investors were involved including television celebrities, a television news anchor, sports figures and lawyers. Some of the most explosive documents purported to detail a series of secret agreements between JFK and Marilyn Monroe in the early 1960’s, in which Monroe agreed to remain silent about an affair with Kennedy in return for his establishing a trust for her institutionalized mother.

Reznikoff took part in the authentication of the JFK/Monroe forgeries. Then Reznikoff along with his partner the forger, used a clever but unethical way of authenticating some of the papers. His partner used his wife and under her maiden name sold some insignificant items to two major dealers. The hope was the dealers would purchase the documents then resell them with their certificates of authenticity. Within weeks a Texas autograph collector contacted the two dealers and purchased the letters. The Texas collector did so because Mr. Reznikoff had asked him to. The collector stated: “I bought them and sent them to him, and he sent me the money.” The collector also said he had “no earthly idea” that he was helping the original owner (Reznikoff) to buy back the documents secretly.

Both dealers who bought the bogus items stated that they had been duped. The New England dealer said the unusual process of authentication taken by Mr. Reznikoff and his partner are familiar patterns of a hoax.

Many news papers and TV stations picked up the stories including the New York Times, and on one occasion you could see Reznikoff on a TV news station running away from news reporters in a parking lot.

Throughout this whole ordeal Mr. Reznikoff was not cooperative. He did not take up the offer to have several specialists on handwriting analyze the documents or take chemical tests. Mr. Reznikoff had declined repeated requests for comments about his role and was not reachable by phone.

We have found no record of anyone receiving a refund for the purchases of the 250 forged items.

In the history of the autograph collecting hobby, Mr. Reznikoff now holds the record for participating in the sale of the largest amount of forgeries. The old record was held by Mark Hoffman, the murderer and forger of Mormon documents which sold for 3 million dollars.

Mr. Reznikoff was a co-founder of the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA). Over the JFK/Monroe forgery incident this organization was prepared to expell Reznikoff over all the broken ethics violations but to save embarrassment Reznikoff’s resignation was accepted. Mr. Reznikoff’s membership in the International Autograph Collectors Club and Dealer Association (IACC/DA) was also terminated over ethics violations.

However, the ABAA did nothing about Mr. Reznikoff’s membership in their organization. Interesting is that there are 18 members of the ABAA that are also members in PADA. It’s nearly impossible to believe why the 450 members in good standing in the ABAA allow John Reznikoff to continue be a member of the organization.

Somebody had to try and wake up the organization. www:autographalert.com received an email on 1/1/2007 from fightingforgery@yahoo.com. It said: “I always heard re Rez & the JFK scandal, that he claimed he was acting as a middleman and did not refund money from buyers after selling JFK fakes. He was kicked out of PADA but bought expensive homes in Westport, CT and Cape Code with the dirty money plus 2 million dollars worth of inventory. See link below for mention that the sales amount was 7 million. Again, he would not refund money even though he supposedly has a lifetime authenticity guarantee and now sits on top of all the authentication companies.

How is it that this dealer is a member in good standing of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (ABAA). This needs to be brought to the attention of the autograph and book collecting community. This organization is satisfied having members with this background and they claim to hold a high standard of ethics? The word about this is starting to get around.”

www.autographalert.com went to the ABAA’s Code of Ethcis and here is what some of it has to say.

“..members shall be responsible for the accurate description of all material…”

“members shall vouch for the authenticity of all materials offered for sale”

“material shall be returnable for a full cash refund.”

“Violators of ANY Association guidelines may be grounds for censure, suspension or expulsion.”

On August 1, 2006, a complaint against John Reznikoff was filed with the ABAA. The Chairperson of the Ethics Committee was David M. Lesser of David M. Lesser Fine Antiquarian Books. Mr. Lesser runs this business out of Woodbridge, Connecticut basically a neighbor of John Reznikoff. The complaint with accompanying documents was ten pages long.

On August 22, the complaint was acknowledged by Mr. Lesser as being received basically asking if he had received the entire file and ends with stating: “Be assured that the Ethics Committee is committed to upholding the highest standards of the antiquarian book trade, and that your allegations will receive its serious considerations…”

Allegations???? Attached to the file was copies of the articles from the New York Times.

Only three weeks later on September 18, an email was received from David Lesser stating in part: “….the Committee can not, as a practical matter undertake a detailed study of alleged conduct…” Lesser goes on to say: “…this committee has neither the resources nor the expertise to engage in the type of formal hearing necessary to determine the truth of sharply conflicting claims….”

Why bother having an ethics committee if you can’t handle such a complaint?

Much has happened in the autograph industry with regard to John Reznikoff and his way of doing business. In a court of law, under oath, Mr. Reznikoff stated that he never sold fake autographs of Elvis Presley. Then why did he refund over $100,000 to a new England autograph dealer who purchased two sets of Elvis Presley forged signed lyrics directly from John Reznikoff? Maybe the question was asked the wrong way? Just maybe, in Reznikoff’s mind, since he sold forged items, got exposed, but took them back and refunded the money, he can say to convince himself he never sold them.

So, the ABAA still claims to hold high standards. There is one thing we know for sure, there are collectors and dealers who are aware of this situation and will not attend any ABAA show or apply for membership. Maybe, the ABAA “Code of Ethics” needs a few downsizing adjustments?”

Existing members should be outraged!

Breaking News:
December 20, 2010
 
 
Autograph Authenticating Scams,
A Solution!

There are still many uneducated collectors who pay for a “guess” or “opinion” from authenticating companies who have no experts on their staff. These company called “experts” have little or no experience and without a doubt little or no formal education on the subject of autographs.

There is not a single person working for a high profile autograph authenticating company who has taken one of the fourteen different educational courses taught by true experts that were held around the United States. Courses were given in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. More ridiculous not a single person working for the high profile authenticating companies has even taken the free “basic autograph course” where a link to the course can be found on the home page of this site.

www.autographalert.com held a two hour plus conversation with one of the leading sports auction houses in America. The discussion was held with Robert Lifson, President of the prestigious auction house Robert Edward Auctions based in Watchung, New Jersey.

Mr. Lifson is well versed on the subject of autographs yet still uses the services of a company who claims they can authenticate an autograph.

Mr. Lifson, is well aware of the serious and costly mistakes James Spence has made with what would be valuable items if the signature on them were actually genuine. Items with a value in excess of $20,000 if authentic but were mis-authenticated by James Spence. We asked Mr. Lifson why he aligns himself and his companies good name with an authenticating company that makes so many mistakes. Many of the mistakes are simply inexcusable.

Mr. Lifson’s response surprised us!

He stated that: “some of my bidders/customers request the use of a third party autograph authenticator.”

As we have said many times, there are still many uneducated collectors/bidders who are unaware of the incompetence of most of the high profile third party authenticators.

All bidders and collectors who have depended on having a COA from these third party authenticators will be shocked when they discover the garbage they may have in their collections after reading a book to be published by Baseball Hall of Fame signature expert Ron Keurajian.

Auction houses are spending small fortunes to have their items authenticated by third party authenticating companies. It was explained to Mr. Lifson that by using these companies, auction houses are helping to flood the market with mis authenticated autographs. This makes the individual auction house not only look bad but the potential educated bidders do not like to see an auction house with a good name associating with an incompetent authenticating company. There are others we have spoken to who absolutely refuse to bid with any auction house who uses a third party authenticating company.

After careful thought, for quite some time www.autographalert.com has been trying to come up with a solution as long as the authenticating companies remain in business. Our temporary belief is that auction houses should no longer have to pay an incompetent authenticating company. Why pay for some “uneducated guess” on anything in the future? A huge savings for the auction house.

Many auction houses use multiple authenticating companies in a single auction which also continue to be a waste of money. Some of these houses wrongfully believe that two COA’s from different authenticating companies are better than one. This logic has been proven false many times.

Getting back to this unfortunate situation and suggesting all auction to stop using companies who claim they can authenticate autographs.

Our solution is that auction houses print in their terms of sale a statement such as the following:

“We understand some of our customers/bidders prefer to see an item they are interested in bidding come with a COA from a third party authenticating company. Some customers/bidders prefer one authenticating over another and for our customers convenience, we are listing all the high profile authenticating companies and their phone numbers and email/website addresses. For a fee, the authenticating company of your choice will offer you their opinion!?

Keeping this in mind, the auction house no longer has to associate themselves with an incompetent authenticating company. If a bidder does not trust the auction houses own in house authenticators, the potential bidder can now choose the authenticator of their choice and now live with their own decision. Bidders who are prepared to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars will gleefully spend $50 or so or less for a COA from the authenticator of their choice.

In closing, the auction house saves a fortune with each auction and the bidder still gets a COA from their choice of authenticating company. Keep in mind, the authenticating company still backs their opinion with NOTHING!

Breaking News:
December 17, 2010
 
 
Autograph Authentication
Be Cautious, Be Educated or Simply Beware!

One major autograph professional has finally come out and said it and he said it to law enforcement. Basically what he said is 3rd party autograph authentication companies have done more harm to the autograph hobby than the forgers of autographs.

Many of the forgers continue to exist because their works are backed by Certificates of Authenticity from autograph authenticating companies.

Thousands of collectors and uneducated sellers of autographs have been victimized by autograph authenticating companies.

The result is that the collecting base is shrinking as people look for another hobby.

Some things you need to know. These high profile companies have on numerous occasions authenticated as genuine secretarial signatures, machine signed signatures, rubber stamped signatures, forged signatures and on many occasions even authenticated the wrong person.

This is one reason why these companies will not guarantee their work. They guarantee nothing.

They claim they have experts who give “opinions.” Does that sound to you like that has been written by an attorney? If you truly have an expert why can’t they say your item is real or not? Isn’t that what you want to know and are paying for?

First question, if you’re even thinking about spending your money with one of these high profile companies you need to ask “what is the name of your so called expert that will look at my item?” We can almost bet they won’t tell you.

Next, should you be lucky enough to get a name, your next question is “what is this person’s qualification to be called an expert?”

See if you can get them to admit not a single one of their “experts” on staff has taken even one of the fourteen autograph educational courses that were available around the United States. Matter of fact not a single one of their experts has even taken the basic course on autographs available on the homepage of this web site. So what makes them an expert?

Now realizing they have no genuine experts on their staff, what makes you think if they even use exemplars that they know the exemplars are genuine? In may cases, they don’t! This is why these companies make so many mistakes turning down genuine items because the signatures on the genuine items don’t match their bad exemplars. This is very common and happens more often than you could imagine.

Some companies would like to tell you that you need their authentication because your item will be worth more. We have experienced so many times where a reputable dealer is getting more money for a similar item than one with a COA from a high profile authentic company. Reason is many in the hobby have been educated and are well aware of the very high percentage of mistakes made by these authenticating companies. Many will tell you if it comes with one of their COA’s you need to have a professional autograph dealer examine your item.

One statement recently adapted by an authenticating company seems to be outrageous and has caused quite a stir. The company states: “a seller’s reputation is of paramount importance.” True and a reputable seller has done his own homework and guarantees what they sell. The authenticating company continues: “Those with the best reputations have their collectibles graded and/or authenticated by….” Sound like an attorney wrote this one. Why would a professional, reputable seller of autographs need a third party authenticating that can’t come up with a genuine “expert” to offer simply an opinion?

Now, the kicker: “If you are known as a seller who does not, your credibility may suffer.”
Can these people be serious? Do they think everyone is dumb?

It is our experience that those professional sellers who do not use these third party autograph authenticators and who guarantee what they sell hold the highest standards in the autograph industry. For a reputable, educated seller of autographs to offer something that comes with a COA from an authenticating company is almost an insult. It gives the appearance the seller knows little and needs a “guess” or an “opinion” from a company who has no genuine experts. Red Flag!

By the way, the company who had made these outrageous statements had a full page advertisement in an autograph publication that illustrated a machine signed signature of Bill Clinton on a photograph. So much for their experts!
Breaking News:
December 14, 2010
 
 
 
John Reznikoff of University Archives
Knowingly selling bad autographs?????

So many stories are coming in from our supporters about John Reznikoff and none of them are good.

The following is about as bad a story as one can get other than the previous story of Reznikoff suggesting a dealer forge signatures of Thomas Edison on several unsigned letters.

Reznikoff contacted a major U.S. autograph dealer and offered him 10 checks signed by John Gotti, the organized crime boss who was convicted of murder and racketeering and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility parole.

The dealer purchased the checks from Reznikoff for $6,000.

John Gotti Check sold by R&R Auction
 
The checks were basically all the same from a Scorpio Marketing, Inc. New York, New York made payable to John Gotti and signed with a “rubber stamped” signature of a company officer. On the verso of each check was an ink signature “J. Gotti.” Below the signature is a rubber stamp reading “For Deposit Only Victoria Gotti.”

The dealer placed the first check on eBay in July 2003. It was eBay item #2183718353.

Four days later the dealer received a very disturbing email from Victoria Gotti, John Gotti’s wife. Mrs. Gotti stated: “you are engaging in fraud and I will be consulting my lawyer, that is NOT John Gotti’s signature but mine, his wife. I would suggest you destroy this check or face legal ramifications.” See original email below.
 
 
Email to autograph dealer from Mrs. Gotti
Upon receiving this email the dealer forwarded the email to John Reznikoff. The dealer also called Reznikoff on the phone asking a refund and Reznikoff agreed. However, the same old catch, no cash refund from Reznikoff but the usual credit is offered.

Reznikoff was now well aware the checks did not bare genuine signatures of John Gotti.

Two months later one of the returned checks was being offered in an auction by Larry Rosenbaum of EAC Galleries which was then located in Roslyn Height, New York.

Then the other checks, numbers 1474, 1498 and 1513 started showing up in auctions held by R&R but only came with an R&R COA. Interesting that Reznikoff authenticates for R&R but did not on these checks.

Reznikoff is also a so-called autograph authenticator for PSA/DNA and Gotti checks started showing up slabbed and authenticated by PSA/DNA. In the December 2006 sale of Heritage Auctions in Texas, item #33963 was check #1513.
 
Heritage Auction Gotti Check

We have to assume that Reznikoff was the consignor to R&R and Heritage Auctions but we can’t confirm this as Reznikoff will not respond to our requests for an interview on this subject.

What is also interesting is that there are many differences in an original signature of John Gotti verses one one that is signed for him by his wife. Every person even thos with limited experience in autographs that we showed John Gotti’s original signature verses one signed by his wife easily picked out the differences. John Reznikoff knew the signatures of J.Gotti on the checks were not genuine and still sold them!

All the checks in this collection were during a 3 month period in 1992. Research on John Gotti with Marion State Federal Prison indicates that during the time these checks were issued and cashed, John Gotti was in a 23 hour a day lock down.

Breaking News:
December 10, 2010
 
 
John Reznikoff of University Archives,
Seems if you Deal with Him
You are almost assured to be Screwed! Part 2

Just two days after our Part One story dated Oct.18th about John Reznikoff screwing a major dealer big time, the $7,500.00 contract by Thomas Edison was taken off Reznikoff’s website. Just a little too late as many collectors followed up on our story and saw the item on his website. He’s fooling no one.

However, the story gets much worse. After the story was published on www.autographalert.com the dealer who got screwed by Reznikoff contacted us again to add more to the original story.

When John Reznikoff originally contacted the autograph dealer, he told him all the letters were written and signed in pencil . The dealer upon receiving the collection discovered some letters were signed as “Edison” others were signed with just an “E” and seven letters were NOT SIGNED.

The dealer paying $400 a letter called Reznikoff on the phone to discuss why Reznikoff did not mention there were seven unsigned letters.

Reznikoff’s response was: “Just take a pencil and add an “E” to the bottom of each letter.” The dealer responded “I could never do that!” Reznikoff added: “no one would ever know.”

The message above clearly states that John Reznikoff was telling the dealer to forge seven signatures of Edison as an “E” in pencil on the unsigned letters.

The dealer telling us this story clearly says that this is the absolute truth and that he would have no problem repeating this under oath in a court of law.

May we remind our readers that there are two autograph clubs that will have nothing to do with Reznikoff. In one club his membership was terminated over ethics violations. The other accepted Reznikoff’s resignation over his participation in selling 7/8 million dollars worth of forged Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy autographs. Embarrassing, this is a club Reznikoff was a co-founder.

John Reznikoff is currently authenticating autographs for PSA/DNA and JSA, James Spence Authentication.

We have attempted to contact Reznikoff to solicit a comment from him on this matter but he refuses to respond.

Breaking News:
December 6, 2010
 
 
Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin
Running Out Of Places To Go!

Many in this once wonderful hobby were simply getting sick of Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin. Some feel the reason this fellow is so weird is that he may be participating in the California medical marijuana program.

The industry witnessed the fall of his autograph business Starbrite. Last we heard from Cyrkin was that he was pulling all of the forgeries out of his inventory. Was there anything left in the inventory to run a business?

Cyrkin started the name calling and that began the fall of his magazine. For example in one of his last issues he writes this now famous statement in his “Inscription” column.

“With Regrets. Unfortunately, we found out that one of our long-time advertisers has been offering autographs that we consider very questionable.” Let’s look at this comment. The dealer in question always took a full page ad beginning in December 1991. Many of the autographs being sold were illustrated. The real experts in the industry who subscribed to the magazine would have noticed obvious “questionable” autographs and reported that to the magazine’s editor. Never happened! These full page ads ran for 18 years. Not only did they run, Cyrkin listed this dealer in his magazine as an “approved” dealer. Cyrkin continues: “ We’ve never had a single complaint about Richard MacCallum and valued his relationship with the magazine, but his last two-page ad featured many items that raised the eyebrows among our authenticators.”

Cyrkin, who many feel is part of the “autograph mafia,” tried to have MacCallum have all his autographs authenticated by an authenticating company. Keep in mind Cyrkin is a major stockholder in PSA/DNA. When MacCallum refused to be bullied into this, knowing well his own expertise is way above anyone who works for an authenticating company, Cyrkin starts to go after his material.

After Cyrkin foolishly states, “we never had a single complaint” he continues: “we (who is we?) decided that we will no longer be running his ads in the magazine“. Cyrkin continues the Mafia style intimidation: “If you’ve purchased items from Richard MacCallum, I recommend that you get a second opinion….” Cyrkin recommends?????
 
All this by a guy who was obviously not aware for years his own inventory contained forgeries. So when did Cyrkin become an instant expert?

This was published in the December 2009 issue of Autograph magazine. There was no February 2010 issue. It all went down hill a few months later when the magazine went to its grave.

So many in the hobby rejoiced thinking Cyrkin was gone. So far only his Strabrite autograph business and his magazine is gone.

He starts a blog and tries to reinvent himself as some sort of expert. In one of his blogs he writes: “easily half my day is spent helping collectors and or dealing with hobby issues. I don’t mind it, because I consider it part of my job.” (What job?) His autograph business and magazine both went bust!

Cyrkin makes the following unbelievable statement: “But because I help. I’m constantly being threatened (we would love to see proof of just one threat), defamed, (it’s not defamed if it’s the truth, check the dictionary) harassed (no, just being reminded of some of his foolishness) and attacked (just show someone one scar, any broken bones?) by the autograph fraudsters. Photos of my daughters have been circulated by someone quoted and referred to on AA.” AA? Alcoholics Anonymous?

We have to admit, Cyrkin has done something to clean up the hobby of fraudsters and that was by closing down his own business, Starbrite Autographs. We would love to hear from him and find out what he did with all those forged autographs that were in his inventory.

If all the above is not enough just check out the following coming from Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin’s pen.

Some collector goes on Cyrkin’s blog site asking if a signature of John Lennon is real.

Comment by Steve Cyrkin: “Don’t buy it based on my opinion, but I say it’s real.”

Cyrkin who can’t authenticate the autographs in his own inventory is now authenticating some one else’s autographs. Read on!

Comment by the infamous John Reznikoff:
“Looks good….”

Additional comment by Cyrkin (hope ya’ll sitting down for this belly buster):
“…Now that I’m awake, having coffee and looking at a few exemplars, I’m not comfortable with it.”

The industry has John “psychic authenticator” Reznikoff who thinks he can authenticate an autograph without even seeing it and now we have Cyrkin who apparently authenticates while asleep!

The following is just a sample email www.autographalert.com has received about Cyrkin since his magazine went kaput.

Oct. 31,2010 12:29:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time
To: autoghraphalert@aol.com
From: ---left intentionally blank

“I’m out and over with Autograph magazine. I remember when that magazine was more a fanzine waaaaay back in the day. It went from that to even greater, to a bird cage liner, then death! Hopefully I won’t get a please come back letter from Adolf Cyrkin.”

Not our words but words from the autograph community!

Breaking News:
November 29, 2010
 
 
James Spence Authentication
Some Comments From The Autograph Community

Our folders are bulging with emails from our readers about their horrific encounters with James Spence Authentication.

This story was delayed as we went to his website as saw the quotation “Follow the Leader” under his company name. It took www.autographalert.com awhile to compose ourselves before we could continue to type.

The following are comments about James Spence Authentication from our readers. We have chosen these out of the ones that we received in just the last few days. You can imagine the size of our file on James Spence authentication after 5 years.
 
1) Subj: Your gonna love this!!!
Date: 10/24/2010 9:31PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: left intentionally blank

"Jeff Wolfe’s auction ended yesterday. Check this out. A PSA/DNA Muhammad Ali glove graded 10 Mint sold in his auction for $666.00. I consigned one with NO AUTHENTICITY and sold it for $1,034.00. John Reznikoff states PSA or JSA ALWAYS brings more. Bulls$%* !!!"

2) Subj: Spence Article
Date: 11/2/2010 9:09:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: left intentionally blank

"Great job pointing the Comiskey out. Spence hit a double on that one: authenticating a secretarial on a stolen item….”

3) Subj: JSA
Date: 11/2/2010 6:11:04 P< Eastern Daylight Time
From: left intentionally blank

"This recent article really put me over the top with 3rd party authentication. I recently submitted several autographs at a recent show in Raleigh, NC last month. I am a power seller on eBay and have been in the sports memorabilia business for years. But just recently got into the autograph business. I also submitted a auto to JSA at a show in Charlotte. Neil Armstrong to be exact. They failed it. Each time they ask me where did I get the autographs from. This was a sure sign they were not sure about any of the autos I submitted. The recent 2 they failed at the Raleigh show, he told me, one would pass, and they would send me the LOA in the mail. James Spence, Jr. lied. After 3 weeks later I got a letter stating not authentic. There is no doubt my autos are real. I have over2 thousand autos in my personal collection from real experts. JSA is one big scam. Thanks for your time and love your website keep up the good information. You can email me back at……”
 
Comment from www.autographalert.com

These high profile companies who claim to be able to authenticate autographs have been pulling the “where did you get it from” business for quite some time. You saw it was obvious they don’t know what they are doing. However what you did not see is that they want to protect those that follow them. It seems John Reznikoff has told almost anyone who will listen to him “if you’re not with us you’re against us!” Some type of Autograph Mafia talk. If you told the authenticator you purchased the autograph from one of their supporting dealers, the item will likely pass. For quite some time it’s the seller who gets authenticated and NOT THE AUTOGRAPH!
 
4) Subj: Great Site
Date: 11/2/2010 3:36:40 Eastern Daylight Time
From: intentionally left blank

“as I was searching the web I came across your site. I have collected for a long time autographed baseball memorabilia, all in person signings. Well as time went on, and I needed to value this stuff for my kids, I began sending it off to PSA/DNA..the so called God of authenticators. Having no fears, just concerns of the extra money I was putting out, to be able to prove to someone else (I already knew they were real) I stood there and got them, they were authentic. Well imagine how I felt when I received my items back (very quickly I might add) and they were turned down. They were deemed fakes. These items which I stood there waiting to get autographed were deemed fake, and that’s not the worst part of it. I understand that when they deem them fake, they actually put an invisible dye or something on the ball, which can only be seen under a certain light! So now my items are worthless to my kids. Thanks to PSA/DNA and James Spence, because I had tried to get them re-authenticated by James Spence, and he turned them down based on this watermark being there. They wouldn’t listen to me, but after I had found out, true or not I am not positive, that James Spence used to work for PSA/DNA. So now my items have a Scarlett “watermark” if you will. Disappointed is a nice way to put it in my books….their greed has hurt many people out there, and it needs to come to a stop. Thanks for sharing that website for all to see.”
 
Comment from www.autographalert.com

Indeed James Spence did once work for PSA/DNA and is well aware of the invisible ink PSA puts on items. Spence can easily check items for the “ink” and this way his authentication can be consistent with the other authenticating company. You paid two companies and got “screwed” by both! You still know what you knew before you wasted your money….your items are genuine!

Breaking News:
November 22, 2010
 
 
 
Herman Darvick Admits Being A
Forger of Presidential Autographs

We are all pretty much aware that Herman Darvick of Rockville Center, NY has finally admitted to be a forger of presidential autographs. www.autographalert.com wrote about this awhile back on August 13, 2007. Recently Darvick reacted to that article and outright denied being a forger on other internet blogs. However when proof of some Darvick forgeries were produced on this site, Darvick claimed someone else did them and were setting him up.

Our investigations found that Darvick forged the signatures of Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter. www.autographalert.com has original Darvick forgeries of these presidents in our files.

With all that pressure and proof on Herman Darvick, here is his latest spin. He even admits to forging more presidents than we were aware of.

Darvick writes: “..longtime reputable autograph dealers can show you how certain famous people signed their names.”

www.autographalert.com comment: This is true however they go to their file for exemplars and also to autograph reference books written by professionals to show a collector how certain people write their names. They don’t practice writing a presidential signature so often to try to get it so close to an original that they can sit and sign the presidents name on whatever they choose. Later these signatures find their way into the autograph marketplace.

Darvick continues: “yes (admissions of being a forger) I would show collectors at UACC shows (Darvick was expelled from the UACC) how certain signatures looked such as Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan.”

www.autographalert.com comment: Darvick finally admits to being a forger. He adds Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Reagan to the list of signatures we already knew he forged regularly. Note that all the signatures he forged are common signatures found in any reference book so why would anyone spend the time practicing these signature until they thought they got it right and now forge them for collectors?

Darvick continues: “I probably did so in front of Stephen Koschal” (Darvick’s last post was he never forged signatures and Koschal probably wrote the signatures just to frame him. Darvick uses the word “probably,” he knows darn well that he did. The Darvick forgeries listed on this site in August 13, 2007 were done in front of Koschal just like the story says).
 
Darvick is presently working for John Reznikoff of University Archives located in Connecticut and is also working as an authenticator for JSA, James Spence Authentication.
Breaking News:
November 13, 2010
 
 
 
“The Father of Baseball”
Who is “The Father of Baseball”? The answer is very controversial!

In 1895 upon the death of Harry Wright, Henry Chadwick commented that Wright was virtually the founder of professional base ball.

In 1904, Theodore Roosevelt presented the title of “Father of Baseball” to British born Henry Chadwick who is the only sportswriter enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1905 the Mills Commission was formed by Albert Spalding. It consisted of many major base ball executives including:

Abraham Mills, National League President
Morgan Buckeley, National League’s First President
Arthur Gorman, ex-president of Washington Base Ball Club
Nicholas Young, Fifth President of the National League
A.J. Reach, former Philadelphia Athletics player
George Wright, former player 1869 Cincinnati Red Jackets
James Sullivan, President of the Amateur Athletic Union.

These men issued their final report on December 30, 1907 and declared that their final decision was Abner Doubleday “invented” baseball.

Alexander J. Cartwright was inducted into the Base Ball Hall of Fame in 1938 and enshrined in 1939. His Base Ball Hall of Fame plaque reads that he is “The Father of Modern Baseball.”

Harry Wright comes back into the picture when Christopher Devine’s 2002 book is published with the title Harry Wright The Father of Professional Baseball.

Ron Keurajian who is accepted by most as the leading autograph expert on Baseball Hall of Fame autographs. One expert in the field recently stated that if you put all the so called self-proclaimed autograph authenticating experts who are on the staff of authenticating companies they wouldn’t add up to a pimple on Keurajian’s derriere.

Keurajian is working on the finishing touches of his massive book on Baseball Hall of Famers. He recently wrote a letter to Bud Selig who is the ninth Commissioner of Baseball and he has held that position since 1998. Keurajian asked Selig who he thought was the “Father of Baseball.” Selig’s response stated he believed that Abner Doubleday is “the Father of Baseball.”

See copy of Bud Selig’s letter below:



Original letter from Bud Selig to Ron Keurajian
 
Enter into the picture someone by the name of Keith Olberman. Many we have spoken to were unaware of who Keith Olbermann is. A quick check on Google states that he is an American News Anchor, sportwriter and political commentator. One article states he was fired by MSNBC another states he has been suspended by NBC.

On Olbermann’s blog he now becomes an autograph authenticator. He states: “There is a chance that’s not actually a letter from him (Selig)……so who knows, maybe this is a faked Selig letter.”

www.autographalert.com was asked to comment on Olbermann’s statement and we had our genuine well documented autograph experts examine the Keurajian, Bud Selig letter. Every one has stated, without a doubt, the letter from Bud Selig is genuine and has been hand signed by the Commissioner.

Olbermann opens mouth and insert foot!

Breaking News:
November 8, 2010
 
 
 
3rd Party Autograph Authenticating
Companies and the F.B.I.

It certainly appears most everyone has had enough of the 3rd party autograph authenticating companies. These companies claim they can authenticate autographs. Not one has a bonafied “autograph expert” on their payroll. Not one has taken a single autograph educational course sponsored by autograph organizations and not a single person working for the authenticating companies has at the minimum taken the free educational course offered on the homepage of this web site.

Yet, for a fee these companies will not give you a guarantee of their work but simply offer you their opinion, which is backed by nothing. Opinions from an incompetent person has no value and eventually causes much damage. However the industry for the last decade has been glutted with Certificates of Authenticity that have erroneous opinions/guesses. Thousands upon thousands of Certificates stating that secretarial signatures, rubber stamped signatures, forged signatures, machine signed signatures and printed signatures are genuine.

These mistakes have caused collectors to spend multi millions of dollars for pure junk. These authenticating companies are so bad at authenticating that one had a very common machine signed signature of Bill Clinton on a photograph that was used in their advertisement in a hobby publication. The ultimate embarrassment.

For five years collectors and dealers have been complaining to www.autographalert.com about their horrific experiences with the high profile authenticating companies. Our files are bulging with actual experiences these collectors have experienced.

Apparently, the third party authenticating companies are just in this business to make a buck and nothing else. They certainly could care less about image as the high profile companies have as associates those who have very dark sides in this hobby. One is an admitted forger, another has admitted to purchasing autographs from two different forgers and a third who is associated with multi high profile companies holds the hobby’s world record for participating in the sale of over seven million dollars worth of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy forgeries.

One well-known and respected veteran of the hobby has had enough. Under the condition of anonymity, he informed autographalert.com that he has been working with two F.B.I. agents and advising them about how horrific this situation is. It is now way past being out of control. This individual has written a very lengthy and informative letter to the Director of the F.B.I. He tells it like it is and pulls no punches. Many of you have been victimized by these third party authenticators and the Director of the F.B.I. gets to hear your side of the story.

Something is being done for the health of the autograph hobby and it is suggested if you have had a bad experience in the past with one of the high profile autograph authenticating companies or when you have a bad experience in the future that you sit down, do your part and write a letter explaining how you have been victimized to:

Office of Director, Robert S. Mueller, III
Federal Bureau of Investigation
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20535-0001

For your info two Special Agents with the F.B.I. are also actively working on autograph fraud and they are well aware of 3rd party autograph authentication.

Take your complaint/observations one step further, send a copy of your complaint to:

Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Don’t forget to copy autographalert.com: eMail

It is time for the hobby to come together and fight back. Advise law enforcement of autograph authenticating companies atrocities. Help them build a huge file. Hobbyists and consumers should no longer be loosing millions of dollars a year purchasing forgeries and other non authentic signatures authenticated as genuine.

Breaking News:
November 6, 2010
 
 
 
Autograph Quarterly Magazine
(For The Love And Education Of The Hobby)
The Autograph Hobby’s Only Magazine
www.autographalert.com has just heard from the editor of this new autograph hobby magazine which Vol.#1, Issue #1 is scheduled to be available March 1, 2011. The editor says things are ahead of schedule and they are presently laying out the look of the magazine.

There has been wonderful cooperation from the autograph community with excellent International presence. Articles and columns from Norway, Hungary, England, Germany and India have already been received.

Notably, columns from the International Clubs is unique for an autograph hobby magazine. Many American dealers are not aware of how many International collectors purchase from the United States because of the low US dollar. The club in India has 500 members.

We are told by the editor that Issue#1 will have many interesting stories on conservation, Oscar Winners, Bank Checks, Muhammad Ali, Baseball, Presidential, book reviews, book shelf section, column on autograph authentication and a column on autograph auctions. There will be an updated price guide section with over 1,000 items and also a section for facsimiles. Yet, there is so much more. Each copy of issue #1 will have enclosed a free collectible gift and this copy will be dedicated to Charles Hamilton along with a dedication article.

The magazine still wants collectors and dealers to submit articles for this issue and that can be done by sending your article to:

Autograph Quarterly
29910 Murrieta Hot Springs Road
Suite G PMB 338
Murrieta, Ca 92563

They can also be contacted through their website at: www.autographquarterly.com

Those who want to subscribe to the magazine can do so through the magazine website.

Dealers should also pay special attention to the very, very low advertising rates. Keep in mind this new magazine is a quarterly so no need to pay for monthly ads. The low rates will work for you as each issue is fresh for three months.

If you believe the autograph hobby needs its own magazine, then this is the time to support one. Get in on the ground floor of this exciting new autograph adventure!

Breaking News:
November 1, 2010
 
 
James Spence of JSA Authentications
An Open invitation

James Spence, it’s way past time for you to have to answer some questions!

James Spence, you need to be held accountable!
 
James Spence is one guy whose high volume of mistakes just can’t stay out of the news. Mr. Spence does not return phone calls or respond to email requests for an interview from www.autographalert.com.

This fellow loves to get in front of a camera and talk with the media (and usually even then embarrasses himself) but surely seems to avoid anyone who understands the autograph industry and has intelligent questions to ask. The list of mistakes in authenticating by Mr. Spence seems to be endless. Unfortunately for uneducated collectors, many of the mistakes are running into the thousands of dollars per item.

Recent headlines: “Heritage Auctions Withdraws Another letter Suspected Stolen From The Baseball Hall of Fame” sparked our interest. In the April 2010 sale of Heritage Auctions they removed a few letters which were stolen from the archives of the National Baseball Library in Cooperstown. In their Sunday, July 4 internet auction was a October 1913 letter from Charles Comiskey, Chicago White Sox owner and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The letter was accompanied by a letter of authenticity from James Spence Authentication. The COA stated the letter bore an authentic signature of Charles Comiskey.

Everyone we talked to with the slightest experience in authenticating signatures of members of the Baseball Hall of Fame agree, the signature of Comiskey on this letter is a common secretarial example. Everyone except the so-called “autograph authenticator” James Spence.

We have to ask ourselves and the handful of auction houses who use James Spence how long can this insanity of using authenticators that make so many mistakes be allowed to continue to exist?

All we have spoken to want to know what efforts James Spence put into the authentication of this item? Others want to know why some are still so foolish to pay for COA’s from a person who has made so many mistakes. which have infiltrated the autograph community?

We have an open invitation to James Spence to meet with a representative of www.autographalert.com, in person, and explain the process he used to reach the opinion that the signature of Comiskey on this letter is genuine.
 
Letter signed for Comiskey by a secretary authenticated as genuine by Spence
 
On October 22, 2010 a collector wrote the following about James Spence on some autograph blog that basically no one reads. “I had to sell 2 full sized helmets and the guy wanted JSA, took them to the Chantilly show and Spence himself failed them. I asked to talk with him (Spence) and showed him the pics of him (Johnny Unitas) signing and holding the EXACT helmets and he (Spence) walked away with no excuse! I just think this whole 3rd party crap is just that. Crap!”

This is how Spence reacts to a collector when proven his “authentication” is wrong. Spence had a good thing going for awhile but collectors are finally realizing 3rd party authentication is not working. Uneducated collectors are basically the blame for this getting as far as it did. What in the world makes a collector pay money to all these persons who simply and falsely claim they are autograph experts? Take any one of them, they are basically all self proclaimed, check their backgrounds in autographs. They guarantee nothing because they can’t!

Breaking News:
October 30, 2010
 
 
Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin
of the Defunct Autograph magazine
SLAMS John Reznikoff
of University Archives???


Would you believe, the well documented Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin finally said something that makes sense?

Cyrkin is behind a blog basically read by well know forgers, scammers, fraudsters and those who sell newly made items signed by people who have been dead for over 10 years before the item was manufactured. Of course let’s not forget by the person who holds the hobby’s world record for selling the most forgeries.

Anyone with any decency, dignity and self esteem would never want their name associated with this site. The few honest people who have tried for whatever reason had their statements immediately removed.

You can count on one hand the amount of persons who are not using their heads and have fallen into the trap of associating their good names with Cyrkin and his blog. They are writing and associating themselves with the forgers and sellers of forgeries in this hobby.

Cyrkin somewhere along the line has taken an “intelligent” pill however it only lasted for a few minutes. This pill proves that even one of the most despicable persons in the hobby is capable of saying something that makes sense and something we can all agree upon.

Cyrkin, who many believe is the center of the autograph fraud industry had this to say on September 14, 2010: “…be wary of trusting an authentication company that misspells “Authentication” on it’s COA.” Not that statement took a minimum of intelligence!

Illustrated below is a prime example of what Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin speaks.

 
COA issued by John Reznikoff of University Archives
 
John Reznikoff of University Archives signed 300 of these COA’s. If Reznikoff can’t get the basic thing of spelling “Authenticity” correct, what chance do you think the Lincoln’s hair is genuine?

In Reznikoff’s defense he only made this mistake 300 times so let’s give him a little slack since he somehow manages to hang onto staying in this hobby/business. Oooooops, he did it again, on Oct. 19th Reznikoff left a message on Cyrkin’s failing blog which we quote part of here: “..there is no place for arrogance in the autheticating world.”

Reznikoff is an authenticator for PSA/DNA , JSA and RR Auction. Need we say anything more? Reznikoff took part in selling the 7/8 million dollars of forged Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy forgeries. He took part in selling the Elvis forged lyrics and he is recognized for not refunding money for items he sold that were proven to be either not authentic or stolen.

We tried to contact John Reznikoff about this subject however he refused to respond.

Breaking News:
October 25, 2010
 
 
Collector’s Universe
2009 Annual Report Reveals
Interesting Comments on PSA/DNA


Interesting information for collectors can always be found in a Corporation’s Annual Report. The 2009 report for Collector’s Universe is no exception.

On March 2, 2009, following a poor holiday season, the Company implemented a plan to discontinue and dispose of the diamond and colored gemstone authentication and grading business.

That being said, they are left with four divisions. “PCGS: for coins, “PSE” for stamps, “PSA” for trading cards and event tickets and “PSA/DNA” for autographs and memorabilia.

“In September 2009, given an un profitable beginning to the year and merging credit crisis, the Board of Directors decided to eliminate the cash dividend….we hope that, in light of what has happened to so many other companies this past year, our stock holders recognize the prudence of this difficult decision.”

Some may consider the following statement could be a conflict of interest. “We also generate revenue from sales of our collectibles inventory…”

Of interest to autograph collectors is the following statement.

“Additionally, we warrant our certification of authenticity and the grade that we assign to the coins, trading cards and stamps bearing our brands. We do not warrant our authenticity determinations for autographs and memorabilia.”

One has to ask themselves why do they offer warranty on everything but autographs and memorabilia? The answer is very, very obvious.

As for PSA/DNA, the company claims it employs three autograph experts with an average of 24 years experience. The company continues: “vintage autograph authentication can involve the rendering of an opinion of authenticity by an industry expert….” In addition they state: “Our experts reference what we believe is one of the largest databases of known genuine examples of signatures for comparison to a submitted specimen and draw upon their training and experience in handwriting analysis…”

Now, you have to ask yourself, who determined what they have in their database are genuine examples? Where did the exemplars come from? Are they exemplars from auction catalogs where many items being offered in the auctions are NOT genuine? Who in the entire professional autograph industry other than the management at PSA/DNA recognizes the people they hired to look at autographs are experts? Even if one was an “expert” why the thousands of mistakes? So many outrageous mistakes, this is the only division of Collector’s Universe the company will not guarantee the so-called experts guess/opinion!

Why can’t these so-called experts tell the difference between a rubber stamped signature and real ink? Why don’t they have the rubber stamped signatures in the database?

While taking a deposition, why can’t their lead so-called autograph expert remember if he was physically removed from a Chicago Sport’s Collectors Convention by security guards for selling forged autographs? His response, under oath was “I don’t recall!!!!!!”

The sixty-four thousand dollar question should be: Since PSA/DNA claims they have experts who have had the so called training (not a single one of them took one of the 14 different autograph educational courses that were taught around the US) and experience, why don’t they offer a money back guarantee like they do in their other services? Is there no company confidence in their “experts” guesses or opinions?

Finally, the annual report hit’s the nail right on the head: “…talented authenticators and grading experts in collectibles are in short supply….” “…we have recently increased our focus on training young authenticators…” What!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Presently, they don’t have the confidence in their claim that they have seasoned authenticators. They won’t guarantee the guess/opinion of their so-called seasoned authenticators. Does this mean this whole fiasco of mis-guessing can get worse with the next generation of young inexperienced hirees?

The finale for those interested in autographs: “We issue an authenticity or grading warranty with every coin and trading card authenticated or graded by us.” Aren’t there coins, stamps and trading cards that have been reproduced, forged, altered and so forth? Why are the persons who work for Collector’s Universe in the other division able to have a warranty on their guess verse the guess of those in the autograph division? Collector’s Universe continues: “..if a coin or trading card that has been authenticated by us is later determined not to have been authentic, we are obligated under our warranty to purchase the coin or trading card at the price that the then-owner paid for that collectible…”

How great are the experts in the other Collector’s Universe divisions? The company continues: “in the second quarter, and early 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.”

Does anyone still wonder why this company will not issue a guarantee based on who they claim are their industry experts??
Breaking News:
October 21, 2010
 
John “psychic authenticator” Reznikoff
One Small Step attempting to authenticate, but takes one Giant Tumble


Autographalert.com wrote a story on August 26, 2010 and asked our readers what they thought of a baseball that had a signature on the sweetspot that was “said” to contain a signature of Neil Armstrong.

All the responses are in and believe it or not, every single person who responded to the test said they would not purchase the ball.

A handful of responses are as follows:

“I would not buy that ball. There are two may differences from genuine examples….”

“Based on two genuine examples of Neil Armstrong signed baseballs, I would pass….the signature doesn’t match…”

“No, I would not buy it, the sweet spot autograph scares me as well.”

“Looking at the flow of the individual letters I would probably pass on it.”

“I believe I would pass on it, looks like someone is trying to cash in on something signed on the sweetspot……..Mr. Armstrong signs rather large and purposely on the side panel…”

“This signature compares to none I have seen. It does not appear to be real.”

“The flea market one is a no good. Too many inconsistencies…”

“A person is usually consistent on where they sign..”

“I wouldn’t care what letter of authenticity came with the ball, some signatures shouldn’t/can’t be authenticated based on a consignors say so..”

There you have it, just some statements from our readers. By the way this ball sold at the Mastro Auction on May 2002. It was item #1224 and the lone outside authenticator issuing a COA was none other than John Reznikoff of University Archives. He is now on the list of authenticators for PSA/DNA and JSA.

Breaking News:
October 18, 2010
 
 
John Reznikoff of University Archives,
Seems if you Deal with Him
You are almost assured to be Screwed!


This guy, most assuredly, has to be at the bottom of the autograph cesspool. To be fair and balanced, we would love to write just one positive thing about John Reznikoff but we have yet to hear anything even passable about his activities in the autograph hobby. Before entering the autograph business, Reznikoff came from a very, very shady background in the stamp business.

During his short stint in that hobby he couldn’t even tell the truth about his education on his company web site. He lied about the amount of time he went to college. He made it appear that he graduated when he actually dropped out. This was confirmed in writing by the college. He mislead everyone right from the get-go.

Two major autograph clubs want nothing to do with him, forced to resign from one and thrown out of another.

One has to chuckle as John “the Psychic Authenticator” Reznikoff tries to fool new comers with self serving messages on blogs. Only a few respond. They obviously do not realize they are participating in a conversation with the John Reznikoff, the person who holds the hobby’s record in participating in the sale of 7-8 million dollars worth of Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy forgeries. This he KNOWINGLY did including using unethical trickery, and to make matters worse, we have yet to find a single person who has received a refund. Those who respond to Reznikoff on a blog might not realize the autograph world is watching. Their association with this person makes them appear to look very questionable if not outright bad.

Many persons and organizations have come forward with an extreme warning about dealing with John Reznikoff of University Archives. Here is one dealer’s story.

John Reznikoff came to me with a deal to purchase a collection he claimed to be exactly the way he bought it. Reznikoff stated the entire collection, as he bought it, contained 110 letters signed by Thomas Edison. Reznikoff wanted $45,000 for the collection which equals about $410 per letter.

The deal was completed, Reznikoff sent the collection and the purchaser paid for it. The ONLY reason why the deal was made, is the purchaser was told the collection was complete as it was purchased. The purchaser believed what Reznikoff said (a major mistake) and felt he would control the market on this Edison collection.

False, Reznikoff eventually got caught in a major lie and another scam. The purchaser was told by someone in the hobby/industry that the collection was originally purchased by Reznikoff for $16,000 at a Heritage Auction. The purchaser got hold of the Heritage catalog and discovered the collection consisted of 160 letters, not the 110 that Reznikoff lied and said was the complete collection. Five Edison letters that were illustrated in the Heritage catalog had the best content. They were not included in what Reznikoff sent the purchaser. The purchaser was now aware he got completely ripped of by John Reznikoff. The purchasing dealer was furious.

Not only did Reznikoff include those five excellent content letters, he kept four dozen others as well..

To make matters worse, of noticeable interest in the Heritage catalog description was a contract signed by Thomas Edison regarding the production of records. This was possibly the best single item in the collection.

Reznikoff was immediately called about the missing contract and his response was: “I never got it, Heritage never mailed it to me with the collection.”

It’s been two years since the dealer purchased the collection from Reznikoff, the dealer will never purchase anything from Reznikoff in the future. Besides never purchasing another thing from Reznikoff this dealer will never even take another of Reznikoff’s phone calls.

The kicker in this whole scam, Reznikoff has recently placed the so called Thomas Edison signed contract he claimed he never received on his web site for $7,500.

Our attempts to contact John Reznikoff and solicit comments from him over this Thomas Edison collection produced no response.

If this is what John Reznikoff of University Archives can pull over on a seasoned dealer, can you imagine what he can do to an individual who is barely familiar with the autograph business/hobby?

Many want to know, why is John Reznikoff of University Archives not in jail?

Breaking News:
October 15, 2010
 
 
Herman Darvick’s
Certificates of Authenticity
Worst In Autograph Hobby!

It wasn’t long ago we told you Herman Darvick, the disgraced ex-president of the UACC, forger, thief and liar was in hiding for many years. As a starter, this bozo screwed many collectors who purchased non authentic items in his auctions. Many tried to get refunds but were not successful.

Some are still trying to get refunds but Darvick now states that his guarantee is no longer valid because he claims that he is no longer in the autograph business (outright lies).

For our new readers, we had mentioned before Darvick basically went into hiding, he even dropped his long time Post Office Box so you couldn’t contact him.

One person who unfortunately used the Darvick auctions drove to Brooklyn, New York where Darvick was a school teacher. A lot of money was involved and the consignor waited out side Darvick’s classroom in order to confront him. Darvick, shocked to see the consignor explained that the money from the sale was used to put an addition onto his home. Darvick is quoted as saying: “you don’t know what its like to be married to a Jewish princess.” Darvick, his eyes filled with tears, begged the consignor not to go to the principals office with the dispute. With added pressure it took about two years for the consignor to receive the money from the sale but even to this date, many years later, Darvick still holds and refuses to release several thousand dollars worth of autographs from that consignment which he did not offer in his auctions.

Darvick was spotted at a sports show a few years ago and in front of three witnesses well known in the industry, Darvick promised to ship the items to the consignor and never did. He stole the autographs consigned to him.

Herman Darvick recently tried to deny on some silly blog that he never was in hiding. This man simply seems to be incapable of telling the truth.

Illustrated to the right is one of Herman Darvick’s Certificates of Authenticity. He certifies as genuine signatures of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on this fishing photograph. The COA simply mentions Darvick's name and bears his ink signature. No address, no phone number and no contact information. These were issued for years while Darvick was in hiding. How many times has Darvick lied on blogs saying he was not in hiding? Even some of those in the hobby who purposely try to deceive the public with their COA’s will at minimum put a phony address and phone number on their Certificates. Darvick clearly stands a few steps below the deceitful.
 
Herman Darvick continues to this day to be the poster boy of autograph deceit. May we also take this opportunity to advise our readers that this photograph clearly states by Herman Darvick the signatures of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig are genuine. PSA/DNA was sent the same original photograph for a second opinion and they say the signatures are clearly forgeries. Could Darvick have expanded from forging U.S. presidential signatures to forging sports autographs as well? Or, is this simply another example of Darvick’s incompetence.

Need to find Darvick, not surprisingly, he works for John Reznikoff at University Archives or you can find him as an authenticator (you read it right, an authenticator) at JSA (James Spence Authentication).

The autograph hobby has been “Darvicted” once again!

Breaking News:
October 13, 2010
 
 
Herman Darvick
"A HABITUAL LIAR
and so much more..." 
Herman “the disgraced” Darvick is one hell of an accident, that has happened. If there was nothing else, just read what the U.A.C.C. has to say about him: “Mr. Darvick was expelled from the UACC for failure to pay a member monies owed from a sale at his auction and failing to return unsold items to the same member.” We can assure you this is not an isolated incident. However there is so much more!

On this site, www.autographalert.co has proven in writing that Herman Darvick is a forger, thief and liar. After each story exposing him and his antics on this site, Darvick had the opportunity to contact this site, and attempt to prove we were wrong, and we would make the changes and apologize. This is spelled out on our homepage. That NEVER happened because everything published about this screwball is the truth. The only thing Darvick continues to do is say on other sites that we tell lies about him but he never singles out a lie. He simply makes empty statements.

Darvick’s latest gimmick is fabricating a situation telling the few that will listen to him that an individual will send out negative information about him to his neighbors and friends. Then Darvick will most likely write the letter himself and mail it to a few in his neighborhood. Then he can blame whoever he wants to for sending the letters. This is the Darvick way of thinking he can gain sympathy from those who read his message.

If you have any doubts about how corrupt this individual is, simply think about why the UACC expelled Darvick from their organization. All you need to do is read the original complaint about him and he’s toast. Is everyone wrong?

What was written about Darvick on this site came directly from only some of the individuals who got screwed by Darvick. They were specific with their information and were not afraid to add their name to their emails. No one was hiding anything, it was just that they were so frustrated with Darvick hiding from them and for not issuing refunds for the bad material he sold.

A very few were able to find him in person at the school where he worked or at shows. At shows Darvick clearly stated his “guarantee” for refunds no longer applies because he is no longer in the autograph business. Add another outright lie to Darvick’s resume. Unfortunately Darvick’s comment has ruined the creditability of the word guarantee for many legitimate dealers.

It appears Herman “the disgraced” Darvick is not only a liar but a habitual liar. Very recently Darvick posted a message on Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin’s blog. This pair of losers is like two peas in a pod! Matter of fact try to find two legitimate names that are respected in the autograph industry on that blog. It’s just another Cyrkin embarrassment.

When exposed with hard facts proving Darvick is a thief, liar and forger, this miserable wretch whines and writes self serving lies on the blog crying: “…he’s called me a liar, a thief, and a forger without any evidence whatsoever to back it up. He creates incidents that never happened, fabricates quotes that I never said.” Darvick continues to whine: “he makes up stories about me which have no factual basis…he says I have autographs that belong to consignors….” His tears are falling just as they did in his Brooklyn School where Darvick, his eyes filled with tears, pleaded with a consignor not to go to the school’s principal about Darvick’s inability and unwillingness to pay the consignor.

The following is cut and pasted from Steve “anti-Semite’s” blog.
 
Herman Darvick Comment by Herman Darvick on September 23, 2010 at 5:46pm:
Steve Koschal runs Autograph Alert. Everything you read on Autograph
Alert is written by Steve Koschal. When he writes quotes of others, he
is the one making up the quote, such as, in his "Breaking News July
28, 2010," Koschal wrote: "Even as long ago as 2001 Darvick was saying
'maybe one day the UACC will get back to its roots. Maybe there should
be term limits for officers. At least one officer has been there too
long.'" I never said that, not in those words or any words. In fact, I
do not believe in establishing term limits for anything
(we already
have term limits; it's called an election). As far as a connection
between Mike Frost and Steve Koschal, I do not know for sure. I
believe that Frost and Koschal used to be partners in P.A.A.S.
 
The habitual liar, Herman Darvick, is exposed as he gets “nailed’ again. This stubby Pinocchio continues to step on his tongue. He continues to lie to those who are dumb enough to follow his rants.

First of all the pathetic Darvick states Koschal writes everything on www.autographalert.com. This is simply another Darvick fabrication then followed with his usual lie. Anyone who knows anything about the site knows this is not true, just what the disgraced Darvick would like you to believe.

During an “in person” conversation with Darvick at a northeastern sports show, Darvick was asked who is the individual in the UACC he was referring to? Instantly, his hatred was evident for UACC Board Member, Al Wittnebert. Darvick said “..you know exactly who I mean Big Al, the fat, ugly one who has been running and ruining that club for years, he’s the perfect reason why term limits should be implemented.”

To add to all of Darvick‘s habitual lies, the following is a partial cut and paste from an email sent by Herman Darvick to SKOSCHAL on Jan. 27, 01. We have the original email on file.
 

Portion of email sent by Herman Darvick
 
Herman Darvick just got finished posting a message on the blog printed above stating: “I never said that, not in those words or any words, In fact I do not believe in establishing term limits for anything…” This is nothing more than one dangerous individual who is a liar, thief and forger and not only supported by Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin but Darvick is listed as an authenticator for “JSA” James Spence Authentication.
If anyone wants to challenge the validity of Darvick’s original email, send a $10 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation http://www.wish.org and we will mail you a copy of the email in its entirety.

What more has to be written about Herman Darvick to prove the guy is an unbalanced habitual liar? Many believe it was the destruction of Darvick’s autograph auctions that was the final blow. At this point the may have realized he just wasn’t going to do anything productive for the hobby for the rest of his life. We can’t continue to waste space on this site to prove to the autograph community that what has been written about Darvick on this site is the truth. Without a doubt, this guy just outright lied again to everyone, proven above. Darvick will never come up with anything specific and just whines when he is exposed. Seems the best thing he can come up with to try to continue to mislead others is quoting statements from current movies.

Darvick is a “Cyrkinopath” and is accepted and remains as a writer on that awful blog of mis-information. Cyrkin will never learn from all his past mistakes however his bad decisions continue to make great stories. According to one of our readers emails they stated: “…Cyrkin’s new blog that came out after his failed magazine is a full fledged circus of clowns without the cotton candy but with plenty of nuts…”

Many we have spoken to will not go on that blog simply because they will not associate their name with liars, thief’s, forgers and someone who holds the hobby record of participating in the sale of 7-8 million dollars worth of forgeries.

It is almost unbelievable that the person who holds the worlds record of selling forgeries is making comments about the validity of other persons autographs. One would have to be insane to even listen to a thing he has to say. Instead of this person hiding in shame or finding another business this individual continue to make a fool of himself. Some think that as soon as he can get rid of his inventory, he will be gone.

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, the noted heart surgeon said it best and his comments certainly apply to our wonderful hobby: “you got to kill the cancer for the body to heal.” With Cyrkin’s Autograph magazine gone some of the cancer is gone.

As the hobby continues to ignore Herman “the disgraced” Darvick and his very few cohorts, the hobby will be a better and healthier place.

Breaking News:
October 9, 2010
 
 
 
Autograph Quarterly
(For the Love and Education of the Hobby)
The Autograph Hobby’s Only Magazine

“Press Release”

Scheduled for publication, Feb./March 2011, this new magazine with fresh ideas, will be the hobby’s only magazine. Its name is Autograph Quarterly. It is anticipated to be 88 pages in length with full color covers and contents in black and white.

The magazines goal is to be the hobby’s publication for everyone. Interesting articles on many subject matters written by many of the icons in the hobby, some legendary names pulled from retirement others respected by all.

International Autograph Organizations will be represented in a “View From Abroad” section.

Articles on auctions, updates on eBay and updates on 3rd party authentications and autograph preservation will be just some of the subjects covered in each issue.

A facsimile page will sure to be a hit as well as news of upcoming shows and events.

A “free” limited edition collectible will be included in Volume 1, Number 1.

Anticipated in most issues will be signature studies, book reviews and anything else that the International autograph collecting community will have an interest in reading.

Every issue will also have “Price Guide Updates” updating prices on hundreds of names per issue as current values change regularly.

Each issue will have contests with the prize being a historic autograph reference book written and signed by the biggest and most respected names in autographs.

The inauguration of Vol.1 No.1 will be held at the February 2011 Hollywood Show (
www.hollywoodshow.com). Even beyond our subscribers, THOUSANDS of people, collectors and celebrities will see and use this invaluable collecting resource.

Subscription costs will be $24.95 per year for those in the USA. $49.95 all other countries. Advertising rates are affordable to all at $100 Quarter Page, $200.00 half page and $400.00 for a full page. Business card ads are only $50. All ads are good for three months. Your copy must be camera ready or for an additional layout cost the magazine can design one for you. Reservations for advertising space are now being accepted.

Should you have an expertise in a collecting category whether you are a collector or dealer in the United States or abroad and have an interest in writing for Autograph Quarterly, please contact us. If you have a published work that you may want the magazine to profile, send the info to the address below as we also have “The Collectors BookCase” section profiling and reviewing all books relating to autographs.

BE PART OF THIS EXCITING NEW VENTURE!

To submit advertising and or articles, etc. write to:

Autograph Quarterly
29910 Murrieta Hot Springs Road. Suite G
PMB #338
Murrieta, CA 92563

PayPal is accepted and checks for subscriptions/advertising make payable to: Autograph Quarterly

For additional information updated regularly go to the magazine’s website:
 
www.autographquarterly.com
Breaking News:
October 8, 2010
 
 
 
PSA/DNA “Autograph Collector says…
it can’t be trusted…”
 
The following is an email received from a collector in New Zealand. Only a few lines of the email have been deleted because of repetition. This is a wonderful educational story for those who are still foolish enough to waste their money on high profile companies who “claim” the can authenticate autographs with an opinion, (guess) or (psychic authentication).

Subj: Hung Out To Dry By PSA
Date: Mon. October 4, 2010 2:39 pm

“G’day from New Zealand

I hope this finds you fit and well.

If you have a few moments of spare time…here’s a story that you might like to read and then you can have a good scratch of your head.

If this doesn’t convince us all that the only people who suffer from PSA Quick Opinions are collectors and sellers of memorabilia then nothing will.

I recently submitted a “Quick Opinion” request to PSA as I’ve long been a fan of KISS and one of their early albums, signed by all 4 original members of the band came up on the website of a VERY reputable US auction house.

The Quick Opinion came back as “likely genuine” and based upon that I went after the album and outbid all-comers to get it.

I sent the album off to PSA for the full letter and they sent it back to me as “NOT AUTHENTIC” with one of their usual, mass-produced letters saying that the album “did not pass PSA/DNA authentication.”

I went back to PSA and said…

The problem I’m having here is that I forked out quite a lot of money for this album based upon the PSA opinion and now I’m left holding something that PSA now a couple weeks later says is worthless!!!

…I have to ask the following:

a) What is the point of “Quick Opinion”? You tell me one thing then do another?

b) How can you justify saying on the website….
Likely genuine: Our expert believes that the item, if physically submitted to Collectors Universe, PSA/DNA division for examination, would likely receive a PSA/DNA certificate of authenticity.

If this is the way that “Quick Opinion” can work then PSA can, potentially, take my money and then leave me hanging out in the wind to dry. My point is…what am I now supposed to do with this album? I can’t add it confidently to my collection cuz you say it’s fake. I can’t knowingly sell it on to someone else…cuz you say it’s fake. The auction house XXXXX won’t give me a refund cuz they don’t recognize PSA/DNA “opinions“.

You see - the only person who loses is the PSA/DNA customer…me! To make matters worse I lose no less than three times:

1) You take my money for the Quick Opinion.
2) The auction house takes my money for the item I buy based on “Likely Genuine.”
3) You then take another slice of my money for the physical examination.

You see my point? So - just WHAT is the point of “Quick Opinion?????

From the customer point of view I now really have SERIOUS doubts as to the validity of this service.

It appears that Quick Opinion cannot be relied upon by a customer.

Therefore it follows that Quick Opinion serves no REAL purpose for a collector.”
SOLUTIONS

www.autographalert.com has no sympathy for this collector. With all the information on the Internet and posted by individual autograph collecting clubs, those who still at this late date use these high profile so-called authenticating companies deserve what they get. The authenticating company gets the last laugh all the way to the bank.

Can this collector or anyone tell us “who” at PSA/DNA is capable of authenticating KISS autographs???

This collector has two options:

1) He can contact a PSA/DNA authenticator John “the psychic authenticator” Reznikoff. This guy thinks he can authenticate an autograph without seeing it. If he does and thinks he can change PSA’s original guess, he is well known for saying: “I’ll call the authenticating company and fix it.”

2) Wait a few more weeks and send the authenticating company more hard earned dollars and have it re-authenticated. Send it in using a different name. Chances are you could possibly get the album back authenticated “as genuine”. This has proven to work. When John “psychic authenticator” Reznikoff purchases autographs from a seller PSA does not approve of, Reznikoff in the past has told the seller to send the items to PSA using Renikoff’s name and return address.

The collector didn’t utilize the information he already had. He clearly stated he was purchasing from a “Very” reputable US auction house. What made him think that paying money for a “guess” from an authenticating company would trump the professionals at the auction house?

The auction house has more experience than any “guesser’ who works for the authenticating company. The experienced at the auction house clearly stated that they did not respect a guess from this authenticating company so no refund would be issued. Most of the professional dealers and auction houses have the same policy.

The collector by wasting his money on a worthless “guess” from an incompetent at an authenticating company only put himself in this predicament.

Breaking News:
October 7, 2010
 
 
 
Roy Rogers Museum Auction
Museum Closed in 2009, Collection sells for $2.9 Million
Roy Rogers' stuffed horse Trigger and His Saddle are top sellers at auction
Happy Trails Roy and Dale
 
 
The stuffed horse belonging to cowboy actor and singer Roy Rogers along with his saddle took top dollar at an auction in July for memorabilia from the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum Collection.
 
The Museum closed in December 2009, less than six years after it picked up and moved from its longtime Route 66 home in Victorville, California, to Branson, Missouri.
 
Christie's auction house, which ran the sale along with Western auctioneer High Noon Americana, said the collection of items related to Rogers' and wife Dale Evan's roles on television and in the movies brought in $2.9 million.
 
Trigger, the palomino horse which Rogers had stuffed after it died in 1965, was bought by rural cable television station RFD-TV for $266,500, while his saddle fetched $386,500 from a private buyer.
 
Other top sellers included Roy Rogers' 1963 Pontiac Bonneville and the Nellybelle jeep, an iconic emblem on the Roy Rogers Show, which ran on television in the 1950s and 1960s.
 
The more than 300 items included in the sale ran from Roy's sunglasses to a sterling belt buckle and a Roy Rogers directors chair. Here is a partial listing of some of the items that were sold at auction:
 
Roy 's 1964 Bonneville sold for $254,500, it was estimated to sell between 100 and 150 thousand dollars.

His script book from the January 14,1953 episode of This Is Your Life sold for $10,000 (est. $800-$1,000)

A collection of signed baseballs (Pete Rose, Duke Snyder and other greats) sold for $3,750

A collection of signed bats (Yogi Berra, Enos Slaughter, Bob Feller, and others) sold for $2,750.

One of many of Roy 's shirts sold for $16,250 and one of his many cowboy hats sold for $17,500.

One set of boot spurs sold for $10,625. (He never used a set of spurs on Trigger.)

A life size shooting gallery sold for $27,500.

Various chandeliers sold from $6,875 to $20,000. Very unique and artistic in their western style.

A signed photograph by Don Larsen taken during his perfect game in the world series against
the Dodgers on Oct.8, 1953, along with a signed baseball to Roy from Don, sold for $2,500

Two fabulous limited edition BB guns in their original boxes with numerous photos of Roy,
Dale, Gabby, and Pat sold for $3,750.

A collection of memorabilia from his shows entertaining the troops in Vietnam sold for $938.
His flight jacket sold for $7,500.

His set of dinner ware plates and silverware sold for $11,875.
The Bible they used at the dinner table every night sold for $8,750.

One of several of his guitars sold for $27,500.

Nellybelle sold for $116,500.

A fabulous painting of Roy, Dale, Pat, Buttermilk, Trigger, and Bullet sold for $10,625.

One of several sets of movie posters sold for $18,750.

A black and white photograph of Gene Autry with a touching inscription
from Gene to Roy sold for $17,500.

A Republic Productions Poster bearing many autographs of the people that played in Roy's movies sold for $11,875.

Dale's horse, Buttermilk (whose history is very interesting) sold below the pre-sale estimate for $25,000. (est. 30-40K)

Bullet sold for $35,000 (est. 10-15K). He was their real pet.

Dale's parade saddle, estimated to sell between 20-30K, sold for $104,500.

One of many pairs of Roy's boots sold for $21,250.
 

 

 

It's no wonder Trigger fetched over $266,000 at the auction. He was a genuine Hollywood star. Roy and Trigger made 188 movies together. The horse began it's "career" in show biz in the 1930s. Do you remember the 1938 movie The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland? Well Olivia rode Trigger in that movie.

Trigger was bred on a farm co-owned by Bing Crosby. Roy bought Trigger on a time payment plan for $2,500. Trigger even out did Bob Hope by winning a P.A.T.S.Y. award (animal equivalent of the Oscar) for the movie Son of Paleface, in 1953.
Breaking News:
October 3, 2010
 
Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin
And His Motley Crew

Can you imagine Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin is attempting to deny he is not an anti-Semite? What’s wrong with this nut case? He says it in his own words, in writing, takes a whooping for it from the whole autograph community and thinks he can deny every saying what he did.

Cyrkin, instead of denying something you put in writing, simply apologize to the gentleman and be done with it, instead of adding liar to your resume!

For the newcomers to this site there is a Florida based autograph gallery who would not take an ad in Cyrkin’s Autograph magazine. Cyrkin is co-founder of Collectors Universe which has a division called PSA/DNA who claims they can authenticate autographs. PSA/DNA tried on more than one occasion to get the autograph gallery to use their services for authentication. The gallery refused and since that time Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin went on a binge trying to destroy the gallery’s name. This seems to be without a question some sort of Autograph Mafia. An autograph dealer questioned Cyrkin’s actions and sent Cyrkin an email on October 13, 2009 at 01:59:24PM. The following is the exact quote from the dealer’s email: “Is there a problem you have with Jerry based on him being Jewish?”

Cyrkin’s response just three minutes later at 02:02:08PM: “Why would I care if he’s a kike”? Cyrkin’s insensitive comments started what appear to be a war. Every Jewish person we have spoken to states that word “kike” is equal or worse than the “N’ word. They also state “no real Jew would ever call another Jew that word.”

We will quote from just a few emails, many of them sent to Cyrkin with copies to www.autographalert.com. Many feel that Cyrkin is trying to kill the legitimate autograph hobby.

1) “The IADA-CC at this time will have to condone the negative actions of both Roger Epperson and Steve Cyrkin…..other major problem is Steve Cyrkin and the Autograph Collector Magazine. The IADA-CC strongly and firmly condemns his anti-Semitic racist statements…”

This following email was sent to Cyrkin regarding Roger Epperson:

2) “you may want to settle your boy down. I have received death threats from him, along with him saying that your cop roommate is going to arrest me….I have sent all the info to my lawyer…”

The following email was sent to Cyrkin from a collector:

3) “Would you be willing to offer an apology for what most consider to be a racist and anti-Semitic statement?” Cyrkin refused to respond!

Another email to Cyrkin from a collector:

4) “So what is your problem with Jewish people?……you used a derogatory racial slander and I must say I am highly offended. My Jewish grandfather fought for this country in WWII so that white honky trailer trashy like you would not be a goose stepping Nazi or perhaps you are…how about derogatory remarks against gays?….Perhaps you need to go to the pink Flamingo bar to meet Mr. Right and release some of that pent up frustration. I will never do any business with you or with anyone you associate with!!! Ever!!!”

5) “I had a problem with one of his employees who was trying to blackmail me into buying autographs for me to resell. It got to the point where his employee Mike Airing was making crazy accusations and racial remarks in reference to my wife (who is African-American).”

6) “You can easily defend a point without racial slurs…hopefully the Anti-Defamation Society will give him some hell!!! He deserves it and I hope (autographalert.com) will keep us all abreast on what is going on with this jerk.”

7) “Lets just hope this Cyrkin character goes down for what he has done to this hobby…”

8) “I was condemned by Cyrkin for being against illegal aliens and my feelings on gay marriage. He is very narrow minded and it’s either his way or no way. His daughter is a lesbian and he says that he is very proud of her and that he is looking forward to being the grandfather of 3 children. I tried to tell him that you can’t have a child unless a man is involved and he cancelled my subscription to his magazine.”

Even behind Cyrkin’s back, some of his quasi followers have this to say. The following email was sent to John Reznikoff of University Archives on Mon. Aug. 10, 2009, 4:54pm reminding Reznikoff of his past statements: “I just want to remind you of a conversation you had with me a while back regarding your feelings about Autograph Collector magazine. You will recall telling me the magazine was a joke and that you would no longer write for it.. Your statement no one reads it, I didn’t agree with you as I enjoyed reading articles written by Joe Maddalena and I read the magazine. You said no one serious reads the magazine. The only people who subscribe are those looking for addresses and you continued that many of the addresses are wrong. Remember how hard you laughed? Obviously you have an issue or hidden agenda with Cyrkin as you also told me that he can easily be controlled through advertising. All someone has to do is run ads for awhile, then stop them. You said you believed Cyrkin would do most anything to get you to start the ad up again….”

Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin has killed his autograph business, Starbrite. He stated, in writing, he was pulling all the forgeries out of its inventory. This followed by his failed Autograph magazine, he is now attempting to run an internet site and the following are some of those who follow him.

1) Herman Darvick, thief, liar and well documented and admitted forger of presidential autographs. Expelled for twenty years from the UACC over very serious ethics violations.

2) John Reznikoff of University Archives who made a statement in public during an autograph show held at the Hotel New Yorker. A very prominent and well respected autograph dealer for many decades who owns a lovely autograph gallery in New York City was passing by with his male partner. Reznikoff openly said the following: “Since Mary Benjamin is gone there goes the new Queen of Autographs.” Reznikoff chuckled after making that statement obviously thinking it was funny. Reznikoff however is best known for taking part in the selling of 7-8 million dollars worth of forged Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy forgeries and so much more. No one has come forward who has received a refund. Reznikoff is an authenticator for PSA/DNA and JSA.

3) Scott Cornish. Authenticator who was fired by RR Auctions for making the following statement, in writing, to a German autograph dealer on Tues. 01 Apr 2008: “No wonder Hitler took over your country. If its current hobby ‘leaders’ won’t even combat astronaut forgery occurring there, how could a dictator ever be stopped? But that’s not to say things haven’t improved since then. I mean - its not like y’all are still making lampshades out of human skin or smashing babies’ heads against brick walls. Remember what I said, little boy. You have no clue how ugly I can get.”

We sure know how ugly Bob Eaton of RR Auction can get. After thinking things cooled down and collectors have forgotten, Eaton rehired the racist Scott Cornish.

4) Rick Badway who seems to be lost in the forest and doesn’t have a clue posted this statement: “…talking about names, then mine is Salim El-Hoshan Badawi..but most call me Bubba!” Homeland Security, where are you?

5) DB: ?????? In hiding! Could be a phony name.

6) Roger Epperson, known for admittedly purchasing autographs from at least two different forgers. His authentication of passing as genuine modern made items by people who have been dead for over 10 years before the item was made is legendary. He is also on the authenticating team of JSA. Epperson also sends out anonymous emails pretending to be a girl. He is known by many as Roger ‘I’ll get it right the second time’ Epperson.

7) Mike Airing…see below.

These are the people who are supporting Cyrkin’s new site. When someone with some intelligence makes the mistake of going on there and posting an intelligent comment, their statement is usually removed. Many are simply baffled why anyone would go on that site. To associate your good name with those mentioned above seems to be suicidal. Why add your name to that list? Readers will forever associate your name with this motley crew.

Bill Panagopulous tried to straighten the blog’s mess and basically told them it would be best to stay focused on autographs. Some of his comments were: “ I wish I could write a commercial as long as this (self serving) blog post has proven to be…I would think blatant business promotion and fawning praise by sycophants and employees has no place on a website devoted to the hobby.”

What was the thanks Panagopulous got for his good intentions?

These are a few responses to Panagopulous:
“but Bill should I ever get down your way, I will guarantee I am sure to look you up and meet you in the parking lot.”

By Bill Panagopulous getting involved in this fledging site he was forced to write the following statements in several more separate comments: “Finally, it’s easy to ‘harpoon’ people anonymously, isn’t it. You should have the courage to reveal your identity and not ‘paint’ your face to hide yourself from those you insult…

More by Panagopulous: “I am a historian, not a huckster…embarrass yourself if you must….”

And the beat goes on by Panagopulous: “your post below denigrates comments made by me on this blog….” an on and on “May I submit ,sir, that you are a hypocrite….you should spend some time pulling the wood splinters out of your hands.”

Before this whole scenario ended poor Panagopoulos (all because he got involved with this site) had to defend his family individually. He chose to explain the service to one’s country by his uncle, his mother, his grandfather and finally his father.

As smart as we believe Bill Panagopulous is, he apparently did not learn one lesson. That is you can never win an argument with an idiot. The idiot has too much experience!

Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin appears to be nothing more than a baby with a hammer. He has little clue of the hobby or running an autograph business and now destroying a hobby magazine. Looking at the list above he seems to be a magnet for attracting whacko’s, fraudsters, imbeciles and even a quack. The “quack” is another story.

The latest disciple we can add to the Cyrkin motley crew is an obvious nutcase on the loose going by the name of Mike Airing.

The following is information provided to the hobby by Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin and his relationship with Mike Airing.

“Mike was recommended to me as a supplier by the then-owner of Starbright Autographs when I bought the business in 2006. Mike and I became informal partners in it….I didn’t give Starbrite the time and attention it needed and it suffered as a consequence…..as Mike and I were splitting things up there was a disagreement over ownership of some autographs that got pretty intense…”
 
So there you go, Cyrkin admits Airing was his partner. Let us continue to show you the type Cyrkin attracts. The following is quoted (against our better judgment) from Mike Airing’s myspace page. http://www.myspace.com/barefootmk#ixzz100b5Is2B:


“Now We Have A Black President!!!”

Alright, so now we have a black president and what everyone is saying is correct…Anyone can be president. Yes, this sets a beautiful precedent that says no matter what race, background or religion you are, you can be president. We’ve already had a president that was a C student as best (yes, that’s right, even my dad told me I couldn’t be president if I got C’s on my report card!) and soon, we will have a minority in the White House, really cute. It truly is a great way to show that this country has come a long way.

My fiance and I discussed on our way out of wicked
[the Broadway Play] last night that it wasn’t so long ago that Martin Luther King was assassinated and how that affected (and still affects) our country. But now white people are willing to elect a black president (African american if you’d like). In our history, it wasn’t all that long ago that there were “white only” restaurants and that blacks had to sit at the back of the bus. Not long ago at all.

You know, I’m from Arizona, and we’ve had john maccain as senator for longer that i’ve been alive. and as long as i can remember, he was going to be president. but i guess he missed his window with bush (or both bushes). and i do believe that the ‘trickle down’ economy that republicans have been cramming down the throats of americans for years, really isn’t working and it’s time for them to come up with something else…the haves, have not a clue. it is time for a change, and we have come up with that change…let’s see how it works.

But, it has set up an interesting set of questions, many of them are racially biased. But for humor and affect, let’s see what we think…

1) will obama have to ride around in the pope mobile to ensure safety? that’s an honest question, right? i’m sure there are plenty of racist folks willing to kill the black president. to be honest, i wouldn’t be surprised of an attempt last night (and no, I have no intentions to even think this scenario for myself.) but there has to be some unhappy redneck in Kentucky saying. “f--- that nigger!”
(We couldn’t do it but Airing spelled out the F word). You or I may even know this person.

2) will the presidential cavalcade have spinning rims on their SUV’s?

3) will the first car in the cavalcade bump? And have an announcer yelling “obama is here” like when you watch boxers coming into the ring.

4) who will be the first person elected to the cabinet? JayZ? I’m nominating him now. he went from absolutely nothing to one of the most powerful people in the music industry today. And he got Beyonce to boot!
 
5) hopefully his first order of business is to get me my money back. and the rest of you too. Gas prices are still ridiculous (do you realize that prices were below $2 before George bush took office?)

6) what do you think his first order of business was? Do you think he stood in his bedroom, in his hanes underwear and told his wife, ‘I’m the head n------
(he spelled out the N word) in charge now! Rub my feet!’

These are just the simple questions I pondered last night before bed. I was shocked that there wasn’t a riot somewhere because the world really is going to change after last night. i do believe that it can change in the right direction. we need to focus on the here and now, not some future in some other country that we really have no business throwing our weight around anyway.

and I question we all should ponder. if they can make synthetic oil for us to use to change our cars, why can’t someone come up with synthetic gasoline. That seems like a quicker alternative than hybrid cars and electric cars. I don’t know, I’m not a scientist, but I do think there are better things for scientists to work on than getting a larger, big, a better hard on, or how to keep our hair. Obviously these are all male problems and most of the scientists are males as well. But that’s my place to start. Clean up the world, clean up the economy.

have fun, and if i’ve offended you…TOUGH SHIT..you think that I’m the only one having these thoughts? mike.”

These are the words of wisdom from a Cyrkin supporter. This is the kind of person that Cyrkin attracts. This is the person Cyrkin chooses to be a part owner of his autograph business and this person was a contributing freelance writer for the defunct Autograph magazine.

So if you are thinking of backing Cyrkin and joining his handful in any way or even of joining the motley crew by posting a message on Cyrkin’s blog, you’ll have attached your name forever to those treading water in this autograph cesspool.

Breaking News:
October 1, 2010
 
Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin
Continues to be a Loser

Even the handful that stuck by the racist Cyrkin for whatever reason are now bitching. We are being flooded with emails from those who were waiting to see what Cyrkin was going to do. The following are just a few emails from those who were for some insane reason giving Cyrkin the benefit of doubt even after being screwed out of a handful of issues of the magazine or simply offering him their condolences on the death of Autograph magazine. A few at the bottom are from those who have been banned from Cyrkin’s site for posting negative messages about his magazine which were truthful but Cyrkin did not want the balance of his subscribers to be that educated and know what was actually going on.

Here is a sample of a few emails that came in just today:

“Where is this so called on line version of the magazine?”

“It was Sept. 13 when the mass email went out telling of the dead magazine format Where is this online September issue? It is supposed to be password protected and able to view? There is no such thing, just a couple of links to a section of the site that anyone can view.”

“It has been over 2 weeks since the email went out. I’m a paying subscriber and have not had anything since June to read!!!”

“I never even hear anything from Steve (Cyrkin) or anybody else. This is ridiculous.”

Many feel these people are better off with nothing to read. Quite a bit of what was once published was not accurate and some people will read that , believe it and pass false information throughout the hobby.

How about a few emails from those who gave up on the anti-Semite and liar months ago.

“For $29.95 u get to read a free online blog.”

“…for every issue of the magazine that you paid for and didn’t get, you now have coming 2 months free for the free online blog.”

“Free is free..and if you wrap a piece of shit in gold…it’s still a piece of shit!!”

“Other free deals coming your way for the $29.95….coupons that expired a year ago. Free of charge.!”

Funnier yet the only two we could find sending Cyrkin words of support were John “the Psychic Authenticator” and Herman “the Forger” Darvick. Oh my!

Breaking News:
September 27, 2010
 
Autograph Magazine
(July 1986 - June 2010) R.I.P.

Are you still begging Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin for a refund for the February 2010 issue of Autograph magazine that you never received? You can now add the July, August and September issues that were never published. Don’t hold your breath. Subscribers, advertisers and what’s left of his writers have been conned and lied to along the way. Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin is simply a looser and a very bad businessman. First to fall was his autograph company Starbrite. Followed by the long time Autograph Collector magazine, then calling it a name change to Autograph magazine. His fledging blog is a smokescreen with messages approved by Cyrkin and sent in by his friends some using fictitious names.

Others, not in Cyrkin’s back pocket write in and try to tell the truth. They complain about Cyrkin, his magazine or some of his writers and their messages are quickly removed. Some others are now leaving messages ridiculing the site.

We won’t even go into Cyrkin’s disastrous personal life and finances as this web site tries to stay focused on autographs.

Cyrkin finally broke the silence and some news is out about the magazine. Don’t look in your mail box for any more issues of the magazine. The inevitable day has finally arrived. The magazine has died with the anemic June 2010 issue. Formal announcement of its passing was finally made on September 10, 2010.

Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin has a long history of lying and the following is what he had to say.

After totally ignoring many emails about not publishing a February magazine we have to guess when it came to no July 2010 issue it was time to respond with statements like it’s late coming out. Then Cyrkin changed that lie on August 12 stating: “we had to skip July” and yet another email said: “there actually was not a July issue and I’m late getting August out.”

Give us a break, instead of tripping over his tongue, he’s better off not saying anything.

What happened to the August issue? An August 17 email from the magazine stating “the next issue will be Aug/Sept issue which you will see shortly.” Yea, right, simply more lies. Will get it shortly sounds to us that it’s all done and ready to be mailed. By the way, who ordered a Aug/Sept issue? Those who sent in a whopping $39.95 for 12 issues were getting screwed again. Who can believe anything Cyrkin has to say?

Finally on September 10th we get the formal announcement from Cyrkin on the death of the magazine. He tries to cover up his mess and failure by stating: “I’m sorry for the delays getting the magazine out…” Delays, what the hell is he trying to sell? Delays are when you actually print a magazine and get it in the mail late. There was no February, July, August and September issues so he can’t even tell the truth during the magazine’s funeral. He did admit to one thing when he said that “we’ll all miss print issues.” Even that’s not the truth as it’s difficult to find someone who still subscribed to the magazine. So how many is all? Many collectors, dealers, writers and advertisers gave up on Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin a few years ago.

It certainly appears that if your name was associated with Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin or his magazine, it became a death wish. Subscribers started to cancel their subscription, others simply did not renew. Many of his writers abandoned the magazine while some longtime advertisers simply deserted.

To illustrate how much the shameless Cyrkin has offended the autograph community the following is just a small sample of emails we received with regards to the death of the magazine.

“I added a comment on the magazine site and it was removed and now it says I’m banned. How can this Jew hating just make up complete lies and still be an editor? I think I will issue a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, the magazine now has a C-rating…”

“Wow! Looks like the last of the milk has spoiled. I did not see this coming so soon..”

The next one came from someone well known in the industry. It was very strong and we did something we do not like to do and that was soften the blow and do some editing.

“It was September 10, 2010, and Santa Ana, the capitol of Steve Cyrkin’s tottering Autograph Third Reich, was a shattered inferno. An army of former collectors, subscribers and advertisers had fought Internationally against the Autograph Chancellery. The end was clearly at hand. Later in the day, Cyrkin retired to his suite in the Autograph magazine’s underground bunker to end it. The June 2010 issue was the last. Heil Cyrkin and Goodbye!!!”

The person who sent the above is Jewish and abhors Cyrkin calling a Jewish business person in this industry a “kike.” He also hates Cyrkin for other reasons but that’s not for here. Cyrkin who has been called unprincipled is simply hated by many. Cyrkin has been given several opportunities by multiple persons to apologize for his hateful and anti-Semitic remark and he refuses. For the most part, this was the beginning of what many felt was no more room in this hobby for such a terrible disgusting individual.

UNFORTUNATELY, Cyrkin is not totally going away, yet, and his blight of insanity, lies, fabrications and mis-information may continue because it appears he is dressing up in a different costume.

Not long ago, a person acting as a potential advertiser in the magazine asked Cyrkin the question: “How many subscribers do you have?” Cyrkin refused to answer the embarrassing question. Many believe it was down to just a few hundred at most.

A handful of readers of Cyrkin’s blog are all confused about the loss and death of the magazine. We are not sure if the few who write him are really Cyrkin himself sending emails under different names. In any event, get over it and get use to it, the magazine is dead. There is no more magazine you can hold in your hand and put on your shelf. Cyrkin now calls what’s coming an “online publication” and also refers to it as a “web publication.”

Even Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin came out on September 10 and stated in writing “we’ll all miss print issues…” We don’t know how many “all” is, but even a few of the handful on his blog don’t agree with him.

Cyrkin basically ran what was once a good magazine (when run by others) into the ground, inundating customers with lies, the following statement and sales pitch out of Cyrkin is almost unbelievable. Talk about trying to promote something that you doubt will succeed is quite evident in Cyrkin’s announcement on September 13.

Cyrkin rambles: “Like you, I love sitting back with a magazine…..we can’t anymore….it has to be a web publication….we think it will survive. We think????? Now there’s one good reason not to send this guy any more money!

Cyrkin continues, but sounds like he’s still at the magazine’s funeral: “I know this may be a disappointment to you, I’m sorry.” For the first time he apologizes for one of his atrocities and that is for running a magazine into the ground.

Here’s where Cyrkin thinks his readers are simply stupid. “The new online subscription price is $29.95, so it’s a huge savings.” A huge savings over what? His price increase just several months ago to $39.95 was a complete failure. It was the last nail in the magazines coffin. In December 2009 you could have subscribed to the magazine for $29.95. Twenty-nine dollars and ninety five cents is the price Cyrkin was happy with to make a profit. For this $29.95 he had to purchase paper to print on, black and color ink, shiny heavy paper covers and the costs for publishing and postage.

Now, he thinks he can convince someone to pay a whopping $29.95 for what? What are his costs now? If you still want to read articles written by a Director of the UACC about his wonderful guitar he was so proud of and that most anyone with some knowledge of music autographs could identify from the illustration in the magazine that all two dozen signatures were forgeries. Or do you like Cyrkin’s list of addresses where he lists someone who was dead for two years and Cyrkin states that it may take some time to get a response? How about Cyrkin running a little guessing game and if you make the right guess you win a prize. The prize offered was a photo containing a fake autograph. We really miss those games (LOL) and how often does Cyrkin have to prove to us he doesn’t know much about autographs? Actually one only has to look at the things Cyrkin used to sell on his company web site Starbrite to know he knows little about autographs. But in Cyrkin’s defense he did admit he was pulling the forgeries out of his inventory. By the way, if you go back to his old Starbrite website that clearly states: “we go to great lengths to ensure that you will be purchasing first-rate, high quality authentic autographs. We are an “in-person” autograph dealer….we obtain it or we don’t sell it…” Ooooops, Cyrkin apparently got trapped and caught in his own lie. If you want to believe Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin, then he was getting forgeries “in person.” Go figure!

Thousands of you have been reading stories on www.autographalert.com for over 5 years and how much is our subscription? Every story you have read is absolutely accurate and well documented. Why should anyone pay for inaccurate stories, bad addresses and a chance to win a phony autograph as a prize? Hey, if he can find a few suckers, more power to him!

The apparently dysfunctional Cyrkin continues on September 13. “if you don’t like it (web publication) you get a store credit…” Astonishing, does this mean you can chose one of his so-called “in person” autographs mentioned above?

The result of all this is where we can all get a good laugh. The cavalry arrive and who comes to support Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin?

1) John “the psychic authenticator” Reznikoff of University Archives. A soothsayer who thinks he can authenticate an autograph without seeing it. He just has to know who owns the item. Many in this hobby are still baffled why this guy is not in jail. His partner, the forger went to prison and Reznikoff was one who passed many of the forgeries to other dealers and investors. Reznikoff holds the worlds record to participating in the sale of 7-8 million dollars worth of forged Marilyn Monroe and John F. Kennedy’s. Try to find one person who received a refund. Reznikoff was also involved in the selling of all those Elvis Presley lyrics and don’t even let us start on his selling human hair.

Reznikoff makes one of the statements of the decade by saying to Crykin: “I want to thank you personally for doing more than any single person in the trade to wipe out fraud and forgery in our industry…you have my vote of confidence and my support…” Shouldn’t Reznikoff be saying: “Thank you for not exposing me in your magazine. Thank you for not going the route of the mass media like the articles in the New York Times about my participation in the largest forgery case in the history of our hobby. Thank you for not writing up as news the story about my need to resign from PADA an autograph organization I helped create. Thank you for not publishing the story about my membership being revoked in the International Autograph Collectors Club and Dealers Alliance over ethics violations. Thank you for not mentioning all the time I sold other bad material and refused to issue refunds. Thank you for covering my ass and especially for allowing me to still take full page ads in your magazine leading your readers to believe I’m running an honest business. Yes, for all this, Mr. Cyrkin, you have my support on your new venture.

By the way can anyone name one person where anything was done by Cyrkin that has resulted in an arrest of a forger? It’s all Reznikoff’s B.S.

2) Herman Darvick, the disgraced ex-President of the UACC who was banned from the club for twenty years says: “Steve (Cyrkin) you have my full support. Anything I can do to help, feel free to ask.-Herman.”

Herman, how about selling some of your presidential forgeries? It was just a few months ago he denied, in writing, ever forging an autograph. Forgetting he said that, he recently admitted and even told the autograph community which presidential signatures he has forged in the past. The autograph community and Cyrkin have been “Darvicted!” Darvick can take an ad in Cyrkin’s “web publication” and try to attract those who can’t afford a genuine presidential autograph and give them a good deal on one of his forgeries.

The above is the type of individuals Cyrkin attracts and gets their support. There’s so much more to come in the following weeks. These are the pathetic circles Cyrkin moves in!

Does Cyrkin have a grip on the hobby? We think not. After all these years he now wants to take surveys on what readers and subscribers want to read. Where was this guy for the last several years? Cyrkin wants to give you larger photos maybe this will only help Cyrkin spot the forgeries in his own publication.

Let us show you how Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin has single handedly destroyed Autograph Collectors Magazine.

The magazine was first published in July/August 1986 by Joe Kraus. According to Joe Kraus: “This magazine was started on faith, faith that autograph collectors everywhere would support it, faith that advertisers would come forth, faith that we would have the writers who would back the magazine with their stories….paid subscribers that have already passed the 600 mark at this writing is expected to hit 1,000 by the time this first issue is off the press.”

The magazine was an instant hit with educational articles touching most fields of collecting. It was an autograph collector friendly magazine with a column “Do you have a Question?” Another nice feature was “Autograph Collectors In The News.” Joe Kraus had no problem sharing the hobby with others as he even had a section for his competition called “Other Autograph Publications.”

Most impressive is when many were not even aware the first magazine was being published, Joe Kraus already had an amazing 35 paid advertisers.

Next the magazine was taken over by Bill Miller and Darrell Talbert. These two fellows were a class act. They grew the magazine to news stand quality with color covers, color advertising and educational stories to wet your whistle. Bill Miller was so in touch with the hobby he was asked to teach an educational course at one of the International Autograph Collectors Club and Dealer Alliance Autograph Extravaganzas. The Certificates of Completion signed by Miller for that course have become collectors items.

For an example when the world seemed to be crashing down upon us on 9/11 we will take a look at the September 2001 issue of Autograph Collector Magazine. A whopping 168 pages where some of the real top experts wrote articles on a variety of subjects. What’s even more impressive is that Miller and Talbert got the hobby’s support. In this issue they had 85 advertisers.

Now we can see how the magazine under the ownership of Steve “anti-Semite’ Cyrkin simply crumbles and dies.

We can refer to the April 2010 issue. We have a copy on hand only because they were given away free. It is a measly, sickly looking 66 pages, a shade of its former self. Five of the pages were used for Cyrkin’s self promotion. As for the writers, where the magazine once was able to brag that the industry top experts were writing for the magazine, we only recognize one name. Support from advertisers, basically non existent. So embarrassing the section listing the advertisers was dropped. Of the handful who did not mind advertising and associating their company names with a documented racist and anti-Semite we can assure you that not all of them paid for advertising. Their space was a gift.

The mail from everyone is nearly over whelming over the death of the magazine. The hatred for Cyrkin is quite evident. One person even mailed in their November 2008 issue, unopened and in its original plastic holder. The person wanted us to know what they thought of the magazine. After seeing a few issues, they were no longer worth opening.

Unopened November 2008 issue, Collector rebelling against the magazine

Cyrkin became one of the hobby’s most hated individuals. The hobby left him behind in a life raft without a paddle. The magazine went to its final resting place with the June 2010 issue. Rest in Peace!
Breaking News:
September 24, 2010
 
www.autographalert.com
Should We Change Our Appearance?

The support for www.autographalert.com coming from the International Autograph Community is overwhelming. Not only are we getting support from both novice and seasoned autograph collectors and dealers we are getting support from the stamp and coin trade and from book dealers. Just today we heard that a California Rare Book Dealer was thinking about offering some autographs to a high profile seller of autographs but when they saw that seller was highlighted for years on this site, they chose someone else.

Even a week or so before this month ends, it is evident we will break another record for visits.

The management of www.autographalert.com wants to take this opportunity to personally thank each and every one of our supporters. For your continued support, we promise many more educational articles are coming. It is our effort to help you save money and not get caught up in all the fraud that has overtaken this once wonderful hobby of autograph collecting.

We recently received an email which we will quote word for word from an www.autographalert.com supporter.

“I visit your site regularly and I’ve corresponded a couple of times. I play around with graphic arts as a hobby. Last night I created this header for the fun of it. If you like it, you can feel free to use it. I made it in CorelDraw, a graphics arts program. Everything is royalty free. I don’t know if other places might use a feather attached to an autograph as a logo, but it wouldn’t be exactly like this. Anyway, thanks for the great site.”
 
Heading being considered for home page of www.autographalert.com
 
 
Management of this site is divided. Some say to not fool with success and others say it will dress up the Home Page. Another says our dedicated readers are used to the original look, people don’t like change.

More importantly, let’s hear what you, our loyal supporters think?

Breaking News:
September 22, 2010
 
Longtime Forger Using Third Party Authenticators
To Flood Market With Fake Autographs

Well a longtime forger from Missouri who was once well known for passing many forgeries of John Wayne Gacy on unsuspecting collectors and dealers is back and working under three aliases.

His expertise with the pen is signing autographs of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson.

The forger has recently been scared of being exposed and refunded a dealer on 500 signed photographs of Muhammad Ali. The forger well aware of and taking advantage of the incompetence of the high profile third party authenticators sent in 10 photos with forged signatures of Ali. The forger gets them COA’d and shows the photographs to a dealer along with the COA’s. The forger wants $50 a piece for the forged signed photo.s However, and here’s the game, if you take others with the same style signature without the COA’s you can have them for only $30. Therefore the dealer only has to pay $15,000 for the 500 signed photographs.

The dealer felt $20 per photo was a huge savings. He also knew that with a volume of 500 photos he can get the authenticating company to authenticate them for a fraction of the $20. However, the incompetent authenticating company got the 500 photos and turned them all down. The dealer who now owns the photos screams bloody murder telling the authenticating company that they OK’d 10 from the same batch just weeks before.

The well known high profile authenticating company states they get nervous when they see so many of the same item.

What ever happened to being able to authenticate a signature whether it’s on one item or 500?

This is not an isolated incident. Problem is if the submitter is a forger of signed pieces and is someone known or a good customer to the authenticating company, the items get passed. Thus the forgers have an ally in the authenticating companies. The high profile authenticating companies are flooding the market with forged autographs.

Breaking News:
September 20, 2010
 
Kevin Keating/PSADNA Authenticator
Involvement in Stolen Will

According to a recent post on www.haulsofshame.com “Speaking of stolen wills, dealer Kevin Keating of Alexandria, Virginia is reportedly cooperating with the Boston Police department in their efforts to recover the desecrated will of Abby Wright, wife of Hall-of-Famer George Wright. He was offering a page wrongfully removed from her probate file and signed by her husband for $6,500 on his website. In late July, Detective Steven Blair of the BPD told the Boston Herald that they planned to “pursue it criminally” if Keating, who is also an authenticator for PSA/DNA, “didn’t agree to give it back.” A call to BPD this week confirmed that, the Wright document hasn’t arrived back in Boston, yet.
 


Breaking News:
September 17, 2010
 
James Spence
Mail Order Forensic Document Examiner

by Steve Packard

This is particularly interesting since James Spence’s own web site for JSA Authentication has biographies of the “experts” on the team. Spence’s biography states that “Mr. Spence has successfully completed certification."

James Spence recently told a client that he should “run for the hills” any time he saw a report from a forensic document examiner or a board certified examiner “because they don’t know what they are doing... in Forensic Document Examination.”

Really? Is he really one of the guys who he says people should “run for the hills” to get away from? Is he really a certified forensic document examiner? Was he suggesting to the client that he should be running to the hills to get away from James Spence?

A look at his resume will inform us when all of this really happened. When did he get the two years of side-by-side apprentice-style training that is customarily considered the groundwork to be a forensic document examiner?

As a fortunate aside of a lawsuit filed against James Spence, there is a sworn deposition from March 1, 2000. We were able to get a lot of information from this document, but unfortunately were not able to determine when he did the customary two-year side-by-side apprentice-style training. Spence did not seem to think it was worth mentioning, not even he was asked about his training. Did it really happen?

Let’s examine his background and see.

He graduated from Iona College of New York in 1982 with a BA degree in French and International Business. No document examiner stuff there.

After college, from 1982-1983, he worked as a fitness instructor at Club Med in Guadeloupe. It’s not likely that this involved too much handwriting training.

He next worked as a fitness instructor for Cunard Cruise Lines, 1983-1984. They’re not generally known as a hotbed of handwriting training, especially when one is doing jumping jacks and aerobics.

James Spence went to dry land from 1984-1988, working for American Van Equipment. He sold commercial equipment for plumbers, electricians and cable tv. There probably was not much of an opportunity for handwriting training there, although cable tv does broadcast cop shows that, at times, mention handwriting. Does that count?
Probably not.
 
He left American Van Equipment in 1988 to specialize. In handwriting? Not exactly. He moved on to the Lynn Ladder Company. He now specialized in ladders and ladder equipment. He stayed there until 1991.

He started doing shows part-time sometime between 1989-1991. Since he had been employed in a series of non-handwriting related jobs prior to that and during that period, when did he get his two-year training in? When did he become a forensic document examiner?

According to Spence, his first handwriting training took place when he was fifteen. He was a student at Mount Carmel Preparatory, a boarding high school in Niagara Falls, Canada. Over a couple weeks span, he took a course in “handwriting analysis or something to that degree.” His teacher was Father Norman Whirling. Father Whirling stressed graphology, the purported ability to determine one’s personality through their handwriting. How did that prepare him to be a forensic document examiner? Does he look at signatures and decide that someone would not have been in the right frame of mind to sign the piece?

According to Spence, he received his certificate as a forensic document examiner in February 2000. He received this certificate “from a fellow by the name of Andrew Bradley in Denver, Colorado.”

Ah, so Andrew Bradley gave him the two years of side-by-side apprentice-style training that is customarily considered the groundwork to be a forensic document examiner?

Not exactly.

It seems the course was a correspondence course. James Spence received a mail order certificate.

He never even met Andrew Bradley, so the side-by-side training would have been rather difficult to accomplish. He didn’t even know where Bradley worked. “I believe it’s strictly out of his home. Or his place of business I should say. I don’t know if he works out of his home as a place of business.”

What? He doesn’t even know where his “trainer” worked?

According to Spence, his training consisted of paying a $400 or $500 fee and completing the material in a notebook that Bradley mailed to him. He stated that “there was a tremendous amount of reading that goes into it. There are a series of different worksheets which act as an exam. And then after receiving a grade back on that, there’s a final exam.”
 
We have a copy of Andrew Bradley’s correspondence course training book. It’s a whopping one inch thick. The text is double sided. The text is only printed on one side of the paper. That one inch includes section dividers, the lessons and the worksheets. It includes pages with cute drawings, like the full page drawing of a lady with a light bulb above her head. It includes the appendix.

Approximately ¼ of the notebook deals with typewriting, anonymous letters and matters that will never come to play in the daily work at JSA. For example, there is a section on “writing instruments, erased writing, etc. Use of the ESDA”. Unfortunately, 5 of the 8 pages in this section are dedicated to the ESDA, the electrostatic detection apparatus, a machine that has no practical application in authentication, whatsoever. The ESDA is used to detect indentation on a piece of paper. Indented writing on a piece of paper that had been under another piece of paper when someone wrote on the upper piece of paper. If works if you had a pad of paper and something was written on a page that has since been removed. How would this work on an album? A baseball? A jersey? Not at all.
The mechanics of handwriting section, which should be a major portion of the work Spence currently does appears in the beginning of the notebook. Two 5-page sections. Not exactly extensive, by any standard.

The handwriting characteristics section is split into three parts. The largest is a whopping 6½ pages. One could practically make it through that during a tv commercial break. The smallest of the three sections is 4 pages.

The process of comparison section 5½ pages long. That’s with a 2 inch margin at the top of the page and 1¼ margins at the bottom of the page and the left side of the page. This makes the actual size of the area with text on the page 7¾x6. To put the size in perspective, that would fit in an 8x10 frame. With a lot of room to spare.

There are more sections, but you probably get there point. There’s not a lot of meat to this one inch notebook.

It would be hard to believe that anyone would be too taxed by anything in a one inch workbook, at least not too taxed for very long. Really, how long could it take, especially considering a lot of it is filler?

According to James Spence, it was extremely taxing. How long did it take him to complete this one inch thick correspondence course? “A period of four months”.

Spence asserted that he was “very diligent with my studies with it. Certainly more than once a week. In many cases, sometimes I’d work on it from 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night.”

Wow. Most people could probably finish a notebook that was one inch thick, with filler material, in – tops – a couple hours. Four months, including multiple 15 hour days? Spence must be either a REALLY slow reader or learner, or both.

Even if one believes that it actually took Spence 4 months of long, grinding days to
complete 1 inch of text mixed in with drawings and filler material, it clearly would not constitute the equivalent of two years of side-by-side apprentice-style training that is customarily considered the groundwork to be a forensic document examiner.

In fact, no organization recognizes Bradley’s inch thick correspondence course as a legitimate basis for anyone to claim to be a forensic document examiner, no matter what Bradley titled the course or printed on the certificate.

It’s kind of like drawing winkie on the matchbook and then claiming you were an animator.

So, if Spence’s certificate as a forensic document examiner constitutes nothing more than a mail order gimmick that was designed to make Bradley extra income with very little effort, what is the status of James Spence’s claim that he is a forensic document examiner? Did he receive any other formal training?

Other than the personality traits course with Father Whirling and Bradley’s inch thick correspondence course, when asked if he had any other formal training, Spence said “No.” No other formal training, whatsoever.
 
According to Spence, he did have some informal training. He said he visited with noted forensic document examiner Charles Hamilton “perhaps five to seven times” between 1994 to 1998. During each of these “five to seven times” that Spence states he visited with Charles Hamilton, he brought along his friend Alfred Angelo, a CPA who had a large memorabilia collection.

On at least one of the visits, Spence explained, Hamilton took the ten signatures for review. He returned them within one or two weeks. Since Spence was not present, by his own admission, when Hamilton did the examinations, at best there were four to six visits during which he may have seen Hamilton do work. Even if we give him credit for all of those visits, since he testified that he never stayed overnight, there is no way – by any standards – that a handful of visits would constitute the two years of side-by-side apprentice-style training that is customarily considered the groundwork to be a forensic document examiner.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem we can even give him credit for even all of the visits. Spence testified that he and his buddy the CPA visited Hamilton “five to seven times” between 1994 and 1998.

Charles Hamilton died on December 13, 1996.

How many of the “five to seven times” between 1994 and 1998 occurred after December 13, 1996? Were any of them conducted with an Ouija board?

Other than that, James Spence said his only training was on the job. So, a man with virtually no training essentially learned to authenticate by being a lead examiner at PSADNA and then spinning off for his own company, JSA.

Since nobody at PSADNA has had formal training, and nobody at JSA has formal training, Spence’s on-the-job training really amounts to no more than the blind leading the blind.

James Spence has never done anything even remotely close to the two years of side-by-side apprentice-style training that is customarily considered the groundwork to be a forensic document examiner.

Yes, his own web site touts him as a forensic document examiner.

There are only two places in the world where James Spence is a forensic document examiner.

The first is in his biography on his own web site.

The other is in his own mind.

Considering all of this, it’s not hard to figure out why JSA’s submission forms and the JSA web site both carry the following disclaimer:

“Certification and authentication involves an individual judgment that is subjective and requires the exercise of professional opinion, which can change from time to time. Therefore, JSA makes no warranty or representation and shall have no liability whatsoever to the customer for the opinion rendered by JSA on any submission.”
 
Why not a simple disclaimer? Like: James Spence, Mail Order Forensic Document Examiner.

Breaking News:
September 15, 2010
 
Autograph Authenticators Scrambling?

Has panic time for these uneducated autograph guessors finally arrived? The lines are noticeably shorter at the booths of those companies who still claim they can authenticate autographs. How often have we seen authenticating companies with an “F” rating by the Better Business Bureau?

Complaints are by the thousands and who has any respect for most autographs being offered on eBay? By this time everyone should be aware that eBay uses the high profile 3rd party authenticating companies. Look at the mess that has been created.

There’s only one reason why the companies who still have the nerve to claim they can authenticate autographs are panicking. The answer is many legitimate professional autograph dealers and even autograph clubs will no longer accept these authenticating companies certificates for a refund. The list of dealers not accepting the “uneducated guess” from wannabe authenticators is growing rapidly. Therefore, it’s simply a waste of money for any collector to pay for one of the “guesses” from an authenticating company! Most legitimate autograph dealers will tell you the certificates of authenticity are basically worthless.

It’s been apparent many of the questionable sellers of autographs are trying to get their bad items passed as genuine. When they have been questioned in the past, they say “don’t blame me, the authenticator said it was genuine. Now the seller won’t refund your money.” The authenticating company won’t refund your money either as they don’t guarantee a thing.

Where else in life does anyone spend money for a product or service especially with someone with a well documented background of being incompetent and there are absolutely no guarantees for anything. To add insult to injury you will be told ‘”you only purchased our opinion” and that would be from someone who had little or no background in our hobby.

How desperate are these companies getting? Steve “anti-semite” Cyrkin owner of the defunct printed copy of Autograph magazine, placed a phone call to a representative of www.autographalert.com on Sunday, September 5, 2010. As many of you are aware, Cyrkin is one of the co-founders of PSA/DNA and is still a major stock holder in the company.

Cyrkin’s complaint is that www.autographalert.com keeps advising the collecting public of how incompetent the authenticators are. He feels the information published on this site is affecting the support to authenticating companies. He also claims some dealers which he doesn’t approve of (all non advertisers when his magazine was published) will not give a refund because of the information on this site. He was reminded that we have no record of him giving refunds for non published issues of his magazine. Cyrkin was also reminded that his two full page advertisers John Reznikoff of University Archives and Roger Epperson of Signed, Sealed and Delivered also have a record for refusing to issue refunds for forged signatures they sold.

This site does not publish fabricated stories but documents just some of the highlights of authenticators mistakes and publishes where the sale is taking place, the date, the item number and mentions whether they authenticated as genuine a printed or rubber stamped signature and in other cases even authenticated the wrong person.

Shocking, of all the people to call us is someone whose autograph business, Starbrite website, magazine and blog all seems to be dissolving. Typical of someone who clearly appears to be going down and wants to take what’s left of this hobby with him.

In closing, the more professional dealers and auction houses who do not accept the “guesses” from the authenticators, there will be no reason for collectors to use them. Hopefully the authenticators, almost all of whose names were unknown to the hobby before they became “instant experts” will go back to wherever they came from.

Breaking News:
September 13, 2010
 
Sample email responses for
eBay to Suspend PSA/DNA and JSA


To whom it may concern,

This is in response to the June 10th article about a petition to have ebay suspend PSA/DNA.
 
I once was an individual who thought that 3rd party grading services was the way to go, obviously I didn't do my homework on the subject and didn't know about autographalert.
 
A few years ago I went to a collectors show in which PSA/DNA had an on site service to authentic items for a fee. I paid the fee to have a really great looking Joe DiMaggio signed baseball authenticated and imagine my surprise when I was told that the autograph wasn't real in their opinion. I asked to speak with the authenticator and was told that he couldn't come out and talk to me. The reason that I was surprised, I had Joe sign the baseball in front of me at a sports collectors show in 1995 in San Francisco, so I know that the autograph is REAL! I asked for my money back but of course they wouldn't refund my money since it was their opinion. I filed a complaint with the SoCal BBB and PSA's response was to have me send the ball down to them and they would try to authentic the ball again, needless to say I didn't do it.
 
I've also had a Ted Williams signed baseball removed from ebay in the past which upset me.
 
Something has to be done concerning PSA/DNA and JSA as they're stealing money from many innocent people who think that the 3rd party grading is ensuring that the autograph is real. It's a shame to see that items on ebay selling for the highest prices are with COA's from PSA/DNA or JSA.
 
I once tried to sell my Joe DiMaggio signed ball on ebay and stated that I guarantee the autograph to be 100% real if taken to a company that will really authenticate the autograph and not just give an opinion like PSA/DNA or JSA. I placed a reserve on the ball and of course the highest bid didn't reach my reserve which was lower than the selling price of balls signed with PSA/DNA or JSA COA's.
 
Count me in as one who would do my part to help to stop PSA/DNA and JSA from scamming other's.

Sincerely,
Bruce Saito
aloha

Breaking News:
September 1, 2010
 
Autograph magazine, has it hit the skids?

Talk about having problems and financial difficulties Steve “anti-semite” Cyrkin appears to be the leader of the pack.

Ever since this person got off the track it appears he has gone ballistic. We don’t know how many more professionals in this business have to tell him to stop his attacks and his antics towards non-subscribers and non-advertisers and get back to attempting to publish a magazine.

Autographalert.com recently received an email from one of our admirers dated August 19, 2010 and it states: “I think a blog on your website (www.autographalert.com) would be a KILLER!”

Our response was…absolutely not. Steve Cyrkin appears to have given up on his magazine and it putting what's left of his energy into a blog. It’s failing miserably. He has admitted he is aware many persons (most likely his few friends) are posting messages he approves of and then he responds. The names used are unknown to the hobby, not members of any organization or known to dealers yet they have a lot to say. Much of Cyrkin's time is spent removing messages that criticize him, his actions or his magazine. Cyrkin must live on the site as these messages don't usually last several minutes before he removes them. It’s all one sided and he’s fooling few.

Steve “anti-semite” Cyrkin would be ahead of himself and maybe still in the picture if he could simply tell the truth. How long will it take for him to remove the forgeries from his inventory. His Starbrite autograph business appears to have folded. He claimed he was removing forgeries from its inventory but on his ads he claims all autographs were received “in person.” If you go to the defunct web site it states the site is “Temporarily Closed and will reopen August 6.” The August 6 he refers to is two years ago! He continued to insult what was left of his subscribers by raising his subscription price by 20% and then screw them out of a February 2010 issue.

Complaints were sent to Cyrkin from every direction and some of his subscribers sent us copies of the emails. Have you tried getting a reimbursement from Cyrkin for a missing issue? He will tell you that he will extend your subscription. If you keep questioning him you will hear: “they keep claiming publishing delays….and communication back and forth between Steve all of a sudden went cold…” or “I have been emailing you (Steve Cyrkin) back and forth but the last couple of months you stopped replying to my emails once I asked you where the magazine is…”

Many have told us, from around the world, they won’t bother having to deal with Cyrkin for a refund and just won’t renew their subscriptions.

One very lame reply from Steve “anti-semite” Cyrkin was about issues of his anemic magazine that were never published. “We had to skip July and I’m late getting August out…”

Finally some truth from Cyrkin: “We had to skip July” then he goes into a lie “I’m late getting out August!” He tries to give the impression that August is coming but just late. Well folks, there was no August either and basically September should have been received two weeks ago or more.

How can you tell someone is desperate? Steve “anti-semite” Cyrkin’s latest move is attempting to invoice old advertisers for advertising they took and paid for four to five years ago. In one instance Steve “anti-semite” Cyrkin called an old advertiser who at one time took two full page ads and told the advertiser that they owed a few thousand dollars for unpaid advertising. Cyrkin stated to the advertiser that his employee who was on drugs (meth) did not send out invoices.

The advertiser check their records and it was clear to them that all advertising was paid for. Cyrkin was asked during a telephone conversation how many others is he trying to double bill and his answer was “that’s confidential.” It appears Cyrkin is trying to find a new way of obtaining revenue.

We heard from an insider that Cyrkin has also asked at least one of his few current advertisers to pay for their ad one year in advance. If they fell for this ploy they already missed three issues.

It certainly appears between his old subscribers, advertisers and many writers who have flew the coup, no one is throwing Steve “anti-semite” Cyrkin a life ring.

 

 

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