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View Full Version : Fake Ruth Autograph? Maybe more Fakes too?


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06-27-2007, 09:24 AM
Posted By: <b>Jared</b><p>Hi guys, I am new to this board and I just wanted to say it has been fun reading the comments and posts everyone has. I have been interested in finding a Babe Ruth autographed baseball for awhile and I came across this website <a href="http://www.aasportscollectibles.com/" target="_new" rel="nofollow">http://www.aasportscollectibles.com/</a> and looked at this baseball, <a href="http://www.aasportscollectibles.com/ruthball2.htm" target="_new" rel="nofollow">http://www.aasportscollectibles.com/ruthball2.htm</a> . I was just wondering what people think. I also have more pictures sent to my email ( I could send them to anyone that may want to look at them). Ball is an Official "Harridge" American League ball. The only thing is he says he only uses Donald Frangipani and Christopher Morales as authenticators. He got really mad when I asked him why he uses them after their reputation is tainted. He said they use scientific evidence and Donald has been revered for his work and he has used him for 20 years. If anyone could take a look and tell me what they think it would be great and also if anyone looks at the other stuff and thinks it's fake let me know too. If you google or Yahoo Babe Ruth autographed baseball this website shows up first. I can post more of his emails if you like too. Thanks.

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06-27-2007, 10:05 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>It looks like it was signed with a very shaky hand, and the condition is too perfect. I'm not an autograph expert but my gut says stay away.<br /><br />And I don't like the seller's response to your question.

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06-27-2007, 10:17 AM
Posted By: <b>Tom Boblitt</b><p>Frangiapani and Morales.......HA<br />Take a look who the lead authenticator for Coach's Corner auctions is.......<br />

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06-27-2007, 10:21 AM
Posted By: <b>Fuzzysloth</b><p>I’d wager that 70% to 90% of the items listed on that website are forgeries. The Frangipani connection, alone, should be reason enough to stay away, but there’s more. Notice how all of the “flats” come framed. In order for PSA/DNA or JSA to authenticate them, they must be removed from their frames. Catch 22. The items cannot be returned to All American if they are unframed (after being ultimately rejected by PSA/DNA and/or JSA). Similarly, all of his signed balls come plastic wrapped. Again, reputable authenticators will not even look at a ball with this cellophane. Once you remove it, have it looked at and it fails, you will not be able to return it. All American has found a loophole that will almost always sting a first time buyer. I know this because of two people that it’s happened to. Additionally, look at his inventory. Don’t you think that the .400 hitter’s ball, the ’39 HoF ball and the ’39 HoF glove (among many others in his inventory) would have sold at those prices if they were real? He’s had them listed for years and they remain untouched. Perhaps he has multiples of those rare, vintage pieces to continuously replenish his stock!<br /><br />(Edited to supply username)

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06-27-2007, 11:14 AM
Posted By: <b>Jared</b><p>I got the message back from Richard Simon and he told me "In my opinion the ball is not authentic, tremors abound in the signature and some letters are not formed properly." I think that it is just amazing that this type of stuff is out there. <br /><br />I have to put the emails up though...they are just too funny and kinda depressing because I think the guy thinks he has real stuff. <br /><br />"The Ruth autograph is on a Official "Harridge" American League ball. <br />I have eliminated all overhead and I pass those savings along to my customers. <br />The ball comes with my certificate and 2 forensic certificates.<br />I do not recognize psa as an authenticator or any other self professed "expert" as authenticators. I only accept board or court certified forensic examiners as authenticators and it states that on my certificate. Additional photos are attached.<br />Thanks for the inquiry,"<br /><br />Later message <br /><br />"The forensic examiners that I use are Donald Frangipani and Christopher Morales. I have no history on the ball, I obtained it at a Estate Sale. Authenticity is a issue with me, that is why I go to the extent of having the item authenticated utilizing forensic (scientific) methods, not just having someone look at the item to determine whether it is real or not. Both of the examiners I use are court certified and are recognized as experts up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court.<br />This ball would easily appraise for $15000.00 - $20000.00."<br /><br />Well thanks for your help and any continued discussion is welcomed because it helps get all this stuff out in the air. <br />

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06-27-2007, 11:37 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>The chances of finding a single signed Ruth ball in Mint condition at an estate sale is zero. The terms "estate sale" and "fake" are synonymous.

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06-27-2007, 12:41 PM
Posted By: <b>Jason L</b><p>You make it sound as though nothing can actually come from "Grandpa's attic" !!! <img src="/images/happy.gif" height=14 width=14><br /><br />So are you saying that I shouldn't name the 'For Sale' page on my website : "Estate Sale" ?

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06-27-2007, 12:52 PM
Posted By: <b>Sean Coe</b><p>2 dead giveaways. It looks like it was signed yesterday(or last week anyway) and it was signed in a very slow shaky hand, almost "drawn".

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06-27-2007, 01:12 PM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>Jason- I've been in the hobby 25 years. I have heard "it came out of an estate sale" dozens of times. I am still waiting to see the first genuine piece from an estate sale.<br /><br />And I'm not talking about the miscellaneous piece such as a Yankees' yearbook, or shoebox of 1980's Topps cards that come from an estate sale and are real.<br /><br />I'm talking about the people who find T206 Wagners and 1933 Goudey Lajoies and single signed Ruth balls, and they were the only ones at the sale with the good sense to recognize those objects were valuable. Everybody else there somehow missed them.<br /><br />And I know occasionally there are some great finds, but they are scarcer than hen's teeth.

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06-27-2007, 01:15 PM
Posted By: <b>David Atkatz</b><p>The ball is a forgery. That's obvious upon inspection.<br />Additionally, though, anything certified by Frangipani or Morales is guaranteed to be fake.

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06-27-2007, 01:19 PM
Posted By: <b>Dan Bretta</b><p>How does this Frangipani dude still get work?

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06-27-2007, 01:20 PM
Posted By: <b>David Atkatz</b><p>Just took a look at his Ruths and Gehrigs--my area of expertise.<br /><br />All fake. Every single one.

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06-27-2007, 01:30 PM
Posted By: <b>Joseph</b><p>It is amazing to me that Frangipani--whom the FBI called the "authenticator of choice" for the Operation Bullpen ring--can still find work in the sports memorabilia business. I realize he was never charged, but jeez! Btw, Jared, you might want to read the book "Operation Bullpen" before you spend seven grand on a sports autograph. You can get quality fakes for a lot less than that.

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06-27-2007, 01:38 PM
Posted By: <b>David Atkatz</b><p>He gets work because he will authenticate garbage.<br />Got some forgeries that need certs?<br />Frangipani's your "go to" guy.<br />The people that this dealer is aiming at have never heard of Operation Bullpen.

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06-27-2007, 01:42 PM
Posted By: <b>Jared</b><p>Yeah I have looked into Operation Bullpen...clearly there is a bunch of bogus stuff out there. I am not about to buy anything that is $7000 for anything that is certified by those two chums. Anyway, I was looking at coach's corner...why don't more people talk about how fake some of their stuff looks. I saw one Babe Ruth ball that looks like it was signed in Sharpie and someone bought it for over 3 grand. Is there anything that is real on Coach's Corner...it looks like some stuff might be real but what do people think of STAT, I hear they are iffy on things too.

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06-27-2007, 01:44 PM
Posted By: <b>David Atkatz</b><p>I've seen some junk on eBay recently with STAT certificates.

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06-27-2007, 01:58 PM
Posted By: <b>Jon Canfield</b><p>As a very avid collector of signed memorabilia, I do want to state that not all Donald Frangipani stuff is bad. I know that part of his reputation was tainted as a result of his letters of authenticity being easily forged and attached to forged items. That being said, I also would tend to stay away from stuff with his name attached to it unless I can get it authenticated elsewhere. However, PSA and JSA are certainly not the gospel. In a study done (and broadcasted on HBO) where some of the leading authenticators were asked to look at a series of authentic and forged items, both Richard Simon and Justin Priddy (sp?) of GAI came out on top. I've had items kicked out by JSA only to be authenticated by PSA or GAI. Also the same is true where GAI has kicked out stuff and JSA has authenticated it. It's an imperfect world to authentication.<br /><br />Edited to correct spelling...<br />Edited to correct the errors I made as Shelly pointed out...

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06-27-2007, 02:07 PM
Posted By: <b>David Atkatz</b><p>That's absolutely true. I've been collecting vintage (1920s and earlier) Yankee material for more than forty years.<br />I've made mistakes, and so has PSA, Jimmy Spence, Mike Gutierez, and the rest of the "good" authenticators. I've corrected those I've mentioned a time or two--and they've acknowledged their mistakes--and I've been corrected by one or another a time or two.<br />But the bottom line, at least for me, is that I've got the experience to trust myself rather than a third party. And It's taken many years and a lot of work to get there.

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06-27-2007, 02:17 PM
Posted By: <b>David Atkatz</b><p>Frangipani's reputation was not tainted by stolen and subsequently forged certificates. That's his cock and bull story. He always has, and continues to green light any piece of crap that comes his way, no matter how blatantly bad.<br />And I have never seen a single good vintage item with his CoA.<br />His sole purpose in life is to authenticate garbage.

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06-27-2007, 02:35 PM
Posted By: <b>davidcycleback</b><p>If a collector is interested in buying a Ruth and is worried about authenticity, he or she might consider buying a signed personal check. Not only are Ruth checks much harder to forge, but they are cheaper than a ball.<br /><br />For autographs, signed personal checks, vintage letters (especially with mailing envelopes and/or on personal stationary), contracts, postally used government postcards are relatively safe. Single signed baseballs and photos are the most commonly forged. Team balls are safer than single signed balls, as it's harder to forge well all the players on the ball. Though obviously one has to lookout for clubhouse signatures.<br /><br />Also, provenance can help. For example a Ty Cobb photo known to have from the collections of Jeffrey Morey, Roy Pitts or M. Watt Espy. These were old timer collectors, who collected baseball and other autographs before they were worth much. You will occasionally hear "From the Roy Pitts collection" or "from the Jeff Morey collection" which is a good sign You may find a letter or enveloped or personalization addressed to one of these guys, and know the source is reputable. I know Espy and Pitts also collected non-sport autographs through the mail, so you can also find a Marlon Brando or Albert Einstein photo or letter obtained by them. I had a large Pitts/Espy collection and a surprising amount came with the original envelopes addressed to them-- postmarked and often with the signer's return address. Obviously, make you more confident autographed item inside is genuine.<br /><br />Mike Gutierrez once said that one of the best signs a vintage autograph is authentic is when it comes with the original mailing envelope.<br /><br />I recently had a J. Edgar Hoover signed letter with the postmarked mailing envelope with his personal FBI return address. Of course you have to consider whether whether the signature is his, autopen or secretarial. However, the envelope shows the autograph came from J. Edgar Hoover's office while he was working there. You don't have to be an autograph expert to know that's a good place for a Hoover autograph to have originated.

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06-27-2007, 03:24 PM
Posted By: <b>boxingbaseballgolf33</b><p>there are many respectful dealers out there that would help you out with finding one, Babe Ruth single signed balls are out there in a 6 or 7 grade for that kind of money - wait for some auctions this fall - there should be some really good ones coming up.<br /><br />Take care<br /><br />Jimmy<br />

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06-27-2007, 03:40 PM
Posted By: <b>Sean Coe</b><p>A lot of the items on his website look like they came directly from Coaches Corner. Shiny new looking baseballs with immaculate signatures or multiple signed items where all the sigs have been signed by the same person with the same writing instrument.

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06-27-2007, 03:54 PM
Posted By: <b>Joseph</b><p>Here ya go...you've got a couple of hours to score this, a Ruth autograph that has a fighting chance to be real:<br /><br /><a href="http://cgi.ebay.com/BABE-RUTH-UD-Premier-W-Series-Ticket-cut-autograph-1-1_W0QQitemZ300122912713QQihZ020QQcategoryZ55947QQr dZ1QQcmdZViewItem" target="_new" rel="nofollow">http://cgi.ebay.com/BABE-RUTH-UD-Premier-W-Series-Ticket-cut-autograph-1-1_W0QQitemZ300122912713QQihZ020QQcategoryZ55947QQr dZ1QQcmdZViewItem</a><br /><br />

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06-27-2007, 04:04 PM
Posted By: <b>David Atkatz</b><p>Unbelievable! That's a $3000-$4000 autograph. Upper Deck cuts it, ruining the ticket, mounts it in a card, and people line up to pay 10x what it's worth.

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06-28-2007, 07:06 AM
Posted By: <b>Alan</b><p>If anyone is looking for Babe Ruth autographs, a reputable place would be R & R Auction House. They have auctions every month (includes a gorgious catalog). Their stuff included all areas including baseball. I have no affiliation to them at all.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.rrauction.com" target="_new" rel="nofollow">http://www.rrauction.com</a><br /><br />

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06-29-2007, 10:27 AM
Posted By: <b>shelly jaffe</b><p>Psa and Jsa had nothing to do with the HBO show. STAT missed on three out of five. Frangipaini missed on seven out of seven. Morales missed on five out of five. William Tell three out of five. Ricard Simon and Global five out five correct. If you buy from Coaches Corner let the buyer beware. I worked for Tracer Code for 2 years doing authentications. We where asked by Coaches Corner to do there autenticating. I looked at over 150 pieces and authenticated just 2 items. We where replaced by STAT.

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06-29-2007, 10:32 AM
Posted By: <b>Jared</b><p>It really is too bad that some people buy things thinking they got a real deal and that their item is real when some day they will find out it is fake. I just don't understand how authenticators can't carbon date the ink or something scientific to see just how old something is. Also, it seems like Coach's Corner has some real things and some that are fake, by just looking at them offhand.

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06-29-2007, 10:44 AM
Posted By: <b>shelly jaffe</b><p>I would be willing to bet that any high end items such as Ruth, Cobb, Foxx etc on bats balls and jerseys would not pass Psa Jsa Richard Simon or anyone that knows what they are doing.

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06-29-2007, 11:00 AM
Posted By: <b>Dan Bretta</b><p>The number one reason I no longer subscribe to SCD is because they allow Coach's Corner to advertise with them. They KNOW that crap is no good and they continue to let it go on in the pages of their magazine.

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06-29-2007, 11:53 AM
Posted By: <b>barrysloate</b><p>How does Coach's Corner manage to get repeat business? You can't keep finding new people forever.

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06-29-2007, 12:26 PM
Posted By: <b>DJ</b><p>The consignor does not care. Why should he? <br /><br />In May, on the VBC Forum, on another "We Hate SCD" thread (one of many), I pointed out the following:<br /><br />Ball #1: (lot 19)<br />...grades a 7.5 overall and the ball comes with a COA from the hobby experts/pioneers at STAT AUTHENTIC for authenticity purposes. Book value is over $20,000! Sold for $ 682.<br /><br />Ball #2: (lot 213)<br />...grades a 7 overall. It comes with a COA from forensic expert examiner Chris Morales and book value is over $20,000. Nice! Sold for $ 653.<br /><br />Just for s--ts and giggles, I went to the CCSA site and last month, they had THREE more single signed Mel Ott baseballs. <br /><br />Ball #1: (lot 7)<br />...experts at STAT AUTHENTIC and book value on this seldom-seen beauty is over $20,000. Amazing! Sold for $420.<br /><br />Ball #2: (lot 258)<br />...Chris Morales for authenticity purposes. Valued into the 5-figures! Sold for $581.<br /><br />Ball #3: (lot 264)<br />...expert authentication team at Stat Authentic. Book value is over $20,000.<br />Sold for $405. <br /><br />Amazing, isn't it?<br /><br />It is also good to see Shelly Jaffe on Board. I hope he continues to post and enlighten us with tales from the darkside.<br /><br />DJ<br /><br />

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06-29-2007, 06:43 PM
Posted By: <b>davidcycleback</b><p>If you know a Mel Ott ball will sell for, say, $500 in your auction and an authentic Mel Ott ball will sell for $30,000 in a Mastro Auction, there is no way you would sell in your auction a Mel Ott ball you believed authentic. If you are keeping it in your auction to sell for $500, that's because you don't believe it's authentic. <br /><br />Same goes with authenticating companies. If a PSA/DNA or JSA LOA will bring you $10,000 more than an LOA from Company Z, you pick Company Z because you believe PSA/DNA and JSA would judge it fake. There is no other reason for turning down the $10,000. You can argue about customer service or house calls or examiner certifications or family values or that Jimmy Spence once said your dog was ugly, but no one's going to turn down $10,000.

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06-30-2007, 12:08 PM
Posted By: <b>DJ</b><p>You hit it on the head David. After all, life would be too simple if we could buy something for $400 and sell it for $20,000 the next week. A nice 5000% profit!<br /><br />They appear to have an exclusive agreement with Josh Gibson's people as they are the only auction house that basically sells his autographs. A pair of baseball pants signed by Josh Gibson for $159 in the June auction? <br /><br />Why don't any of these Gibson's trickle over to Mastro or Lelands or Robert Edwards? <br /><br />When was the last time you saw one of the big auction houses carry a Gibson, outside of that signed photo card that sold for like $75,000 in REA?<br /><br />DJ

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07-31-2007, 07:29 PM
Posted By: <b>jeffdrum</b><p>I believe that the shakiness of the signature is referred to as "Forger's Palsy" in the trade.