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  #1  
Old 01-12-2012, 04:54 PM
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Default 1927 Yankees team ball forgery

I have always been one to admit my mistakes. (I learned as a physics professor that a mistake is a "teachable moment.") One of the centerpieces of my vintage Yankee collection is, indeed, a forgery--one that fooled me, and James Spence as well. It sure is nice work, though. (Maybe I'll consign it to Coach's. )

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  #2  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:07 PM
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Default forgery

Hi David,
How did you finally come to that conclusion on the ball?
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:11 PM
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Sorry for your loss. This is frightening... to say the least. If you don't mind me asking, what clinched it for you?
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:16 PM
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Sorry for your loss.
+1. That sucks.
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:19 PM
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Jeremy, Al, I was quite worried after seeing some photos that Chris posted. (I don't find all his posts useless! ) The ball he pictured was obviously a forgery, but there were signatures on that ball that certainly seemed very, very like signatures on mine. After a long time rationalizing--trying to convince myself that the differences I could find showed my ball was not done by the same hand, I bit the bullet and spoke with one who's knowledge and skills I consider to be second-to-none. He confirmed my fears.

Last edited by David Atkatz; 01-12-2012 at 05:20 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:26 PM
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I respect your honesty David. Unfortunately, many would have consigned the ball to the next major auction house's auction & walked away.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:27 PM
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I'm really sorry to hear that, David.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:28 PM
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I respect your honesty David. Unfortunately, many would have consigned the ball to the next major auction house's auction & walked away.
The thought did cross my mind!

Last edited by David Atkatz; 01-12-2012 at 05:29 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:36 PM
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It would have crossed my mind also. I guess that's what separates the good guys from the bad guys.
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2012, 05:41 PM
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Admire your honesty and feel for your loss.

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  #11  
Old 01-12-2012, 06:28 PM
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Default sorry to hear that

Sorry to hear that David. It really sucks. You are a good man for not pawning it off. I try to live by "Karma" and yours is very good from that situation. All the best...
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2012, 06:29 PM
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Can you get your money back David, or has it far passed that point? That is a very expensive baseball.
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2012, 06:36 PM
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I'm probably stuck, Barry. The ball was purchased from Superior Auctions in 2000. I don't think they're still in business.

Maybe I'll sue Spence.
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2012, 06:47 PM
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David,
Very sorry to hear that about the ball. My heart goes out to you as a fellow collector of yankees items. But as I have always said this is the reason why I stopped collecting anything autographed many years ago. Letters ,COAs, it doesnt really matter what you have but like I said unless you were there and it was signed in front of you there is NO expert that can say with 100% certainty its real. And like I said my heart goes out to you because its an expensive lesson to learn. You as a collector / expert were even fooled so what chance does a novice to advanced collector with extra $ stand? I think if every member on net 54 kicked in 10 dollars we could help you out of your problem! I will be the first to kick in my friend! Al
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2012, 06:51 PM
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Thanks for the offer, Al!

It is an expensive lesson, but that's life. As Tony Soprano would say, "Whadda ya gonna do?"

Last edited by David Atkatz; 01-12-2012 at 06:56 PM.
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  #16  
Old 01-12-2012, 07:01 PM
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David, was it Regency Superior auctions? If so, they are still in business...I get catalogs for all their auctions (4 or 5 per year)...just got a catalog a month or so back.
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  #17  
Old 01-12-2012, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batsballsbases View Post
David,
Very sorry to hear that about the ball. My heart goes out to you as a fellow collector of yankees items. But as I have always said this is the reason why I stopped collecting anything autographed many years ago. Letters ,COAs, it doesnt really matter what you have but like I said unless you were there and it was signed in front of you there is NO expert that can say with 100% certainty its real. And like I said my heart goes out to you because its an expensive lesson to learn. You as a collector / expert were even fooled so what chance does a novice to advanced collector with extra $ stand? I think if every member on net 54 kicked in 10 dollars we could help you out of your problem! I will be the first to kick in my friend! Al
Sorry David....

Although I agree 1,000,000% with Al's quote (which I bolded).

Jeff
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  #18  
Old 01-12-2012, 07:16 PM
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David, was it Regency Superior auctions? If so, they are still in business...I get catalogs for all their auctions (4 or 5 per year)...just got a catalog a month or so back.
No, Dan. It was Superior Sportscards.
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2012, 07:52 PM
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Default Was Superior Sportscard the business . . .

.

. . . that was owned by Greg Bussineau, lately of Legacy Sports Rarities / Greg Bussineau Sports Rarities?
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  #20  
Old 01-12-2012, 08:07 PM
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it's a spence ball.
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  #21  
Old 01-12-2012, 08:50 PM
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That really stinks. I'd love to know the person whose opinion you value so highly; is it perhaps a dealer we are familiar with? I know that's where I'd go with an item like this.

I've always desired a ball signed by Ruth, Wagner, or Johnson, but for me to spend so much, I'd want much more assurance than JSA or PSA can offer (and I am not trying to bash them in this instance.) This is why I go after obscure guys in my niche. With such a large collection, I wouldn't be terribly surprised if I have a bad one or two. But if I've fallen for a fake Bennie Huffman signed ball, well, I'm out 30 bucks.

I give you props for eating the ball instead of trying to recoup the money.

Ken
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  #22  
Old 01-12-2012, 09:16 PM
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I'd love to know the person whose opinion you value so highly...
Ken
It's our very own Jodi Birkholm.
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  #23  
Old 01-12-2012, 09:23 PM
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David,
I hate to say it but I would value that opinion also.
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  #24  
Old 01-12-2012, 09:52 PM
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man, sorry david!

that is scary, i have seen you post images of that ball in the past, i would've sworn it was legit, those sigs look great. so what do you (or spence) claim happened? was this a blank vintage ball and one person forged all the sigs? or did it originally have a few legit ones on it, then the others were faked later?
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  #25  
Old 01-13-2012, 09:15 AM
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I share the above views, especialy those commending David for not attempting to sell the ball -- a 'mensch' as my grandmother would say.

I also agree with Al's comment: if an expert of David's skill and experience can be fooled, what chance do we novice collectors have?

Finally, although not my business, I hope David and Richard can bury the hatchet. Although I've never met either in person, both seem to be good and honest folks and assets to the hobby.

Mark
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  #26  
Old 01-13-2012, 09:44 AM
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Hi Mark,
I also wish that Richard and David can put an end to this. I have known Richard for 20+years from the White Plains shows and always found his knowledge of autographs to be first rate. Even thou he is one of the last 5 Met Fans left we must forgive him. I also have talked to David several times on the phone and find his knowledge of yankee items to be vast. Better to use your knowledge in a constructive way on the net54 that look like two children in a pissing contest where the last one standing wins! Do you know what I mean Boys! And David my friend Tony Soprano "wooda pulled out the gun and done some shootin" if you know what I mean.
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  #27  
Old 01-13-2012, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
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It's our very own Jodi Birkholm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by batsballsbases View Post
David,
I hate to say it but I would value that opinion also.
Agreed. Jodi is absolutely one of the finest in the business. An honest and humble man that I respect and admire.
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  #28  
Old 01-13-2012, 09:50 AM
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Mark,
Thanks for the kind words but I want to reply to the statements from a couple of people on this thread who are wondering how they can continue to collect when something like this baseball incident can fool some experienced people.
There are good dealers in this hobby. Those that are knowledgable about what they do. Of course not one of them can claim that they have never been fooled but if you can confine your purchasing to the "good guys" the chances are you can build a good collection which will be as close to 100% authentic as can be.
The good dealers that I know, and they don't use TPA, include Jim Stinson, Bill Corcoran, Ron Gordon, Rich Albersheim, Danny Cariseo, Jodi Birkholm and Kevin Keating. Phil Marx uses TPA and he is trustworthy also. These are knowledgable people and will always guarantee their material. I am glad to say that they are friends of mine too.
As far as auction houses go I have known the people at Lelands for a long time. I feel that they are the most knowledgable auction house people in the hobby when it comes to autographs. They are the only major auction house that I am aware of that does not need to use TPA.
Good luck.
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Last edited by RichardSimon; 01-13-2012 at 09:55 AM.
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  #29  
Old 01-13-2012, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by batsballsbases View Post
Hi Mark,
I also wish that Richard and David can put an end to this. I have known Richard for 20+years from the White Plains shows and always found his knowledge of autographs to be first rate. Even thou he is one of the last 5 Met Fans left we must forgive him. I also have talked to David several times on the phone and find his knowledge of yankee items to be vast. Better to use your knowledge in a constructive way on the net54 that look like two children in a pissing contest where the last one standing wins! Do you know what I mean Boys! And David my friend Tony Soprano "wooda pulled out the gun and done some shootin" if you know what I mean.
Thanks for the sympathy Al. I am considering my own personal boycott of New Shea (I don't like to call it the name that it is now using) this year since the main reason to watch the Mets this past year is now wearing a Miami uniform .
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Last edited by RichardSimon; 01-13-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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  #30  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:03 AM
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Thanks for the sympathy Al. I am considering my own personal boycott of New Shea (I don't like to call it the name that it is now using) this year since the main reason to watch the Mets this past year is now wearing a Miami uniform .
And remember the main reason why ! Can you say Bernie M "I think thats gonna leave a bruise"
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  #31  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:06 AM
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I feel your pain Richard...the only reason to watch the Padres last year is now wearing a Miami uniform too!
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:12 AM
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I feel your pain Richard...the only reason to watch the Padres last year is now wearing a Miami uniform too!
Wade LeBlanc ??? .
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Last edited by RichardSimon; 01-13-2012 at 10:13 AM.
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  #33  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:33 AM
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after that revelation, I take back the off the cuff remarks that you "choke on your Yankee stuff". I am sorry that this happened to you. THIS IS SICKENING.....from a treasure to a trash can.

I admire you for coming on here and telling us this, that even a seasoned collector can be duped. What the hell is this world coming to? No wonder you have a bug up your a** for the alphabet guys. This system is badly broken and it needs to be fixed. I wonder how many others are at their wits end like I am?
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  #34  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:43 AM
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Thanks, Chuck. I appreciate that.
And thanks to all you guys for the kind words.

There are far, far, more important things in life than a signed baseball. This really ain't that bad.

Thanks again.
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  #35  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:55 AM
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after that revelation, I take back the off the cuff remarks that you "choke on your Yankee stuff". I am sorry that this happened to you. THIS IS SICKENING.....from a treasure to a trash can.

I admire you for coming on here and telling us this, that even a seasoned collector can be duped. What the hell is this world coming to? No wonder you have a bug up your a** for the alphabet guys. This system is badly broken and it needs to be fixed. I wonder how many others are at their wits end like I am?
I agreed 100%! David, you did what most would not do. You left yourself open to many "I told you so's" and bit the bullet when most would "pay it forward". I am guessing that there were some smiles after your post, unfortunately. I base this on reading some past posts on NET54.

It really is discouraging as NO authenticator is 100% reliable including ones on this board. I base this on past posts/findings as well. We have all seen examples where most “experts” have failed. It just goes to show that one must buy from good people and not by the certs. I know that the 27 ball fooled both you and JSA (AT THE TIME) but it is just too bad you have no recourse.

Again, very sorry David. I know most people on here feel really bad for you. I commend you for making this public.
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Last edited by Forever Young; 01-14-2012 at 12:04 AM.
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  #36  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:07 AM
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david (or anyone)- could you answer my question from earlier?...just want to be educated on this subject.

"so what do you (or spence) claim happened? was this a blank vintage ball and one person forged all the sigs? or did it originally have a few legit ones on it, then the others were faked later?"
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  #37  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by MVSNYC View Post
man, sorry david!

that is scary, i have seen you post images of that ball in the past, i would've sworn it was legit, those sigs look great. so what do you (or spence) claim happened? was this a blank vintage ball and one person forged all the sigs? or did it originally have a few legit ones on it, then the others were faked later?
Based on what I have learned, a ball like this in the hands of a young skilled forger would have started out on a blank ball. The person who did this was skilled enough to fool many people. It is possible he is still operating now.
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  #38  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:28 AM
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I've got to say guys, and I will take some flack for this, but collecting autographs is one f**king miserable hobby. Every collecting field has to deal with some level of fraud- coins are cleaned, stamps are reperforated, baseball cards are trimmed- but the fraud in the autograph hobby is so off the charts I don't know how people can really enjoy it. And the idea that an autograph collector needs to educate himself may be somewhat true, but take David A., who has been studying Yankee memorabilia for decades. He certainly is at the top of the learning curve, yet look at this stinking mess. I have to think a 27 Yankee ball in that condition is worth well north of 50K, and his example is now worth exactly zero. Hobbies are supposed to be relaxing endeavors; I would need a regular supply of Xanax to deal with this shit. This is going to drive so many collectors out of autographs and will have a significant impact on its future. If somebody asked me the best way to get started in autograph collecting, I would tell him to collect hummels instead.
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  #39  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:45 AM
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Wow David, that is a real disappointment. Sorry that happened to you. I think I have a Rick Honeycutt signed ball if you want me to send it to you as a replacement...
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  #40  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:56 AM
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David:

As the others stated, it is very commendable that you posted this. It was the difficult, but right thing to do, and many thanks (from all of us collectors) for taking the high road!

I am also hoping that this thread can address a little about the forgery itself...

Whle the sigs on the ball all appear very convincing, I am sure it must have been the unique style of this specific forger that gave it away. It's far easier to analyze "after the fact"... but in retrospect, it is interesting that the forger made two of the same basic mistakes that so many seem to...

1. The ink type, color, consistency and pressure doesn't vary at all from signature to signature. It is perfectly consistent throughout.

2. The signatures barely touch each other (if at all). Normally, there is some inevitable overlap, regardless of how much care is taken in signing.

This makes for a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing ball... but how many authentic team-signed balls really look this perfect? I know it's easier to look back and notice these things "after the fact", and that many/most of us would have been fooled by this one (including Spence). I just found it interesting that the even a forgery of this magnitude failed to "side-step" those tell-tale signs.
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  #41  
Old 01-13-2012, 12:01 PM
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Unfortunately, I have to agree with Barry. I don't really collect autographs but I've always had in the back of my mind that it would be really cool to some day own a signed Ruth ball. But with fraud like this so rampant, and only a select few being able to recognize bad examples, it wouldn't be worth the stress of never knowing if I truly had the real thing. It would suck the enjoyment out of ownership of such a treasure. To me, the allure of collecting an autograph is: "Wow, that was written by the legendary Babe Ruth. He held that ball in his hand 80 years ago and handed it to some lucky kid." Instead, I would imagine some unwashed a-hole in a seedy apartment hunched over a ball doing his dirty work. Very sad.

So sorry this happened, David.

Rob

Last edited by cubsguy1969; 01-13-2012 at 12:03 PM.
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  #42  
Old 01-13-2012, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
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David:

As the others stated, it is very commendable that you posted this. It was the difficult, but right thing to do, and many thanks (from all of us collectors) for taking the high road!

I am also hoping that this thread can address a little about the forgery itself...

Whle the sigs on the ball all appear very convincing, I am sure it must have been the unique style of this specific forger that gave it away. It's far easier to analyze "after the fact"... but in retrospect, it is interesting that the forger made two of the same basic mistakes that so many seem to...

1. The ink type, color, consistency and pressure doesn't vary at all from signature to signature. It is perfectly consistent throughout.

2. The signatures barely touch each other (if at all). Normally, there is some inevitable overlap, regardless of how much care is taken in signing.

This makes for a beautiful and aesthetically pleasing ball... but how many authentic team-signed balls really look this perfect? I know it's easier to look back and notice these things "after the fact", and that many/most of us would have been fooled by this one (including Spence). I just found it interesting that the even a forgery of this magnitude failed to "side-step" those tell-tale signs.
The young-skilled forger (who still may be around) who did that ball was also skilled at producing vintage New York Giants team-signed baseballs. Back in the day, he fooled many people.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetruthisoutthere View Post
The young-skilled forger (who still may be around) who did that ball was also skilled at producing vintage New York Giants team-signed baseballs. Back in the day, he fooled many people.
He also fooled Charlie Sheen in a classic con of forged baseballs.
SS balls of Black Sox were inscribed To Charlie and were allegedly given to Charlie Riegler who was one of the umps during the 1919 Series.
From what I was told, Sheen gobbled them up.
Though he was conned I thought he was pretty good in Eight Men Out .
This story is only hearsay but I believe it is true.
And I did see a 1920's NY Giants "team signed" ball at a show, offered to me by the partner of the forger.
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Last edited by RichardSimon; 01-13-2012 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:11 PM
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The forger did, however, replicate aspects of early team balls that many do not notice. On many such balls, the players did not sign over the manufacturer's stamps; that was done here. Also, note the panel with the league president's signature stamp. The player signatures align with the stamp, rather than the usual "ladder" alignment, with the signatures forming the rungs of a ladder, and the seams being the sides. This, too, was often done on early team balls.

The forger wasn't "greedy." (Ironic way of phrasing it.) Had he chosen to sign over the stampings, there would have been plenty of room to include more signatures--a Giard, for example--and thus increase the ball's value.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:20 PM
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Barry,

I agree with you on most of this. In the past year, I have decided to only buy/collect autographs on the following items:

1. Stamped GPCs
2. Letters
3. Checks
4. Contracts
5. Receipts

And even then, I make sure I am comfortable.

Ben

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Originally Posted by barrysloate View Post
I've got to say guys, and I will take some flack for this, but collecting autographs is one f**king miserable hobby. Every collecting field has to deal with some level of fraud- coins are cleaned, stamps are reperforated, baseball cards are trimmed- but the fraud in the autograph hobby is so off the charts I don't know how people can really enjoy it. And the idea that an autograph collector needs to educate himself may be somewhat true, but take David A., who has been studying Yankee memorabilia for decades. He certainly is at the top of the learning curve, yet look at this stinking mess. I have to think a 27 Yankee ball in that condition is worth well north of 50K, and his example is now worth exactly zero. Hobbies are supposed to be relaxing endeavors; I would need a regular supply of Xanax to deal with this shit. This is going to drive so many collectors out of autographs and will have a significant impact on its future. If somebody asked me the best way to get started in autograph collecting, I would tell him to collect hummels instead.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:29 PM
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i'm sickened by the news. again thx to david for being stand-up and notifying the board instead of trying to peddle the ball off behind the JSA cert.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardSimon View Post
And I did see a 1920's NY Giants "team signed" ball at a show, offered to me by the partner of the forger.
Is his partner still active in the hobby?
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:45 PM
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Also, the young-skilled forger primarily forged vintage baseballs.

Last edited by thetruthisoutthere; 01-13-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:47 PM
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Richard just said above that he forged single-signed balls, as well.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mschwade View Post
Is his partner still active in the hobby?
yes he is.
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