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  #41  
Old 12-06-2018, 10:41 PM
sphere and ash sphere and ash is online now
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Originally Posted by lumberjack View Post
Paul,
I've been talking with my photo guru about these different types of paper. Cranes Kid Finish is stationary paper. Cranes, by the way, makes paper for US currency. Now, if you can get find a really sharp chemist and borrow a paper mill for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, well, the possibilities are endless....I once worked in a paper mill, this is the sort of thing we used to talk about.

Strathmore 500 is drawing paper. Maybe both would work for exotic 19th century stuff, I don't know how they would apply to the 20th century. I'm fighting above my weight class, here.

Platinotype, which was produced in France until 1924, was made as a speciality paper from the 1990s until about 2008. Platinotype is the real deal and I would encourage anybody who is ready to go into the counterfeit photo business (if my ideas about finding an amoral chemist and and empty paper mill don't work out) to try this stuff. Problem being, you can't fake the patina. This is the real sticking point, right?

Vintage paper is available on eBay, but you just don't know if it will work until you try it.

All modern white paper has been treated with bleach and would be detected with a black light. It sounds as though platinotype is unbleached.

Lastly, you have more hands on experience that I, and I'm just talking about 20th century photographers (like Conlon), but the paper used throughout the dead ball era was very thin. Is any of the paper you mentioned of that thickness. If a photo passed the black light test, could it pass a micrometer or calipers?

I still think it would be easier to fake "Night Watch" than Cobb sliding into Jimmy Austin. But, hey, we know guys who were buying ink jet photos in the belief they were vintage prints. Everybody, do your homework.
lumberjack
I was arguing against the idea, raised earlier in this thread, that there was something about albumen that made it impossible to reproduce. Having printed in albumen about twenty years ago, that didn’t seem right to me. You just have to experiment until you find the right paper.

There was a major scandal in the photography market fifteen years ago when people began to question the authenticity of Lewis Hine photographs originating from the collection of Hine scholars Walter and Naomi Rosenblum. Some 500 prints were sold as vintage, meaning that they were purported to have been printed and signed by Hine. Tests of the photographic paper, however, revealed that it contained optical brightening agents in the baryta layer that were not introduced until 1955. Since Hine died in 1940, the presence of OBAs meant that Walter Rosenblum might have printed the Hines himself and signed Hine’s name to the posthumous prints. It is hard to convey how shocking this possibility was—the Rosenblums were giants among photography scholars.

The problem with faking a Conlon now is not unlike the problem the Rosenblums allegedly confronted. Conlon died before OBAs were introduced in photographic papers. To forge a Conlon, you need a paper without OBAs. It seems to me inevitable that someone wiłl make one available.
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  #42  
Old 12-06-2018, 11:59 PM
lumberjack lumberjack is offline
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Default fake Hine's

I believe the forgers were also selling museum quality Hine photos, something that was very un-Hine like. That should have raised a few eyebrows. Hine wouldn't have been considered an artist in his lifetime, he was a muckraker, not Ansel Adams. Nobody caught on to that at the time, which is willful suspension of disbelief.
lumberjack
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  #43  
Old 12-07-2018, 01:09 AM
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I am intrigued about the carbon dating you describe. Do you know its margin of error (i.e., in years)? At the price you describe it would seem to make a lot of sense for a CdV such as this Atlantics. But how intrusive a test is it? Would it materially impact the item's potential value by requiring one to remove/destroy the tested portion?

I don't profess to have the level of photographic expertise of others on this Board. But common sense tells me that forgers are busy at work trying to replicate old photos when the potential value exceeds a certain threshold, as certainly would be the case with a CdV of arguably the most important team of the 1860's. If modern pure paper is required to make an albumen image, would it be so difficult once the image has been made and adhered to a period mount to intentionally soil it so as to make it appear old? Did the expert who examined it prior to it first appearing at auction have an opportunity to examine it out of the slab? If he did not, that would seem to me to limit the full extent of what his examination could potentially reveal. SGC did the slabbing. I have high regard for SGC as card graders. But I'm not persuaded ascertaining whether a photograph is a period albumen falls within their expertise.

Assuming the carbon dating's margin of error could establish whether the photo is period, and the testing process would not be expected to damage the image, the current owner of the photo would seem to be in an unenviable conundrum. It did not sell in the HA auction. So potential purchasers would expect the item to be carbon dated. But to do that would require the item be removed from the slab. Once that is done, there is real risk whether a grading company would agree to re-slab it unless the testing shows it to be consistent with a period albumen photograph. So it would pretty much be an all or nothing gamble -- (I) the test removes suspicions as to authenticity, the item gets re-slabbed though this time with a lot more evidence to show it is real and retains its value, or (II) the item flunks testing, is not re-slabbed and likely will be difficult to resell for anything close to what it first sold for.

Corey-I don’t think the fellow who bought it in Saco River cares any more. After it didn’t sell in Heritage he told me that he was donating it to the HOF (the repository for all things that can’t be sold—LOL)
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  #44  
Old 12-07-2018, 02:16 AM
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I had a modern platinotype and it fluoresced under blacklight.
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  #45  
Old 12-07-2018, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by lumberjack View Post
I believe the forgers were also selling museum quality Hine photos, something that was very un-Hine like. That should have raised a few eyebrows. Hine wouldn't have been considered an artist in his lifetime, he was a muckraker, not Ansel Adams. Nobody caught on to that at the time, which is willful suspension of disbelief.
lumberjack
The Hine photos were proven to be forgeries by a paper chemist. Though the chemist was asked to do the tests because there were suspicions to strong beliefs that they were forgeries. Suspicions from collectors and dealers almost always come first. That's why boards such as this one are so important.

It's also possible they fluoresced under black light. I believe the Man Ray forgeries did, as well as the Hilter Diaries forgery.

There's actually a simple but remarkably reliable test I use for dating photos including modern and unstamped photos (though not the only test). But it's so straightforward that I don't say what it is, so as to not tip off forgers. It's particularly useful for modern photos-- say of George Brett or a supposed rookie Ken Griffey Jr-- where they can otherwise harder to date. It doesn't pinpoint year, but if you have a supposed original rookie year of Griffey you can be confident that it's period versus recent.

Last edited by drcy; 12-07-2018 at 02:49 AM.
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  #46  
Old 12-07-2018, 02:58 AM
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Thanks for the link, David. I've downloaded the 198 pp PDF version of your book and look forward to reading it (and yes, I still have the Ruth we discussed. I am planning to have it forensically examined next year by an expert with a good track record in Michigan--been a bit sidetracked lately with other matters having a higher priority).

Best wishes,

Larry

Last edited by ls7plus; 12-07-2018 at 03:37 AM.
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  #47  
Old 12-09-2018, 11:52 AM
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Duly note that I think most fakes-- including baseball cards and normal ephemera--, are easily identified without the highly advanced scientific tests. Radiometric dating and such are usually done with priceless museum relics or part of academic study. I'm sure all the authentic and questioned Vermeers and Michelangelo paintings have had all the tests on them.

If you collected meteorites or moon rocks or ancient Chinese ceramics or had a historic baseball artifact, I could see how a normal collector might want those tests done. But no one needs radiometric dating to authenticate a T206 or ACME news photo.

In fact, some of the more effective tests are the ones collectors already do. Simple stuff like blacklight, checking for gloss and texture, measuring thickness, and holding a questioned card next to some real ones are very effective tests. A test doesn't have to be complicated or expensive to be effective and important. A bunch simple tests used together can be greater than one expensive nuclear physics test.

Though I readily admit that, beyond knowing how the ink and paper tests work and knowing the basic stuff average collectors know, autographs are outside of my area of expertise. Not something I've focused on or been interested in, and I never present myself here as an autograph expert.

Last edited by drcy; 12-09-2018 at 12:03 PM.
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  #48  
Old 12-09-2018, 02:51 PM
benjulmag benjulmag is online now
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Wouldn't degradation in resolution be a tell tale sign of a fake? If when putting side by side two images and noticing clear differences in resolution, I'm curious what could account for that other than the photos were not printed at the same time and from the same negative.

I remember some time ago considering buying a rare sealed record album. The first few "experts" I showed it to thought it was good. I then went to a person highly regarded as very knowledgeable in this area. He compared the album to an original he had and one could instantly tell the one I had was a fake. There were clear differences in the focus of the printed letters, as well as subtle differences in color tone.

In the case of the Atlantics CdV, the only known original I am aware of is located at the Library of Congress. Its resolution is noticeably sharper than the one sold by Saco Auctions. It also might have had different cropping. The best spin I can think to put on this is that the CdV was a period pirate CdV (a period copy printed from a different negative than the original), which on occasion turn up. When they do, the ones I have seen are not printed on mounts from the studio that produced the original, but instead on generic CdV mounts with no studio or copyright info on the verso. The most prominent baseball example I can think of is the 1867 Harvard BBC which is depicted in Mark Rucker's CdV book. As I recall, it had a blank verso. Some years later another turned up, this one having the typical studio and copyright info on the verso. The image is also known in yearbook size, as the 1867 Harvard yearbook contains a book-sized image of the team. So likely the pirate CdV was struck from the yearbook image.


If the Atlantic CdV was a period pirate, that would be relevant info to a prospective purchaser because it would not a first generation CdV. While it would still be valuable, IMO its value would be significantly less than if it had been a first generation CdV. What makes me believe it is not this (aside from the lack of provenance) is that it appears remounted, and the mount it is on is from the studio that is known to have taken the image. That appears to be a clear attempt to deceive, in contrast to pirate Cdvs that are printed on generic mounts with no studio or copyright designations.
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  #49  
Old 12-09-2018, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benjulmag View Post
Wouldn't degradation in resolution be a tell tale sign of a fake? If when putting side by side two images and noticing clear differences in resolution, I'm curious what could account for that other than the photos were not printed at the same time and from the same negative.
If that's the case, then a large percentage of Old Judges are fake, because most have degraded and blurry images with poor registration.

I've seen a few glass negatives at auctions and most have some wear and tear from being handled constantly -- fingerprints, dirt, scratches, stains, etc.

Plus, the negatives were exposed out in the sun, with the constant flow of harsh UV rays. Over time the negatives probably got lighter and the image therefore got darker and blurrier.

I remember reading a story that Mathew Brady's glass plate war negatives were liquidated and purchased at an auction. The man who bought them used them to line the roof/ceiling of his greenhouse. Imagine that. After a few years the glass plates were practically transparent due to the UV exposure.

Last edited by SetBuilder; 12-09-2018 at 03:23 PM.
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  #50  
Old 12-09-2018, 03:49 PM
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Resolution is very relevant to identifying an original versus reproduction. However, some processes, including albumen, can fade with age. The other problem with more modern photos is that they can be slightly blurry due to the photographer not having it in focus.
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