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Home arrow Forgery News arrow Autograph forgeries on Vintage autograph albums

Autograph forgeries on Vintage autograph albums Print E-mail
Written by Garry King / AFTAL News   
Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Fakes & Forgeries

Once again the fakes and forgeries are rearing their heads, but this time from somewhere other than eBay!

But recently I have seen more and more of these fakes appear at local auctions. It seems the forger has realised that most of these local auction houses would not know a real signature if it was written in front of them, and have started to use these as the perfect outlet for their work.

The fakes, usually in an old autograph album bought at a boot fair or other auction, and then take them to a local auction house. Give them a great story of how their mother was an usherette at the local Odeon when the Stones played their in 1965 and hey presto, you have just made 250 or more. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of these no nothing action houses all over the country, and you soon realise that they could be selling easy half a dozen fakes like this every week!

I have been alerted to a number of items shown to me at various auctions over the last 12 months or so, some were very good, others just plain rubbish, but all were without doubt fakes, and all offered and sold at local unknown auctions.

So first, be more than careful if you use this type of auction to buy, and secondly, even if you dont buy from them, your customers may do, and then offer them to you! I had just that happen to me 6 weeks ago and yet again 2 weeks ago, and both look to be done by the same person although purchased at 2 different auctions. The first was offered to me by a little known seller of autographs (not an AFTAL member), who told me he had purchased it at a local auction house. The items certainly gave the impression of authentic, in that they were on the right kind of paper etc, and certainly looked old, but, the signatures were fakes! This has also been confirmed by another AFTAL dealer who was also offered them.

Some weeks later a local collector knocked on my door in need of some advice. He too had purchased an item from a small auction house (not local to me) and wanted to sell them as he thought he had got a bargain and believed that I may be interested in buying. Well, after a quick look I had to give him the bad news that they were fakes. But they are in an old autograph book he said, so surely they are genuine. First I explained to him that when buying anything from anybody, you must first start by assuming the signatures to be fakes, and then look for the clues that can prove to you that they are authentic, and this must start with the signatures themselves. I showed him the same ones in a book that I have, which are authentic, and he could, with a little help see that what he had, were indeed fakes.

What had convinced him was that they were signed in an autograph album, and the auction house told him they were obtained by someone who worked at the theatre. What was worse was that when he checked the auction house rules, they are very much buyer beware, and they do not offer refunds on any item that proves to be found fake after purchase!

To top it all, this collector had already offered them to 2 other dealers, one of which is an AFTAL dealer, the other a UACC RD, made him an offer for them! Now I am not going to say which dealers, one of them is reading this now, and is probably realising his mistake at this very moment! But this does go to show that sometimes a chance to make a few hundred pounds profit quickly outweighs the checks that we should all be making when offered such items.

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