Bullpen & More, by Kevin Nelson

The Paul Revere of Forgeries

with one comment

BY KEVIN NELSON Sept. 23,2010 I know what motivates forgers, counterfeit distributors, and crooked authenticators: money. And ego, of course. But mainly money, lots of easy money.

But what motivates the people who try to expose the forgers? I was thinking about this while watching Chris Williams’s latest Youtube video on the rash of Mickey Mantle forgeries now flooding eBay. I have written about Williams in the past, and frequently exchange emails with him, and I continue to be amazed by the passion he brings to his fight to clean up the hobby.

The forgers also have lots of passion—making money will do that for you. But Williams doesn’t make money when he posts on Youtube as tomtresh2; he’s doing it because he loves collecting, loves autographs of the genuine kind, and positively hates the crooks and scam artists who peddle bad stuff to the many apparently clueless eBay buyers and sellers.

Williams has been at this for years—shining a light on the hobby’s shadiest operators despite threats and insults from them. Yet many of these operators remain in business and if they are no longer in business, others who are equally shady and corrupt have taken their place. Williams is a Paul Revere of the autography hobby, warning us about the scoundrels in our midst, and he deserves to be heard.

Kevin Nelson, author of Operation Bullpen: The Inside Story of the Biggest Forgery Scam in American History, blogs at www.operationbullpen.com.

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Written by Kevin Nelson

September 23, 2010 at 6:47 pm

One Response

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  1. I just watched the Trutv show Masterminds about the autograph business that you write about. While there are many fakes out there, there are also people that claim everything is fake. Players themselves have pointed to items, (call them fakes) and were proven to be real as well.

    I would like to test some of the expert authenticators who I believe can be tested in a way where they will claim authentic items are fake. Sort of a reversal. It was funny to me that Upper Deck held themselves out in this special to be so tough on fraud (fraud dept) however the Upper Deck Company was found guilty in forging Yu Gi Oh trading cards. Was that something their fraud dept missed? Is counterfeiting trading cards any different than this sort of fraud? Maybe Upper Deck was trying to maintain sky high prices on Jordan signatures and that was their real motive? Now there is a huge business with these authentication companies. They train various people to work for them and in the end only supply “their opinion” whether an item is real or not. Legally I do not think they are responsible if any item it marked real and found out to be not authentic. The late Ted Williams Jr called every Williams signature a fake unless you bought it from him when he manage Teds business affairs in his last yrs. How about a popular autograph company who had scheduled Mantle signings before he went into the hospital. But they tried to get baseballs into his hospital room and Mantles brother or relatives stopped them.

    rob weiss

    September 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm


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