Beware of Fakes, Forgeries and Counterfeits
As a infrequent seller on ebay, it amazes me that people will shell out thousands of dollars without checking to see if the autograph is genuine. Sometimes, the seller includes a bogus "certificate of authenticity" from an unknown person or a dubious firm.
Just the other day, I received a notice that an item signed by Abraham Lincoln sold for over $2000 through ebay's email notifications. And, it was clearly a fake! And, although I am very skeptical about a couple of the authentication businesses, this had no authentication letters with it nor any provenance tied to it. Scary!
This forgery was clearly done by a relatively unskilled person looking to make a quick buck...and he succeeded! This is very unfortunate as the buyer thought he/she made a great buy, when they really scored a worthless piece of paper.
When I looked at his completed sales, one would notice that he has been successful in selling forgeries of famous and popular presidents and other historical figures. This gives the forger an incentive to keep up the scam.
As a matter of fact, he would sell the SAME forgery to a different person a different time. Unbelievable!
There use to be a time when a crook had to work hard to steal money. Now, online auctions, a piece of old paper and an ink pen or other instrument is used to cheat the novice buyer. For about 10 minutes of time, the thief can walk away with a nice payday!
Before you feel sorry for the buyer, know that he or she is looking for the impossible. The buyer wants to pick up a popular autograph for a fraction of the real value. As the old adage goes " There is no such thing as a free lunch!"
The bait is the forgery and the prize is the unsuspecting buyer with a fistful of money to throw away.
Before you buy a historical autograph, do a little research. A little time can save you a bundle in the end.
Photo by Frederick Warren on Unsplash