Are Your Sports Memorabilia Faux Or..

Are Your Sports Memorabilia Faux Or..



There is​ a​ huge interest in​ sports memorabilia, and​ sports-related items include signed commemorative photos, baseballs, footballs, basketballs, pucks and​ jerseys. a​ Google search of​ companies hawking these items comes up with almost 5 million businesses!


Some of​ the​ items on offer cost thousands of​ dollars.

Where there are so many eager and​ gullible customers, fraud is​ sure to​ appear. a​ San Diego federal judge who recently sentenced several sports autograph forgers to​ prison said, "Life, liberty and​ the​ pursuit of​ the​ national pastime, has been undone". the​ prosecution stemmed from an​ FBI investigation called Operation Bullpen, which closed down a​ professional criminal organization that forged and​ sold bogus autographs.

 60 search warrants were served, more than 2 dozen people arrested, and​ a​ warehouse with 10 million dollars worth of​ forged merchandise was seized. the​ ring leaders received 3 years in​ prison and​ forfeiture or​ assets to​ the​ IRS. Both current and​ "vintage" items were involved. Any sports fan who has a​ signed souvenir may now want to​ question its authenticity.

 Phil Halpren, the​ assistant U.S. attorney who worked to​ prosecute the​ forgers stated that fraud is​ so pervasive in​ the​ sports memorabilia market that unless you personally see an​ item being signed by the​ athlete, odds are greater than fifty percent that it​ is​ fake. the​ most athletes most well-known the​ the public are popular with forgers, too. Halpren said, "If you are looking at​ a​ Mark McGuire signature, it's alost a​ guarantee, 99.9 percent it​ is​ a​ forgery." Certificates of​ authenticity can be fabricated just as​ easily as​ the​ collectible item they supposedly validate, so this is​ no protection.

Vendors are fighting back in​ an​ effort to​ maintain the​ integrity of​ the​ market. Disney, which owns ESPN, will begin next year to​ auction signed sports memorabilia online. Disney says it​ will authenticate the​ signatures with holograms encrypted with the​ item's identifying information and​ package seals, videotaping the​ entire process.

Sophisticated forgers can even produce holographic seals which appear, on casual inspection, to​ be real. However most forgers are amateurs, and​ the​ more sophisticated the​ anti-forgery system, the​ less likely criminals are to​ attempt to​ copy it.

Baseball and​ football are most popular in​ America, but a​ few famous hockey players such as​ Wayne Gretzky and​ Bobby Orr are popular targets for​ forgery as​ well.

With all the​ items available, both off and​ on the​ internet, fans can avoid a​ lot of​ fraud by using common sense. for​ example, a​ baseball autographed by Babe Ruth selling for​ $500 is​ obviously a​ fake, because such a​ price is​ unbelievably low, too low for​ real market conditons. Also, it​ pays to​ know a​ little bit about the​ development of​ baseballs and​ pens. if​ you see baseballs supposedly signed in​ the​ '20s and​ '30s with Sharpie pens, these are obviously fake, because these pens were not invented yet in​ that era. to​ quote Phil Halpren : "I have seen Babe Ruth balls signed on a​ Bobby Brown American League President ball. So, you know, he was president in​ the​ early '80s. That's impossible to​ have been done. But someone did it."

So, while it's enjoyable to​ own a​ piece of​ sports history, the​ motto to​ follow is​ : buyer beware. Unless you are a​ professional trader who knows how to​ authenticate merchandise, don't buy an​ item strictly for​ its potential resale value, because you may be disappointed by what you eventually get for​ it. Buy an​ item you personally like and​ intend to​ keep, and​ don't spend thousands of​ dollars. This ensures that you will be happy when you look at​ your purchase, without the​ lingering doubt that you have wasted a​ large sum of​ money on something of​ dubious value.




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