Monday, June 07, 2004

Caveat Emptor!

Browsing through ebay, Reagan forgeries outnumber the real deal about 10 to 1. Now is a very bad time to purchase a Reagan signed item... the market is flooded with fakes, and you will overpay for authentic material. Be patient, there is plenty of authentic material out there, and in several months the prices will go to normal levels.

A few pointers... stay away from:

* Unusual signed items - baseballs, flags, etc. 99.9% of them are fake.
* Items of opportunity - these are items that someone finds at a garage sale for 25 cents and is a "cheap investment" as forgery fodder. Examples include, postal covers, signed buttons, signed pamphlets, signed postcards, signed books that are not the books he would sign through his office, etc.
* Items with "too good to be true" inscriptions such as "Tear Down the Wall", "I Forgot to Duck", etc. Almost all of these are fake, and beware of signed typed quotes. There is a guy on ebay that has been selling these for years... I think they are all fakes.
* Unpersonalized signed photos in the perfect pose (flag in background, etc.) These are almost always fake.
* Books that are signed (not on a bookplate). Reagan never did any booksignings and books sent to his office were affixed with a bookplate. Authentically signed books are very rare.

If you have any items you'd like me to take a look at, please leave a link in a comment and I'll look into it.


Kurt said...

After watching Reagan signed memorabilia and books for the past 2 days, I would totally disagree with your assesment. It is true that forgeries are all over the place now. However, the market is also being flooded by authentic material. It is currently a buyer's market. 1 month ago, it was extremely hard to buy an authentic Reagan signed book for less than $400. Several have sold at less than this price in the past 2 days. In fact, one lucky buyer today got an authentic signed book, signed directly in the book and dated for only $375! (I was in fact going to bid on this book, but got busy with other things and forgot about it! Argh!)I think things will be the total opposite of what you say. Shortly, all the "dumpings" of Reagan signed books will be done, and then I think they will go up more around the $500 range if not more.
Unfortunately, I'm sure the forgeries will continue forever.

Steve said...

Thanks again for an interesting response and for making a valid point. Yes, there may be a dumping of authentic material and maybe prices will not be too crazy. Perhaps, if you know what you are looking for, now is NOT a bad time to buy.

That said, I think my warnings about the types of fakes to watch out for remains very accurate.