Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Autograph authenticators, forensic and otherwise...

This post certainly drew a lot of comments. Must be quite a few people Googling "Burczyk COA."

The comments do raise an interesting question, just how good are the authenticators -- even the honest ones?

Some forgeries are so good, and they are coming so fast and furiously, I don't see how authenticators can possibly stay on top of them all. Some forgeries are so good that -- if viewed by themselves -- it's impossible to tell they are fake. You can only confirm it's a fake when a large number are identified coming from a single source, and they all have the same characteristic. By the time the pattern and the "tell" are identified, there are probably already numerous numbers of these exemplars that have been "authenticated." This further muddies the water because now some people will claim that celebrity signature style "x" must be real because here is an example that PSA (or whomever) authenticated.

As far as Mickey Mantle goes... what value does a forensic examiner really add? If the photo stock and pen type pre-date Mantle's death in 1995, "forensically" the item could be authentic. The same could be said for any modern celebrity.

Certainly authenticators have their value and do perform a valuable service by weeding out a lot of fakes. But don't be fooled into thinking their opinion is anything more than that -- an opinion. And more often than anyone wants to believe, they are wrong.

I recently uncovered a disturbing finding that will have a lot of collectors in denial regarding something they were certain was authentic. I need to get it written up and some pictures posted, but it won't be pretty. Stay tuned...

Friday, September 03, 2010

PSA Says Fake; Nicholas Burczyk COA Says Authentic

Who do you believe?

PSA Quick Opinion:

Your Request for Item "Autograph Mickey Mantle w/Bat Signed Auto Photo w/COA", eBay Lot No. "160472342260", opinion was rendered at "8/26/2010 10:16:39 AM" and the result was:

Response: "Likely Not Genuine"

Here are the details of your Request:
Request ID: 73185
Request By: 08/27/2010


Here is the signed Mantle photo in question. The seller was k-statewildcat. Upon the "likely fake" opinion, PSA automatically reported the auction and it was shut down shortly thereafter.

The seller, k-statewildcat, apparently has a seemingly endless supply of Mantles, as well as others such as Sandy Koufax -- all "authenticated" by Nicholas Burczyk


Friday, April 09, 2010

CBCA Amateur Art Contest! Cash + Fun!

The Comic Book Collecting Association (CBCA) is pleased to announce the first annual CBCA Amateur Art Competition. The competition allows amateur artists to showcase their finest work, with the winning submissions determined by voting on the CBCA Message Board.

A $100 grand prize will be awarded to the winner with $25 awards to the runner ups.

Entries will be accepted now though May 15. Entries will be posted online for voting beginning May 19. The format and length of the voting is contingent upon the number of entries received, and will be announced at the commencement of voting on May 19.

Who is eligible?
The spirit of the contest is to host a competition among those generally considered to be amateur illustrators. Anyone may enter with the exception of: individuals who regularly receive income from illustration, and/or individuals who are widely recognized as a professional illustrator, past or present. (Aspiring artists who occasionally receive income for illustration are eligible to compete.)

CBCA Directors and Officers may enter the competition, however they are not eligible for the cash award. If a CBCA Director or Officer is a finalist, the cash award will go to the entrant with the next highest amount of votes.

The CBCA reserves the right to deny eligibility to any participant at their discretion.

Who can vote?
Anyone who registers at the CBCA forum may vote. CBCA membership is not required for voting.

Submission guidelines
Submissions must be an original piece of artwork. There are no limitations on the type of format – entries may be a single character, group, splash style page, a paneled page, pinup style pose, strip art, color, black and white… whatever format you think best showcases your work.

Reproductions of artwork originally created by other persons are not permitted. For example, an illustration that is an homage to the cover of Fantastic Four #1 is acceptable, however a nearly identical reproduction of the cover of Fantastic Four #1 is not. Submissions should be tasteful and suitable for all ages. The CBCA reserves the right to deny any submission at their discretion.

Because submissions will be posted anonymously, be sure your signature is not an integral part of the artwork – it will be digitally obscured.

Submissions should be sent as a .jpg, .png or .gif file to art@comiccollecting.org no later than May 15, 2010. Be sure to include your name, address and phone number with your submission. Please send in a size large enough to showcase the detail of your work, but very large images may be resized by the CBCA to an appropriate screen size.

Questions?
Contact the CBCA at info@comiccollecting.org or visit the forum here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Comic Book Quarterly, Winter 2010

I just found this new feature on Google Docs that allows you to embed a document. With that, I'd like to post some recent editions of the Comic Book Quarterly, the newsletter of the Comic Book Collecting Association.

Here is the Winter 2010 edition and a direct link to the newsletter.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Announcing the Comic Book Collecting Association

We are happy to announce a new collectors and dealers association -- the Comic Book Collecting Association (www.ComicCollecting.org)

The CBCA is for comic book collectors and dealers with a common goal: promote fellowship, education and ethics within the comic book collecting community. Our success is contingent on the interest and participation of a membership in agreement with these goals and the Association’s common-sense Code of Ethics.

The CBCA is for new collectors looking for opportunities to network and learn, as well as more seasoned collectors looking to assist with member events and help shape the direction of the hobby. In any case, CBCA membership should be fun and rewarding!

We are also incredibly excited to announce the official formation of a Board of Advisors, which features some of the most well known names within and around our community. From prominent dealers to industry executives to comic pros, the Board of Advisors is composed of individuals who have expressed a desire to associate and assist with our new effort, and provide valuable guidance as to how the CBCA can best serve the community.

Doug Braithwaite, Comic book artist
Dan Cusimano, Flying Donut Trading Company
Steve Eichenbaum, CEO CGC
Danny Fingeroth, Writer, Historian, former Marvel Editor
Jamie Graham, Graham Cracker Comics
Tracey Heft, Restoration Expert
John Haines, Rare Comics
Dave Kapelka, North Coast Nostalgia
John Jackson Miller, Comic book and game writer
Josh Nathanson, ComicLink
James Payette, Rare Books and Comics
Brian Peets, A-1 Comics
Dave Reynolds, Dave's American Comics
Wayne Smith, VP Warner Bros. Entertainment
John K. Snyder Jr., former President, Geppi's Entertainment Publishing & Auctions
Jim Steranko, Comic book writer, artist, historian
Bob Storms, High Grade Comics
Doug Sulipa, Comic World
Ted Van Liew, Superworld Comics
J.C. Vaughn, Executive Editor, Associate Publisher for Gemstone Publishing
Joe Vereneault, JHV Associates
Vincent Zurzolo, Metropolis Collectibles, Inc.

We are also very pleased to welcome the “first” new CBCA member: George Pantela of GPAnalysis.com. We envision a very strong partnership in the coming days and truly look forward to having George work with us to support our Mission.

As a bit of background, the CBCA has evolved from the former Network of Disclosure. Last December, the group’s members approved by ballot the formation of the new group, mission and code of ethics. The notion of disclosure, transparency and ethical practices are at the core of CBCA, but overall, CBCA is a more rounded organization. Ideally, the CBCA’s expanded focus will be more inviting to collectors and dealers alike.

We hope that you take a look at the CBCA and consider joining.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Fantastic Four: Solve Everything

Wow... a really impressive modern storyline with old school comic touches. Fantastic Four issues 570 - 572 features a storyline called, "Solve Everything."

I won't go into the details of the plot other than to say it was fresh, exciting and reminiscent of the Fantastic Four of days past. Issue 570 begins the creative lineup of writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Dale Eaglesham.

I can't recall the last time I was so happy with a Fantastic Four story since the days of John Byrne. Eaglesham has a very appealing style: smooth, clean pencils that give the finished look an almost painted style. He also tends to depict Mr. Fantastic is all sort of stretched out positions... even when he's eating breakfast. In short, the book has a very fun feel to it without being silly or goofy.

Of course, being a Fantastic Four collector (I have all regular issues beginning with #1 from 1961) I have a soft spot for the resurrected 70s style logo.


I can't wait until the next issue, and I hope this is a creative team they keep around for a long time.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Waiting....

I sent my 16 x 20 1998 Yankees collage photo to MAB sports promotions for the 27 Rings show last weekend.

I'm really leery of sending this multi-signed photo through the mail to get signatures, but Bernie Williams was appearing, and I couldn't miss the opportunity to add him to the piece. I also wanted three other 1998 Yankees to add their signatures: Jeff Nelson, Ramiro Mendoza and Chad Curtis.

Since the show as last weekend, I was hoping they'd mail my photo back within a day or two and I could have it by today. It hasn't arrived yet. I'm holding my breath hoping it doesn't get lost, arrive damaged/creased or with smeared autographs.

I'll share a pic when it arrives. Hopefully it will be a happy blog post!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Droidtrader's Sports Memorabilia

Check out Droidtrader's Sports Memorabilia for regular sports autograph updates. Droidtrader focuses on sports and getting cards signed through the mail... good to see some old school collecting.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2009: Autographs in Review

I didn't devote a lot of resources to collecting autographs in 2009. I picked up several signed books and attended local shows where I had some items signed by former NY Yankees.

Frankly, autograph collecting is starting to scare the hell out of me. It's one of the few hobbies where if you get burned with a fake, it is worth ZERO. You take a total loss on the item. In many other hobbies, if the item is restored or not completely as advertised, you can take a hit, but the item may still be worth something. Not so with a forgery.

Secondly, even if you are secure with the authenticity of the items in your collection, the fact of the matter is that their value diminishes daily with the ongoing tsunami of fakes entering the marketplace. Got a real Mickey Mantle? Wonderful. Try selling it on eBay without having to first send it to some third party authentication service. You'll get pennies on the dollar because most people buying don't know the difference between the good stuff and the fakes. And quite frankly, neither do the authentication services in many cases. Their stamp of approval is far from ironclad assurance.

And don't even get me going on contemporary celebrities. I have binders full of authentic celebrity autographs for which I'd be lucky to get $10 each.

Sure, you should collect what you like, but only a fool or someone to whom money doesn't matter would not give some consideration to future value when building a collection. Who wants to pay $50 a pop for a signed photo that won't recoup eBay and Paypal fees upon resale?

That said, here are my two favorite autograph acquisitions of 2009. Both unquestionably authentic.

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