Sunday, July 21, 2013

Are authenticity holograms secure enough?

Here is a "Derek Jeter" signed hat on eBay with a Steiner hologram and generic Steiner card, which states "Derek Jeter Autograph."

At best, this signature is highly suspect. Additionally, it appears to be a cheap knock off hat -- note the oversized NY logo and it is probably an adjustable cap as well. Is it likely that Steiner is selling Derek Jeter signed items on unofficial merchandise?

So, this leads me to believe it is either a real Steiner hologram removed from another item or a counterfeit Steiner hologram. Either way, it does not bode well. As reported on Net54, it seems that bad items are appearing with otherwise credible holograms with more and more frequency.

If they are counterfeits, Steiner, MLB and the third party authenticators need to go after the sellers and find out where they are coming from.

If they are legit holograms removed from other items, these holograms are not secure enough and need to be redesigned so they tear apart if removed. I know from personal experience I had a Steiner hologram fall off of a game used ball with only a tiny fleck of the backing being damaged.

A lot of collectors only trust items from supervised signing such as Steiner, MLB, TriStar, etc. If the credibility of these holograms comes into question, these collectors will leave the hobby and that is bad for all of us.

Friday, July 05, 2013

John Olson & Operation Bullpen Muhammad Ali forgeries

John Olson was a forger behind many of the Muhammad Ali forgeries that were rounded up in the FBI's Operation Bullpen bust. Olson worked closely with former boxer Chuck Wepner to pull off his scam, often selling photos signed by the real Wepner, and with a fake Ali signature added.

According to Operation Bullpen author Kevin Nelson, "Olson estimated that over the years he forged close to 10,000 items, mainly of Muhammad Ali. Olson stated "It was crazy. We went on for years. People saying, 'I want to buy five hundred Ali photographs. I want to buy a thousand Ali photographs.'"

Operation Bollpen boxing forger/con man John Olson, circa 1990s

So, is Olson still at it? Click here to read a fascinating account that occurred in Late March/early April 2013. A sports memorabilia dealer met with "a dying man" named John who wanted to sell his collection of boxing autographs. The buyer soon after found out the man he met with was John Olson and all the autographs he purchased were fakes.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Independence Day 2013

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

John Adams
(The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).