If you are a collector of baseball autographs you can learn a lot by reading this page.
CLICK FOR INFORMATION ABOUT GETTING BASEBALL AUTOGRAPHS AUTHENTICATED. You can also read about the work I have done with government agencies to help convict and expose forgers.
Click here to read about collecting baseball autographs.
Click here to view examples of forged baseball autographs.
Click here to view some quality unsigned baseball wire service photographs from vintage negatives.
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I BUY Babe Ruth autographs. Send me an e mail if you have one for sale.
Babe Ruth autograph study -
Among baseball autographs collectors Babe Ruth is definitely number one in terms of desirability. Every baseball autograph collector wants a Babe Ruth autograph in their collection. There is some question about his autographs from the last year of his life, which was 1948. Babe Ruth signatures dated 1948, in my opinion and in the opinion of most respected autograph dealers are mostly ghost signed, possibly by his wife, possibly by his sister. Here are two scans of legitimate Babe Ruth autographs signed in 1948. The letter is dated June, 1948, The Babe Ruth Story, a hardcover book, was published in 1948. Legitimate Babe Ruth signatures from 1948 are quite rare. A sizeable percentage of his 1947 items were also ghost signed. Most people thought it was his wife signing for him, apparently his wife and/or sister signed for him. Many of the wife/sister signatures have been sold by a very well known dealer who continues to sell this questionable autograph. Be very careful when buying a Babe Ruth autograph as forgeries abound.
It is the opinion of this writer and most autograph dealers in the hobby that the signature on the 1948 picture are not that of Babe Ruth but of one of his ghost signers. Compare it to the first two signatures, which are legitimate Babe Ruth autographs. Remember collecting baseball autographs is something that requires some effort. Do your homework.
General Warning Signs in the Autograph Market - things to beware of:
Baseball Autographs on Internet Auction sites - in general any survey ever undertaken by the UACC (Universal Autograph Collectors Club) has shown that 90% of autographs being offered on Internet auction sites are questionable at best. If you have been a regular buyer of autographs on Internet auction sites then you probably have been victimized. This is an unfortunate fact of autograph life.
Warning signs if you do bid on Internet auctions - private auctions, private feedback from the seller (he is hiding negative comments from former buyers), short term auctions (1 or 3 days) , and bids from buyers with zero or very low feedback (possibly indicative of shill bidding, which is rampant).
Sinclair Oil Contest Balls "signed" by Babe Ruth, I have never seen a good one, in my opinion, they were all signed by secretaries. Many of these balls are constantly offered for sale.
1940 N.Y. Worlds Fair certificates and Laurel cards "signed" by Lou Gehrig, I have never seen an authentic one, in my opinion, they were all signed by secretaries.
Ty Cobb letters with great content, especially about baseball - many were forged by a well known individual, who had access to Ty Cobb personally and blank Cobb stationery, and than they were sold into the marketplace by a very well known dealer. They still surface in the marketplace today. Honest, experienced baseball autographs dealers and collectors know how to tell the difference.
Signed vintage photos with white out on the back of the photo. If you rub off the white out, you can see "Property of Baseball Hall of Fame" on the back of these photos, which were stolen from the Hall of Fame and sold to unsuspecting collectors by a very well known dealer. The NY Daily News on August 20,2000 had a major story on this event, detailing where items wound up and how they got into the marketplace. I have talked to an eyewitness to the theft and three other individuals who purchased photos from this very well known dealer. All these photos had white out on the back, which when rubbed away revealed the stamp of the Hall of Fame. The dealer is still very active and very well known. The Hall of Fame covered up the incident because they did not want adverse publicity and the dealer, of course, denies any involvement. But I know of an eyewitness to this theft and I know of three buyers of these photos who have seen the whiteout on the back of the photo.
Yankee team balls from 1938 and 1939, many have clubhouse Lou Gehrig and Lefty Gomez signatures.
Yankee team balls from the late 1920's, many have clubhouse signatures of Babe Ruth.
Black and white Hall of Fame plaks in gem mint condition, these were forged in massive quantities about 15 years ago, sold into the marketplace by a very well known dealer and still surface in the market place today.
Jimmie Foxx rubber stamp "signature" on the back of gold Hall of Fame plaks.
Single Signed Balls - while they are certainly available in the marketplace, they are overwhelmingly plentiful on ebay. There are just not that many of them out there. Especially Chance, Mathewson, Gehrig and other very rare signatures.
Check the spelling of the name of the autograph that you are buying. I have seen misspelled forgeries on ebay. The forgers are not near as bright as they would like to think.
No autograph refunds or a few days opportunity for refunds are not the norm in the autograph world. BE LEERY OF DEALERS WHO DO NOT OFFER LIFETIME GUARANTEES on autographs.
I have seen ebay dealers who scream that dealer-authenticators cannot authenticate from a scan, than they give their buyer 2 days to check out an autograph. If that is not a warning sign, I don't know what is.
Ebay autographs in general. Every UACC survey has shown that 9 out of 10 autographs on ebay are questionable. I don't mean to discourage collectors from buying on ebay, but if you are a novice collector, AVOID EBAY AT ALL COSTS. You will get burnt. Don't use feedback as a guide. On ebay autograph feedback is meaningless. There are honest dealers on ebay, I sell there myself, but if you are new to the hobby or inexperienced at detecting forgeries, don't even think of buying unless you get some real expert advice. Read the first page again, reread what the FBI has said about letters of authenticity and the price being too good to be true.
Try to buy from dealers that are a member of a professional organization. UACC Registered Dealers and IADA dealers have to adhere to a Code of Ethics and stand by their LIFETIME GUARANTEES on every item they sell. Compare that to the dealers on ebay and non UACC dealers selling autographs. Very few ebay dealers are UACC Registered Dealers and those ebay dealers make up their own rules about the autograph market that nobody follows but themselves. Don't allow them to force those rules on you. You should insist on lifetime guarantees for any baseball autographs you buy. That is the norm in the autograph world. There is a reason they won't offer lifetime guarantees. Think about it.
Be especially leery of private auctions on ebay. This tactic is prevalent among sellers of questionable baseball autographs. Why are these auctions being kept private? Even ebay states on their website: "Please don't use this unless you have a specific reason". Ebay states this to their sellers, but still allows the private auctions to continue. WHY? There is no good specific reason for them to allow this. The sellers don't want the bidders to be contacted via e mail. That is the only reason they use private auctions. They will tell you some other crap, but think about the real reason.
Many ebay sellers are claiming that only "handwriting examiners" are qualified to determine the authenticity of an autograph in court. This is pure hyperbole on their part. I have talked to major attorneys in NY who dispute that claim in its entirety. The issue has NEVER been decided in court. I have testified in a criminal trial and been declared an EXPERT WITNESS in autographs by a NY State judge, based on my experience as an autograph dealer. Read the following letter:
There is a dealer who has fallen very far from the top of the pecking order, now ranking about 20th or so, if that, and he has barred me from his auctions, because I had the audacity to return a ghost signed autograph of Rube Waddell, which he refused to send me a copy of in the first place. In one of his auctions he tried to sell a Jean Harlow "mother" signed autograph as the real thing, his knowledge of autographs is virtually zilch and is colored by his vision for the green dollar, and he is a big advertiser. He will buy your collection and than palm it off on other dealers. Don't be intimidated by him. You can sell your items for a better price to many other dealers.
RICHARD SIMON SPORTS INC.
215 East 80th Street
New York, NY 10075
646-319-7531 (9-5 EST only) - phone
212-288-1445 - fax
The above address is not a store, please do not drop by unannounced. Thanks very much.