While at the show and waiting to talk to Joe from PSA there was a reporter there doing an interview with him about the Wagner card discovered in Chicago. Also in on the conversation was the owner of the PSA 8 Wagner whose name I don't know. The owners of the newly found Wagner had an expert on paper verify that it is from that era, he supposedly dealt with the dead sea scrolls. And an expert on printing verified the printing on the card was consistent with the time period of the make of the card. They are refusing to send it in to a grading company and it will be auctioned soon by a New York auction house later this year. The reporter says they are expecting to get in the $1mil range for the card un-graded. Joe and the PSA 8 Wagner owner thought they don't stand a chance to even get $10,000 unless it is graded by one of the big 3.
Would you be willing to take a chance on such a card that was only authenticated by an expert on Paper and printing?
Wasn't there a couple of guys on e-bay a few years ago or maybe last year that claimed they had everyone and their brother (exept the big 3) look at a Wagner and claimed it was from the right time, printing, blah, blah. But they refused to let go of it to have it graded. I remember it had some racial over tones with the story. Is this the same card and group?
A scared man can't gamble and a jealous man can't work.
adited for fat fingers
For someone with even a little hobby experience it would not be very difficult to look at a raw Wagner and know right away whether it was real. You could miss some subtle restoration but there has never been a fake that would fool a hobby veteran completely. That said, no sane person would sell such a significant card without getting it graded. In the same vein, no sane auction house would take a fake Wagner and try to pawn it off as real. The whole story doesn't really make a lot of sense.
Would a major auction house even accept a Wagner on consignment if it wasn't graded? Sounds to me like there's a ton of liability there, and I can't imagine that between that and all the money that would be left on the table, nobody would.
I think the NY auction house is taking a HUGE risk on having this one back fire on them. Are they going to sell is "AS IS"? I'm sure anyone that buys this card would make sure that this card would grade or they get their money back. Even though I'm not caught up in the grading scene, there is NO WAY I could place a bid of 500.00 on it without there being a 3rd party grade on it from the Big 3 grading companies. One of these days I have to get all my cards graded including this one....
I fully understand that only the grading companies have the capability to determine if a baseball card is genuine. And the Presedential seal with the blessing of the Pope complimented by the wizardry of Merlin will never suffice.
But come on, how mysterious a black art is this really?
" ... an expert on paper verify that it is from that era, he supposedly dealt with the dead sea scrolls. And an expert on printing verified the printing on the card was consistent with the time period of the make of the card".
Get dr cycleback's book and bcd's magnifier and trust in the wisdom of the ancients.
Joe, you're correct. The "new" Wagner is a card that was put on ebay last year with about 100 typos in the listing and claiming all sorts of scientific tests which purported to prove its provenance. However, if my memory serves me, the card had been rejected by all of the grading companies (save PRO which was ready to give it an 11-first one ever). I believe some of the articles attendant to this Wagner reported that the owners believed that they were being treated unfairly because they were minorities. I guess I'm sensitive to that claim because we all know that GAI, SGC and PSA are all about denying the black man the chance at a Wagner....
There was the Sienfeld where George and Kramer were walking down the a crowded street in New York City, and Kramer started waving a large denomination bills. George grabbed Kramer's arm and said, "Don't wave money around like that. People will be jumping out of windows to get it."
If a collector waves in the press a T206 Wagner that people think is genuine, there will be people jumping out of the windows to buy it or take it on consignment.
The idea of having trouble finding a buyer for a genuine T206 Wagner is silly.
I do believe its the same guy who wanted to be in the room when PSA graded it. They refused him entrance, due to the policy, and he decided not to let them grade it. HMMMM , makes me wonder if this guy is a loser who is trying to make money on reprints or state of the art printers that can duplicate a $1,000,000 card in seconds. JUST LET THEM GRADED IT !!!
The story isnt written very clearly, but I think it was intended to say there are only two known t206 wagners with piedmont backs. The other 40-50 all have sweet cap backs. I dont know enough about the set to know if this is true or not, but I had always thought the piedmonts were rarer.
The seller's case for the card's authenticity is all laid out. If PSA and SGC and GAI disagree with the seller's expert opinion, then the seller will come up with other experts to further substantiate his contention.
What does a lawyer have to lose in this situation?
That's true, Gil. The seller grades it as a 4 using PSA's sale,
doesn't personally attest to its authenticity, and is selling the
cards 'as is.' If someone wants to spend $300,000+ under those conditions
he or she is free to do so.
Here is the irony of what is likely to happen: these two guys see their Wagner card as a meal ticket that will make each of them wealthy. But what could happen is they sell the card, get the money and spend a good deal of it, then ultimately get sued for fraud and be forced to declare bankruptcy when they are unable to make restitution. So instead of this making them rich, it's likely to wipe them out. This is a story that down the road will have a very sad ending.
I would agree with you your conclusion if the card looked real at all, but this card is a joke. No one will buy this card, and I doubt the auction will even be up that long. I think I could re back a reprint in 10 min that looks better than this piece of junk.
Be well Brian
PS There website is a riot, how many appraisals do you think they've done on Vintage cards?
Brian- I agree that for experts like ourselves we can deem this card a fake on a one second glance. But most people can't. I also agree that this auction shouldn't and very well may not take place. But strange things happen in this hobby, especially when a great deal of money is involved. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. I feel bad for the owners; it seems they truly believe the card is real (or is this a gigantic hoax?) and they are setting themselves up for a monumental letdown.
Seeing the original auctions on eBay and then reading the news article and seeing a picture of the owners did not and still does not inspire confidence.
The reason why an attorney is involved, in my opinion, is that once the card is sold and found to be fake, or not sold at all, is that the owners are going to play the race card LOUD AND HEAVY. Somewhere I think I remember they have already brought that issue up.
Once they have gotten loud and started to get attention, they are going to sue somebody, most likely the auction house and probably settle out of court. So, the fake Wagner might wind up being worth $25,000 or more for the owners.
I think your "Giant Hoax" scenerio is the most likely reason. I think these guys know the card is fake, but believe there are a few people stupid enough to take a chance. I guess that's why they've become "experts" and have there own website, so they can further there pathetic story.
I noticied they listed the card right in the middle of a large group of graded cards to make it look more legit, but it doesn't look like any of the cards in the group, and why wouldn't your most expensive card be graded. This is the type of thing you see on Yahoo auctions.....
Frank Ward has a gallery of real t206 Wagners on his site. Seeing them all laid out next to each other provides a startling testament to the variation in appearance of legitimete examples. Id say card #16 looks more fake than the one offered in this auction.
I do not contend that the card in this auction is real. However, I think that if I was to spend the level of money required here, Id take the trouble to view the card myself. It wouldn't take long to judge a t206 fake.
I've heard this race card angle and it is particularly abhorrent. This is not an issue about race, but about authenticity. If they were lily white it's still a fake. I hope this whole thing just goes away.
I've got a question for our printing expert, David. The seller claims that a printing expert has determined that this was printed using appropriate printing techniques for the early 1900s. But the card is obviously fake. Is the seller's printing expert out to lunch? Or was it printed using a technique available in the early 1900s and also still available today? It sure looks like a bad photocopy, not even a professionally printed (Dover) reprint.
I don't know what this paper testing is all about because I think the reprint is modern. Why would the card have been reprinted before 1915? I would guess nobody at that time was aware the card was rare, and the market had no need or use for a reprint. Nothing that comes out of this story makes one bit of sense (except the greed part).
The easiest way to tell, the lack of a black line around the picture area, the gap between the "G" on uniform, the bottom button and the border. The caption is too condenced (notice the gap between the "R" and "P" is far too close.
The pictures I have collected, (my page with 18 different Wagners) were all taken in different eras, with different cameras, scanned with different setting etc. Thats the main reason for all the different variations in colors and qualities.
BTW Im working on answering the ton of emails I have (scan requests/card orders/etc.)
Note his qualifications -- a total of 3 semesters at various junior colleges and an unspecified amount of time working as a printer's apprentice. Also, he draws the remarkable conclusion that the card was printed on a sheet of paper measuring 13" long. What kind of equipment was he using to measure the invisible cards that are no longer present?
Lastly, to answer David's question at the top of the thread, yes this Wagner has blue eyes. At least that's what the report says.
Check out the last two pages of that printer's report for how not to apply for a job. That is the worst looking CV I have ever seen, ever. Hands down. If your education includes some random seminar in Rochester on technology, might at least not want to type "TeclinQlogy." Wow, what a star expert; I'm surprised he was enough of an expert on paper to load a printer.
This just stinks of fraud waiting to happen.
Seth, you are right. That's an impressive CV. Wow.
Most word processors have a spell check function these days.
The question unanswered is, has this guy ever seen a real T206 Wagner? Apparently not.
I still think the owners of this card believe they have the real thing. They believe they hold the winning mega-lottery ticket even though winning numbers have been announced and the cash has been disbursed. At this point they are simply wasting money on alleged "experts."
I'm stating the obvious to many here, but the easiest way to spot a fake Wagner (and many other fake T206s) is to look at the name and city name at the bottom of the card ... on real T206s, the player's name and the first letter of the city name (and the first two letters in the case of "N.Y.") have the same larger font size, and the rest of the city name is in slightly smaller font. The difference is easily seen, even in a bad scan.
You can see in the scans above that the letters in both the player name and the city name are all the same size on the fake Wagner those two idiots are trying to sell (call it the "Nimrod Wagner"). Then compare the Nimrod Wagner to the scan of the real Wagner -- with the smaller font size after the "P" in Pittsburgh. No need to look any further than that, but when you combine the font size error with all the other defects (lack of a black border, etc.), then it is clear that this is one of the poorer attempts at a fake Wagner.
I sent Connelly Auctions an email a couple of days ago and Bob Connelly responded to it. He admits he is not an expert but is relying on the affidavit that analyzed the paper. I explained the trouble that lies ahead for him if he actually sells it, and gave him a link to this site to read what other advanced collectors think about the card. All you can do is try, the rest is up to him.
I am guessing the back of it is a real skinned Piedmont, hence the paper testing pass. If they test the front, they will find the date to be at least before 2007 instead of 1921. This card is a blatant fake. Here is Bob's reply to me:
"Thank you for writing. (1) I am an appraiser, not an authenticator as I stated in the description. (2) I am not a grader. (3) To prove the age of the card, the owners had it scientifically tested. All the tests indicate that the card is old and was made earlier than 1921. Copies of this documentation are on our website in PDF files. (4) If you have a question about their test results, I suggest you contact the companies that issued the reports. Again, thank you for your concern and taking the time to write to me. Bob
How an auction house can offer something at this price and not protect the buyer is beyond me.
I know I should find better things to do but I find this whole thing fascinating.
Mr. Connelly states he is an "appraiser," not an authenticator. Isn't the most basic task of the appraiser to determine if the item in question is in fact genuine?
If you HAVE a million dollar card why would you submit it to testing which involves removing "fibers" from two corners of the card?
The best case scenario here is that they have some "old" paper, which is a long way from a genuine Wagner. And this presumes that you believe their paper expert.
How good can the paper expert be if he can't correctly spell the names of the schools he attended?
Why would you take the chance of tarnishing your company name over an item which has been judged a fake by so many when it would be so simple to have it graded?
This story and these owners have been around for years now. If this item were actually a Wagner that was new to the hobby every auction house in the business would have contacted the owners in hopes of putting the card in one of their auctions. Every trade publication would be fighting for the story and interviews with the owners. Instead, people like me (NOT a T206 expert) have determined that the card is a fake simply by looking at an internet scan for a couple of seconds, and have conveyed this opinion to the auction house. Unlike Barry & Dan, I have not gotten a response.
And why would any buyer pay five or six figures for ANY card without a return privilege pending authentication by PSA, SGC or GAI?
Even if ebay dumps this auction I imagine Connelly will continue his own auction. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Bob Connelly has a long standing auction business and I have to think that by now he is getting the feeling that something is very wrong with the card. If you sell a fake item for $250 and the buyer asks for a refund, you reimburse him out of petty cash. But if the same thing happens with a half million dollar card, and he has already paid his consignors who I assure you will disappear quickly, he will lose his business and perhaps his life savings too. And where is ebay during all this? I agree with you Bruce, I'm interested to see how this ends. My guess is it will not sell, will be returned to its consignors, who will then begin to concoct a new scheme to sell it.
must be a slow day since I finally looked at the auction and the site. The first thing that struck me was here is a guy who is an acclaimed appraiser, with industries highest accredidation, and he is willing to ruin his reputation over a card that no one with the card collecting hobby will step forward and say has an even remote chance of being real.
The thing that cracks me up is that he says the card is worth $850k based on the LOAs form suspect experts. I can get some LOAs printed up for the Mona Lisa poster I have that will attest to the fact that it was printed in Leonardo's workshop. Wonder what he will appraise that at and will he sell it for me?
Threatening the guy isn't a good way to do things, but how are his fellow appraisers and the accrediting board going to look upon him when this whole thing blows up in his face?
This looks like a lose-lose proposition if this auction goes down. I certainly wouldn't risk what appears to be a top notch reputation on this hoax.
A good friend will come bail you out of jail. A true friend will be sitting next to you saying, "Damn, that was fun."
I recall both of these individuals showing up in 1992 at a card show held at the Cincinnati Convention Center. The show was promoted by John O'Conner and the headline autograph guest was Billy Williams. The two guys sold us a fair condition 1965 Namath for $100 and also brought in some very low grade 1960s baseball cards and a stack of pretty ragged comics from the same time period.
Curiously, there was a dealer close to us who was selling a host of different reprinted cards including T206 Honus Wagners. One of the two guys purchased a reprinted T206 Wagner from this dealer and later brought it by and asked us what we thought it was worth. We told him nothing because it was a reprint. His response? "You just wait. This will really be worth something someday." He later returned with the card in a thick lucite screwdown. The implication was that they were going to attempt to sell it as an original.
An appraisel isn't an authentication. Appraisers have specialites,
and will try to identify fakes and reprints, but their job is to
come up with a value "assuming the items are authentic." No one appraising
for insurance the contents of a home is expected to be able to authenticate
everything from a Joe DiMaggio signed ball to an antique teddy bear to
a vase. An appraiser will be able to identify some items that are fake and
value accordingly, and many appraisers will have good knowledge of the market
and fakes and LOAs and stuff like that.
When you're a seller or auctioneer, it's a different story, as you are taking
responsibility for accurate descriptions.
"If you HAVE a million dollar card why would you submit it to testing which involves removing "fibers" from two corners of the card?"
Especially Bruce, since, according to the Nov. 20, 2005 article in the New York Daily News, one of the sellers, Edwards, is quoted in explanation as to why they wanted to be in the room when their prize was graded, "Would you let a $1 million card out of your sight? One scratch and the card loses $100,000 in value."
I just found a full page ad on SCD promoting this Wagner auction on ebay. I think everyone (except for the buyer, if it ever sold) involve in this Wagner sale just want a piece of the pie....even SCD....too bad.
I went on a blind date with a young lady who worked for S*****y's, and got a bunch of dirt on how authentication is handled at even the most respected auction houses.
Long story short, and no real shock, she confessed they mostly rely on guess work, and have knowingly sold works they suspected were fake simply because it would have been a no-no to question the provenance. She rattled off a list of major museums and the fakes in their collections as if it were common knowledge. Everyone involved with the sales knew these major works were fake, but the sale went through, and no recourse was taken.
The same person who handles, and tags the Eames prototype chairs one day, might handle the Ty Cobb bat the next day. One person will unload and process huge trucks of material in a few days time. The difference is an auctioneer that specializes in sports material should be able to stand behind the auction - it's not one of a kind, there are experts in the field who have handled or even owned one, and really that's more then you can say for many high end artifacts on the market. If you tried to sell a masterwork painting and authenticated the canvas rather then the painting itself - people would worry. My guess is auction houses must have really good insurance.
Reputable auction houses want to sell authentic items, as it's
bad for business if word gets out (and it will) that items
are fake. Most legitimage auction house presidents/owners are embarassed
if an item is publicly identified as fake, either during or after sale.
If an auction house knowingly offers a fake, I wouldn't classify it as
legitimate. And that's not to say there aren't illegitimate auction
houses out there.
I had a mild dispute with a big auction house where I was certain an item they
were auctioning was a fake. They, including President, said they disagreed
with me and didn't change the description as I suggested. I wasn't sure what to
make of their response (did they disagree or was there not sufficient obvious
evidence to pull it?), but I dropped the issue and the item sold.
David, I hear you. I understand that appraisers can't be experts in all areas.
But this auction house auctions PSA graded baseball cards, among other sports items. He is now auctioning a copy of the most famous card in the history of card collecting, ungraded. He knows that many people for several years have been saying that this card is bogus. He must know that he would have never acquired this lot for auction if Mastro or REA were interested.
Why would anyone risk their business and their credibility over this? The "I'm an appraiser, not an authenticator" excuse won't get him very far when this blows up in his face.
The instance where auctioning a dubious item might be considered acceptable
is when the seller will give the money back if it's turns out to be fake
and there is reasonable return time period. Though most auctions houses
dislike returns, not only because it involves returning $$, but it's a
hassle. Obviously, the return of $1 million dollar lots is more of a
hassle that $20, especially if the consignors have been paid.
First of all welcome back ....I hope you will continue to post more. On this issue I am not sure anyone, at this point, is questioning the card itself. It's obviously a fake. What we find intriguing is that a supposedly reputable auction house is taking part in the shenanigans....regards
Who even said that this Connelly fellow is reputable to begin with? I mean, just in this thread we have a story about them trying to hock fake wagners at an earlier national, and their expert witness, high school dropout Arnie Schwed who may or may not exist, is a laughing matter at best. I don't even think we need to bring up Sotheby's or Mastro or other established auction houses: this guy is a joke pulling for a scam for a couple of gold-diggers; I just pray nobody bites the $300 grand bullet on this one.
Here's my question. Have the auctioneer and owners considered
the legal consequences if the item sells? If you sell
a painting for, say, $2 million and the item is soonafter shown
to be a fake, the least that will happen is you have to return
the $2 million. If you've already spent part of the $2 million, that's
tough sh*t. If you sell for $2 million a painting that you know
before sale to be a fake, you may be facing criminal charges.
My guess is that if someone buys this card for $500,000 and it is later
determined to be a fake, there's a good chance the buyer will go to
local police, District Attourney's office or similar law enforcement agency.
There is clearly something going on here and we just haven't figured out what it is. I think everyone involved in the sale knows by now it is fake so I believe they have some grand plan and we just haven't been clever enough.
Sadly I agree with a previous thread that the sale of this "Wagner Card" is hardly a unique occurrence. In fact, I had an experience with one of the supposedly most reputed auction houses a number of years ago when they were selling a misidentified photograph. Despite me sending them a certified letter explaining in tremendous detail what I felt was conclusive evidence the item was misidentified, and despite a who's who of baseball memoribilia experts all calling to say the item was misidentified, the auction house went ahead and sold the item. In doing so, they refused even to voluntarily disclose to prospective bidders the controversy surrounding the item or the evidence the item was misidentified. All they agreed to do was to disclose this evidence IF ASKED. My response that if a bidder knew enough to ask for the contravening evidence, he probably already knew enough of the controversy surrounding the item to not need the evidence in the first place, fell on deaf ears. I was so outraged by the experience that I (with another Board member) wrote an article about what happened in the VCBC.
While of course I wouldn't want to see anybody buy this "Wagner Card" believing it is real, there is a certain side of me that would like to see that occur so as to give the buyer grounds for suing the pants off the auction house. I just have to believe that auction houses have an affirmative obligation to not deliberately put their heads in the sand and to present some reasonable disclosure of overwhelming evidence and expert assessment that an item is not as described.
Corey- at least the tintype you are referring to (and I accompanied Corey to the auction house that day) was real, spectacular, and valuable in its own right; it was simply misidentified. This Wagner card is worthless. This is even worse.
I believe that the two owners of the wagner were the ones who retained the experts to authenticate the card and were also the two individuals who were mentioned as being at a prior national - not connelly the auctioneer.
Not that it will matter, but I reported the listing to Ebay as a violation of their listing policy. If this were a simple $9.99 listing, Ebay would remove it in a flash. Guess there's too much money at stake for them. I'm guessing that whether or not it's real, Ebay gets to keep their listing and selling fees (unless the seller files the necessary non-paying buyer report in order to get his selling fee returned).
From the photos that FKW posted -- forget the buttons and the text, just lokk at the specular highlights in The Dutchman's hair -- not even close. Clearly a reprint. Does anyone know if there were any reprints of the monster prior to the '60's?
I'm issuing a press release Wednesday on behalf of my web site SportsCollectorsDaily.com, explaining why having this card submitted for authentication and grading is the ONLY route to take. Hopefully some media outlets will pick up the story and at least make less astute potential buyers more aware of the questions surrounding this card. You can locate it via PRWeb.com.
Edited to add that the back of the reprint states the card is worth $20,000 so maybe thats why these two bought the card for $18,000 cause they knew they were getting a good deal. It says right on the card that it is worth $20,000.
to the person who owns the wagner in question: you issued the challenge to us- if the card is a reprint, who printed it? that nobody can answer this question seems to be the proof of authenticity you stand behind
my question to you- if your wagner is real, yet has these curious differences inconsistent with other authenticated wagners, please let us know who printed it? how did it get its distinct characteristics?
This card ain't going to sell. It just isn't it and the auctioneer has ruined his reputation. So, justice is served. Ebay is the one that really disappoints here. Anything to get that listing fee, no? What is the listing fee for a $300k item anyway? If ebay had any sense of decency they'd donate that money to an orphanage or an Alpaca rescue farm or something.
Someone spots a reprint such as this Wagner, and the seller issues a challenge to prove who reprinted it...that's plain nuts. There is another word that collectors need to get familiar with: FORGERY. This particular card is probably a reprint, but forgeries are simple to make, and if done correctly, will look much more like the real thing than a cheap reprint.
I think Barry again might be onto something when he says that there could be something going on here that we haven't been clever enough to pick up on - it just doesn't make sense that a reputable auction house would buy into this, especially when it is so simple to cover their *sses in advance by having any of at least 100 board members take a 5-second look at the card and give an opinion.
Also, I remember the SNL skit Alec Baldwin did with Schwedy Weiners, but not Schwedy Balls...Nuts.