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  Armstrong autopen at Cowan's auction

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Author Topic:   Armstrong autopen at Cowan's auction
stsmithva
Member

Posts: 1452
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 12-06-2012 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wes Cowan, one of the appraisers on "Antiques Roadshow", has an auction house in Cincinatti. Its motto is "The Midwest's most trusted auction house."

I noticed two weeks ago that an Armstrong photo in an upcoming auction was clearly signed with an autopen machine, specifically using Pattern 8 on astroautopens.com. I wrote to their general "info" e-mail address to alert them, but nothing happened.

A couple of days ago I wrote again, to a specific person there, and now a note has been added to the end of the listing: "Auctioneer's Note: We have been alerted that this signature corresponds to Armstrong's autopen signature (#8 on astroautopens.com)."

They didn't change anything else on the listing: it's still described as "autographed" and "signed" with an estimate of $1000-1500. "Condition: Signature remains strong."

That's like an art gallery writing a paragraph about a Picasso painting with an estimate of $20,000,000; then adding a little note saying that it is actually a poster from someone's dorm room.

I've never seen a supposedly reputable auction house or dealer continue to try to sell something for the same price after acknowledging the fact that it is definitely not genuine.

stsmithva
Member

Posts: 1452
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 12-06-2012 10:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, they sent me an e-mail later saying that the first e-mail hadn't gotten to them, and thanking me for the information. They said they would mention the autopen at the auction. I'm still sure that just pulling it would have been the right thing to do.

mjanovec
Member

Posts: 3627
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 12-07-2012 05:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by stsmithva:
They didn't change anything else on the listing: it's still described as "autographed" and "signed" with an estimate of $1000-1500.

The item was retitled as "Neil Armstrong Autographed Photograph, Autopen."

I think it's still acceptable to auction off an autopen, as long as the description clearly states what it is. One could still argue the estimate needs to be revised, but a potential bidder is at least now aware that it's an autopen.

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