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  Aurora Galleries Oct. 2006 auction (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Aurora Galleries Oct. 2006 auction
Bob M
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posted 10-10-2006 12:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ken Havekotte:
I've always had a policy of not explaining why this and that particlar autograph in detail is atypical, bogus, or a forgery. Such explanations can take lots of time, and some are quite involved, as I would like to keep some of those reasons personal from fear of having some master forgers "know" a certain pattern or autograph style.
It takes time, experience, knowledge and ability to be able to identify forgeries and to distinguish between the real and the false. Those, such as Ken, for one, can usually identify a forgery without much inspection or analysis - often at first glance. But with the better forgeries, some close analysis is necessary - often particular traits and small features can indicate forgery or authenticity.

Ken is right in not usually explaining and detailing exactly why a particular signature is a forgery. Such information can be used by forgers to eliminate errors and improve and perfect their work. A great example of this is found in one particular forger's forgery of Astronaut X (not Armstrong). He unfailingly uses one feature in all his Astronaut X forgeries that is never seen in genuine examples or seen from other sources. This tell-tale trait is seen in every Astronaut X autograph of his, on various material, and easily identifies him as its source and the autograph as a forgery.

This "fatal flaw" trait has been looked for in countless genuine Astronaut X autographs spanning 40 years of examples and is never seen except from one source. It's amazing to see this "fatal flaw" trait show up in every Astronaut X autograph from this source - time, after time, after time...

Pointing out this "fatal flaw" trait publicly would only result in the forger correcting his mistake and lead to improved and near-perfect Astronaut X forgery examples in the future.

cosmos-walter
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posted 10-10-2006 05:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When rushing through part 2, I saw a few Salyut-6 covers being offered as flown ones whereas they are not.

Many flags like 1487, 1488, or 1666 are offered as being flown with COA of "International Public Charitable Foundation for Support of Russian Cosmanauts". This foundation does not issue COA on any space memorabilia. All items accompanied with such COA I examined prooved to be faked.

Astro Bill
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posted 10-10-2006 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ken and Bob, okay, I get the point that you do not want to reveal your "secrets" of detecting a forgery. Ken, at the beginning of this thread you labeled several items in the Aurora Auction catalog as "forgeries" or "fake." My question is how certain are you that the autographs in question are forgeries? Are you 100% certain, or 90%, or 80%? If you are not 100% sure, your opinion should have been "apparent forgeries." Others would refer to them as "alleged forgeries."

I have heard some collectSPACE members state on this message board that they are sure that a certain signature is genuine because it was signed in front of them. However, other collectors have labeled the same signature as "questionable" or "I do not like that one" or "bogus." Apparently there is no answer to my question upthread where I asked how someone can prove that the autographs that they have are genuine, if others say that they are "questionable." My question apparently has no answer because it did not elicit a response. Is there an answer?

I suggested a notary seal and signature and photos of the signing. Would these show the genuineness of the signature?

I sometimes sign my boss's signature at work on bank documents (not checks). The bank called me once and stated,"Bill, that wasn't even close." They advised me to write my boss's name and place my initials next to it. They did not say, sign his signature.

One other employee in the office often signs for my boss and she has never been questioned. My boss's signature is recognizable to me, but there are many variations of it. If he is in a hurry, the signature is sometimes incomplete or resembles a scribble. If he takes his time, the signature has many loops and lines that are very difficult to match. Like fingerprints, no two signatures are identical, but they are "in the ballpark."

My own signature is a result of a Palmer Method education. It is very readable. I envy those who have a distinctive impressive signature. Occasionally I sign a letter at work and I do not like the way I signed my signature. I print another copy of the letter and sign it again. My point is that everyone signs items in different ways occasionally, but the signatures are all "in the ballpark" of their usual signature. Slight differences in an autograph should not discount its worth. Isn't it possible that some astronauts may occasionally sign an item differently from their usual signature?

A few years ago I requested an old auction catalog from an auction house that often has space memorabilia auctions. On several pages there there were numerous "signatures" of Neil Armstrong. I could see that someone was experimenting with Armstrong's signature. A few of the 30 or more signatures were very close to Armstrong's signature as shown in the auction catalog itself. Either someone was practicing Armstrong's signature, or Neil stopped by the auction house and wrote his name several times in the catalog. If the latter is true, this 2001 auction catalog is worth its weight in gold. The 520-page catalog weighs about 8 ounces and would therefore be worth about $5,000 in today's gold market. However, I am sure that with your expertise you could easily detect the forgeries.

James Brown
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posted 10-10-2006 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for James Brown   Click Here to Email James Brown     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill, there are no "secrets" of detecting a forgery. It's called experience. Many people who have collected autographs over the years, can easily tell a forgery from the real thing. Ken and Bob are 2 of the best, as they have been collecting astronaut autographs for years. They have been exposed to thousands of signatures over time. If you too collect them long enough, you'll be able to do the same.

Astro Bill
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posted 10-10-2006 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
James, I meant "secrets" in the good sense, like the "secret" formula for Pepsi.

I do not collect autographs. I am a writer and sometimes editor. I would like to see some control in the hobby where genuine autographs and genuine covers are authenticated and forgeries are labeled as such in auction catalogs. If it is known that an item is "questionable," why is is not labeled as such in the auction catalogs? Why, that is, other than the profit motive?

At the beginning of this thread there was a lengthy list of forged items. Why are they not shown to be questionable in the auction catalogs?

Your posting did not answer any of my questions regarding this matter. Is it possible to authenticate an autograph as genuine, if some collectors, not as knowledgeable as Ken and Bob, state that the item is questionable? How certain are Ken & Bob of their opinions on some autographs - 100% certain?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-10-2006 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe you are seeking absolutes where absolutes do not exist. The only way to be without any doubt that an autograph is authentic is to witness it being signed yourself. No notary or other witness can convey that 100% degree of confidence.

That said, as with any subjective pursuit, those with more knowledge -- knowledge that can only be gained by years of experience -- can state with some certainty that an item is good or bad. Can they be wrong? Yes. But more times than not, their advice can be trusted.

quote:
At the beginning of this thread there was a lengthy list of forged items. Why are they not shown to be questionable in the auction catalogs?
Simply put: they were either misidentified or unrecognized as such, or Aurora disagrees. Only Aurora can comment as to why these lots were included.

That said, it would be irresponsible to offer "questionable" autographs for sale, if identified and labeled as such. Questionable autographs are like "possibly flown" artifacts -- at best, they demonstrate a poor choice in judgement; at worst, they are an attempt by sellers to defraud buyers through semantics.

(I should be clear and state that I have no reason to believe that Aurora had any intent to deceive and have even more reasons to believe the opposite true.)

A couple of years ago, in an attempt to offer some "control", I tried to restrict opinions on autograph authenticity to terms such as 'atypical' and 'questionable'. My intentions were good and I believe the ensuing debate inspired some of the desired outcome, but at the end of the day, it was the realization that anything and everything written about an autograph is by definition subjective, unless it is authored by the person who originally put the ink to the paper.

mjanovec
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posted 10-10-2006 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree there are no absolutes in signatures, but there are near-certainties with certain examples. As such, I'm grateful to Ken and others for being willing to share their concerns. They certainly don't have to...and run the risk of criticism by doing so...but they help the hobby greatly by steering novice collectors away from iffy examples.

It's true that an authentic signature, if signed atypically, could be mistaken for a forgery. However, the question the collector must ask themself is this: Would I be happy having such a questionable item in my collection? Is a collector ever truly happy not knowing with near-certainty that their item is authentic? One would ask themselves...is my item just atypical or is it a forgery? Doubts like that can nag at you and ultimately ruin the joy of owning an item.

Unfortunately a few atypical authentic signatures can be mistaken for forgeries, but it's one risk of being in the autograph hobby. If you collect, you are much better off collecting signature styles that are as close to "typical" as possible. Not only will you be happier with the signature, but it will be less likely to be doubted should you ever have to sell it later.

Astro Bill
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posted 10-10-2006 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, I agree with your last statement that collectors should collect "typical" autographs if they wish.

My questions dealt with atypical signatures that may appear to some to me forgeries. I explained my personal experiences with atypical signatures. My question remains, how certain are Ken and Bob that some of the items in this auction are forgeries. Are they 100% certain? If they are less than 100% certain, they have to qualify their opinion and state that the autograph is an "apparent forgery". What is wrong with that? FORGERY suggests that the person judging the item is CERTAIN of the value of the autograph.

I applaud the work that both Ken and Bob have done for the hobby and I hope that they will continue to do so.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 10-11-2006 04:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
If it is known that an item is "questionable," why is is not labeled as such in the auction catalogs? Why, that is, other than the profit motive?
Bill, profits are clearly the primary motivation of auction houses, but that's not to say that they don't owe a duty of care to buyers to correctly represent items. Equally, we (the customers) have a right to expect good service and "goods as described". I've yet to see an auction house that hasn't listed an a/p or fake as genuine and sometimes I suspect this is down to complacency OR the fact that the auctioneers are generalists OR that they do not employ an expert evaluator, or a combination of all three.

Not employing an expert evaluator is inexcusable IMHO given the 30-40% spread they receive on sales. R&R recognised this and "recruited" Scott to perform the due diligence on space items. It has boosted buyer confidence and probably attracted more people to their sales.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 10-11-2006 07:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill, to rather make a long story short and to directly answer your prior question, usually in most cases, labels that I have used such as "forgery" or "fake" are, in my opinion only, autograph attempts that are "way off", or severely different in many patters, from such normal characteristics or known "typical" traits. In using labels as "atypical," as Robert had suggested, this would apply--from my usages--to signatures that are not the "usual" normal characteristics. In signing my name throughout the last few decades or so, Bill, Yes--my signature has changed from time to time. But such early and/or different characteristics can be noted throughout a person's signing habits from their early years to present day. This is why, throughout decades of intense autograph study and collecting, that I have assembled a vast autograph collection with many different known traits of most all noted astronaut personalities. My own astronaut signatures usually go back to their pre-astronaut flying careers, their early NASA selection years, as veteran space flyers, retirement (no longer with NASA) years, and so on. A good example of this would pertain to Armstrong, Lovell, Cernan, and a few others.

When Lovell joined the astronaut corps in 1962, his signature certainly did look different from how he signs today--But--a veteran and experienced astronaut autograph collector should be aware of such differences. It usually would require, speaking for myself, studying and comparing hundreds and hundreds of different signatures from a well-known or popular astronaut in order to "paint a better or more accurate picture", if you will, of his long-term signing habits and characteristics. Overall, Bill, I would say "very close to 100%" when I am using labels as "forgery" or "fake," but always--my personal opinion only--based on my own collecting experiences for 35+ years.

Astro Bill
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posted 10-12-2006 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I meant to ask, "Is it possible to authenticate an autograph in spite of the fact that some people think it is fraudulent - when you are positive that it is genuine?. If the collecting community labels an autograph as a FORGERY, how can that be overcome when in reality the autograph is GENUINE?

My contention is that it cannot be authenticated as genuine if some collectors state that it is a FORGERY because "the die has been cast". This autograph and the reputation of the auction house and perhaps the owner have been irreversibly tarnished. That is why I suggested that words such as FORGERY be replaced by "apparent forgery." Even Ken admits that he is not 100% positive about his decisions. FORGERY is a word that should only be used if you are 100% positive that it is a fraudulent signature.

taneal1
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posted 10-12-2006 02:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
FRAUD is a word that should only be used if you are 100% positive that it is a fraudulent signature.>
Bill, I definitely understand your point. However, the folks on the site are the best-qualifed "hands-on" astronaut autograph experts in the world. To refute their opinions you'd have to find someone equally or better qualified. I doubt that is possible. Additionally, it's a measure of their honestly when someone says they can't quite say it's a 100% fraud.

For example, how many things in this world can be proven to such a high degree of certainly? e.g. Manned lunar landings. Can they be proven 100% to everyone? Does something have to be proven 100% to be believed?

To be convicted of "Fraud" in a court of law, it only requires proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" as determined by one's peers. A verdict of "Fraud" by the experts on this site more than fulfills the above requirement.

mjanovec
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posted 10-12-2006 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
Even Ken admits that he is not 100% positive about his decisions. FRAUD is a word that should only be used if you are 100% positive that it is a fraudulent signature.

100% certainty, in anything in life, is hard to achieve. The only way to determine, with 100% certainty if an autograph is real or fake is to witness it being signed (either by the celebrity or by the forger).

A photograph taken of the person signing it lends more creedence to an item's authenticity, but is no gaurantee of authenticity. After all, who is to say someone doesn't obtain a photo of an item being signed, then turn out dozens of forgeries using the same photo as "authentication." It's been done before.

So if you want 100% certainty, you need to stand there while the astronaut signs it. If you don't witness it being signed, you don't have 100% proof. Period. And when you go to sell the item, you cannot pass on your 100% certainty to the buyer unless he/she was with you when it was signed. Once it leaves your possession, it loses the 100% assurance of authenticity, because the next person ultimately has to take your word for it...and so on.

It's impossible to label anything a 100% fake. Many items can probably be labeled as 99.9% certain to be fakes, but there is always a glimmer of a chance it is a highly atypical signature. But why would anyone WANT a signature that is so atypical that it's chances of being authentic are next-to-nothing?

Also, I don't see Ken claiming anyone of knowingly committing fraud. The consigners of the fakes on the auction may fully believe they have the real thing (just like the person here who recently thought he had an authentic Apollo 11 signed piece). Granted, I suspect some of those consigners are fully aware of the bad goods they are selling...but some consigners might be unaware of what they're selling.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 10-12-2006 05:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well said guys and thanks for the support. Nothing can be 100% proven unless you have personally witnessed the signing before your own eyes (and hopefully the person signing isn't an impostor, ha, as this happened once before)! Lone ago there was an "astronaut that flew on Apollo" visiting a foreign small town. The red carpet was rolled out for his planned 1-day visit, there was a parade down main street in which he participated, and a big dinner held in his honor. He was asked many times for his autograph and was "signing away" all throughout his day of celebration. As it turned out, he was NEVER any kind of astronaut, as someone finally did a check up on the guy, but only after he had left their fair city. He was later quoted as saying he wanted to feel what it would be like to be an astronaut hero. A true story, by the way, as it was reported in one of the wire stories worldwide!

Astro Bill
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posted 10-12-2006 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by taneal1:
To refute their opinions you'd have to find someone equally or better qualified.
I am NOT refuting anyone's opinion. Where did you get that idea? Their opinion is their opinion. I disagree with the use of the definitive term FORGERY instead of "apparent forgery" is most cases.

I agree with you that a FORGERY can be determined by a COURT. This message board is not a court and the experts may know their stuff, but they are not lawyers. IMHO the use of the word FORGERY is very inappropriate, particularly when the other side has not been heard. The designation of something as a FORGERY is for a court to decide. Since most opinions on authenticity cannot be given with 100% certainty, the opinions should be labeled as "apparent forgery".

It is not that I am questioning Ken's opinion on the items in question, it is my opinion that the wrong description was used to classify these "apparently fraudulent" items. Again, I mention the many atypical autographs that may be "out there."

Note: By mistake I was using the word FRAUD in my postings upthread, when I meant to use the word FORGERY. I have corrected my previous comments.

taneal1
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posted 10-12-2006 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
I am NOT refuting anyone's opinion. Where did you get that idea?
Where did YOU get the idea that I said that? If you'll read the quote, I said "To refute". I didn't even SUGGEST that you WERE refuting that.
quote:
This is for a court to decide.
No one is calling a person or corporation a fraud. No one is accusing a seller of *knowingly* passing off a fraud. THAT would be something for a court to decide.
quote:
the wrong description was used to classify these "apparently fraudulent" items
The experts are calling a signature a fraud - IN THEIR [personal] OPINION. They are also qualifying the statement by stating that their opinions are NOT 100% certain. The above is the same as stating it's "apparently/probably/likely fraudulent". A court wouldn't uphold fraud, libel or slander when a person states it's their personal opinion and further states that they are NOT 100% certain.

spaceman1953
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posted 10-12-2006 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All of you and all of your knowledge, thank you sincerely for sharing this with all of us, you all are absolutely spectacular for making your observations on the lots for all of us to see.

Astro Bill
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posted 10-12-2006 10:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The experts are NOT saying "In My Opinion (IMO)" when they state that an item is a FORGERY. All they are saying is FORGERY next to the item in the list - not FORGERY IMHO. They leave no room for other opinions because they are the experts.

Again, and I hope this is clear this time, I am not questioning Ken's or anyone's opinion on anything. It is their statement of this opinion - FORGERY - that is inappropriate IMHO. It should be "apparent forgery".

Yes, Ken admitted that he was not 100% sure, but that declaration was AFTER his opinion and well down in this thread. I understand that he has an opinion on several items, but it is his opinion and a well respected opinion, but is is only his opinion and it should be shown as such IMHO. How would you feel if someone said that you were selling forgeries and no one asked for your opinion in the matter.

I do not have any items in this or any auction, in case you were thinking that is why I am interested in this matter.

Elsewhere on this message board Bob McLeod called a few rubber stamps "COUNTERFEIT". They should not have been characterized as such IMHO. They are just rubber stamps which may resemble official NASA cachets in some ways, but in other ways (size, color) they are not identical to NASA official cachers. There are hundreds of different space oriented rubber stamp cachets "out there" and they are not all NASA official cachets. Many people prepared such cachets to decorate covers, not to attempt to counterfeit NASA cachets. There are several publications, articles and CDs on this matter which would be helpful to differentiate between NASA and non NASA cachets. The other than NASA cachets are not counterfeit cachets, they are just OTHER rubber stamp cachets.

The words FORGERY and COUNTERFEIT connote that the items were deliberately prepared to deceive, when in actuality, it is only your OPINION they these items are counterfeits or forgeries. I do respect their opinions, but they are their opinions and should be SHOWN as such - "apparent forgery/counterfeit".

mjanovec
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posted 10-12-2006 11:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If someone looks at an item and makes a judgement call that something is a forgery or counterfeit, the fact that it's an opinion is already implied.

I would prefer not to tell someone how to word their posts. If the group feels their judgement call is bad, they will be questioned on it. In Ken's case, I don't doubt a word he says about those forgeries because they raised red flags when I saw them too...and I'm certainly no expert.

leslie
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posted 10-13-2006 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for leslie   Click Here to Email leslie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by farthestreaches:
You're considering Ebay as a "safe" low commission alternative? You're kidding, right?
I am at a loss to understand how any serious collector would ever venture into the murky depths of eBay...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-13-2006 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by leslie:
I am at a loss to understand how any serious collector would ever venture into the murky depths of eBay...
It really depends on what you collect. If you are seeking autographs -- especially from pre-shuttle astronauts -- than yes, eBay is a mine field.

But you can still find autographs on eBay that you rarely find offered elsewhere, not because they are rare but because they aren't often available, e.g. shuttle commander David Walker.

Beyond autographs, eBay can be a gold mine. In the past few weeks, there have been flown artifacts offered that I have never seen listed in any 'real world' auction catalog, e.g. a peacock feather flown to the Moon on Apollo 10.

Of the top five items in my personal artifact collection, three were found on eBay (and likely purchased for less than if they had been sold elsewhere).

Lastly, if you are seeking memorabilia -- commemorative items from a certain time period such as buttons, flags, banners, posters, coins, etc. that are often viewed as too inexpensive to offer individually through auction houses -- than eBay can often be your only source for such items.

So while no one should take eBay listings for granted (forgeries are not the only trap), it would be a mistake to ignore eBay as a viable market.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 10-13-2006 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by leslie:
I am at a loss to understand how any serious collector would ever venture into the murky depths of eBay...
So where do you think the DEALERS get a substantial proportion of their stuff from?

Like Robert, my top pieces came from eBay. I hate to think how much my Apollo 13 flown "Rescue" decal from the CM would have cost at auction.

eBay is an essential, cost-efficient and complimentary market for space memorabilia, BUT you have to know what you're doing.

Ray Katz
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posted 10-13-2006 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ray Katz   Click Here to Email Ray Katz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also buy (sometimes) from eBay. I find it a great source for things that few people want...

For example, I got a nice boring tech document on planning the flight of the Agena that, ultimately failed to achieve orbit as a target vehicle for Gemini 6. I wanted it only because I own Schirra's copy of the original Gemini 6 flight plan -- which wasn't flown because of the Agena failure...

That's something I'm pretty confident isn't a forgery. Who would bother?

That said, eBay can be a treacherous place... you need to be careful...

machbusterman
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posted 10-13-2006 04:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for machbusterman   Click Here to Email machbusterman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by leslie:
I am at a loss to understand how any serious collector would ever venture into the murky depths of eBay...
Not everything on eBay is trash or bogus. I've found a number of real gems on eBay, some of which I've got for prices that I could never have hoped for with an auction house or dealer.

I just picked up an INCREDIBLY rare X-15 pilot signed photograph which came with the sort of provenance you never EVER see mentioned in any of the catalogues from the auction houses.

If you don't think eBay is worth looking at... then that's your opinion... though I see a number of VERY experienced and well seasoned collectors that DO bid/buy on eBay. Maybe you think these people are not serious collectors... let the turkey-shoot begin.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 10-13-2006 06:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill it should be noted that, always -- but with this one exception -- when asked to comment on auction lots, etc. I have always indicated "my personal opinion," etc. In checking this particular thread, Bill, apparently it wasn't mentioned (my failure to do so) and I am sorry that it was neglected beforehand. In checking all such prior posts as this, to my knowledge, there was always a stipulation, "only my opinion," when making such observations.

capoetc
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posted 10-14-2006 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Havekotte, I would just like to say that, although we have never met, I very much appreciate your opinions on this board! My collection is quite modest compared to that of many who visit cS, but I have benefited from your posts a number of times ... I sincerely hope that you and others will not be dissuaded from posting your opinions in the future based upon some of the comments in this thread.

Ken Havekotte
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posted 10-15-2006 05:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ken Havekotte   Click Here to Email Ken Havekotte     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
John, Eugene and others, many thanks for your kind words as they do mean a lot to me (and I know for others that offer such opinions). My only motive here -- honestly -- is to provide fellow cSers, based on my own collecting experiences, with more knowledge and hopefully more accurate information regarding various auction lots that we often see.

leslie
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posted 10-16-2006 02:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for leslie   Click Here to Email leslie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Derek, I did not personalise my comments and have the utmost respect for my fellow collectors as those who know me will verify.

You have on your website a crew signed Apollo 11, did you buy that on eBay?

Richard
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posted 10-16-2006 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard   Click Here to Email Richard     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did anyone notice the "high fidelity" A7 spacesuit. Isn't that the same one from the last auction? However, I think that I remember that it sold for over 10K to a person that was at the auction. Does anyone have any further information on this?

Astro Bill
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posted 10-17-2006 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The point that I was personally trying to make in my comments on this thread is that questionable autographs in auctions should be called "apparent forgery" by the reviewer, not "forgery." Only a court can determine a forgery.

It cannot be determined by the reviewer that the questionable item is a forgery beyond any doubt. The questionable autograph may be an "atipical autograph" for various reasons (signed in hasts, on a moving vehicle, in a crowd at a ball game, etc.).

Ask yourself, if the questionable autograph was in a Christie's Auction instead of an Aurora Auction, would you still use the word "forgery" or would you characterize the questionable autograph as "apparent forgery"?

Keep in mind that Christie's is a very famous auction house with enormous resources. If the press picked up the accusation of "Forgeries in Christie's Auctions!", legal proceedings could result. I suggest that all such opinions on questionable autographs should be called "apparent forgery."

mjanovec
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posted 10-18-2006 12:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
Only a court can determine a forgery.
How so?

They can make a ruling based on opinion, but just because they say something is so, doesn't make it so. Courts have convicted innocent men of crimes they did not commit. Just because a court says "guilty" doesn't automatically mean the person did the crime.

If a forgery showed up at a Christie's auction and I thought it was a forgery, I'd be more than happy to share that opinion with anyone who asked.

Astro Bill
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posted 10-18-2006 05:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In two brief sentences you proved my point. Yes, I agree, courts can make mistakes of all kinds. But at least their determination of "forgery" or "non-forgery" comes after testimony by experts under oath subject to cross-examination by the opposition.

The determinations on this message board by experts (usually from an online photo or catalog photo - not the original item) that an item is an outright "forgery" supercedes the legal process which should be used to determine legally if an item is a "forgery" or not.

Yes, the court gives its opinion and this opinion is based on the testimony of experts and the experts and the courts sometimes make mistakes, but at least they used the legal process to make this determination.

I find it interesting to note that you would "share that opinion with anyone who asked" in spite of the fact that we just agreed that everyone makes mistakes, even the experts and even the courts. You are willing to give an opinion in public on this message board that an organization such as Christie's sells outright "forgeries" (if you were to determine that somehow) with no qualification such as "apparent forgeries" in spite of the fact that you could be wrong and that this could lead to legal action by Christie's against collectSPACE? I find that hard to believe.

This is a very cavalier attitude for someone who is working only from a photo or image of some kind and for someone who does not divulge his own personal identity. You would be willing to risk the reputation of both Christie's and collectSPACE just to express your unqualified opinion that an autograph is an outright "forgery" and not an "atypical" signature, yet you are making these accusations from a safe "undisclosed location", nameless and safe from legal action by Christie's to defend its reputation.

I use Christie's in this example because they actually have the resources to fight back legally if they are accused of selling forgeries. It is presumed by most people, I would imagine, that they employ their own experts to assure that they do not sell forgeries. Their experts are looking at the actual item, while you and other experts would be viewing a copy of some kind. Their experts are subject to questioning by their superiors at Christie's, while you would be subject to no questioning, safe in your secret location afraid to divulge your identity. You are the Lone Ranger of collectSPACE, fighting crime on the Internet.

That is my opinion.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-18-2006 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
...that this could lead to legal action by Christie's against Collect Space?
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act passed by Congress and signed into law in 1996 specifically excludes online service providers (including moderated message boards and blogs) from being held liable for defamation based on information posted by its users. As such, if there is a legal concern, it would be action brought against individual members and not the parent website.

That aside, relevant to this discussion is information provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit advocacy and legal organization that is dedicated to preserving free speech rights in the context of the internet and other digital mediums.

Courts look at whether a reasonable reader or listener could understand the statement as asserting a statement of verifiable fact. (A verifiable fact is one capable of being proven true or false.) This is determined in light of the context of the statement. A few courts have said that statements made in the context of an Internet bulletin board or chat room are highly likely to be opinions or hyperbole, but they do look at the remark in context to see if it's likely to be seen as a true, even if controversial, opinion... rather than an assertion of fact dressed up as an opinion.

mjanovec
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posted 10-18-2006 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
I find it interesting to note that you would "share that opinion with anyone who asked" in spite of the fact that we just agreed that everyone makes mistakes, even the experts and even the courts.
You are making assumptions about what I would and wouldn't say. I never said I would call something a forgery and use no qualifying statements. I would always state that it is my opinion and nothing more. And in most circumstances, I would only comment on what appeared to be obvious forgeries. I don't claim to be an expert and I certainly don't have the experience that many others here have at cS. I would only comment to the level that my own experience would allow me to comment.

As for making judgments based on online photos or catalog photos, that is sometimes the only way that buyers can also make their judgments. If an experienced collector has concerns with an item based on the photo he sees, that is often enough to decide whether the item is worth pursuing or not. After all, if atypical characteristics are obvious on low-res scans, they won't be any less obvious in person. (Also, if you look through the archives...or just above in this discussion... you'll see many instances where people like Ken will say they need to see a better scan to form an opinion.)

Simply put, I would trust certain members of cS to authenticate an astronaut autograph as well or better than any court-appointed expert. There are decades of experience among our ranks that are a valuable resource to the community. The last thing I want to do is to encourage them to stop providing their opinions. Collectors need to help other collectors.

Robert already addressed the legal aspects of your comments.

Astro Bill
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posted 10-18-2006 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Astro Bill   Click Here to Email Astro Bill     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am NOT discouraging anyone from giving an opinion on anything on this website, contrary to what you would like it to appear. And, as you know, we are NOT discussing the items for which Ken said that he needs a better image to make a decision on its validity. We are discussing the items where he only said "FORGERY" and did not qualify his opinion in any manner.

Robert, thanks for the information. It is very interesting and useful. However, you did mention that a court makes a final decision on the intent and value of a statement on the Internet if the matter is brought to a court's attention for some reason.

I am sure that we all agree that Ken is the #1 authority on astronaut autographs. His statement can never be interpreted as frivolous in any manner.

It is therefore my personal opinion that all characterizations should be qualified in some manner, but that is only my opinion.

mjanovec
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posted 10-18-2006 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
And, as you know, we are NOT discussing the items for which Ken said that he needs a better image to make a decision on its validity. We are discussing the items where he only said "FORGERY" and did not qualify his opinion in any manner.

Ken already addressed this in one of his above postings. The point has already been thoroughly discussed.

Let's not beat on a dead horse.

mjanovec
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posted 10-18-2006 10:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
This is a very cavalier attitude for someone who is working only from a photo or image of some kind and for someone who does not divulge his own personal identity.
My name is Mark Janovec. I do not make any effort to hid my identity, although I admit I usually don't spell out my full first name at the end of my postings... but my ID has my first initial and my full last name. However, if someone wants to know my name, all they need to do is to e-mail me and I'll happily divulge that information.

taneal1
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posted 10-18-2006 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for taneal1   Click Here to Email taneal1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Astro Bill:
However, you did mention that a court makes a final decision...
Your original intent was to determine how to take a declared fake/forgery and re-designate it as authentic. Let's presume that you receive a court ruling that the "fake" item is authentic. What you have is a legal verdict. Verdicts by the court are overturned everyday due to the simple fact that the ruling of any court in the land is only as good as its expert(s). Also, the court system is not infallible.

If the court declaration is what it takes to make *you* happy with an autograph, then as a "minority of one" you can enjoy your "autograph" while everyone else is convinced that the "re-designated" autograph remains bogus despite a legal ruling...

quote:
It is therefore my personal opinion that all characterizations should be qualified in some manner, but that is only my opinion.
Not one message has disagreed with you that a fake statement must be qualified as the opinion of an individual. Yet you continue to chant your mantra that an opinion must be qualified with EVERY statement no matter how redundant that would be. Your continued disagreement appears to be what you *personally* will accept as a qualifier.

As has been repeatedly stated here the only way to be 100% certain of authenticity is to witness the signing yourself. At that point however, only you will know for certain that it is real. Everyone else will abide by the experts opinion.

Per the above which has been explicitly stated by every expert that you accuse of not qualifying their statement; when someone on cS renders a verdict of fake without explicitly stating so, it is tacitly understood that they are *expressing a personal opinion*.

There have been no responses agreeing with you that the "fake" declarations stated on this site indicate 100% certainty. That is a fact NOT an opinion.

It is MY PERSONAL OPINION that your personal opinion per the definition of a qualifying statement is simply incorrect in that it chooses to ignore a preponderance of evidence that the statements were indeed qualified as personal opinions rather than 100% fact.

But that is just my opinion...

Mark Zimmer
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posted 10-19-2006 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mark Zimmer   Click Here to Email Mark Zimmer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a practicing attorney, I can state with confidence that courts regularly make decisions without fully comprehending the subject matter. They're just rendering an opinion, sometimes based on dueling experts.

mjanovec
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posted 10-19-2006 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
To get back to the topic of the Aurora Auction, now that the auction items are on Ebay, it's slightly easier to see a few of the images (although larger scans would work wonders).

To revisit the Stu Roosa item I mentioned earlier (Lot 804), it now seems very likely this is an autopen.


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