Even those holding legit autographs are likely to be harmed from the large number of recent T206 forgeries
The fallout from the T206 scandal of 2018 (okay, that was a bit dramatic) is still continuing. Earlier this week, four fake T206 autographs were discovered by the crowd at Net54. Yesterday, that number had doubled to eight. Today, four more, ‘signed’ by Wid Conroy, Larry Doyle, Jap Barbeau, and Red Murray, have surfaced – again, all by the membership of Net54.
At this point, other than clickbait, there’s little reason to continue to updating with new names. At least not until things slow down a bit. Suffice to say, more will come, even though things have slowed down a little this afternoon.
But one thing I do think that’s important to note here is that, while those that purchased the fakes are obviously harmed here, they’re not alone. The fact is that this uncovering is likely to even affect those with perfectly legitimate cards.
Here’s the thing. Many of these items were deemed to be good by what most would consider to be among the top, if not the top, authenticators around. There’s PSA. There’s JSA. There’s SGC . Typically, most collectors would feel pretty good if they held an autographed item from one of those entities. And for good reasons. As I stated earlier this week, I have zero doubt that those folks have authenticated many, perfectly good signatures.
The problem is that if you happen to be holding a signed item authenticated by one of them, you’ve, through no fault of your own, been dragged into this mess. That’s because the opinions of those companies from an authentication standpoint, fairly or not, is likely to take a hit. In the case of JSA, where it’s really their bread and butter, even a significant one.
I’m not even going to go into the bashing of those companies. It’s not necessary. But what is important to remember here is that if you have a legit autograph (in particular, one of these pre-war autographs that were often not signed in the presence of someone still alive that can verify it), your item has been affected.
How? That’s because those items, whether good or not, are going to be viewed with some degree of skepticism.
If you told collectors a month ago that you had, say, a Nap Lajoie autographed card that had been authenticated by JSA, few would have had reason to doubt its credibility. Now? Collectors would quickly have their doubts as you might even yourself.
That’s unfortunate. People have spent good money on these cards. But while we’re inclined to feel sorry for those duped by fake cards, it’s worth remembering that the people with legit signatures are taking it on the chin a little, too.
Perhaps once a forger is caught (signs seem to point to the same person being responsible for several of these) and we can pinpoint how many cards might have been faked, the dust could clear a little. But in the meantime, you have to imagine that collectors in the know will be taking a hard pass here when it comes to authenticated pre-war cards that have been autographed. Even if they don’t pass entirely, it’s difficult to imagine anyone forking over the kind of money that it usually takes to own one of these cards.
At worst, the market shrinks considerably. At best, prices drop.
Hardly a win-win scenario for those holding authentic signatures.