Notes: Did Harwell Auction Contain Rogue Fakes?; Appraisal Suit Drags On

It was advertised as an auction of remaining items from the collection of legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell.   Yet one autograph industry monitor says he believes there were some items sold at the Detroit auction last month that weren’t real.

Chris Williams wrote this story for Autograph Magazine indicating that baseballs purportedly signed by Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Ken Griffey Jr. weren’t real.  Several posts on hobby forums had already come to the same disturbing conclusion.

Autograph expert and Harwell friend Ron Keurajian indicated Harwell didn’t own a Cobb autograph and if he had, it would have been donated with the bulk of his collection to the Detroit Public Library.  The story concludes that the auction company mixed other items in with the Harwell collection.

The ball sold as one signed by Cobb sold for more than $14,000 with the buyer’s premium.


Meanwhile, the legal wranglings continue between a Florida man who sued Sports Immortals Museum over an appraisal of a piece he had on display there.  The man used the 1930s-era collage of old baseball cards and autographs as collateral on a loan after receiving an estimate into the hundreds of thousands of dollars several years ago.

He defaulted on the loan and then discovered the Hall of Famer autographs were fakes when he tried to cash in.  Sports Immortals claims it was only estimating the value if the autographs were real and said it had made it clear that no real evaluation could be done while the items were behind glass.

The case has been thrown out a couple of times, but it’s still alive thanks to a recent ruling, according to this story in the Sun-Sentinel.