Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dodger Autograph Notice

I just got a notice from the Dodgers PR department that I wanted to pass along.

Closer Jonathon Broxton, legendary 1st Baseman Wes Parker and one of the nicest guys in the world "Sweet Lou" Johnson will be on-hand at the Staples store in Westchester to participate in a "Back to School" shopping spree to benefit the Westside Children's Center tomorrow afternoon, Friday, August 15, 2008.

I guess they'll be racing around the store while filling up their shopping karts with some goodies for the kids. The event starts at noon and the autograph session begins at 1:00 PM. Below are the details.

WHERE: Staples #0951
8704 S. Sepulveda
Westchester , CA 90045
(310) 342-5113

WHEN: Tomorrow, August 15, 2008
12 – 1 p.m. “Back to School” shopping spree with Westside Children’s Center
1 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Autograph session open to the public

Feds Visit the National

The National Convention was not all fun and sports. It was also filled with the Feds.
Federal investigators crashed the National Sports Collectors Convention in Rosemont, Ill., on Thursday and Friday, delivering subpoenas to several hobby executives to appear before a grand jury that is hearing evidence about fraud in their industry.
This is probably one of the hobbies biggest dirty little secrets. For many years this unregulated multi-million dollar business has been prone to abuse. Several years ago the FBI broke up a huge fake-autograph ring, called "Operation Bullpen." Now, they are hovering around the major auction house business to question certain hobby practices such as shill-bidding
(when an auction house or a consignor enters fake bids on an item in order to drive up the price),
fake memorabilia (in particular the altered UNC Michael Jordan warm-up jersey) and altered cards. The subject of their ire appears to be Mastro Auctions. AGAIN!
"No more business as usual," said Chicago collector Michael Gidwitz, who was interviewed by the FBI several months ago. "An unregulated business like this, it brings in a lot of unscrupulous people. This needed to be done a long time ago."
I say it's just about time. Fortunately, I'm not a collecting "whale", so to speak, so I doubt this has affected me. Nevertheless, I'm disappointed that these practices have been allowed to occur in a hobby I deeply enjoy. There are a lot of good people in the hobby and I believe these indiscretions are the exception and not the rule. Nevertheless, always keep your eyes open and if you have any questions I will always do my best to help out or point you in the right direction.

Hat Tip: VBCF:

National Pics Galore

Sports Antiques.com has really outdone themselves. They have over 600 photos now available for all to view from the 2008 National Sports Collectors Convention. Check them all out by clicking here. Below are some of my new favorites.

Below is probably one of the rarest of all game used Baseball caps. It is Babe Ruth's barnstorming cap from 1927. He and Yankee legend Lou Gehrig went out on a national tour during the off-season. It was billed as a battle between Ruth's "Bustin' Babes" versus Gehrig's "Tarrupin Lou's."
I have never seen one of these. This is a stock certificate for the Brooklyn National League Baseball club. It is from 1953 and are for Walter O'Malley's ownership shares. This is an incredible find.
Mantle, Mantle, Mantle! Here is a case filled with the most collected player in the hobby.
This is my favorite of all Rittgers statues, circa 1940's. Known for its comical style it perfectly encapsulates the humor and loss that often surrounds Baseball.
Oh, you little rascal!
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