Dec. 30, 2011
The investigative reports published by Haulsofshame.com in 2011 exposed the deceased legendary baseball collector and New York Yankees minority owner Barry Halper as a fraudster who duped scores of collectors, auction houses (including Sotheby’s), Major League Baseball and the Baseball Hall of Fame by selling both counterfeit and stolen artifacts. Halper ended up pocketing millions and, despite his deceptions, was even immortalized in Cooperstown with a Hall of Fame wing named in his honor.
From 1999 through 2011, the “Barry Halper Gallery” was located on the Baseball Hall of Fame’s first level exhibition floor plan, but as the troubling reports about the Halper Collection circulated everywhere from the New York Post to Deadspin this past Summer, the space once dedicated to Halper was no longer identified on Hall of Fame brochures and its dedication plaque was no longer visible to museum visitors.
As a result of the investigations focused on the Halper Collection it has been established that the majority of his early vintage uniforms, including everything from John J. McGraw’s 1905 World Series uniform to Mickey Mantle’s 1951 rookie jersey, were forgeries. In addition, signature items that helped cultivate his reputation as the ultimate collector have similarly been tarnished. The Babe Ruth signature on his famous 500 Home Run Club sheet, the one that he said he got from Ruth in person in 1948, was a fake too. Halper said he also added the autograph of his coach, Jimmy Foxx, to that same sheet when he was a pitcher for the University of Miami baseball team. But Halper never made the U of M team and Foxx wasn’t even the coach during the years Halper attended the school.
The first-baseman’s mitt Halper sold at Sotheby’s as Lou Gehrig’s “last glove,” for close to $400,000, was fraudulently misrepresented as well. Gehrig’s authentic last glove was donated to the Hall of Fame by his mother and has been on display in Cooperstown for decades. Equally disturbing are the revelations that rare documents Halper sold at Sotheby’s, addressed to Hall of Famer Harry Wright and Cincinnati Reds owner August Herrmann, were stolen from the collections of the New York Public Library and the Baseball Hall of Fame. The list goes on and on. Even the self-promoting profiles of Halper and his collection published in Smithsonian Magazine, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times are littered with forgeries and fraudulent items once held out as genuine to the general public.
Here are the reports published in 2011 that helped to expose the once revered Halper Collection (click on titles):
1. Damned Yankee: Was Steinbrenner’s Partner the “Madoff of Memorabilia”? -HOS, July 6, 2011
2. TREASURE TROVE IS BASEBALL\’S HISTORY IN THE FAKING; RULED FOUL: SHOCK AS TOP COLLECTOR IS REVEALED AS SCAMMER-ABILIA KING-New York Post, July 24, 2011 (Click here for NY POST Halper 1) (Click here for NY POST Halper 2)
3. The Downfall Of Barry Halper, Baseball Collecting’s Bernie Madoff - Deadspin, July 6, 2011
4. The Messy History of Charlie Sheen’s “Winning Ring” – Deadspin, March 4, 2011
8. Betting on the Gehrig’s: Expert’s Report Shows Lou Gehrig’s “Last Glove” was Donated to Cooperstown; Halper’s $387,500 “Last Glove” a Fraud - HOS Staff Report, May 31, 2011
9, Yogi Wearing a Bogus “Mugsy McGraw”; Another Halper Jersey from Sotheby’s Bites the Dust -HOS, January 10, 2011
10. Before the Sox Were Red: Sotheby’s Sold Fake Red Sox Jersey to Boston Collector for $26k - HOS, Feb. 28, 2011
11. Risky Business - HOS, by Dave Grob, March 11, 2011