Breaking News

By Peter J. Nash

September 6, 2013

Convicted felon Robert Fraser (top left) is on the loose; Bruce Dorskind (top right) passes away; Bud Selig (bottom left) should buy NYPL docs; Barry Sloate (bottom right) a hobby hypocrite.

As Summer ends and the MLB playoff races heat up, Hauls of Shame brings you some belated CHIN-MUSIC:

-Whistle-Blowers who have worked for big hobby companies have contacted with the intention of exposing alleged fraudulent business practices of some of the hobby’s biggest players. Stay tuned this Fall for our coverage that should be beneficial for collectors and interested law enforcement entities.

-Nuf-Ced McGreevy’s treasured photograph of a legendary Red Sox scene was recently recovered by officials at the Boston Public Library. The photo was stolen along with close to one hundred others back in the late 1970s and the library has done a tremendous job recovering McGreevy’s looted treasures all on their own. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of the recovery this month.

-Robert Fraser, a convicted felon and disgraced real-estate agent who works for Terrie O’Connor Realty in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, has unleashed himself upon the hobby falsely posing as a long-time collector and spouting slander, false statements and assorted absurdities about yours truly. Not surprisingly, he has been embraced by fellow ex-felons like ex-drug dealer Leon Luckey and other Rob Lifson fan-boys like John McDaniel III and Brooklyn dealer Barry Sloate.  Pay no mind to his criminal conviction for insurance fraud and perjury and that in a civil action he was also found guilty of “committing four violations of the Fraud Act”  and for submitting “multiple false statements” as chronicled in the State of New Jersey v. Robert Fraser.  He’s totally believable, though, just ask him.  Fraser has received cease and desist letters from hobby veterans who he has harassed and even his close friend, Rob Lifson, who also referred him to his own lawyer, told John Rogers of the Rogers Archive via email: “Fraser is obsessed with Peter Nash.”

-Barry Sloate thinks Fraser’s slander and fabrications are”amazing.” This coming from Sloate who, in response to an inquiry in 2009 by Freddie McGuire related to the provenance of many dubious items he had sold in the past, stated: “As far as pieces I have sold in the past, I have sold dozens and dozens of rare items and I will admit I do not know the provenance of any of them. I hope all of them were good but like I said, I do not know their source.”  Sloate returned a call from and declined to comment on his past statements and his ties to stolen materials.  Sloate, a known cat-lover, may also be interested that Fraser admitted to our source that while pet-sitting for a neighbor’s cat in Westwood, New Jersey, he became agitated with the cat and killed it, drowning it in a bathtub.  He’s a real gem.

Lew Lipset was told Bruce Dorskind (left) posted bail for Rob Lifson after his NYPL apprehension. Barry Sloate has owned and sold a myriad of relics stolen from the NYPL including the 1852 Eagle Ball Club By Laws (center) and "Challenge Letters" from the Knick BBC scrapbooks. Pictured (right) is the second page of a letter that is still pasted in the NYPL scrapbook. In his 2000 auction, Sloate sold the other half of the May 19, 1859 letter which was stolen with the aid of a sharp object.

-Bruce Dorskind, the controversial collector who had a knack for making as many enemies as friends in the hobby passed away in August after being ill for some time.  When we interviewed him last year for the book, The Madoff of Memorabilia, he revealed many interesting facts about the hobby back in the mid-1970s and told stories about collecting personalities like George Lyons and Barry Halper.  But when talk shifted to the issue of the Spalding Collection thefts at the NYPL, Dorskind’s memory wasn’t as sharp.  When asked, Dorskind said he had only recently learned via the news that his long-time friend and supplier Rob Lifson had been apprehended stealing items from the NYPL back in the late 1970s.   But when we interviewed hobby veteran Lew Lipset earlier this year, he told us he recalled George Lyons telling him it was Dorskind who actually posted bail for Lifson after he was apprehended at the 5th Avenue branch building (Dorskind lived close by on 57th. Street).  Unfortunately, we never got to follow up with Bruce and it looks like he may have taken that NYPL secret to the grave.  Our favorite lines from the Dorskind Group related to his friends Lifson & Mastro are:

-“….A few months later (in 1976) we attended our first Philadelphia show.  There we met two young dealers, Billy Mastro and his pal Bob Lifson.  We purchased the rarest cards they had…included Four Base Hits, 2 Kalamazoo Bat NY players and a Just So.”

-“…..They (Gar Miller, Bob Richardson, Joe Michaelowitz, Buck Barker and Frank Nagy) all said there were only two people who get (super rare type cards) for you–if you are willing to pay, Rob Lifson and Bill Mastro…..With Rob, ‘Where there’s a bill (1,000+) there is a way.”

-Rob (Lifson) is the most knowledgeable dealer I ever worked with.  He knows cards, he knows value and most importantly he knows where the bodies are buried.”

-“Oh how sweet it was…..When it was a hobby.”

-REA and Rob Lifson are rumored to be the auction house that will ultimately sell-off the Dorskind Collection.  REA sold Dorskind’s “Panel of 4 Boston Garter Cards from 1912″ for $177,750 this past May.

Sources say Bud Selig has a chance to restore the NYPL's stolen Harry Wright letters offered for sale in MLB's 2009 All-Star Game auction. Included were letters from Jim Devlin (right) who was banished from baseball in 1877 for taking part in throwing games. Sources say Selig could purchase these docs from collectors much like he bought the Biogenesis docs (bottom left) in his quest to banish A-Rod (inset).

-MLB Commissioner Bud Selig could score some points in trying to restore the Harry Wright Papers to the New York Public Library. reader Alex R. from Miami suggests that the Commish buy the letter sent by pitcher Jim Devlin to Wright after he was banned for life from Baseball by National League President William Hulbert.  Devlin was pegged a cheater after his involvement in a scheme to throw games was uncovered by baseball officials and his pathetic letters to Wright asking for assistance were cited in works published by Dr. Harold Seymour and his wife Dorothy Mills as originating from the NYPL’s Wright Correspondence Collection.  Considering that Harry Wright originally donated his papers and archive to the National League and Organized Baseball in 1895 it would seen appropriate for MLB to step in and assist the NYPL after the FBI returned the stolen cache of letters to the original consignor who placed them in the 2009 MLB FanFest Auction held by Hunt Auctions.

-MLB’s budget for the Alex Rodriguez investigation and for buying the Biogenesis documents and testimony from Tony Bosch (or part of Bud Selig’s $20 million annual salary) could surely cover the costs for these historic Harry Wright documents and save some baseball history.  We hear the owner/consignor and the collector who has been buying the stolen documents are open to giving them all back for about $30,000.  You’d think Selig & Co. could afford that?

-Hauls of Shame would like to thank all of our readers for their continued support as our readership has passed 50,000 unique users and close to 150,000 page views per month.  Stay tuned for our soon-to-be-released “Worst 100″ authentications of PSA/DNA and JSA, you won’t want to miss it.


  1. If MLB could buy the missing items for the NYPL what assurances would they have that they wouldn’t get stolen again? It seems that security at the Library isn’t so secure.

    Comment by Mike Mango — September 6, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

  2. Hey, rather than having Bud Selig buy back the Harry Wright papers stolen from the NYPL, this would be a great opportunity for A-Rod to rebuild his tainted image with the fans by laying out the 30 grand necessary to restore papers.

    Just for the record, no disrespect to the Seymours, but a lot of us authors have also referenced the Jim Devlin letter to Wright of Feb. 24, 1978. In my book “The Louisville Grays Scandal of 1877,” I obtained a photo copy from microfilm of the letter at the NYPL.

    Comment by William A. Cook — September 6, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

  3. What’s the status of the Bill Mastro trial? He was to be in court last month, I believe. Unless I missed it, is there an update on that court appearence.?

    Comment by Jim McCormick — September 6, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

  4. Apparently there is a change of plea hearing set for the Mastro case on October 10th.

    Comment by admin — September 6, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

  5. That would be a nice move for him. As far as the Devlin letter you cited, that one is still in Scrapbook number 2 of the Wright Correspondence Collection and on the microfilm. I believe the Seymour’s cited that one as you did in your book, but they also cited the two other Devlin letters which were stolen from the NYPL and appeared in the 2009 MLB auction. Their research notes even cited which page of the scrapbooks they were on at NYPL. A fourth Devlin letter to Wright, not cited by anyone (as far as I know) appeared in the Sotheby’s Halper sale and was also stolen from the NYPL.

    Comment by admin — September 6, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

  6. I am sorry to hear that Sloate may also be corrupt. I thought he was a decent guy with good ethics but I imagine that greed got the best of him.

    Comment by STEVE CUMMINGS — September 6, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

  7. Is that Bud Selig trying to raise awareness about the Black Sox Scandal or just the new style?

    Comment by Josh L — September 6, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

  8. I just discovered your site after seeing your article included in the Best Sportswriting of 2012. Fascinating stuff. I’m glad I don’t collect anything with all of the criminals that seem to flock to the memorabilia biz. What a zoo.

    Comment by Howard M — September 7, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  9. Hey Steve,

    Unfortunately, it’s fairly well established that Sloate is a peddler-phile of purloined paraphernalia from baseball’s great past. He is crooked as a corkscrew and also an expert at elusion.

    Comment by Freddie Maguire — September 7, 2013 @ 11:51 pm

  10. You really only have to look as far as Barry Sloate’s list of the top 15 items he sold off in his career (in his own words) to see his well-documented history dealing in artifacts stolen from institutions:

    “Actually, I’ve sold off most of my material, but if you would like to see a list of important early pieces I once had or still own, I will be happy to offer a sampling:

    1) 1787 A Little Pretty Pocketbook- early English book reissued in America with baseball woodcut and poem
    2) 1834 Robin Carver’s Book of Sports- first entirely American book that features baseball woodcut and rudimentary rules
    3) 1835 Babcock’s Boys Book of Sports- first American chap book which basically repeats Carver (also had 1838,39 editions)
    4) 1852 Eagle BBC Constitution- inaugural constitution for the third club ever organized
    5) two different ca. 1855 Alexander Cartwright daguerreotypes (quarter and sixth plates)
    6) 1858 Fashion Course Scoresheet- hand scored sheet from the first Brooklyn- New York championship series ever played; also included scored games for Star of Brooklyn with Jim Creighton and Knickerbocker with Harry Wright
    7) ca. 1858 baseball ambrotype- featured two players holding bat and ball which may be the earliest known image of players holding equipment 8) 1859 Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion- first book available to the public which featured serious discussion of New York and Massachusetts rules of the game.
    9) 1859 NAABBP Consitution- second earliest known league constitution
    10) 1860 Live Oak Polka- earliest color illustration of baseball ever issued in America
    11) 1862 Excelsior Gold Ball- from game that was pitched by Jim Creighton12) 1859 Atwater BBC full plate tintype- the earliest known full plate baseball tintype, and perhaps earliest in any size or format
    13) Approximately 8 different 1859-61 Knickerbocker BBC challenge letters, against teams such as Star, Excelsior, etc.
    14) 1861 Brooklyn Atlantics team CdV- earliest known CdV image of an important team
    15) 1864 Resolutes of Brooklyn CdV- very early image of Henry Chadwick holding a scorebook, plus images of Mort Rogers and Dick McBride

    These have all since been sold. They come and go.
    The 1852 constituition is kind of plain and quite delicate- I might actually put it up for sale sometime in 2005,
    As I said, most I have already sold, but it is a nice sampling of some of the games earliest relics. They were all fun to own at one time. There were other pieces I owned from the 1850’s, but my memory is not what it used to be.”

    HOS has been working on a lengthy investigative piece regarding Sloate’s sale of stolen items and the circumstances surrounding his acquisitions and amazing discoveries. That report will be published in the near future.

    Comment by admin — September 8, 2013 @ 12:30 am

  11. There was a problem with the link to the PDF for the State of New Jersey vs. Robert Fraser, but that has been corrected.

    Comment by admin — September 8, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  12. I want to respond to posting #10 above, specifically the “They come and go” comment: speaking as someone who was a memorabilia dealer going back 30+ years, I can say that memorabilia from the 1860s and earlier does NOT “come and go”. These are all rare, one-of-a-kind items. These didn’t come from people walking into stores and shows looking to sell them, along with their Gooden and Bonds rookie cards. I NEVER saw anything like these items for sale in private collections, and the only people who occasionally handled one or two items like these were hobby pioneers such as Lipsett and Sugar. I am amazed one person could acquire all these items.

    Comment by Chris J. — September 12, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

  13. When does the book release?And does it focus solely on Harper or other known cons as well?

    Comment by Mike L — September 13, 2013 @ 11:33 am

  14. Good for the Boston Public Library. I did a lot of research there. I am glad to learn at this site that the BPL is working hard to get its documents back.

    I am also pleased to learn that other scholars, besides Harold Seymour and me, have used the materials at the New York Public that were later stolen and could, like me, attest to the library’s ownership of these items.

    Comment by Dorothy Mills — September 14, 2013 @ 11:47 am

  15. When is your book coming out?

    Comment by Howard M — September 15, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

  16. Please tell me Bud Lite Selig does NOT walk around in public like that. It has to photoshopped. Right?

    Comment by Marc Rettus — October 13, 2013 @ 9:25 am

  17. As far as I know, that photo is legit, black sox and all.

    Comment by admin — October 13, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

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