Breaking News

By Peter J. Nash

October 16, 2014

The Yogi Berra Museum (top left) was robbed last week and NYDN reporter Michael O'Keeffe (bottom right) went to Rob Lifson (top right) for an expert opinion on museum thefts. Lifson's current REA sale includes a bogus Jackie Robinson ring (bottom left).

(Scroll to Bottom For Updates)

-Yogi Berra is famous for saying “It’s Deja Vu all over again” but he never thought that classic line would link himself and his museum to other baseball legends like A.G. Spalding, Harry Wright, Henry Chadwick, and the New York Public Library’s famous Spalding Collection. When Berra’s museum was robbed last week, he unfortunately became forever linked with the multi-million dollar heist at the Fifth-Avenue branch of the library as robbers raided museum display cases and boosted sixteen of his treasured World Series rings (a mix of period and replacement rings) and his two MVP awards.

-David Kaplan, the director of the Berra Museum, refuted several published reports which said that the historic glove Berra used to catch Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series was also stolen. Kaplan confirmed for Hauls of Shame that the glove is safe and secure.  The value of the items stolen from Berra easily exceeds $1 million.

-Michael O’Keeffe and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News broke the story last Wednesday and credit has to go to O’Keeffe who opted to quote REA auctioneer Rob Lifson as an expert on institutional thefts.

-Rob Lifson told the Daily News, “This is very unique material and it would have to stay underground. These are not mass-produced items — it’s like trying to sell a famous painting. Anyone who bought them would have to keep it secret. Why not just steal the Mona Lisa and try to sell that instead?”  Having been caught stealing rare artifacts from NYPLs Spalding Collection and having trafficked more stolen materials than any other auctioneer, Lifson definitely delevered an “expert opinion.”

-Detective Dean Cioppa of the Passaic County Prosecutors Office has been identified on Twitter by Yogi’s granddaughter, Lindsay Berra, as looking for information and leads from collectors in connection with the robbery. He can be reached at 973-837-7667. A $5,000 reward was initially offered by Crimestoppers according to Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura and that reward has increased to over $30,000 thanks to donations from Berra fans and supporters.

-The Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center’s recent loss has also rekindled interest in claims that the museum purchased and then sold a large Negro League collection from a patron (who had also donated significant materials to the museum). Sources indicate that the museum leadership, under the auspices of director David Kaplan, bought the collection for several hundred thousand dollars and then sold the collection to a private collector for a profit.  One source also says the original owner of the collection sold his artifacts to the museum at a discount so that the local African-American community could have access to it and that he was never officially notified of the sale. The seller thought his valuable collection had found a permanent home at Montclair St. and museum officials allegedly told the patron that an expansion of the museum would ultimately house his entire collection. David Kaplan confirmed that the museum sold the collection “several years ago” and claims that the museum had the legal right to dispose of the entire collection.

Yogi Berra joins Henry Chadwick, Harry Wright, and A.G. Spalding as a fellow Hall of Famer whose collection has been compromised and burglarized in the Tri-State area.

-Yogi Berra’s loss of the treasured items from his Yankee career also links him to fellow Hall of Famers Chadwick, Spalding and Wright in that all of their institutional baseball collections were robbed in the Tri-State area.

-Robert Edward Auctions is offering several fraudulent items in its current Fall 2014 sale.  The first problematic item our readers alerted us of is an alleged 1946 Montreal Royals championship ring “attributed to Jackie Robinson.”  The first and most glaring problem facing this item is that it comes with an LOA from Barry Halper who claimed to have purchased it from Rachel Robinson in 1976.  A source close to the Robinson family tells us that Robinson’s widow never sold anything to Barry Halper in his lifetime. Another source told us that he attended the premiere of the Robinson bio-pic 42 and that at the event Rachel Robinson introduced auctioneer Josh Evans of Lelands as the only person she had ever sold any of her husband’s memorabilia to.  In addition, several collectors and dealers who knew him in 1976 said Halper was not a big collector of rings at that time and refuted the claims in his LOA noting that collector-dealer George Lyons was the most prolific buyer of championship rings in the mid 1970s through the early 1980s.  Considering Halper’s outright fraud related to fabricating the provenance of  Joe Jackson and Mickey Mantle materials he falsely claimed he purchased or acquired from the Jackson family and Yankee clubhouse man Pete Sheehy, REA should have rejected the tainted ring without a second thought.  (And we didn’t even mention yet that Halper also sold a 1970’s Rawlings jersey to the Hall of Fame claiming it was Jackie Robinson’s last game-used jersey from 1956.)

-Rob Lifson and REA claim in the lot description: “We even contacted Rachel Robinson about this ring, but unfortunately, according to her assistant, Mrs. Robinson could neither confirm nor deny its provenance or provide any information.”  Our source says he knows for sure she never sold any such ring to Halper and most all hobbyists we spoke with find it hard to believe that Robinson’s widow was selling off his personal awards and artifacts just a few years after he passed away. REA has not posted the Halper letter on its website although sources indicate that requests have been made for Lifson to post the LOA which is believed to be fraudulent. That being said, the ring has failed to receive an opening bid of $10,000.

Evidence shows that Barry Halper (center) lied about the provenance of REAs alleged 1946 Jackie Robinson ring (left). Halper also sold a fraudulent Robinson jersey to MLB and the HOF in 1998. Halper said it was Robinson's last from 1956, but it didn't match photos of Robinson's jerseys in 1956 (right) and was manufactured in the 1970s.

-Robert Edward Auctions in its lot description also establishes that the only link to Robinson is the Halper story and the “JRR” initials engraved on one side of the ring (with the other side left blank). Engraving initials on the exterior of a ring is highly unorthodox for the period and the fact that no other example has ever surfaced (other than Halper’s rarity) has also fueled speculation that the ring is not genuine. Instead of rejecting the item after learning of these issues, REA added this to the lot description: “Given the information we have, we seem to be left with the following additional possibilities: that either Robinson, the Montreal Royals, or someone else had this ring specially made years afterwards. While that might seem unlikely to some, it is not, and we have firsthand experience with regard to such a circumstance.” REA leaves out the likelier third option:  The ring is an outright fraud and fake.

-Michael Borken, the championship ring watchdog from Sportsrings.com, has no opinion on the fraudulent Robinson ring and told us, “I had no interest in the ring from a collecting standpoint so I did not spend any time looking into the ring or formulating an opinion based on Halper’s letter.”

-The Jackie Robinson Foundation’s communications director, Josh Balber, passed along our inquiry to the Robinson family but they have not yet responded to Halper’s claim of purchasing the ring from Mrs. Robinson in 1976.

Experts say the Babe Ruth ball in REAs current sale (left) and an encapsulated example (right) are forgeries and contrast the genuine handwriting of Babe Ruth placed upon a ball signed for Ted Williams in the 1943(center).

-Rob Lifson is notorious for selling Babe Ruth fakes, even when experts and other hobbyists present clear and convincing evidence showing that the items are bogus. A perfect example of his peddling fakes is his sale of the now infamous Ruth forgery inscribed to Gary Cooper from his Spring 2013 sale. Now, in his current auction, he includes another Ruth item that experts tell us is a fairly well-done single-signed forgery of Babe Ruth.  The signature on the ball appears to be executed in a slower and more deliberate hand that merely mimics Ruth’s genuine scrawl and lacks the quick movements and a visible “bounce” of his handwriting. The Ruth signature on the REA signed ball appears to the untrained eye as being signed perfectly and neatly but never descends below the straight baseline of the autograph—a tell-tale sign of a Ruth forgery.  The ball is certified genuine by JSA and Jimmy Spence and it now joins a large group of Spence-authenticated forgeries that have flooded the marketplace.

REA is offering an alleged 1925 Senator team ball (bottom) but it features forged signatures on a ball created between 1928 and 1931. HA sold a genuine 1925 team ball (top) which shows the correct stamping and patent information for 1925 on its sweet spot.

-Mastro Auctions was the previous seller of REAs current lot 691, an alleged 1925 AL Champion Washington Senators signed ball featuring Walter “Big Train” Johnson and Clark Griffith.  Mike Gutierrez authenticated the ball for Mastro and JSA and Jimmy Spence have authenticated it for REA.  The problem is that all of the signatures on the ball are poorly executed forgeries which exhibit labored and slowly signed examples of alleged members of the 1925 team.  In addition to that opinion, it is actual fact that the Official AL ball it is signed on was manufactured between 1929 and 1931, according to ball expert Brandon Grunbaum in the Official American League Baseball Guide. The REA ball has stamping that reads: “PAT’D RE. 17200,” which indicates it is impossible for the ball to represent the champion 1925 club. Some collectors have pointed to a Johnson 20th anniversary event in 1927 as the reason for the ball being post-1925, but the REA ball was not created by 1927 either. Considering the expert opinions that strongly identify every signature on the ball as a forgery, the belief that the ball is real appears to be just wishful thinking fueled by a false sense of security created by the LOA from JSA, Jimmy Spence Jr. and Jimbo Spence III.

-Hauls of Shame readers regularly tip us off to items that are misrepresented and identified as rarities in auctions when they are not. One such reader recently pointed out a Chicago Cubs pennant that REA and Lifson call “exceedingly rare” and dates to “the 1920s.”  REA says they have never sold one “over the past forty years” but our reader, collector and pennant expert Dave Maus, from Iowa, quickly pointed out that the same style pennant sold previously at: Legendary in 2011 for $269 (1920’s), Huggins & Scott (1920’s) in 2007 for $325 (as one in a 15 pennant lot), sold as a 1920’s-1930’s pennant at Antiquesportsshop.com for an undisclosed amount and was also offered on the B/S/T section of the website Net54 by member “Perezfan” and described as 1920.  (In addition, another Net54 member “Matty39″ showed off his example (1910) in another thread.)  An identical version of another color was also auctioned by Legendary Auctions in a group of 6 pennants for $658, however, now the pennant was described as having been produced in the 30’s or 40’s. In conclusion, at least (6) six of these “exceedingly rare” Cubs pennants from the “1920s” turned up in just a 15 minute cursory search of the internet and they are described as being produced in different eras ranging from 1910 to the 1940’s.

REA is selling a Chicago Cub pennant as a rarity despite the fact it is quite common. Net54s Leon Luckey and REAs Rob Lifson falsely claim HOS is posting on the collector forum under "fake names."

-Net54 moderator Leon Luckey and his pal Rob Lifson went off the deep end this week and falsely accused this writer of posting on the chat board under fictitious handles.  The episode apparently took place when someone called “The Big Train” posted on a thread about the Yogi Berra thefts and chronicled the misdeeds and fraud of late collector Barry Halper.  In response, another 54 member named Tom Russo, an attorney from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and Cooperstown, New York, who goes by the online name “BigTrain,” defended Halper’s well documented fraud and denied his direct ties to the NYPL thefts. Soon after, “The Big Train” (who posted a link to an old Hauls of Shame article) was suspended from the site and was bizarrely accused of being yours truly by both Lifson and moderator Luckey.

Tom Russo (inset), an attorney from Scotch Plains, NJ, posted slanderous statements about HOS on Net54 under the name "BigTrain" and made additional claims stating he has never seen direct or indirect "proof" that Barry Halper "orchestrated or commissioned thefts" from the NYPL. The montage above features images of items stolen from the NYPL and nearly all of them were once owned by Barry Halper.

-Rob Lifson said, “The very person who has fraudulently signed up on Net54 with a fake name and contact info with the user ID “thebigtrain” (a name obviously chosen to create confusion with longtime poster “BigTrain”) is – I personally have no doubt – none other than Peter Nash himself.” (Hauls of Shame will bet Lifson $293,102.55 that his claim is false and slanderous.)

-Leon Luckey said, “In my mind it is a 99% probability it is Nash. Could I be wrong, maybe….but I absolutely don’t think so.” Luckey added, “I have information that 100% puts Nash on this board, more than once, as an impostor. I have kicked off at least a few aliases, almost assuredly him, in the last few days.”  Perhaps Mr. Luckey can share that information with “The Big Train” and his lawyer.  It appears that super-sleuths Luckey and Lifson were unable to figure out that “The Big Train” is, in fact, a real live person who has no affiliation with Hauls of Shame and is also a practicing attorney who lives in New Jersey.

-Hauls of Shame apologizes to “TheBigTrain” for not responding to an email he sent us back in October of 2013.  We incorrectly thought you were Tom Russo the liar and slanderer who calls himself “BigTrain” and appears to be the charter member of the Halper-Truther Society. It seems only fitting that Tom “BigTrain” Russo’s pal, Rob Lifson, is selling a JSA-certed forgery of Walter “Big Train” Johnson in his current sale.

Net54 members think this JSA-certed signed baseball bat was signed by Hugh Jennings but next to an authentic example (bottom) it bears little resemblance to Jennings own handwriting. Spence originally authenticated the Ty Cobb signature on the bat (top right) but has now reversed his opinion.

-Leon Luckey was nice enough to invite this writer to join his forum at Net54, but I have no desire to jump into that cesspool. Sorry Leon, I already email most of your knowledgeable members regularly as sources for various reports (some of whom also send me your personal emails). I think I’d put a gun to my head if I had to deal with guys like Brendan Mullen posting pics of Hughie Jennings forgeries on baseball bats while Scott Forrest and other “experts” give JSA-certed fakes their thumbs up. Didn’t  Josh Evans tell the owner that bat was a ridiculous fake?

-Net54 threads are sometimes informative and I do read them, but mostly to see what your fellow fraudsters are up to.  I had to ask one of your members to send me the images posted of the bogus Hughie Jennings bat since I have never been a member and have no ability to access photos on your site.  But don’t let that get in the way  of your posting of entirely false and slanderous claims with no evidence whatsoever to back them up. I presume you have lost what little credibility you had with your recent delusional post in which you stated you had “information that 100% puts Nash on this board, more than once, as an impostor.”

-Howard Chasser, another Net54 member, responded to Luckey and wrote, “If and when the posters identity is uncovered – if it turns out to be Nash I am sure the net 54 community will be first to “cry foul” and consider it when assessing our own confidence in his integrity.”  When the “community” learns that Luckey has intentionally posted fraudulent claims about the non-existant “imposters” they can assess his integrity as the board moderator. Looks like Leon Luckey is a card doctor, a shill bidder and a pathological liar to boot.

Joe Orlando and Steve Grad will be deposed in the class action suit vs. RR Auctions. The class action website posts disturbing emails from PSA and JSA authenticator Roger Epperson (above second from right).

-Joe Orlando and Steve Grad are scheduled to be in the deposition chair again on October 24th in conjunction with the class-action lawsuit filed against PSA authenticator Bob Eaton and his auction house RR Auctions.  Interestingly, Eaton and RR are being represented by PSA and Collectors Universe’s attorneys at Attlesey Storm LLC. The website for the class action says that they will be posting video links of the depositions of Eaton and Bobby Livingston but does not indicate if the deps of Orlando and Grad will be on video.  We’re hoping the Grad deposition is posted so collectors can see the Pawn Stars authenticator field his first questions about never being a “grad.”  We suggest anyone collecting autographs check out the class auction website for the section which posts email exchanges between collector Michael Johnson and Roger Epperson. They are eye-opening to say the least.  Sources indicate that RR has attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed several times via motions which have all been unsuccessful.

-The Baseball Hall of Fame and its President Jeff Idelson have still failed to respond to Hauls of Shame’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to the stolen 1909 Pirate photo that was pulled from the recent Huggins & Scott sale.

-Hauls of Shame would like to thank our loyal readers for their support as we are now averaging close to 250,000 page views and over 75,000 unique users per month.

This Babe Ruth photograph was not personalized to the recipient by the Bambino. The solo signature is a red-flag that has prompted experts to take a closer look at the item REA calls, "the finest" Ruth photo they have ever seen.

UPDATE (Oct. 17, 2014 11:20PM):  Another REA/JSA-Babe Ruth Autograph Questioned By Experts-Portrait Of A Problematic Bambino Portrait

REA is offering another questionable Babe Ruth autograph as Lot #729 and in its lot description states:

“This photo features one of the finest Babe Ruth signatures we have ever seen on a photo, with each flawless pen stroke contrasting magnificently against the light background. When JSA examined this photo, we were particularly fascinated that they were able to date the signature with some degree of confidence to circa 1943 (such a specific year), and that it appeared they were able to actually match the writing instrument (or at least the style of writing instrument) as well as the specific color of the ink Ruth used in signing this photo with other items signed by Ruth at approximately the very same time (by comparing this signature to others that were dated in their exemplar file).”

We would love to hear more about how JSA determined the date of the photo related to the writing instrument used and the ink color.  Several experts we consulted with thought the color of the ink was similar to the ink used on many of the “Gary Cooper-style” Ruth forgeries that first appeared in Mastro auctions.  While the auction house and JSA focus on the dating of the signature, they fail to inform bidders of other more important issues:

1. This Ruth portrait is said to have been produced in conjunction with the movie Pride of the Yankees in 1942 and in our exemplar file we found sixteen different examples (including the current REA offering) that have been offered at public auction since 1990. Of those sixteen examples, twelve were personalized with salutations to the recipient; two were signed “Sincerely”; and just two were signed “Babe Ruth.”

The Ruth portrait from the film "Pride of the Yankees" was usually inscribed and personalized by the Bambino. Above are (8) examples of the photo that have sold at auction and have been certified genuine by either JSA or PSA/DNA. The example from the current REA sale is highlighted in red.

2. Aside from determining the authenticity of all sixteen examples, it can be said that the two examples signed “Babe Ruth” without any inscription are suspicious to say the least.  And considering the existence of “Gary Cooper-style” forgeries on other photos signed in the same manner, the REA lot should face even greater scrutiny.

3. The REA signed photo exhibits considerable differences when compared to the other examples and appears much more uniform and “perfect.”  The experts we spoke with did not think the REA photo was signed by the “Gary Cooper-style” forger, but it does share similarities in letter construction, spacing, slant and pen pressure.

4.  REA includes an alleged unverifiable provenance story in the lot description that reminded us of the story accompanied by the multiple Ruth forgeries on photos which were pulled from REAs 2013 sale.

PSA/DNA and JSA authenticated and later rejected the top Ruth signature. The bottom signature appears in the current REA sale with a JSA letter of authenticity.

5. If you are perplexed with how the experts determine whether a Ruth is genuine or bogus, don’t feel embarrassed. The forgers are that good and it is sometimes difficult to identify their work.  As an example we leave prospective bidders on REAs lot 729 with the above Ruth signature comparison.  The signature at the bottom is the current REA lot and above it is another example that sold for $10,000 at a MastroNet sale c.2000. The top signature was authenticated by Jimmy Spence for PSA/DNA but when it was recently submitted to both companies they refused to write an LOA for their clients.  We agree with the TPAs opinion that the top signature is a forgery and, along with several non-TPA experts, we believe that the current Ruth signature featured in lot 729 is a forgery accompanied by a fraudulent LOA.

REA is selling this suitcase and claims it was once owned by Babe Ruth, but they have no provenance to support the claim outside of Barry Halper's former ownership of the bag.

UPDATE: (October 18, 2014) Is REA Selling Babe Ruth’s Suitcase Or Just A Big Bag Of Halper-Lifson Bullshit?

Another lot in the current REA sale with Barry Halper provenance (that has not yet received its opening bid) is what the auction house says is Babe Ruth’s suitcase.  REAs lot description says:

“The brown-leather suitcase, featuring twin handles and two locking clasps, was manufactured by Oshkosh Luggage and represents the larger of the two matching Babe Ruth suitcases that once resided in the fabled Barry Halper Collection. (Ruth was perhaps the single favorite area of collecting for Halper, whose collection also included Babe Ruth’s equipment bag, player contracts, 1927 World series ring, and many other significant and not-so-significant personal effects.) Those two bags first appeared at auction as Lot 84 in the 1999 Barry Halper Sale, where they realized $14,950.”

It is appropriate for Rob Lifson to refer to the Halper Collection as “fabled” because many of the alleged historic items Lifson and Halper sold at Sotheby’s in 1999 were accompanied by unsubstantiated and, in some cases, fraudulent fables.  This suitcase is one of them.  Halper claimed to have purchased suitcases and other items from Claire Ruth but there is no direct evidence whatsoever that he ever bought anything directly from Ruth’s widow.  It is also well documented that Halper lied about purchasing Ruth’s alleged 1927 World Series ring from his daughter Dorothy Ruth-Pirone. In fact, there is only one bag from the Halper Collection that appears to have an actual Halper provenance, and it is not the suitcase being sold by REA.  In an interview the late Bert Sugar for our upcoming book, Sugar revealed to this writer that the only bag he knew of which actually had Ruth family provenance was the equipment bag that was also sold at Sotheby’s. Sugar told us that Claire Ruth gave him the bag and one of Ruth’s old ashtrays when he was ghost-writing a magazine article with Mrs. Ruth in the 1970s. Sugar also said he traded the equipment bag to Halper for a large 1914 Miracle Braves display piece and also confirmed that when he had the bag it did not contain a card with Ruth’s autograph on it.

The late Bert Sugar said that he acquired Babe Ruth's equipment bag from Claire Ruth and later traded it to Barry Halper.

But when Halper appeared on Good Morning America with Charles Gibson before the Halper Auction at Sotheby’s in 1999 Sugar’s story transformed and he told the host that Bert Sugar retrieved the equipment bag out of a dumpster behind Mrs. Ruth’s apartment building.  Halper attached entirely fraudulent provenance stories to some items and also invented or expanded upon others with more fantastic or newsworthy information.  His Babe Ruth equipment bag story is a good example of the latter and when Bert Sugar was told of the GMA interview he laughed and said, “Really a dumpster?  Well, Barry was always making up stories and bullshitting.  He was a master at it.  I’ve embellished a few good ones over the years, too, but the Babe’s equipment bag came from his old apartment and Claire.  I’m smoking a cigar right now and using his ashtray she gave to me.  I held onto that.”

The current suitcase being offered by REA has the name “BABE RUTH” embossed in gold leaf and this identification does not exhibit “wear and tear” that is consistent with the rest of the suitcase.  The embossed name appears to have been added or at best re-embossed at a later date.  Considering all of the fraudulent provenance stories created by Halper and no evidence of a direct link to an acquisition from the Ruth family, it is hard to believe that REA could offer this bag as definitively being Ruth’s former property. Having not received an opening bid for $5,000, it appears that collectors are not buying the Halper-Lifson fables.

(If you have any hobby news or tips on auction fraud or stolen artifacts please drop us a line at: Tips@haulsofshame.com)


26 Comments

  1. On the Negro League collection/Museum item…having worked extensively in a museum in the past, I can tell you that while it’s not the nicest way of doing things, selling of collections and/or items does happen and is indeed permissible unless the donor requests that not be the case.

    A lot of times people assume that when they give something to a museum, it’s going to be on display there forever. Sometimes museums sell things or donate things to a museum whose collection affords the item a better home.

    In my experience, it’s always nice to let the original donor know, though. Not mandatory, but a nice gesture.

    Comment by John E — October 16, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

  2. I would hope that the Yogi Berra items will surface soon. Items like that are too hard to keep secret. Someone will leak something out over time. It may not happen soon, but eventually the items will surface and they will be returned. I just pray it is in time for Yogi to enjoy. Thanks for the continued great work. All the best Peter. Brad T. – http://www.HistoryOfTheYankees.com

    Comment by Brad T — October 16, 2014 @ 7:15 pm

  3. This Robinson ring offering is a joke. The Robinson family should bring in the authorities to stop this . Good to see people are smart enough not to bid on it. The seller should go back to the Halper family for a refund instead of trying to unload it on someone elsa via REA. What a hobby.

    Comment by Thomas McManus — October 16, 2014 @ 9:03 pm

  4. REA posted this addendum to the alleged 1925 Washington Senators Ball:

    Addendum: This ball may not be a 1925 Washington Senators team ball and may date later. We are in the process of researching and will update this description shortly.

    Addendum Update (10/16/14 12:00 PM): The catalog description of this ball is accurate. The ball is signed by twelve members of the 1925 Washington Senators (and, as noted, one signature is illegible). HOWEVER, the ball itself is a 1929 to 1933 model American League baseball. Therefore the signatures date from at least several years after 1925, even though the twelve legible signers do have the 1925 season in common. Some collectors may therefore not define this ball as a 1925 Washington Senators team ball.

    REA has only failed to mention one important detail: all of the signatures on the ball are forgeries.

    Comment by admin — October 16, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

  5. REA posted this addendum on the Babe Ruth ball:

    Please note: Our consignor has just recently provided a signed letter of provenance for the ball in which she details its history. She also recounts how she came to have the ball authenticated at one of the Road Show events held at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, located in Montclair, New Jersey. The letter, which will be provided to the winning bidder, reads in full:

    To Whom It May Concern: The Babe Ruth signed baseball has been in my family for years. Many years before I was born, my grandfather took my father to a baseball game here in New York and was able to get Babe Ruth to sign a baseball which he gave to his son, my father. My grandfather was a big baseball fan, always watching the games on television always talking baseball. I’m sure this was his pride and joy. My father wasn’t as big a fan. He played football in high school so that was his sport of choice. He took the baseball my grandfather gave him and put it in his drawer in the original paper box. The baseball remained in my father’s dresser forever, until ten years ago when he passed away. I then removed the ball from his drawer and put it in my night table drawer and it’s lived there since. Not knowing what to do with the ball, I asked people who said the first step was to have it authenticated. I brought it to the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair and had JSA authenticate it. It seemed crazy to have such a special piece of memorabilia sitting in a drawer when a real enthusiast would enjoy owning such a piece of history. JSA suggested I auction the ball and that is what I did.

    (the identity of the consignor is not revealed, why?)

    Comment by admin — October 16, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

  6. I’m wondering if there is any link between the robberies of trophies from the horse racing museums and the yogi Berra museum theft?

    Comment by Howard M — October 17, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

  7. In response to: “I think I’d put a gun to my head if I had to deal with guys like Brendan Mullen posting pics of Hughie Jennings forgeries on baseball bats while Scott Forrest and other “experts” give JSA-certed fakes their thumbs up. Didn’t Josh Evans tell the owner that bat was a ridiculous fake?”

    I’m Brendan Mullen. And yes I posted pictures of the bat asking for feedback. What did I do wrong?? I’m not an autograph expert; I deal with T206 cards. I asked for some feedback after I purchased the bat and asked for some help (since that website Net54 has some of the most knowledgeable people around). That’s all. Yes, Josh told me it was a forgery, but others said it looked ok. I commited no wrong doing by asking for help! I didn’t try to sell the bat, I simply asked for help after I purchased it since I’m not an expert.

    Comment by Brendan Mullen — October 17, 2014 @ 7:47 pm

  8. I had several people send me links to the multiple threads you started asking for an opinion. Not faulting you there, but my comment was directed at what appeared to be the equivalent of “LOA shopping” by auction houses. You had several people including the top exec at a major auction house tell you it was unequivocally fake, there was no grey area and it seemed you were trying to convince yourself the bat was real despite those opinions. I’m not sure of the expertise of the people telling you they think one or some of the signatures are genuine, but if they are telling you that, they obviously don’t know anything about handwriting. There is no such thing as dead-ball era clubhouse signatures on a bat, trust me. I showed your bat to Ron Keurajian who knows Jennings and Cobb better than anyone in the hobby and he said its a fake. You can either take the free advice or not, but you should go back to David Hunt and ask for a refund because you got ripped off. I doubt he would not give you a refund. The only reason that bat got into his sale was because of the fraudulent LOA from Spence. The fact that Spence once authenticated the entire bat as genuine speaks volumes about his ineptitude and the only reason he changed his opinion to say only the Jennings was genuine was to save face. I don’t know what else to say to you. If you hang onto the bat maybe you can join one of these class action lawsuits that appear to be gaining momentum.

    Comment by admin — October 17, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

  9. Again, I was not LOA shopping, nor was I even trying to sell the bat. I was looking for opinions, answers, etc. from multiple people. I purchased it, it looked fishy, I asked for opinions. No more than that. And I never started “multiple threads” asking for opinions. I started one thread asking if I should remove all the fake autographs (other than the Jennings), and another when I had the bat in hand asking for opinions on all of the signatures. I even said early on ” If they are forgeries I will simply ask for my money back, no hard feelings, end of story. I’m not trying to convince anyone…”

    I read your website religiously and have always enjoyed it. But you’re making me sound like some whiny square who’s trying to convince people that every signature on the bat is authentic, and it’s not true.

    Comment by Brendan Mullen — October 17, 2014 @ 11:41 pm

  10. I know for a fact that the Cubs pennant is not a common pennant as I have been a memorabilia collector for years and this is maybe the 4th or 5th one I have seen. Peter, where do you see or what proof do you have that it is a “common” pennant. Look at Mike Egner’s Pennant guide and it will tell you the same thing.

    Comment by Greg — October 18, 2014 @ 8:14 am

  11. Sorry for hitting the send button too quickly. The pennant wasn’t offered by “PerezFan” on Net54 it was offered by me, the pennant is mine and I bought it from AntiqueSportsShop. I hadn’t seen it offered too often so I reached out to the owner and bought it from him. Get your facts right Peter and stop being an ass.

    Comment by Greg — October 18, 2014 @ 8:17 am

  12. HOS did say that 6 pennants were located in a cursory search. I don’t see where they call it a common pennant, they say it was inaccurately described as ‘exceedingly rare’. I agree. Exceedingly rare means 1, maybe 2. But if there is six, it is not exceedingly rare.

    Comment by TRAVIS R0STE — October 18, 2014 @ 9:00 am

  13. Here are all of the links that David provided with his info (I’m not the one who called the pennant “exceedingly rare” REA did):
    http://www.legendaryauctions.com/1920s-era-chicago-cubs-pennants-pair-(2-different)-lot119186.aspx

    http://www.antiquesportsshop.com/propennants.html

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/567138/thread/1218521543/last-1220187792/August+Buy-Sell-Trade+thread

    http://oct07.hugginsandscott.com/cgi-bin/showitem.pl?itemid=6806

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/567138/thread/1191007733/last-1193375521/Pennant+collectors

    Comment by admin — October 18, 2014 @ 9:39 am

  14. I’m pretty sure Hauls of Shame always gets it facts straight before posting new articles. As you can see from the link provided, Net54 member Perezfan offered his pennant in 2008. Maybe you should get your facts straight before commenting on HOS articles? Also, your statement that this may be the “5th one I have seen” reaffirms HOS’s position that at least 5 of these pennants (red version) have been available in recent years and sold for minimal amounts ($269 and $325). I understand the definition of “common” and “extremely rare” (as stated by REA) can vary from collector to collector, however, and with all due respect to Mike Egner’s extraordinary and authoritative guide bookVintage Pennant Price Guide (Baseball & Football Edition), published in 2009, the pennant in question has obviously sold for substantially less than the $950-$1175 price guide range and would not be considered “extremely rare” by any standard. Here is a link to another brown version of this pennant described as 1930’s or 1940’s.

    http://www.legendaryauctions.com/lot-40514.aspx

    Comment by djsportscollectibles — October 18, 2014 @ 9:58 am

  15. Yup, Dennis and Travis = Peter Nash’s entire fan base. Would anyone call a T206 Wagner rare, or a T206 Plank rare, sure. Travis, is Mathewson’s autograph rare, absolutely, yet there are dozens if not hundreds of known exemplars. But for only 5-6 of these pennants to have surfaced when there were undoubtedly hundreds if not thousands made, that is what I call very rare.

    And yup, you are right, here is where Mark did offer it with his statement:

    “Regarding the last Pennant… I paid Mastro $1,100 about a decade ago for this one. I have seen only two in 20 years of collecting pennants, and have priced it to sell at $995 (although it pained me to do so). A current moment of weakness, so claim it quickly if you are interested!”

    Hmmmm, only 2 in 20 years??? If 5 or 6 exist, out of ALL that were made, well, you do the math, folks.

    Comment by Greg — October 18, 2014 @ 12:36 pm

  16. Hmmmm, wonder why my last comment isn’t showing…..

    Comment by Greg — October 18, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

  17. Thanks for the input Greg. Based upon the 20,000 page views this article has got already I’m pretty sure there are a few more “fans” out there.

    Comment by admin — October 18, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

  18. The REA catalog smells a lot better without that Halper thank you letter inside.

    Comment by Josh — October 18, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

  19. Looks like theres at least one person who wants to throw away $5G’s on a suitcase that didnt belong to Babe Ruth. Real bid?

    Comment by admin — October 18, 2014 @ 2:54 pm

  20. You don’t know how many pennants were made, but it;s not the point anyway, exceedingly rare means almost non existant. if it was just called rare, then granted, it’s rare, but exceedingly should not be a word to be thrown around lightly. It’s not exceedingly rare, just like a Wagner t206 isn’t either. A lindy lindstrom u.s. carmel would probably fit the definition of exceedingly, maybe a mendelsohn joe jackson, but not a baltimore ruth, and certainly not a wagner t206

    Comment by TRAVIS R0STE — October 18, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

  21. Knowing what a crook Halper was to start with,this suitcase was probably found in a dump someplace or in Good Will or Salvalation Army store and the name put on it to look real.

    Comment by Herbie Buck — October 19, 2014 @ 10:41 am

  22. Not being a sports collector but having a working knowledge of antiques and fakes I would be highly suspicious/skeptical of any personality luggage where the name appears to be embossed over what appears to wear and scratch marks. Common sense dictates the scratches occurred before the embossing, or at least from the photos that’s how it looks. I’d love to have a look at that suitcase in person. A fool and his money…

    Comment by Seth H. — October 21, 2014 @ 10:18 am

  23. Any reasonable person would agree that 5-6 of an item is exceedingly rare. To argue otherwise is just being dikish. If you have a link to back up you personal definition of exceedingly rare please post it otherwise give it a rest.

    Comment by Rob — October 21, 2014 @ 12:06 pm

  24. A quick search turned up 5, obviously there are more than that out there, not exceedingly rare. if you want one and can find one available or the owner will reasonably part with it, it isn’t exceedingly rare. if you want one and even after making all the phone calls you want, you cant get one because the very few that are out there arent for sale and may never be, its exceedingly rare. ‘exceedingly’ rare, means more than rare, almost non existant. these pennants are NOT almost non existant, rare yes, but that’s all.

    Comment by TRAVIS R0STE — October 21, 2014 @ 9:20 pm

  25. The Psa case seems open and shut person buys items gets a second opionon and items comes out not geniune in the opionion and asks for refund per offer.

    Not sure what the dealers defense for not refunding money is but know doubt will come out.

    As with PSA they offered the “opinion” and thats it.If PSA reversed their decision that would be something to question.

    Comment by Chaim — October 21, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

  26. Wow 3 years court case sure take awhile.

    Comment by Chaim — October 21, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

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