March 15, 2011
The cozy relationship between Daily News reporter Michael O’Keeffe and Robert Edward Auctions head, Rob Lifson, appears to be as strong as ever as evidenced by the continued biased reporting against this writer by, O’Keeffe, the author of the poorly researched and flawed book, The Card.
Ever since Rob Lifson became O’Keeffe’s primary source for The Card, (co-authored by Daily News Sports Editor Teri Thompson) the reporter has done Lifson’s personal bidding on the pages of the Daily News and has conveniently let his buddy off the hook when it comes to disclosing Lifson’s dubious history as a confessed thief of institutional artifacts and as a close associate of fraudster Barry Halper.
It’s amusing that O’Keeffe would mention the thefts at the New York Public Library in his piece today about this writer, and also quote Rob Lifson in the very same article. That’s the same Rob Lifson who was apprehended for the theft of what Time Magazine called a “small fortune in baseball cards” and “a cache of smiling infielders” from the famous Spalding Collection at the NYPL in 1979. The same Rob Lifson who, according to the Time writer, was apprehended with $5,500 cash on his person at the time of the theft. The Time writer was told by NYPL officials that the culprit, a 19-year old college student, admitted the cash came from “selling baseball cards in one day.” Of course, when he was caught stealing, Lifson considered himself the top dealer of vintage materials in the country. His buddy O’Keeffe makes sure to label the crime a “youthful indiscretion.”
In August of 2009, Lifson told O’Keeffe, “I want to set the record straight regarding untrue accusations promoted (via rumor and innuendo) by a very few individuals who wish to attempt to hurt my reputation by suggesting that I am responsible in any way for the theft of any of the missing items that have been stolen over the years from the New York Public Library. It’s simply not true.”
Then in December of 2010, Lifson confessed to Sports Illustrated that he had stolen items from the New York Public Library and that he’d been caught. The article claimed that Lifson told SI, “Thirty two years ago, he (Lifson) says, he was a precocious minor with too much money and freedom; one day while doing research at the library, high on a mix of drugs and alcohol, he secreted two photographs under a piece of cardboard attached to the outside of his briefcase. He was caught before he could leave the room.” (Back in 1979, Time Magazine reported: “The baseball card thief was caught when a guard saw him slipping the cards into a bubble gum box taped to his briefcase.”)
I guess Lifson forgot about another time he confessed to this writer that he had “palmed a CDV” when he got caught stealing at the NYPL. That’s three different stories that O’Keeffe has conveniently omitted in his reports.
And lest we forget the cozy relationship Barry Halper had with the Daily News during his lifetime. The Daily News and writer Bill Madden shilled for Halper shamelessly and promoted bogus items in his collection for years, including fake jerseys of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and Mickey Mantle that Halper fraudulently sold to MLB and the Baseball Hall of Fame in a multi-million dollar deal in 1998.
It’s no surprise that the Daily News hasn’t covered any of the stories of Halper’s fraud or his victims.
Of course, Halper’s right hand man and supplier was O’Keefe’s pal, Rob Lifson, who remembers his buddy Halper this way:
“Barry Halper has left an endless trail of happy faces and good will. Barry Halper’s emphasis on integrity and fair dealings sometimes gets overshadowed by his amazing collecting accomplishments.”
Ah, yes, The New York Daily News, the home of journalistic integrity (and cronyism, too.)
If you want to check out O’Keeffe’s work you can find it at this link from Lifson’s REA website: http://robertedwardauctions.com/links/index.html
Coach’s Corner, notorious for offering bogus items in their auctions is offering a REAL item in their current sale. The problem is, the item, a letter written by Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem, is a protested game letter that appears to have originated from the Baseball Hall of Fame’s August Herrmann Papers archive: http://www.myccsa.com/Lot/217/bill-klem-hand-signedhand-written-letter.aspx
Philip Weiss Auctions offered the handiwork of Ty Cobb biographer Al Stump in their recent sale. When we sent the link to Ron Cobb, author of Stumped by the Storyteller, he confirmed it was a genuine “Stumpie.”
Despite expert opinions that called it a forgery, the infamous TOPPS Legendary Cuts card featuring the alleged sigs of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig is now part of the collection of MLB pitcher Chris Perez, the Cleveland Indians’ closer.
Although the Topps offering was authenticated by James Spence Authentication (JSA) and PSA/DNA, the foremost baseball autograph expert in the country, Ron Keurajian says, “In my opinion both the Ruth and Gehrig cut signatures included in that Topps card are forgeries.”
One of Barry Halper’s famous fakes, the 1936 Joe DiMaggio rookie jersey he held out as authentic with an accompanying LOA from the Yankee Clipper, himself, resurfaced in a recent Hunt Auctions sale as a “vintage Yankee jersey” that was autographed by DiMaggio. The jersey was previously sold at REA’s 2007 Halper post-mortem sale as, “made to commemorate DiMaggio’s 1936 rookie season.” REA also wrote that the jersey “would never fool an expert, any more than a modern day replica would, nor (is it) intended to.” Well, that’s not what Barry Halper thought when he “fooled” the Yankee Clipper into believing it was his own rookie jersey. Uniform expert Dave Grob told us, “It’s not a replica, it’s a forgery and should be identified as such.”
For any of our loyal readers who missed it, check out our recent article at Deadspin about the controversy over Charlie Sheen’s 1927 Babe Ruth World Series Ring:http://deadspin.com/#!5775565/the-messy-history-of-charlie-sheens-winning-ring