Beatles authenticator at heart of memorabilia suit.

There is a scuffle going in the collector’s community. It appears that a Beatles’ expert is being sued over alleged forgeries.  This article brings to light these allegations, and illustrates how the memorabilia selling community has nearly painted itself into a corner.  It seems that the authenticators are themselves selling their itmes.  Indeed, it is a conflict of interest.

I personally haven’t bought memorabilia online or in-person.  I wish I had that kind of disposable income.  It is my dream to come across a butcher cover in a flea market or CD Exchange and pay pennies for it.  That’s as high as my collecting aspirations get right now.  I mean, obviously, signatures would be this Beatle fan’s dream come true, but for now I just have to sit back and drool over some of those precious rare items.

What are some of your experiences buying Beatles memorabilia?  Have you bought memorabilia items?  Were they appraised by an expert?  How do you feel about the sentiments in the article below? 
Please comment below, we’d love to hear your thoughts about all-things related to Beatles ephemera and memorabilia.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Strawberry Fields is not a stadium, Penny Lane is not a bowling alley and Norwegian Wood is not a baseball bat.

But the Beatles are at the heart of a lawsuit that dredges up questions about how autographed balls and other signed collectibles are authenticated in the fraud-filled world of sports memorabilia: What kind of training and experience are required to become an authenticator? Who is qualified to identify real gems in a world full of fakes and forgeries? Can an authenticator call himself objective if he also buys and sells memorabilia?

Do authenticators really know what they are doing?

“They better know what they are doing because there are a lot of highly skilled forgers out there,” says Bill Panagopulos, the owner of Alexander Autographs of Stamford, Conn., which deals in historic autographs. “Anybody can hang a shingle on the wall calling themselves an authenticator, but it takes years of experience in the trade, not just a few forensics courses.”

The suit, filed last year in Florida state court by a music memorabilia company, challenges the credibility and competence of an autograph dealer and authenticator named Frank Caiazzo, considered by many collectors as the best in the Beatles business. They fear the lawsuit by American Royal Arts of Boca Raton will have a chilling effect – good authenticators, they say, will shut down operations if they think they will be sued every time they issue an opinion somebody doesn’t like.

“Lawsuits are used to scare people,” says Ron Keurajian, a sports autograph collector and authenticator. “They are used to shut people up.”

But ARA president Jerry Gladstone says Caiazzo attacked his company’s integrity and he had no choice but to sue. According to the lawsuit, Caiazzo reviewed a scan of an autographed “Revolver” album cover on behalf of a collector who considered buying it, and he promptly dismissed it as the product of a Southern California forger.

It was improper for Caiazzo to pass judgement based on a scan, Gladstone adds, and if Caiazzo has information about forgers, he should take it to law-enforcement officials. He says the real reason Caiazzo bad-mouthed ARA’s offerings is that he is a competitor.

“He has a terrific conflict of interest,” Gladstone says.

Caiazzo says he didn’t need to examine the actual cover because the signatures are crude forgeries. Caiazzo says he is a self-taught expert who learned his trade by studying Beatles signatures – and only Beatles signatures – for decades. He has acquired thousands of exemplars, and has worked as a consultant to Sotheby’s, Christie’s and other prominent auction houses.

Gladstone, however, says Caiazzo is a memorabilia midget compared to Christopher Morales, the authenticator who originally signed off on the “Revolver” cover and works extensively with ARA. Morales’ Web site says he is a former Secret Service agent with extensive education and experience in forensic sciences.

“He has scientific training,” says Gladstone. He says he submitted the “Revolver” to a second forensic document examiner, E’lyn Bryan, who reached a similar conclusion as Morales. “It appears to be authentic,” Bryan said.

But for many sports memorabilia collectors and dealers, “scientific training” doesn’t mean much, and a Morales certificate of authenticity is not worth the paper it is printed on.

“We will never use Morales,” says Rob Lifson, president of Robert Edward Auctions. “If somebody says they have a piece they want to consign that has been authenticated by Christopher Morales, we choose not to pursue it. I’m not saying it is bad. I’m just saying it’s not a valuable use of our time.”

Lelands president Mike Heffner is even more dismissive: “I can’t tell you that I’ve ever seen anything he’s authenticated that is actually real.”

Morales told the Daily News he has been blackballed from major sports auction houses because they want to use authenticators who will toe their party lines.

“The field is a virtual monopoly,” he says. “They’ve locked everybody else out.”

But even the general manager of an auction house that sells scores of Morales-authenticated pieces each year says he doesn’t have a lot of confidence in Morales.

“There are authenticators whose work seems better,” says Lee Trythall of Coach’s Corner. “There are guys who are more qualified.”

The marketplace, moreover, apparently does not value Morales’ opinion. Memorabilia that Morales has authenticated routinely sells for a fraction of the price similar items authenticated by others fetch.

A ball signed by Hall of Famer Mel Ott and authenticated by Morales, for example, sold for $2,315 in Coach’s Corner’s February auction; an Ott ball sold by Mastro Auctions in 2004 sold for more than $52,000. A Lou Gehrig-autographed ball authenticated by Morales sold in Coach’s Corner for $3,100 – less than half the $7,000 a similar ball fetched in March through Hunt Auctions. In a January 2007 Coach’s Corner auction, a Josh Gibson-signed ball examined by Morales sold for $1,158, a real steal, since the Negro League star’s autograph is very rare and expensive.

“I had a Josh Gibson postcard that sold for $81,000,” Lifson says.

Morales says the price differences aren’t a reaction to his work – they are a reflection of the auction houses and dealers who sell his authenticated pieces, which he says cater to less upscale consumers.

“You have to look at the context,” says Rich Solis, the owner of R&S Sports Collectibles and a Morales business associate. “It’s the Mercedes of auction houses vs. the Volkswagen. One deals with collectors who have money to burn. Others cater to regular people.”

That doesn’t explain why a consigner would settle an auction house that will sell an item for a fraction of what it would get elsewhere, a point that was brought up during a recent 750-post discussion on Network 54, an Internet sports collectibles forum.

The discussion was initiated by Shelly Jaffe, a California memorabilia dealer who was arrested in Operation Bullpen, an FBI investigation into forgeries in the sports memorabilia business. (Jaffe now calls himself a crusader against fraud in the hobby.)

Solis say Morales is the victim of a smear campaign. “There are two sides to this,” Solis says. “Why are unqualified ‘experts’ talking about Chris? Just look at his background. Then look at theirs.”

But many hobby insiders believe Morales is no different than his friend Donald Frangipani, the Brooklyn forensic examiner who was the subject of an HBO “Real Sports” investigation. The segment portrayed Frangipani as an authenticator who could be counted on to issue certificates even for crude forgeries. Morales, too, had a role in the segment; HBO sent several forged pieces to the authenticator, who passed them all.

Morales suggests he was set up – the autographs he reviewed for HBO may have been real, he says, although he can’t explain why “Real Sports” would try to embarrass him. His explanation has not swayed memorabilia executives.

When the value of baseball cards, autographed baseballs and game-used jerseys skyrocketed in the 1980s and 1990s, forgers and counterfeiters flocked to the hobby for easy money: Signing Mickey Mantle’s autograph on an old photo or baseball was a low-risk, high-reward effort, since many law enforcement officials viewed fraud in the memorabilia market as a civil matter, not a criminal one.

To protect collectors from the cheats, a variety of authentication services popped up. Most authenticators are long-time dealers like Caiazzo, with credentials that come from the years they have immersed themselves in old jerseys and autographs. Others, like Morales, claim they are scientifically trained.

But regardless of their background, authenticators have proven to be more Band-aid than cure. There are question marks even about the biggest names in the hobby. During the discovery phase of a lawsuit filed by Indiana dealer Bill Daniels against Mastro Auctions, Daniels’ attorney found that PSA/DNA, a leading autograph authentication service, spent about 16 hours over two days authenticating thousands of pieces offered in Mastro’s December 2004 auction – which translates to just a few seconds per item.

And like Caiazzo, many authenticators also sell memorabilia, which has resulted in allegations of conflicts of interest. One firm, Memorabilia Evaluation and Research Services, now requires its authenticators to disclose if they have a financial interest in a piece they are reviewing. Morales doesn’t sell memorabilia, but he issues opinions on a wide variety of subjects. Coach’s Corner’s most recent auction, for example, included Morales-approved signatures from Abraham Lincoln, Orville Wright, Ty Cobb, Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Robinson.

Morales says as long as he has an exemplar, he can determine the authenticity of any signature. “Handwriting is handwriting,” he says.

But FBI agent Tim Fitzsimmons, who led Operation Bullpen, the bureau’s investigation of sports forgery rings, says it’s more complicated than that. Forensic examiners told FBI investigators that because handwriting can change dramatically due to factors such as age, alcohol consumption and stress, authenticators need scores of examples in order to make an accurate determination.

“You would want 100 examples of ‘knowns,’ signatures that you know are good,” Fitzsimmons says.

Because so many authenticators are questionable, the FBI agent says, the best way for collectors to guarantee the authenticity of a piece is to track its provenance – how it was obtained and who has bought and sold it.

“I’ve been preaching that for years,” Fitzsimmons says. “Collectors should demand a record of an item’s history before they buy it.”

Source: NY Daily News

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40 Responses

  1. ronf.

    • I have made several statements about American Royal Arts Corp. and its President, Jerry Gladstone that were inaccurate. I made those statements because I believed those items sold to me were not authentic, I have since learned that the process I used to determine if my purchases were authentic may have been flawed.

      I sincerely regret the statements I made both on the internet and directly to Mr. Gladstone and to his employees and any harm or embarrassment these statements may have caused.

      Sincerely,

      Brian Waring

  2. years ago my mother in law who frequented yard sales bought me a stack of
    beatles lps in lousy condition
    i put the bag away and several weeks later reexamined them
    thats when i noticed a stripe along the bottom of the yesterday and today lp
    sure enough it was a paste over copy of the butcher cover!

  3. a year ago, going thru some old records at a flea market, as i’ve done so many times, i came across a white album, and, as any record collector would, i checked to see if the pictures & poster were in there.

    they never usually are- at a flea market. well, they were, not the poster, but all 4 portraits, crisp as the day they were made. i lost mine somewhere along the years, so i was thrilled to get these, for $1.00.

    not losing them again, not this time.

  4. I bought my first Beatles signatures back in 1995 and got burned having used one of the experts in the article telling me they where fake and he also knew who was doing the forgery……{.I brought the item back to the dealer, >they did have a lifetime return policy which is great but most places are hoping you wont go and get a second opinion< who did not like the authenticator I used but also told me and this was when I brought the questionable item back, that they now where not sure of the signatures this after I paid thousands and when I was paying they where quite sure they where real, because they have been selling Beatles signed items for years,and yes they are still in buisness.}…………..
    I asked the Beatles expert why he didnt do something to stop this person doing the forgeries since he knew who he or she was… said wasnt up to him.
    Its funny I have talked to at least 3 of the people in the article over the past 10 plus years and was curious when something like this lawsuit would happen because everyone has their experts and say their items are real and the other guys are fake!!
    All in all , its the seller , and who he uses to get the best price possible, and in the Beatles Market are the one certified by only one person the only real ones out there,,,?
    When you are paying thousands for a signed item all you want is honesty but in the autograph buisness and I started 20 years ago
    Greed far exceeds honesty
    I am really interested how this lawsuit will turn out, because I know how scummy the autograph market is personally getting burned for quite alot of money by so called reputable auction houses and so called reputable dealers !!!
    And about Provenace you do really want that, it is crucial, but Provenace also can be faked or I should say “artistic license” may be used

  5. And about Provenance you do really want that, it is crucial, but Provenance too can be bogus….

  6. It will be about ten years ago next year.
    I was working for a photography company that traveled across America. We set up photography studio type stuff. And, did glamour photography for people.

    One day, we went to Waterloo, Iowa. And, it was in a very dull, and boring mall. LOL Well, I was on a lunch break. And, I decided to scout it out. I went to what looked like a flea market area. I seen a table. Filled with Beatle items for sale. Rare, records, and movies. Japanesse releases of The Let It Be Film. You name it. I was sorta amazed (I lived near a VERY huge, and famous record store in Kansas City. So, I seen nearly every Beatle rariety on vinyl you could imagine. Even, more then one of the same kind.) So, the records was something I had seen many times. However, as I walked around the table. I noticed a photo album. Nothing too fancy. Looked more like an old scrapbook, or family photo album that mom, or grandma would throw together for a keep sake. However, as I looked at this photoalbum. My mouth nearly dropped. As, I seen snapshots mind you. Of John Lennon outside of the Dakota. I called the man behind the counter over. And, asked him how he got these pictures.

    He told me, that him and his wife were good friends of the photographer. And, he sold them these pictures at a discounted rate. He told me the photographers name was Vinnie Zuffante. And, he was a New York based photographer. That, had photographed The Beatles through out their entire careers. He also had shots of Kurt Cobain, Madonna, Mick Jagger, and countless other artists in this book. Although, John Paul George, and Ringo dominated the photo album (As it should be LOL) At that time I made decent money. And, I was prepared to own these. I figured these shots would cost in the realm of about $30 a solo shot, and maybe $100 for a Beatle shot.(There was concert shots of The Beatles as well as all of their solo stuff that the photographer photographed.) I nervously asked the man if these pictures were for sale. And, for how much. Now, comes the REAL amazing part of the story. Not only did he tell me they were for sale. He told me that it was $5 per picture. And, that included the unpublished Beatle concert shots as well. Now, the bulk of my money was budgeted for food per day. Guess what i didn’t do for the next 2 days. Or I should say. I didn’t eat well those next 2 days. Was it worth it? Hell Yes!!!!!

    I spent somewhere around $60. It was hard. VERY hard to choose. I had my pic. Vinnie had photographed stuff like James Taylor with John Lennon, And Paul McCartney signing with Apple Records. As well as Poloroid test shots of some. Vinnie even had a shot of John Lennon with Sean inside the Dakota. And, all of the pictures were copyrighted, and stamped ont he back with his name, and address.

    If there is a place were you can upload pictures on here. I will be more then happy to let everyone see them when I can get them scanned. However, I have found some other Vinnie shots that were in an auction that shows just what I am talking about. I put them up on my myspace page if anyone is interested in see them. I wish I owned this many of them. But, I cleaned them out of the John Lennon stuff when I was there (John was my favorite. Especially in the last days of his life. Damn Mark David Chapman) And, I also had to buy a Beatle shot. I got one beautiful one of Paul on his guitar. Now, these shots are not dated. But, when I get it uploaded. I think any Beatle fan would agree that this shot was taken sometime during early, or mid 1965. And, all accept one Lennon shot was taken in 1980. About 2 months before that jack ass killed him.

    Other, then the shots I found on an online auction. I am not able to find out much about Vinnie Zuffante. I had lost touch with the original people who sold me the shots, and I have recently found out that Mr Zuffante is no longer with us.

    If anyone knows anything about Vinnie Zuffante please feel free to go to my myspace page and leave me a message. I am fascinated with the man. Aparently in his own right. He had a great repuation as a photographer. But, still I cannot find too much on him. If anyone can tell me more about the man himself. I would so much love to hear the stories. I hope everyone liked this one.

    Trent

    • Hi i just did read on the net here about the pics you got from Vinnie Zuffante shots of John lennon etc..i would be interested to see some if possible cheers Christ 🙂

    • Trent, years ago back in the 80’s acutally, Vinnie knew my friend Manny Almeida (would love to track him down) and the night before Manny, me and some other friends were going to the river, Manny called and asked if I would join him and his friend Vinnie at I believe the Beverly Wilshire, if I recall correctly. Ringo Star was performing that night and he wanted me and Manny to stake out at the hotel to try and get Ringo to sign and 8 x 10 photograph of himself. Vinnie said that the celebrities knew him and they typically would not sign for him, only for fans because the celebrities knew that the autographs made the photos worth more to sell. We hung out for hours but Ringo never showed up. I did, however, get my photo taken with actress Lesley Ann Warren that. I saw her and I was a fan of hers and Vinnie dragged me out there in front of Ms. Warren and asked if she wouldn’t mind taking a photo with his friend. She graciously said yes and I have the photo (actually my Mom has it) to this day. Vinnie went to the hotel with some other friends the following night and was able to get Ringo’s autograph on the picture, which gave him a completed set of 8 x 10 Beatles’ photographs with autographs. Until I read your blog, I didn’t realize that Vinnie had passed away. He also took my first single shots for my portfolio (I’m a guitarist/singer). Very sad that Vinnie is no longer with us. Anyway, that is my Vinnie story. This was in Hollywood, California btw.

  7. I was friends with Vinnie Zuffante, and I am in some of the pictures w/ John John Lennon and James Taylor. I actually called Vinnie that night to tell him that John was going to be at that event. It was backstage at the Minskoff Theater in NYC, Jan of 1977.

    My e mail is toothbrush5190atoptonline.net if you want to discuss Vinnie, I would be glad to fill you in a bit.

    • Hi Larry. Just curious, when did Vinnie pass? Do you know what happened? I only got to hang with him a few times, including the photo shoot he did for me, for free. I remember he was one of the funniest people I ever met. I was very sad to hear of his passing.

  8. Provenance can be made up and the authenticity of a piece should not be questioned just because someone is unwilling to give exact history. Sometimes that is not available, which is why forensics is used.

  9. Forensics is the only way to go. Caiazzo is very unprofessional and I wouldn’t trust his cadre of shills. Truly the Beatles autograph collectors market is dominated by Caiazzo and his cartel.

  10. I have come across a VERY RARE print in excellent condition still FRAMED of a print by Chaplin still in the original frame….black and white it’s striking and belonged to the Vice Pres. of their fan club and was given to a very dear friend as a gift by this vice pres. in the 70’s (early)….he now wants to sell it, where would be the best place to do so to get the best price? Please email me at annie_250@yahoo.com

  11. I also was friends with Vinnie in NY, he was a great guy and even he didn’t sell his photos for very expensive price. He would sell them at Beatles conventions. He also sold autographed albums that he got signed in person by John, Paul George and Ringo. He was a Beatles fan himself and he was good and fair with other fans. He would let me know when they were in town. I have a photo of me, Vinnie and few other fans posing together with Paul and Linda in NY 1981.
    Vinnie was a great guy, he moved out to L.A. in the 90’s. I was very sad when I heard he had passed away.

  12. Dear Friends and Collectors, I own many Beatles autographs, none of which have been positively authenticated. I am appalled at how eBay relies upon self proclaimed “Beatles autograph dealer gurus”, all of which are not forensically trained, court approved, forensic document examiners and authenticators to determine if an item, up for auction is real…. This is living proof, “money talks” and you know what walks. I would NEVER have my Beatles autographed items authenticated by anyone who sells the same. Just for the record, try to get these gurus to authenticate something you own. It won’t happen and all of them will call your item a fake. But….. Try and buy an item from them and you will get the biggest line of baloney (provenance) you have ever heard of on how real they are, how they have thousands (come on get real) of exemplars and how they are an expert. What ever happened to D.N.A. ? Fingerprinting ? Were John, Paul, George and Ringo always wearing gloves when they signed ? Why don’t these gurus spend a few bucks of the thousands of dollars they’ve gotten from honest collectors like usand get a forensic document examiner’s degree ? Are they so busy selling their stuff that they don’t have the time to go to school ? Hmm… My autographs are REAL, so are most of the items they sell, I know this because “I’ve” looked at both…. You don’t need thousands of exemplars. What you need is “forensic examination”…. A ball point pen, in 1964 did not deposit its ink the same way a ball point pen did in 1973. The paper should also be from that exact era of time and much much more. I believe what the fella said above about a microscope. It carries way more credential than some self proclaimed experts opinion who also sells the stuff. I have had my stuff looked at through scans and professional photography by these self proclaimed gurus (God I would love to tell you who) and 100% of the time, it comes back as “fraud” as long as it is a “dealer” who is looking at the scans and pictures. Often they will offer a pretty decent price for these so called forgeries to “use as exemplars of fraud”. Funny how these exact same so called forgeries are sold by those same self proclaimed experts years later as REAL and include a certificate of authenticity that damn sure isn’t worth the paper it is written on in a court of law…PERIOD… I totally trust A.R.A. and I have a lot of respect for PSA / DNA, PAAS and a few others but if these other, self proclaimed experts, do not have the necessary credentials, they are “down the road” until which time they gained the proper credentials and that should be “your policy” as well. It’ s okay to buy from them but believe me, your item will always should be shot down, in a court of law, until which time it is examined by a “court approved, forensic document examiner ” and has issued his or her written approval of its authenticity. Which one are you going to buy ? Keep in mind, you have to start somewhere. Not all autographs come with authenticity and there is a gamble involved. Do your home work before buying without court approved authenticity. Know who you are buying from. Get a “Notarized Statement of Lifetime Guarantee” if the seller does not have court approved authenticity. AND by all means, get your item(s) authenticated…………………………………………………….. Thomy LeDoux

    • Hi Thomy, could you refer me to a trusted person to authenticates some beatle autographs for me? I am in Ontatrio Canada. Thks

      • Hi Ken, I trust PSA/DNA for “Beatles Autographs”… Mike Frost and PAAS for sports autographs. Thanks, Thomy

      • 1/9/2012 : To Ken Goebel…. PSA/DNA is probably my pick. It’s a little bit complicated but they’re very reputable and costs for services is reasonable when compared to other authenticator costs. I do not recommend using online services, that rely on you sending them scans for opinions. I do not recommend using an authenticator who sells the same type of product or in other words, has any interest in the item’s value or also does appraisals on the same type of item, yet that service may be available through another channel within the authenticating company. In other words, the appraisal is coming from a different source within the same company. That type of service is generally safe, especially with a reputable and reliable source such as PSA/DNA. Please keep me informed on how well it goes and I’d love to see photos of your autographs. Cheers, Thomy

  13. Penny auctions have gained popularity over the last few months and now have hundreds of thousands of users.
    Just launched new Penny Auction Site, and there’s a really good chance of winning at the moment, as there aren’t many players to compete with as of yet.

  14. Oh please, Vinnie sold his photos at Beatles conventions for years. His negatives still exist and I’ve seen his photos on eBay. They aren’t worth more than the negative cost to print. I got photos at shows for under $5 each years ago. His nickname was “One Eye Vinnie”. Lou O’Neill Jr. told me about him. I think he died of aids or something like that. I want to know where Lou went. His work was amazing. He always knew where Beatles were. That Revolver Caizzio said was fake was a stone joke. The lawsuit will be tossed. Morales, geezus, his rep is mud in the industry if you read the tales of the garbage he’s said was real. Caizzio authenticated pieces get the biggest bids, can you guess why?

    • Brad, as someone that waited until wee hours of the morning to obtain Ringo’s signature on an 8 x 10 photo with Vinnie and two other people, you’re way out of line and way off. If Lou told you he sold forgeries, he was wrong. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been out late at night hiding from the door man at the hotel where Ringo was staying so that he could obtain the autograph. Instead, he would have stayed home and forged the signature like your friend Lou alleges that he did and sold it. Vinnie was a high profile photographer and did quite well in his career.

  15. This notion about forensics training is nonsense. Wouldn’t a good forger take the same classes to be able to create forgeries that would pass forensics test?

    Frank Caizzo has been authenticating Beatles autographs for as long as I can remember. Without Frank’s years of expertise Beatles autograph collecting would have died off years ago. The fakes outnumber authentic autographs by 1000 to 1. For fleabag outfits like ARA to claim his actions are based on being a competitor is laughable. The % of Beatles autographs sold directly by Frank is extremely small. Most of the time he is merely providing a COA for someone else. In those cases, he has no financial stake in that item. The most reputable people in Beatles collecting have long supported Frank’s work. Good luck finding a reputable dealer to offer support of the crooks at ARA.

    If ARA was smart, they’d drop the lawsuit and start selling autographs that came with a Caizzo COA instead of trying to silence him. If Frank stops authenticating, fakes will flood the market and con artists like ARA will see the price of Beatles autographs plummet. Either way they lose.

    • To Rick…. True as true gets, Mr. Frank Caiazzo is NOT an authenticator… He is a DEALER… Get it ? To say “fakes out number authentic autographs by 1,000 to 1 is the biggest line I have ever heard. You also state “the % of Beatles autographs sold by Frank is extremely small” and “most of the time he is merely providing COA” is also grossly mis represented when in fact, the thing that Mr. Caiazzo does the most is “sell Beatles autographs”. I personally asked him to authenticate my autographs and he flat out stated “he is not currently doing authentications”. If ARA was smart, they will go on with the law suit and they have my support 100 %. I have nothing against Mr. Caiazzo but I damn sure will NOT be buying his or any other Beatles autographed product, from a DEALER, unless that product is accompanied by official, court approved, forensic document examiner’s approval of authenticity from another reputable source and it is my opinion that neither Mr. Frank Caiazzo or Perry D.Cox can “legally” provide that under they’re exclusive names and if that is what they are doing, I “unconditionally guarantee” for the life of this article, their authenticity is purely “here say” and if they are guilty of slandering ARA, they not only should pay for that but they should be required by law, like “all” of us dealers, to get “court approved, forensic document examiner’s approval”, before they say anything is real or fake, until which time they have successfully gained the degree required to do so, to place their “own” C.O.A. on any “autographed” item… That IS the law my friend, simple as that…. AND, please don’t ever forget, should they say something is real or fake, they had better have had that item in their hands, especially when they are referring to a reputable dealer like ARA or they may suffer the consequences… So let it be written, so let it be done…………Thomy LeDoux 12/22/09

  16. Can you guess why Caizzo COA’d Beatles signatures get the highest realized auction results on eBay and major auction houses? If he says something is garbage all the way down to the state it came from, I think people like ARA ought to use him and get fully realized auction prices.

  17. Dear Brad, It’s all about money my friend, not about having the credentials… Well at least until recently. Again, I have nothing against Mr. Caiazzo, nor Mr. Cox and I do hope the very best for both but I have been strong armed by Mr. Caiazzo and basically told to shut my mouth. It’s all a crock of bull….. The bottom line is: If you don’t have a court approved, forensic documentor’s signature on your C.O.A. or L.O.A. for an autograph, you DO NOT HAVE OFFICIAL AUTHENTICATION. So my advise is simply to tell you or anyone else, to obtain that official authentication. I need to do the same thing and as stated above, I tried to get Mr. Caiazzo and Mr. Cox to help me with authentication and I was rather confused as to why they decided they couldn’t help me or better yet and I quote. “I am sorry but I am currently not issuing authentication at this time.” It, of course has been quite a while since I communicated with either of them but I just talked with a great gentleman in New York this morning and recommended he contact Mr. Cox to help him sell his VERY VALUABLE Beatles items but none of which were autographs. So, I truly don’t have anything against Mr. Cox or Mr. Caiazzo… All I suggest, is that each and everyone of you, “get official authentication” and it’s not wise to depend on their authentication until which time they have gained the credentials to do so. AND for those that have received authentication from Mr, Cox or Mr. Caiazzo, it would be wise to get additional authentication from a place like PSA/DNA or PAAS. That way they are covered under the law as it is written. I guarantee you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, ARA will never use Mr. Caiazzo or Mr.Cox until they obtain a degree…PERIOD !! I know Mr, Gladstone and I assure you, there is little in the business more prominent than him or his business of selling authentic Beatles autographs. Additionally, I back Mr. Morales and his decisions on an autograph and I could care less how he bases his decision. Once his signature is on that piece of paper, it’s over as far as the courts are concerned and I have proof of that. So we wait… Lets just all see what happens in that law suit. It truly will set the pace for future dealings like this. We will all know exactly how to go about our business when buying or selling Beatles autographs in the future. In the meantime, the very best advise would be to tell everyone to simply make sure the autographs they obtain come accompanied with “official court approved documentation” and that my friend, Mr, Morales is capable of providing, whether you want to use him or not, makes no difference to me but I assure you, I would buy a set of autographs in a heart beat with Mr. Morales’s signature and authentication as a matter of fact, I would jump and I couldn’t get to the bank fast enough…… It’s not about having Mr. Morales’s signature, it’s simply about having that oh so important “official, court approved documentation”, whether that comes from Mr. Morales’s outfit or another such as PSA/DNA simply make no difference to me, what makes the difference is “will it pass a court of law” ? And… I beg to differ, Mr. Morales’s authentication will pass a court of law and should pass, way before anyone’s authentication that is not official. Just show me one single case where Mr. Caiazzo’s authentication has passed in a court of law and I will bow to you. In the meantime, I support A.R.A. and I wish Mr. Caiazzo and Mr. Cox the very best and it is my opinion that if this law suit goes through, it will be found in the favor of A.R.A. That doesn’t mean I will discontinue supporting Mr. Cox or Mr. Caiazzo, it simply means it will put things in more of a “perspective” and we can all go on…. All those people who purchased autographs from Mr. Cox and / or Mr. Caiazzo are probably pretty worried but please allow me to interject, “just because you purchased autographs from Mr. Cox or Mr. Caiazzo, doesn’t mean those autographs aren’t real, they probably are.” BUT, if you or anyone else purchased autographs from either of these gentlemen, it is simply in my opinion, those people that have done that, should obtain authentication from an “official, court approved, forensic document examiner”. If they do that, their product will take on even additional prominence that is very valuable. In other words what I am saying is that if my autographs had approval of PAAS, PSA/DNA, Mr.Caiazzo’s, Mr. Cox’s, Beatles Traxx and who ever I get on the band wagon…. Well, “don’t you think they would be worth even more money ” ? Of course they would be…lol I wish you the very best as well and good luck to all those that have purchased Beatles autographs in the past or were fortunate to be there in person. Take care everyone and looks like this law suit is going to get interesting. You can bet I will be there when it’s all over and hopefully, I can get my stuff authenticated… All My Best, Thomy LeDoux

  18. Good article, thank you. I signed up to your blog RSS.

  19. Around 2000, I went into a book store and purchased a few books about the Beatles.
    One of the books was “The Beatles. Complete works” by Amst., Thomas Rap, (c. 1970).
    When I purchased the book, I noticed inside the cover were the signatures of the 4 Beatles.
    I thought that they were printed on at the time.
    A few years later, I was looking up the lyrics to a song when I noticed
    that on top of the 4 Autographs was written “To Cliff”.
    I wondered why the publisher would print that?
    Looking closer, I noticed some little ink spots.
    The other book which I purchased actually had a photograph of all their signatures.
    I couldn´t see any difference at all.
    I sincerely believe that they are genuine and would like to sell them.
    However, after reading about the authentication process and authenticators,
    I have no idea whom to believe or trust.

    What should I do?

    Abbey Road was my first Album,
    Always will be a Big Beatles Fan

    thanks,

    Enrique

  20. Dear Enrique, Send the item to PSA/DNA… Good Luck !! They are REPUTABLE and I have used them for the same… Thomy LeDoux

    • Mr LeDoux,

      Thank you very much for replying.
      To be honest, forgot about this post and kind
      of have given up thinking those Autographs would
      every be properly authenticated.
      Was aware of a Lawsuit involving Mr.Caiazzo but
      really never found out how it was settled.
      I will take your advise though and try to contact
      PSA/DNA.
      Appreciate you time to reply.

      Enrique

  21. Unfortunately, these fraud claims about Jerry and American Royal Arts are TRUE. I bought several very pricy pieces of rock art: Abbey Road, Sticky Fingers, Highway to Hell, Rubber Soul, St Peppers– maybe $75K in toal. And I was wanting to sell some of these on ebay. Long story: JSA has confirmed these are all fakes. Jerry and the gang who were sooooo friendly a couple of short years ago are now ignoring me. Lawsuits and ads in the local papers are to follow. And Jerry, Fraud is not dis-chargble in bankruptcy! Email me if you want pictures of the FAKES.

    Brian Waring (303) 999-0103 BTC.Waring@gamil.com

  22. Jerry Gladstone is now Jerry Madoff! he knows all about this and has been living off stollen money for YEARS.

  23. I have made several statements about American Royal Arts Corp. and its President, Jerry Gladstone that were inaccurate. I made those statements because I believed those items sold to me were not authentic, I have since learned that the process I used to determine if my purchases were authentic may have been flawed.
    I sincerely regret the statements I made both on the internet and directly to Mr. Gladstone and to his employees and any harm or embarrassment these statements may have caused.
    Brian Waring

  24. 3 Cheers for Brian Waring !! Way to go buddy !!!
    We all wish Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Caiazzo and Mr. Cox the very best… I will be glad when this whole thing is over. As one of the few dealers of these awesome products, I have not been willing to put any of my Beatles autographs up for sale. I just sincerely hope the people involved in this whole thing have learned a lesson….. In this case, Mr. Gladstone was right all along. His business, as far as I am concerned, was damaged… I sincerely hope those folks that are putting out Certificate Of Authentication ( C.O.A.) actually have the authority to do so. In this case, Mr. Morales was right, when he authenticated that Revolver LP as was the second opinion on the same item and they have the authority. Those autographs are AUTHENTIC !! AND… It’s not okay, as far as I’m concerned, to put down Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Caiazzo or Mr. Cox. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Gladstone was right. That doesn’t mean to say that Mr. Caiazzo or Mr. Cox doesn’t know a real Beatles autograph when they see one but in my opinion, they should never have spoken negatively on the item to begin with. AND… No one should be putting out a Certificate Of Authenticity on any autograph, that does not possess the credentials to do so…PERIOD !! Enough said… So let it be written, so let it be done. That’s the law… Good for you Brian Waring, you did the right thing. Sincerely, Thomy LeDoux

  25. I am selling on ebay the Abbey Road Memento which was given to Rowan Ayers the BBC pioneer who launched their last album on Late Night Line Up. This is argueably the last memento of The Beatles and actually Apple wrote to me through Michael Heatly of EMI interested in buying it back. 50% of proceeds are going to cancer support and research in Australia. The art work was done buy John Lennon and signed buy all The Beatles for Rowan Ayers, presented to him in late January 1970, I purchased the item from Rowan Ayers who lived his last years in Australia. I am not saddened buy what is occurring in the Beatles memorabilia world , its been a long time coming and hope honesty and truth will reign in that area after all have been made accountable. If you want to see the greatest piece of signed historical Beatles art work go to ebay usa and search:
    Beatles Memorabilia Last Autographs Art By John Lennon

  26. Vinnie was a great guy. I walked up to him while he was taking pics of Martha Rae while we on a short vacation in California. He offered to meet us the next night so my kids could meet some stars.We got pictures and he became a family friend, and he was great to my kids. I lost contact for a while, then was shocked to find we had not heard from him because he was gone. Never got to say goodbye because he never told us he was sick. I wish I had been able to talk to him one last time. Kim Fox

  27. […] Beatles authenticator at heart of memorabilia suit. « I read the …Apr 21, 2008… of an autograph dealer and authenticator named Frank Caiazzo, considered by many collectors as the best in the Beatles business. … […]

  28. Vinnie was my first cousin.He was a few yrs older then I was but he was my favorite cousin.I remember hearing he was leaving for Cali to persue his dream of becoming a paparazzi. I was so said when he left but I knew he would make a name for himself & for all the people that knew him knows he did just that.RIP Jimmy…thats what the family called him!

    • strange. i’m not a collector but i actually stumbled into this site while looking for Vinnie’s contact info. i met him at the No Nukes shows in NY in 1978, we became good friends and hung a lot for a couple of years, then completely lost touch. i’m kind of shocked to hear about this.

  29. forensic science is a very interesting subject, i really love to become a CSI agent.-

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