November 25, 2009
Real and Fake
November 22, 2009
Steve Koschal spins another one!
Stephen Koschal; probably the least respected person in the autograph business spins another non-truth on his on line site Autograph Alert. It always makes me chuckle when someone with no integrity writes articles attacking others. I guess he is in a bit in a tiff with me over the facts I have been posting but I just post the facts. In his latest tornado spin he states that “REAL fails miserably” in autograph authentication.
Let’s first define failure. If you look it up in the Webster’s dictionary next to the picture of Stephen Koschal it reads “an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success”. Is this like Steve’s autograph business, his court appearances, or supporting his family? Is this like his inability to know a good dealer from a crooked dealer? I know it’s the way his friends and business associates say things about him;
This is a quote from his friend Todd Mueller:
“About 14 years ago I accused SK of forgery. This got me into a heap of trouble for 10 years and
I was his victim longer than anyone else.”
Now that is a failure! His own friend called him a forger!
I’m not going to waste much more of my time on this pathetic writer or his trash rag of a site but I do want to point out one last thing about how Stephen just makes up BS and prints it without any knowledge or facts of any case.
Now on to the REAL truth…. Regarding Michael Jackson:
The REAL story regarding the Michael Jackson item being pulled by ME from RR Auction is like this. This is the email from me to RR Auction regarding this lot:
From: Roger Epperson
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:07 PM
To: 'Elizebeth Otto'
Cc: 'Bobby Livingston'
Subject: new forger
There is a new really good MJ forger I just figured out and lot #714 in your catalog was done by him.
This guy is good but greedy. Could you please remove this item from your auction?
Thanks in advance,
As you can see I admitted to my mistake and asked them to pull the item before the auction had ended. This was the first (in my expert opinion) forgery that I had seen by this person. Looking at just this one would have fooled nearly every authenticator under the sun but very soon after I saw that over 500 of these same signatures were appearing all over the place. After discovering this alleged forger I went back through all of the MJ items I had looked at over the past 3 months and low and behold this one stuck out like a sore thumb. Once I put them all next to each other it was quite obvious that the same person had signed this item too. Just look at my previous article and compare for yourself. If I was trying to hide a mistake I made why would I publish it on my site? I am as honest as it gets. If that makes me a failure then I’m guilty as charged.
I could get into the source of these alleged forgeries but that may come out at another time. The odd thing though in Autograph Alert’s story about breaking up this alleged forgery ring and I state that I will find out who the forger is Mr. Koschal makes the statements “we can’t wait for this”. Does he know who the forger is and he is hiding it? It sure seems like it from that statement. It’s not like I haven’t caught forgers before. I have a rather lengthy resume of large forgery rings I have helped break up with more to come.
As I have proved over and over again Mr Koschal is nothing but a lot of hot air, BS and according to the judicial system as well as many collectors and dealers doesn’t have the ability to authenticate any autograph of any kind. If you can possibly take anything he says on his site seriously you may need to get your head checked out.
November 3rd 2009
My, what a tangled web we weave…
It seems like Stephen Koschal is a bit flustered and angry these days. I guess I would be too if every stunt I tried to pull-off failed, or every BS story I told got uncovered and the truth revealed. Steve, just start off by telling the truth then you won’t have to remember what you’ve made up. Your stories don’t match your email trails and your email trails are your sworn statements. If I were Judge Judy I’d say “you’re full of bologna!”
First of all I want to give you a hand for choosing the person who interviewed you. Picking someone (like you) who has been out of touch of the autograph business since the creation of the internet couldn’t have been a wiser choice. These are not the days of old when you used to send out a catalog and wait for orders to come. This is the 21st century. Both of you are completely out of touch of what is going on in the autograph business today. You are supposed to be an educational website. I read your course; it’s outdated and appalling. These are things you would have taught in the 1970’s; not in today’s high tech world. This is not a “Twilight Zone” episode where one day you will wake up and it will all be back the way you want it. Those days are gone forever. New scams come up every day in the autograph world; some done by your friends right under your nose. Well there are many of us who see these scams and act upon them. When was the last time you helped someone get their hard-earned money back from some unscrupulous dealer? One of them you stand up for in your silly website. Let me give you an excerpt of one particular case for starters:
Steve, you are not even qualified to write about autographs. Sure one time back in the 1970’s you had a vision and made some attempts at becoming a star in the industry but slowly the internet came in, your shows didn’t do so good and you deserted the very organization that gave you any credibility. It has long been asked what happened to the money from the treasury? More on that next issue…
These are actual court documents issued by a Federal Judge regarding Stephen Koschal’s lack of qualifications as an expert witness to authenticate autographs:
Let’s get to today’s topic, the two “highly questionable” Charles M. Russell-signed books. Now I deal in music autographs only. That’s it. I barely know who C. M. Russell is. But I know a BS story when I hear one. Especially when I have the facts in front of me. In another “brilliant” story in the ridiculous website Autograph Alert, Mr. Koschal attacks the credibility of Steve Cyrkin, a well-known man of the Jewish faith, and me a Christian that sells only known authentic music autographs. He went so far as to say I was in a “crazed state he was all over the place.” He also said “I just let Cyrkin and Epperson continue to make fools of themselves”. He also states that:
“The second book, inscribed. was sold to Todd Mueller Autographs. Mr. Mueller decided to consign his book to RR Auctions and added a book signed by Salvador Dali that also included an original sketch. Bob Eaton of RR Auctions returned the books to Mueller stating he did not want to put the books in his sale. When asked specifically why, Eaton said that John Reznikoff said they were no good. Mueller asked Eaton if Reznikoff just saw scans of the books and Eaton’s reply was Reznikoff did not see scans or the books.” He also added “Mueller from day one knew his book was genuine, never tried to return the book and never asked for a refund.”
Well let’s see who made the fool of themselves, Mr Koschal.
Here we have an email dated January 16, 2009 from Todd Mueller (who Koschal claims from day one knew his book was genuine) to Mr Stephen Koschal. Please remember this is copied IN FULL with no skips or breaks in the conversation.
----- Forwarded message from firstname.lastname@example.org -----
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 17:38:58 -0600
Subject: Fwd: R&R Review Process for Consignments
Update. Bob emailed me the below email clarifying how the authentication took place.
John never saw the Dali book and only stated he thought it was probably real but never
viewed it based on my conversation with him prior to it being submitted to R&R. Regarding
the Charles Russell. When I saw Alexander Autographs Charles Russell and compared it
to mine they looked fake as mine also had some erasing under the signature as if a previous
attempt was erased with the later signature being drawn over it. Bob tried to explain this in this
email stating to me later on the phone he thought it was fake but only showed it to John via
email without divulging the source. Bob also stated he only had John look at it without telling
him it was mine out of respect to me. Further he added he also had that same month an ink
sketch which he thought was real from someone else that didn?t compare much to the one I
sent him. I felt this new information was relevant so anything coming out is accurate based
on what I was sent. I felt I should share this email as it is pertinent to what happened.
Now again I barely know who C.M. Russell is but I do know when Koschal does not tell the truth, as again this email is proof that Mr. Mueller was not comfortable with the item and thought it was fake. But wait—he also added something that Mr. Koschal forgot to add in his story, “ERASURE”! Now that’s something pretty big to forget. Below you will see an enlarged copy of the signed book and can CLEARLY see the erased part above the “e” in Kelly and the re-start of the inscription starting in the “K” in Kelly. My, that is suspicious.
Let’s not just draw our conclusion from this alone. Mr. Koschal says I’m all over the place with “the Russell Estate and the Russell library.” But who is really all over the place about where these books came from? Below is an email from Mr Koschal to Todd Mueller, let’s all read this out loud together:
From: SKoschal@aol.com [mailto:SKoschal@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 17, 2009 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: R&R Review Process for Consignments
Got news gor you, the one in Alexanders was also mine. Came from the Russell house.
Funny--Mr. Koschal clearly states in his interview in Autograph Alert that “These books were purchased from a lovely library in a Palm Beach Estate.” Now there is no other way to call it than what I’m about to call it: One of these stories is a lie! You can’t dance your way out of this one Mr. Koschal. I didn’t use quotes from some phony “phone conversation” I used the “WRITTEN” words of you and Mr. Mueller. I couldn’t wait to use your own quote “You think that’s dumb he did it in writing.” Oh God my sides are about to split over laughing about this!
Well it looks like all of us white hat wearers aren’t as stupid as Stephen thought. It didn’t take a whole lot of research to find out the truth of this CM Russell scandal. But I have much more to write about his interview in the following issues of the real truth in autographs: WWW.AUTOGRAPHALERTTRUTH.COM!
November 3, 2009
Michael Jackson autographs, be careful!
It’s come to my attention that there is a flood of very good but not authentic Michael Jackson pieces being sold. With the very hard work of Steve Cyrkin, Steve Grad and me we have started the breaking up of a very large ring of non-authentic items. We did catch these early so they have not got out of hand yet but would probably get by a lot of dealers and some authentication services.
What I will do here in this article is show you what the non-authentic ones that are being mass produced look like. I won’t tell you what makes them not right as then the persons doing these will try to fix it. We do know the origin of where these started coming from and are working on catching the people red handed.
To the common collector these may look authentic but they are not. They are all signed by the same person and in my expert opinion do not believe it is Michael Jackson. These are not being sold a little bit at a time either. These are being sold sometimes in big lots and you have to buy all or none for prices that are just to low to believe. If you have any doubts whatsoever contact a dealer or authenticator that you have a relationship with and ask their opinion. It might be the best $15 you ever spend.
As always “be careful”
Check the Authenticity Guarantee Carefully!
Authenticity of an autograph is the most important part to consider when making a purchase. Too often I see people buying items because of the photo that they are on or the album that they are on. Condition is also important but if they are not authentic condition means nothing.
When choosing a dealer that you feel comfortable with please before you purchase any item check out their guarantee of authenticity. I have been surfing the web checking out dealers policies and there seems to be some serious loop holes in the wording of their guarantees. A reputable dealer will offer you “a lifetime guarantee of authenticity of the item with a 100% lifetime money back guarantee”. Note the part about the money back guarantee. I see a lot of dealers offering a lifetime guarantee of authenticity but then nothing else. My question “then what?” This leaves an out for the dealer when it comes to an authenticity issue. Here are some random autograph dealer sites that I have copied their authenticity guarantees. My comments are below each.
Tracks - About us at Tracks.co.uk
Tracks was established in 1989 and is now the world's leading dealer in Beatles autographs and memorabilia. We stock a large range of rare pop memorabilia including some of the biggest artists in the world of collectibles - The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.
All Beatles autographs purchased from us come with a signed certificate on our company letterhead stating that the autographs are supported by a life-time unconditional guarantee of authenticity and a money back warranty.
All various artists autographs also come with a signed certificate of authenticity on company letterhead supported by a life-time unconditional guarantee and a money back warranty.
This guarantee is solid. You know what you’re getting with this dealer.
Whether its your favorite album, complete with the whole bands autographs, a Stevie Ray Vaughan autographed stratocaster, or a picture of Marilyn Monroe. From Aerosmith, to Nirvana, to ZZ Top. All memorabilia comes with a certificate of authenticity, and a 30 day trial period to assure your complete satisfaction! After 30 days a store credit may be issued, if authorized. Autograph Central has them all!
Hmmm, 30 day “trial period” this give me goose bumps!
Each signed item is unconditionally guaranteed genuine without time limit. If a lot is declared to be not authentic, we may ask the purchaser to supply the written opinion of one competent authority acceptable to us. We will refund the purchase price after documentation has been submitted. The buyer’s only remedy under this guarantee is the cancellation of the sale and the refund of the purchase price. This guarantee does not apply to non-autographed items.
It gets no better than this!
Any customer purchasing items from ARA agrees to accept the item "as is." ARA offers a money back guarantee to the original purchaser of any item within 30 days of receipt of the item providing that the item is returned to ARA in the same condition it was received. After 30 days, ARA will not accept any returns or issue any credits or refunds.
This one screams out RUN AWAY!!!!!
All autograph material in this sale is guaranteed genuine for the life of the original purchaser (unless otherwise stated or if contrary to other provisions of these terms). Any autograph item sold which is determined to be not authentic by two independent authenticators acceptable to both parties to the sale may be returned by the original buyer at any time for an immediate refund of the purchase price (only).
Another home run! Clearly spelled out in writing!
This is an example of one from Autographs America. They are “happy to honor our 100% guarantee”…of what, that its USDA cut? This guarantee says nothing. It’s just a bunch of words on a page. Nowhere does it state the return policy. Don’t take this kind of letter as anything except what it is, NOTHING! You will be stuck with any non authentic items.
Remember, this is your hard earned money you are spending. In a lot of cases it’s an investment for your future. The guarantee offered by the dealer is your life line to upholding your investments value. Be careful, read the guarantee!
Until next time
“No surprise to me. I’m not surprised to learn about Steven Koschal's corruption. I am his cousin and know firsthand about the horrible things he did to his family. He left his wife and kids flat & destitute to be with another woman and his poor children were devastated by this. He left with no warning and has not contacted his kids in the 25+ years since he slithered out of town. His wife had to work 2 jobs to support her 3 children after he left while he lived a life of luxury in Florida with his girlfriends. His Mother passed away recently and had nothing good to say about him even on her deathbed. (No he didn’t attend the funeral). I’m not surprised he did illegal things to his customers. He screwed his own small children over, I'd be suprised if he DIDN’T do anything illegal/immoral to people. This guy is a bottom feeder and a homewrecker and deserves everything he gets. I hope he has to live looking over his shoulder until he is finally caught and then has to pay all the back child support he owes so his poor wife can finally have some peace in life.”
East Hanover, USA