Did Pristine Auction Sell A Fake Willie Mays Autograph?

UPDATE – 12/17/2022

According to Pristine Auction “Looks like that is an auction from 2014. This may have fooled us and others back then but is more known now. We always guarantee authenticity so we would buy it back (if we didn’t already).”

An interesting card sold over at Pristine Auction that I believe is worth talking about.

The card that caught my eye is the Willie Mays 2001 Fleer Tradition Stitches In Time Autograph.

Link to the Pristine Auction listing. Screenshot for when their auction listing comes down.

Its a great looking card, unfortunately Willie Mays never signed them for Fleer.

Fleer inserted redemption cards for these Willie Mays autographs inside packs of 2001 Fleer Tradition Baseball. For some reason Willie Mays chose not to sign them. Possibly due to him not wanting to sign Negro League items.

After Fleer’s bankruptcy the non-autographed cards they had intended Willie Mays to sign surfaced. Because they were originally meant to be signed the cards come with Fleer’s autograph COA on the back.

If you come across a Willie Mays 2001 Fleer Tradition Stitches In Time card containing an autograph there are two possible outcomes.

The first outcome is that the autograph is fake. Many scammers have forged Willie Mays’s signature on these aftermarket cards, and passed them off as the real thing. Collectors who don’t know the true history behind this card will see Fleer’s COA and not think twice about it’s authenticity.

Second would be that an individual purchased the non-autographed card on the secondary market and was able to get Willie Mays to sign it in person. Difficult to do, but not completely out of the realm of possibility.

I would stay far away from any autographed versions of this card. Even the examples that come with PSA/DNA and JSA authentication. If you didn’t get Willie Mays to sign the card yourself assume that it is a fake signature.

Judging by that Pristine Auction listing Fleer’s COA is suppose to be good enough. BAD IDEA! Their description mentions nothing about this card’s history. Either they don’t know about it or just don’t care. You be the judge as to whether that autograph is real or not.

Willie Mays does have an insert and relic found in the 2001 Fleer Tradition Stitches In Time set. Both of these were pack-inserted by Fleer.

Long Time No See

Take a good look at this completed auction.  I never thought I would see this card again.  Many years ago I purchased this exact Ryan Howard 2003 Donruss Elite Status Die-Cut #’ed 55/57 on eBay for only $18.00.  This was well before he became such a huge star.  At the time I was really into grading and sent it in to BGS.  Just by dumb luck it came back a 9.5.  This is one card I wish I would have held onto.  This is the second time I’ve seen it surface.  The last time I watched it sell for almost $600.00 when Howard had his Rookie of the Year season.

Have you ever sold a card(s) you wished you hadn’t?  Which card(s) of yours did you sell and keep seeing pop-up online?


Press Pass 2010 Racing Product Info

This morning Press Pass sent out a press release containing info on their new 2010 racing product.  I haven’t seen any pictures yet, but I’m sure they’ll send some out when the release date gets closer.

Configuration: 20 boxes per case/28 packs per box/6 cards per pack


* ALL NEW MEMORABILIA! TRADIN’ PAINT – the first race-used sheet metal card set to focus exclusively on alternate paint schemes! Burning Rubber – race-used “Win” tires from drivers who won during the first 26 races of the year!

* DEBUT OF 2010 PROGRAMS! 2010 Four Wide and Signature Series kick off 2010 with a completely revamped look!

* PRESS PASS AUTOGRAPHS – featuring a roster of more than 50 NASCAR stars!

* HOBBY HOT PACKS – ONE PER CASE! each pack contains a Press Pass 2009 “Chase Edition” autograph card from one of the 12 Chase for the Sprint Cup™ drivers along with four sequentially numbered Top 12 Final Standings cards and a Top 12 Instant Win card!

* TRACK EDITION AUTOGRAPH CARDS – Autograph program found only in Press Pass 2010 featuring unique photography of top drivers, sequentially numbered to 10!


* SIGNATURE SERIES TIRE EDITION – Hobby-only driver version (#’d to driver’s door number)
* FOUR WIDE – Four levels to collect in 2010!
* HOBBY “HOT PACKS” themed around the Chase for the Sprint Cup™; consisting of:
– 4 Sequentially numbered Top 12 “Final Standing Cards”
– 1 Press Pass Chase Edition Autograph Sequentially #’d to 25 or less
– 1 Top 12 “Scratch Off” Instant Win!


* CUP CHASE 2010 – Collectors can win a complete 12-card Cup Chase prize set if the driver on their Cup Chase redemption card makes the NASCAR SPRINT CUP Series Chase for the SPRINT Cup in September 2010. As a bonus, those holding the redemption card of the driver who wins the 2010 NASCAR SPRINT Cup Series Championship can redeem it for a special memorabilia card of the 2010 champion…1:28.
* TRADIN’ PAINT – Nine special paint schemes come to life on embossed foil board…1:12
* UNLEASHED – Sequence photography from 12 of the season’s best victory celebrations on etched foil board…1:6.
* BY THE NUMBERS –50-card set-within-a-set… 1:2

If You Had to Choose

Lets say you are searching through your grandma’s attic and find an old baseball bat.  She says you can keep it if you want, if not she would just throw it out.  You take the bat home and decide to take it to the 2009 National Sports Collectors Convention next year to see if anyone can help you identify it.  A year goes by and you take the bat to the show.  Walking around the show for a bit you find Mastro Auctions and decide to check them out to see if they can help.  Placing the bat down on the table, many of the employees of Mastro Auctions rush over to take a look at the old piece of wood.  After closer insepction and doing some research, they identify it as an authentic bat once used by Connie Mack, the 1937 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and Philadelphia A’s catcher/manager.  Mastro Auctions says that they have never seen an item like this before and if they were to put it up for auction it could sell for $75,000.00.  The National Baseball Hall of Fame found out from Mastro Auctions that you have a full size bat once used by Mack and would like to add it to their museum.  The HOF tells you that they cannot purchase the bat because they only accept donations.  Major League Baseball has declined to buy the bat from you and donate it to the Hall of Fame.  You are left with a decsion to make.  Do you sell the bat and make $75,000.00, or donate the bat to the HOF and have your name next to it saying, “Authentic Connie Mack Used Baseball Bat donated by XXXXXXX” forever encased with the rest of the artifacts?  What would you do?

PA Card Shop Accused of Selling Fake Memorabilia

Source- PennLive.com

David Herrell said the sheer volume of items in Roger Hooper’s memorabilia inventory gave him a sense of confidence.

Herrell said he saw no reason to doubt the authenticity of the baseball autographed by home run hitters Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. The same went for the supposedly unopened wax packs of sports cards that were among the thousands of dollars in items he said he bought from Hooper, a West Shore dealer, in 2006.

“He had so much,” said Herrell, 33, a student at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. “It was such a large quantity of stuff. I felt it couldn’t be bad.”

Authorities claim that some items Hooper sold Herrell were fake and others, including the wax packs — their name comes from the 1970s and ’80s, when cards and a stick of bubble gum were wrapped in wax-paper packages — showed signs of tampering.

The Cumberland County district attorney’s office has charged Hooper, 47, of Lower Allen Twp., with deceptive business practices. It has caused a stir in the collecting community, where fraud is a constant fear.

Authorities also are contacting past customers of Hooper. People with concerns about their items can contact county Detective Sgt. Earl Bock at 717-240-7764.

In court papers, Bock said hundreds of dubious items that were sold for more than $60,000 have been identified.

Hooper said the charges are “totally false” and that he never knowingly sold bogus collectibles or tampered with any memorabilia. The charges, he said, involve only a few of the millions of collectibles of all types packed into the warehouse at his Thompson Lane home.

“The whole thing comes down to somebody filled [prosecutors’] heads with a lot of hogwash and they acted on it,” Hooper said. “I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe it.”

He vowed to fight the charges at a preliminary hearing before District Judge Charles Clement next month. But he said the allegations have ruined his reputation and imperiled the collectibles and auction business he built over 30 years.

Corky Goldstein, Hooper’s lawyer, said his client shouldn’t have been arrested. No auctioneer can vouch for every item sold, Goldstein said, and Hooper never marketed any items deceptively.

“At most, this is a civil matter,” Goldstein said. “That’s where it belongs, in the civil courts.”

Authorities based the criminal charges, including counts of theft by deception and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, on claims by Herrell and Ned Kerstetter of Carlisle, who listed items for Hooper on the eBay Internet auction site.

Kerstetter, who didn’t return a call for comment for this story, went to the district attorney in August 2007, claiming Hooper defrauded him, Bock said. Kerstetter also filed a lawsuit against Hooper in county court that hasn’t been resolved.

Bock said Kerstetter claimed that in 2005 he agreed to list items for Hooper under Kerstetter’s name on eBay in return for a commission on each sale. Later, as Kerstetter got busier with his computer sales and service firm, an associate of Hooper’s did the listing under Kerstetter’s name, the detective said.

Hooper used Kerstetter, an acquaintance, as the seller because Hooper had been banned from eBay for “shaky dealings,” Bock stated in court papers.

The detective said Kerstetter soon began receiving complaints from buyers that items were not as advertised. Some buyers complained that wax packs of sports cards, which have collectible value only if they remain unopened, had obviously been opened and resealed, Bock said.

“The cards in Hooper’s packs had fingerprints on them. They were supposed to be untouched by human hands,” Senior Assistant District Attorney Matthew Smith said. “Understandably, people started screaming foul.”

Kerstetter began receiving threats along with complaints when Hooper refused to give angry customers refunds, Bock said. Kerstetter, worried about his online selling reputation, used about $60,000 of his own money to reimburse them, Bock said.

Hooper said Kerstetter had approached him about listing items because Kerstetter wanted to make money. Hooper said he had been barred from listing items on eBay, but the company never told him why.

EBay spokeswoman Nichola Sharpe said her firm doesn’t discuss issues or investigations regarding customers, but it does cooperate with law enforcement in investigating reports of fraud.

Hooper said he addressed most buyer complaints relating to the listings on Kerstetter’s site and made refunds. But he refused requests by Kerstetter to satisfy buyers who complained after the return period, which usually lasted 30 days.

“I fulfilled all of my obligations with Ned,” he said.

Herrell’s accusations involve items he bought from Hooper in an April 2006 auction, Bock said.

When Herrell tried to sell 14 unopened wax packs of 1971 Topps football cards he had bought, an expert at a New York collectibles firm told Herrell the cards showed signs of tampering, the detective said.

When Herrell complained to Hooper, Hooper disputed the expert’s finding and advised him to “just list the stuff on eBay,” Bock said.

Two other experts told Herrell a baseball he’d bought from Hooper that supposedly was signed by Mantle and Williams was a forgery, Bock said. He added that Hooper had given Kerstetter a similar ball.

Hooper said the items Herrell bought were among more than a thousand lots sold at the auction Herrell attended. All the items were open for public inspection and for evaluation by experts before the sale, Hooper said. He said it was clearly stated in the auction terms that he wasn’t guaranteeing authenticity for many items.

Authorities raided Hooper’s warehouse in May after seeing another online listing for an auction he was to hold that month. Scores of items, from sports collectibles to coins, were seized, court documents stated.

Hooper said he didn’t know of the criminal investigation until police appeared May 22, handcuffed him and executed a search warrant.

The Hooper case has caused considerable talk on at least one online chat room for collectors and auctioneers.

Experts said the collectibles business is innately risky.

Fraud, “is everywhere,” said Jim Spence of James Spence Authentication of Parsippany, N.J., an autograph-verification company.

“The biggest victims are the new collectors,” said David Cordier, owner of Cordier Antiques & Fine Art of Camp Hill and a columnist for The Patriot-News. “When you’re buying at auction, there is risk involved. That’s the sad part, because the new collectors will keep the business alive.”

Herrell, a collector for about 20 years, said he’s still “dabbling” in the market.

“You can’t be too careful,” he said. “You need to know who you’re dealing with.”

eTopps Fraud

I am surprised this hasn’t happened sooner.  eTopps as put out an alert stating that they have disocovered that people have been scamming customers buying and selling eTopps cards.  If you look at an auction page of an eTopps card you will see that they all look about the same.  If the seller doesn’t have the card in their hands they will just use the stock photo from Topps.  Some sellers have been stealing photos from Topps and other auctions and selling cards that they don’t have.  All they have to do is a little web design to make the page look like a real auction.  One of the best ways for you to avoid getting scammed while buying an eTopps card online is checking out the card’s ID number.  On all authentic eTopps auctions the card’s ID number will show up.  For more help please read the full alert from eTopps by clicking here.