Sunday, December 6, 2009

And Yet "Another" Suspect B&C Signature Offering-- Here We Go Again!!

These are important times concerning The Henry Barrow Star filling station Bonnie and Clyde Signatures, and defending these genuine and authenticated signatures-- in light of newly "purported" scripts, which are in need of exposure, documentation and denunciation. I've met a valuable new ally in this regard, who passionately fights against "suspect" autograph mills and their practices-- and reports on such openly, apparently to the frustration of those who cannot risk exposing themselves as being perhaps less than forthright. This gentleman's name is Chris-- and his You Tube expose's are indeed bold and creative. For those interested, I have posted a link to his latest You Tube expose' concerning the alleged B&C signatures pictured above>> blog right for your education and enjoyment.

One of the seemingly cool things about owning authenticated B&C signatures, is that based on this reality-- others approach me with interesting questions concerning B&C signatures with some regularity. One advantage of this circumstance, is that with many "thanks" to those who alert me-- I'm often able to learn of newly "purported" B&C signature offerings early on. Thus was the case again recently, with this "3rd" new and suspect B&C signatures proffering-- which has been presented without provenance, and without forensic backing.

I don't know about you, but of the 3 most recent B&C signature offerings-- this one seems the least convincing right from the get go. Those who know me, know I'm not shy when it comes to expressing my thoughts, and in particular my opinions concerning B&C matters. In November, I received an e-mail approach from an individual telling me of these supposed B&C signatures being presented for sale. This time, the entity offering these "dubious" scripts is called Coaches Corner. From what I can gather, Coaches Corner is a signature house with roots in Pennsylvania, who may conduct most of their business via the internet.

Anyone familiar with collecting legitimate autographs knows, that one tip off to possible issues within the realm of searching out signatures-- is to be wary of exceedingly low prices for remarkably rare signatures. Upon learning of Coaches Corner, it seems most amazing to me-- that they seem to have a knack for obtaining a plethora of really rare signatures, which they often sell at rock bottom prices. They've apparently sold particularly rare signatures such as John Wilkes Booth and Mike "King" Kelly for just a pittance of what they should, when in reality-- one might realistically expect to need their home equity line of credit check book, in order to purchase truly authenticated versions of these scripts.

The last go round, I had commented about the most cursory analysis of "authenticator" Christopher Morales. This time, I approached the "authenticator" of the Coaches Corner B&C signatures-- a man named Ted Taylor of Stat Authentic. Interestingly, Stat Authentic is also located in PA.-- and seems to have a close association with Coaches Corner. But unlike last time in not having the pleasure of dealing with Mr. Morales personally, this time-- I "was" able to interact with Ted Taylor directly via a number of e-mail exchanges. To summarize these encounters, I informed Mr. Taylor-- that based on my experience with the true signatures of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, it's my belief the "purported" B&C signatures offered by Coaches Corner are not genuine.

I first pointed out the striking similarity of this Bonnie Parker signature to the Bonnie Parker Highway Patrol fingerprint card signature, which I feel confident cannot be substantiated. Indeed this alleged Bonnie Parker signature from the Hwy Patrol card, is the only purported Bonnie signature to look like that. Those familiar with The B&C Signatures investigation, know that after considerable research and digging-- no verifiable trace of this "supposed" Bonnie Parker record could be found where it should be, in Kaufman County Texas-- where it supposedly originated in 1932. This alleged fingerprint record, was said to have come from Bonnie's only known arrest in Kemp, Texas. However an exhaustive search, conducted by U.S. Bureau of Investigation Director J. E. Hoover himself in 1933 (just 1 year after this fingerprint record was said to have been created)-- resulted in Hoover's conclusion, that Bonnie's prints may not have been taken by the Kaufman Sheriff's Dept. nor sent to the Bureau as thought.

Within my inquiry, I found this mysterious "artifact"-- to be a Missouri Highway Patrol Museum exhibit. Thus apparently it's denotation as the Bonnie Parker Highway Patrol fingerprint card. This museum also possesses a fingerprint card said to be Clyde Barrow's. It's been reported the Bonnie Parker card was requested by Joplin Chief of Detectives Ed Portley, after the Joplin incident in April of 1933. However a review of the Joplin police files on B&C, reveals no such request by Mr. Portley-- and no copy of this said record within their files. And of course B&C were never arrested in Missouri. Thus with no evidence found to support the existence of this fingerprint record either in 1933 or 2006-- I and others consider this fingerprint card most likely non-authentic.

Plus true Bonnie Parker signatures uncovered in 2006, look nothing like the Highway Patrol fingerprint card signature-- and thus the signature on the Coaches Corner Bonnie script, which looks exactly like the Bonnie fingerprint card signature. I've also commented that to me, the Coaches Corner Bonnie signature-- looks a bit as if a 5 year old tried to copy the Hwy Patrol signature. Even in being a wrong Bonnie signature-- it just doesn't seem impressive.

A Curious Thing-- Concerning the Coaches Corner Bonnie Parker signature, in his defense-- Mr. Taylor stated that Stat Authentic had only "certified" the Clyde Barrow script and not the Bonnie signature. Well that begs the question, how one signature believed genuine-- could be sitting side by side with another signature which couldn't be substantiated, and is likely non-authentic. I have asked Mr. Taylor a number of times now, to please comment on how this could possibly be-- however, he's apparently chosen to ignore this specific question at every turn. Perhaps I can help. If the Clyde Barrow signature was real and the Bonnie not, the only logical answer to this mystery, would be that one signature was added to the other at a different time. Either that, or they're both fakes. With that in mind, one would need to ask in the case of B&C-- who were virtually inseparable for nearly 2 years, how this could be?? In having given credence to the Clyde Barrow signature, I asked Mr. Taylor how he thought Coaches Corner could feel comfortable in selling a pair of signatures-- where one has been deemed similar to known examples, and the other couldn't even be considered for verification?? Unfortunately and again, no response has been forthcoming to this question.

In addition, I also felt it fair to ask Mr. Taylor for his qualifications as a Forensic Document Examiner-- to which no response was forthcoming as well. I can tell you from working with some of the best experts in this field, that legitimate and certified Forensic Document Examiners are most proud of their accreditation's-- and would likely not hesitate to defend their reputations if asked. I wonder if it could be learned as well, which Clyde Barrow signature(s) were examined-- in deeming the Coaches Corner Clyde Barrow signature genuine within this alleged grouping?? It's my belief with slight variation, that the Clyde signature copied to make the Coaches Corner script (as I don't believe the Clyde's real either)-- and exemplar used by Stat Authentic would most likely be Clyde's signature from the Winter King letter pictured above.

One other note-- Mr. Taylor stated to me that Stat Authentic couldn't locate exemplars of Bonnie Parker signatures for comparison to the Coaches Corner Bonnie Parker signature. I found that a curious comment, as both my B&C signatures and Steve Haas' Bonnie poem "The Street Girl"-- have been available to view since 2006. Indeed, just a quick Google search using the keywords Bonnie Parker signature-- would take you where you need to be. So I can't tell you how much diligence was employed, by what are supposed to be experienced "authenticators" at Stat Authentic?? Seemingly not much.

Dumb and Dumber??-- Here's a question. If you knew that 2 legitimate Clyde Barrow signatures were currently being offered for $95,000. and $35,000. respectively, and you believe you have authentic signatures of Bonnie "and" Clyde-- would you sell them for $236.?? Coaches Corner apparently did. That tells me, that either these are incredibly inept businessmen, or unfortunately-- some unsuspecting individual who trusted in these signatures, may end up being disappointed in having purchased them. I suggested to Mr. Taylor, that if he and the proprietors of this signature outlet-- believe in the apparently numerous exceedingly rare signatures they deem authentic such as the B&C, that they should consider buying these signatures themselves and approaching Sothebys, Heritage or Christies with these "treasures". My feeling is they could do much better than to give away signatures for a couple of hundred bucks-- which could sell for tens of thousands of dollars or more. Ah but you see, ultra cheap and unrealistic prices accepted for signatures-- is often one of the great red flags of autograph collecting, and a key to the phrase "buyer beware". The fact that only $236. was garnered for the Coaches Corner B&C signatures, tells me all I need to know-- to prove their "dubiousness".

Out of Bounds-- Here's another question. Should an "authenticator" openly pass judgment on the value of the signatures they review?? One thing that really irked me in dealing with Mr. Taylor of Stat Authentic, was what I believe were inappropriate comments made by him concerning B&C-- and regarding the prices asked for B&C scripts. He not only uttered negative comments concerning B&C in calling them "2 psychopathic killers"-- but also offered his opinion that prices being asked for authenticated B&C signatures were exorbitant. In response I commented, that I didn't think it should be up to an "authenticator" to determine fair market prices for genuine signatures of historical figures, or for someone who's entrusted to pass unbiased judgment on the authenticity of signatures, to provide negative comment as to his personal beliefs about any historical figure he examines.

So just how do this and other prolific signature outlets sell such valuable signatures for next to nothing?? Stupidity?? Naivety??-- or some other reason?? I don't know, I guess it's a mystery-- but perhaps not. I understand just like these alleged B&C signatures, Abraham Lincoln signatures-- have sold for similar prices at internet stores such as this. Surely most would agree, that based on President Lincoln's historical stature-- that authentic Lincoln scripts would fetch much more than a couple of hundred bucks. Ah but you see-- in reality they do.

I suppose what all this comes down to-- is that anyone can sell signatures that someone who's compensated or not, and with limited or no forensic credentials believes are real-- for whatever prices they want. But common sense should dictate there's a huge difference, between truly verifiable signatures-- and ones "believed" authentic, because they resemble either authentic or non-authentic signatures. When all of this gets to the point, where suspect signatures are being used to verify suspect signatures-- then who is anyone fooling??
Apparently just some trusting individuals who lay their money down, in thinking they've made some great deal-- for signatures with COA's which unfortunately, likely have little value. I would encourage people interested in serious autograph collecting, to be wary, wise and above all diligent-- in ferreting out nonsensical signature offers.

As Billy Preston once sang-- nothing from nothing leaves nothing!! Just as the case previously with the Morales "certified" B&C scripts-- saying that a known "exemplar" looks similar to a signature believed to be a fake-- means nothing. And just as in that case, this time as well with the Coaches Corner offering-- no provenance was offered and no accredited forensic examiner provided any real evidence, for backing what must be called "suspect" signatures.

I am impressed that in these callous times, there are those who would challenge what is believed to be questionable behavior concerning questionable historical signature offerings. I commend Chris and others like him, for their caring, guts and diligence. I am proud to add my voice to this important cause. Concerning this latest B&C signatures offering, what can I say-- except that more fakes have apparently landed. If any of these signature outlets offering "purported" B&C signatures would allow comprehensive and true forensic analysis of my choosing, and at their expense since they believe in these signatures so much-- then perhaps I could congratulate them for helping to bring more B&C signatures to light. But I don't believe that to be the case. And I don't see any e-mails or hear my phone ringing-- to take me up on my challenge.


Russ1934 said...

Great post as usual, Winston. This Chris fellow sounds like a great guy and the kind of person who needs to be in on the B&C experience all the time, like you. As far as all these B&C signature forgers, "ya'll givum' hell"! Russ

Anonymous said...

Hi winston. the fake signatures remind me of the fake b&c "DEATH CARS" THAT WOULD SHOW UP AT FAIRS. THE MOST RECENT BEING THE 1996 STATE FAIR OF TEXAS. YOU KNEW RIGHT OFF THE BAT THIS WASN'T THE AUTHENTIC DEATH CAR. INSPECTION TOOK ABOUT 5 SECONDS. AND SOMEHOW, THE EXHIBITOR WOULD WONT YOU TO BELIEVE IT WAS WHILE KEEPING A STRAIGHT FACE. THE BULLET HOLES DIDN'T MATCH THE ONES IN THE PHOTOS OF THE REAL CAR. COLOR WAS OFF,ETC....AND HE ALSO EXHIBITED WHAT WAS SUPPOSE TO BE Bonnie's shotgun that was in the "death car". If you knew he was wanting you to believe this car on exhibit was the original deal, then why would you believe this was original shotgun? i enjoy reading your post.Your informative and humorous..terry!

antiscam said...

Coach's Corner are notorious in the sports, rock, and historical collecting hobbies as the #1 pusher of fake autographs.

Month after month, they have albums 'signed' by all four Beatles for pennies on the dollar. Same story with many scarce baseball Hall of Famer signatures like Josh Gibson, Jack Chesbro, Christy Mathewson and the like.

Couple of good links for anyone wanting to learn more about the sham that is CCSA and STAT:

Christopher said...

I was elated that Mr. Woodward replied to my email after I forwarded him the link to those "suspect" Bonnie & Clyde signatures that sold on the Coach's Corner auction for a paltry $236.00. It's comforting to have others like myself join the fight against those who own (in Winston's words) "autograph mills" and flooding the marketplace with absolute junk.