Blatant EBay Fraud! Check this out...

Joseph DeMartino

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Joseph DeMartino
Sad, but not surprising. I recently saw a TV interview with someone who specializes in cases like this. He asserted that upwards of 80% of the signed memorabilia (celebrity, sports, authors, etc.) and 90% of the unsigned stuff (James Dean leather jackets, JFK golf clubs and the like) that is sold in this country is fake. Unless you buy from an extremely reputable dealer, one who has the time and means to verify such things, there is a very good chance that you're going to get ripped-off. As for eBay, well, their policies are designed to protect sellers from malicious attempts to get auctions shut down. I know that their policy on bootlegs requires that the copyright holder (the one who is being damaged) be the one to file a complaint. A buyer of fan who just happens to know that the item being sold is pirated has no standing in their eyes. I can see the logic of not closing an auction based on a complaint from one, possibly anonymous, source, but I think that they should be required to contact the copyright holder or other involved party themselves once they've received such a complaint. Maybe you should let King's current publisher know what's going on. They can alert King and then he can take whatever action he thinks is appropriate.
Regards,
Joe
 

BrianB

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He asserted that upwards of 80% of the signed memorabilia (celebrity, sports, authors, etc.) and 90% of the unsigned stuff (James Dean leather jackets, JFK golf clubs and the like) that is sold in this country is fake.
The story of this I always refer to is the 'signed record' dealer who had a signed Jimi Hendrix single, one released a few years after his death...
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Carlo Medina

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What an absolute shame. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. King on his booksigning tour for Bag of Bones. His signature looks nothing like the fraudulent one on eBay. And the sad thing is someone is going to pay at least $75 for this fake (that was the last bid).
Truly sad.
 

LarryDavenport

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The signature doesn't look like my autographed copy of Firestarter. If it wasn't for the fact that all the other signed copies from this guy's auction look suspect, I'd wonder how King's signature might have changed after the hit and run.
These are either the worst counterfits in history or the guy got the author's to sign books after he drugged them.
EBAY is pretty quick to take bootlegs or items of "questionable taste" of line but are very slow when it comes to fraud.
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KeithH

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Ric, do you have a picture or a link to one that shows Stephen King's real signature? I am not a Stephen King aficionado, so I am not familiar with his signature. Admittedly, the one shown on the copy of Misery in that auction looks suspect.
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Greg_Y

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eBay doesn't give a rat's ass. Unless someone big, like the RIAA in case of bootleg music, is breathing down their necks, anything goes. Check out the different eBay forums and you'll see how poorly they treat their top sellers, while those sellers are generating huge revenue from them.
eBay has a great corner on the market, but I hope that someone comes along and steals their share of it away.
 

MikeM

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Here are some AUTHENTIC Stephen King signatures:
Or, more likely, here are some "BETTER FORGERIES".
If the stats hold up from what Joseph said, then odds are that at least two of the three you listed are fake.
Just something to consider even if the signature looks dead on.
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Carlo Medina

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Mike,
I'm a closet King aficianado, but The Plant and Eyes of the Dragon - the editions with the sigs - are very, very hard to obtain in the first place. I believe those copies of The Plant were only given by King as XMas gifts to friends/family. So chances are that each one is inscribed by the man himself.
And he does sign so many books. He joked at the booksigning I attended that "one day someone will uncover the rarest of rare King books: the unsigned one." He was saying it in jest, but it really isn't that hard to obtain his signature if you're a persistent enough fan.
 

KeithH

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Thanks for the link, Ric. The guy should be reported to the FBI, but
A. The FBI has much bigger problems to deal with these days.
and
B. It's not like this guy is the only one selling forged signatures of the rich and famous.
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LarryDavenport

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I looked all over EBAY's site and could find no way to tell EBAY about it.
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Ryan Wright

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I'll tell you how to fix this. Wait until the auction closes, then send an anonymous email to the high bidder with references so they can see the truth for themselves. Do this enough times and this schmuck will go out of business.
EDIT: Or notify Mr. King.

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Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

[Edited last by Ryan Wright on October 03, 2001 at 05:50 PM]
 

LarryDavenport

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I emailed the link to SK's official web site. Maybe they can do something.
And while we are at it, as much as I love SK (though Four Past Midnight was the last SK book I read) I would never pay $75 for his signature unless it was on a copy of a book worth $75. The signature is meaningless unless he signed it for you.
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Carlo Medina

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Great point, Larry!
I had him sign 2 copies of Bag of Bones. He asked who he should make out the second one to. At the time I was single, and my friends had come with me to the signing, so I couldn't think of anyone (and no, my family doesn't read King). I said, make both out to me. He looked at me weird, and said "you know you can't sell it unless you find a buyer whose name is Carlo..."
I told him that I wasn't planning on selling it, ever. They were going into my memorabilia closet. He said he'd just sign the second one anyway, in case I changed my mind, he said you never know if you're going to need money.
They are both still in my possession.
I do treasure the one that says "To Carlo..." more.
 

RicP

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I'll tell you how to fix this. Wait until the auction closes, then send an anonymous email to the high bidder with references so they can see the truth for themselves. Do this enough times and this schmuck will go out of business.
The problem Ryan, is that this guy KNOWS he's selling forgeries so he makes the auctions private. That means that no one but him can see the bidder's email addreses. Therefore no one can email a bidder before hand or after the auction to warn them. Now tell me why someone would do this unless THEY KNOW that they are a forger and a criminal?
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Ross Williams

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I absolutely agree with you all, this guy is lower than slime. He should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
But if people are stupid enough to buy it, I just can't feel sorry for them. If they are going to spend so much money just to obtain a signature, they should do their homework. Looking at this guys feedback, hardly anybody has complained, it seems everybody is quite happy with their King autograph knock-offs. It's quite amazing what you can get away with. If I didn't have such a strong conscience, I could think up all kinds of ways to rip off stupid people.
That Capote signature is a laugh riot. This guy doesn't care at all. You think he would at least try to make them look like the real signature.
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Patrick_S

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Just out of curiosity, what is the value of an unsigned first addition of the book listed in the auction?
Since King is very popular and book collecting in general had increased in the last five years could the book itself be worth what the opening bid is asking?
FYI: I already know that since it is a forged signature that the value will go down some but if it is a true first addition it will have some value.
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RicP

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Just out of curiosity, what is the value of an unsigned first addition of the book listed in the auction?
A First edition of Misery is only worth $30 AT BEST. During that time and even more so now, Stephen King's INITIAL print runs are in the Millions. Compare that with only a 30,000 copy first printing for "Carrie" or "'Salems Lot" and you can see why those are the ones that fetch the dollars.
And the truly limiteds..."The Gunslinger - Grant 1st Ed.", "Skeleton Crew - Scream Press", "The Talisman - Grant 1st", etc. can go for many many hundreds of dollars, or thousands in the case of the signed/limited 1st edition of "The Gunslinger". There were only 500 printed in 1981.
But obviously, this guy is a piece of dogshit and is only out to scam people that don't know any better. I alerted Mr. King's personal assistant and called Stu Tinker at Bett's Books in Bangor, ME ( a friend of Steve's) and alerted them. Hopefully someone will get through to Steve's lawyers and shut this guy down for good.
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