Collecting Insights – June, 2013

Any discussion about autograph collecting must include a look at Operation Bullpen. More than a decade after becoming public Operation Bullpen is still arguably one of the most important events in the hobby of autograph collecting.

In late 1999, the FBI raided a series of autograph companies and autograph dealers aimed at crippling one of the largest forgery rings in history. As part of this take down, the FBI and IRS seized over $500,000 cash and approximately $10 million of forged memorabilia from 5 different forgery rings.

Backed by the success of the initial investigation the FBI began a second operation immediately after phase I, and, in 2005, phase II of Operation Bullpen became public. This operation was targeted primarily towards ‘cyber space’ dealers in addition to celebrity autograph forgers. This secondary take down led to the seizure of over $15 million of forged memorabilia from 13 different forgery rings.

In the months to come we will investigate how lessons learned from Operation Bullpen are still relevant in autograph collecting today.
Collecting Insights is an ongoing effort at Player Direct to educate and inform collectors about topics relating to autograph collecting.

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