After determining the James Franco sold by eBay seller sharpmarbles was likely counterfeit I was contacted by the buyer of sharpmarbles’ Alicia Silverstone autograph who was concerned about it’s legitimacy after reading about the Franco. The Silverstone is a tough card to find, and there aren’t many good scans out there that are easily accessible. Looking at the card I was a little concerned that the signature didn’t look quite right. . . but I didn’t really have much to compare it to.
Since I couldn’t directly help that buyer with the Silverstone I decided to take a look at sharpmarbles other items, and something about their Maggie Grace didn’t sit well with me. After staring at the card for a while I realized that it was simply the last little line in the zig-zag under her signature wasn’t smooth. Obviously that’s not something that’s impossible, for sure, but I too sometimes add a line under my name when I sign, and it’s always the smoothest line in my signature because it doesn’t mean anything — it’s just a little ‘zip’ on the paper and it’s done. . . it might be too long, or short, or in the wrong place, but it’s always smooth since it’s done so quickly.
I forwarded it to Steve, who I nearly always collaborate on this stuff, and he didn’t seem too concerned about my zig-zag, but he didn’t like the placement of the Inkworks seal on the card. He said it was too far to the left, and was a bit on top of the ‘LOST’ logo. I wasn’t too concerned about his logo, and he wasn’t too concerned about my zig-zag. . . but we were both concerned. . . so I decided to look closer.
Thankfully, in this case, there are a bunch of Maggie Grace cards on eBay in current and recent sales. Obviously you can’t compare zig-zags reliably, but Steve was dead on — this was the only Grace Auto out of about a dozen I looked at where the ‘Inkworks Authentic’ logo touched into the LOST logo in the background of the card.
I grabbed a bunch of the better scans of the Grace autographs and started to examine them pretty closely. The first thing I noticed was that Maggie’s hair at the top of the sharpmarbles card didn’t have the dark highlight that it has on all the other cards I saw. If you look above her left eye all the way at the top of the card you’ll see what I mean — there is a wave of hair that swoops from right to left and around the side of the card — above the peak of the wave, at the top of the card, there is a dark highlight on all the non-sharpmarbles cards. Finally I noticed that all of the other cards have a little swatch of hair that shows up directly above the ‘SH’ in Shannon, that doesn’t appear in the sharpmarbles card either. At that point I was convinced there was something going on . . . Is it counterfeit? Well Inkworks is out of business so I highly doubt they will ever confirm this is a counterfeit, and no one I know has seen this card in person so everything I’m going on right now is based on scans. . . but based on what I’ve seen I wouldn’t buy it.
Here are scans of the Sharpmarbles card (first) and one from Razor (plucked from eBay):
If you have a pack pulled Maggie I’d love to hear your comments.
Ohh — and just for the record Sharpmarbles never responded to my email about the Franco.