About Steve Cyrkin, Editor

Steve Cyrkin is the editor & publisher of Autograph, and focuses mostly on forgery, market and consumer protection issues.

Tom Gregory: Collecting Hollywood’s Stories

By KIMBERLY COLE
Originally published in the March 2010 issue of Autograph

UPDATE: RR Auction is selling Tom Gregory’s vintage Hollywood Signed Photo collection from December 8 – December 15. There are over 250 signed photos in the auction. We only had room to feature eight in this article from the March 2010 issue of Autograph. View the entire collection at RRAuction.com

Don’t miss this new video with Tom Gregory about his collection.

Tom Gregory in his eye-catching gallery of Classic Hollywood signed portraits.

Tom Gregory in his eye-catching gallery of Classic Hollywood signed portraits. Photo by Patricia Williams

“Lucy, I’m ho-ome!” The driver’s voice booms out of the tinny speakers on the small green and white bus. The tourists’ laughter is lost in the sudden roar of a leaf blower. A gardener directs the flurry of leaves away from me as I stumble up the walkway to Tom Gregory’s front door. I’m distracted because I’m not sure my batteries will last the interview, I’ve had to dig through my trunk for a ragged notepad—and I’m late. 

The home before me is daunting. I knew the address was in Beverly Hills, but I hadn’t expected this double-lot estate. I should have dressed better.

Tom Gregory is a good looking man with intense dark-framed glasses and short-cropped silvering hair. His engaging manner puts me immediately at ease. He gives me a tour of the house. The foyer’s grand, circular staircase is the starting point for a journey no tourist ever gets to travel. Tom takes me through exquisitely decorated and restored rooms, up one staircase and down another. I get a quick glimpse of a bathroom with lighted alabaster floors. The Golden Age of Hollywood has been faithfully restored and lovingly nourished. The house isn’t about wealth or luxury, it’s about staging—creating a setting for a life of elegance and charm in classic Hollywood style. [Read more…]

Pawn Stars’ Steve Grad Launches Beckett Authentication Services

Beckett Media has launched an autograph authentication company, led by renowned autograph authentication expert Steve Grad of Pawn Stars fame. With Grad and Brian Sobrero as authenticators, Beckett Authentication Services is now accepting submissions at the Beckett Authentication Services website.

“I am beyond excited to take this incredible next step in my career,” Grad said. “Partnering with Beckett’s talented global team will allow Beckett Authentication Services to deliver unparalleled service to dealers and collectors worldwide.”

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[Read more…]

Kevin Keating & Bill Corcoran Join PSA/DNA as Steve Grad & Brian Sobrero Depart

PSA/DNA, one of the leading third-party autograph authentication services, announced the hiring of two new full-time authenticators on September 30.

Veteran sports autograph dealers Kevin Keating and Bill Corcoran replace PSA/DNA authenticators Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero. Grad and Sobrero gave notice at the end of June and left September 30, reportedly to start a new company in the autograph field. [Read more…]

Sgt Peppers Album Autographed by The Beatles Auctioning June 29 at Bonhams

A Sgt Peppers album signed by all four Beatles is being auctioned by Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London on June 29, 2016. 

Band-signed Sgt Peppers albums are very rare and highly desirable. Only 7 to 9 examples are known to exist that are accepted as genuine by leading Beatles autograph experts. The last one sold for more than $179,000 at RR Auction in January 2014.

Not only do the autographs look clearly genuine, the signing history of this album is completely verifiable. In fact, I did just that.

Last week I talked to the consignor of the Sgt. Pepper’s album, Paul Minett, who got the album signed; and two of his friends who were there the June night in 1967 when John, Paul and George signed it (Ringo signed it years later): Gordon Bryce and Lizzie Bravo, one of the legendary “Apple Scruffs.”

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Lizzie since 2010, when she became a member of this site to join a blog we posted on authenticating signed Beatles albums:

Beatles-Signed Abbey Road Albums: What’s Real? What’s Fake?

Paul, Gordon and the album are featured in Lizzie’s amazing new book about her years seeing the Beatles in London from 1967-69, Do Rio a Abbey Road (From Rio to Abbey Road). Currently available only in Portuguese, an English version is in the works.

Paul Minett’s signed Sgt Peppers album featured in Lizzie Bravo’s new book about her days in London following the Beatles, Do Rio a Abbey Road (From Rio to Abbey Road).

John, Paul and George Sign the Sgt Pepper’s Album

I recorded my conversations with Paul, Gordon and Lizzie but these were my first attempts at recording through Skype and they’re taking a lot sound editing. The auction is next Wednesday so I didn’t want to wait any longer to tell you about the album. Here’s what Paul has to say:

“On Thursday, the first of June, 1967, my good friend Gordon and I joined half of Britain, rushing out to buy a copy of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. We never dreamt that within a few weeks we would meet the Beatles and have our photographs taken with them.

Gordon and I were nineteen and on Monday evening the 19th of June, we were walking back to our homes in West London when we were stopped by two American girls, Patricia and Kathy, who wanted to know how to get to Abbey Road Studios. We were heading that way, so it seemed easier to take them there rather than give them directions. One of the best decisions we have ever made. We crossed the legendary zebra crossing and arrived at the studios.

Besides a couple of other fans, there was nobody else around. The four of us decided to stay for a while and wait for any sign that the Beatles might be there. In those days you could simply go through the gates of Abbey Road Studios and right up to the main entrance.

After a while we spotted the recognizable figure of Beatles roadie and friend, Mal Evans. Heartened by this, we stayed on and were rewarded by our first sighting of a Beatle. It was John, simply leaving one of the studios and crossing the corridor, but it was enough to make the wait worthwhile. A little while later Paul, too, crossed the corridor, giving an encouraging wave to us on the doorstep.

Two days later we were back and so were the Beatles. They were mixing rhythm tracks for “All You Need Is Love” in preparation for the “Our World” television link-up to be broadcast live four days later on Sunday 25th June. Word had clearly got round as there were far more people outside the studios that evening and the atmosphere was electric.

Gordon and I brought our copies of Sgt Pepper with us in the hope of getting them signed. We weren’t disappointed. Around ten o’clock John, Paul and George left the building, perfectly happy to sign autographs and pose for photographs. Not only did Gordon and I get our albums signed, but I managed to get several nice photographs.

Unfortunately, Ringo wasn’t in the studio that evening so his signature would have to wait.”

Ringo Signs the Sgt Pepper Album

And wait they did. It was 30 years before Paul was lucky enough to get Ringo’s autograph on his album.

“Finally, for my 50th birthday in 1997, a television producer friend of mine, who knew I had a Sgt Pepper album with John, Paul and George’s signatures, said “I’ve got a birthday present for you. Terry Oates, Managing Director of Eaton-Oates Music (Ringo’s publishers) is a good chum of mine and has offered to ask Ringo to sign your album.”

I took it into their offices near Sloane Square and sure enough, Ringo signed it.”

I spent more than two wonderful hours listening to Paul and Lizzie talk about those days and Paul’s Sgt Pepper album. Lizzie didn’t actually see Paul and Gordon get their albums signed, but she saw them at Abbey Road Studios the night they did and knew about the albums.

Two days later I enjoyed an equally fascinating 40-minute call with Paul and Gordon, talking about getting the albums signed and life as an up close Beatles fan back in the late 1960s.

The provenance of Paul’s album is rock-solid.

What about Gordon’s Sgt Pepper album, you ask? He lost track of it and most of his mementos from those days long ago, sadly. We can only hope it still exists and he or someone else will find it someday…and convince Ringo to sign it!

Go to the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album’s page at Bonhams to read more about the album and zoom-in for a close-up look. It’s lot 238.

If you don’t plan to bid on it, be sure to share it with all the Beatles collectors you know. It could be many years before another one is available.

Worthridge’s 2016 Spring Sports Auction is Open

Worthridge’s 2016 Spring Auction is underway. The Jim Fregosi Collection and the Dick Williams Collection are both featured in the auction, which includes over 500 autographed items plus unsigned sports memorabilia.

Worthridge is very careful about authenticity and most items come with JSA authentication or a letter of provenance from the estates.

Jerry Rice Signed Super Bowl XXIII Game Used Football

Highlights include a 1947 New York Yankees team-signed baseball, a Jerry Rice signed game-used Super Bowl XXIII football, an original illustration by LeRoy Neiman depicting Dick Williams and Sparky Anderson and a Muhammad Ali signed boxing glove.

LeRoy Neiman Original Illustration of Dick Williams & Sparky Anderson

Also included are a Wilt Chamberlain & Walt Frazier-signed framed 16×20 photo, a lot of 72 1994 All-Star Team-signed baseballs and multiple single-signed Sports Illustrated magazines.

Worthridge’s current  auction ends Tuesday, May 24. Register to bid here.

Lot of (72) 1994 National League All-Star Team-Signed Baseballs from the Jim Fregosi Estate

To Qualify for Extended Bidding, you must have bid on the item before May 24, 10-PM Eastern Time.

Go to Worthridge.com to view the auction.