Official Star Wars Autographs & Photos Now Offered by Lucasfilm, Topps & MLB Division Partnership

Official Star Wars 16×20 framed photo signed by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. $1,049

Disney’s Lucasfilm, Topps and Major League Baseball’s Authenticators, Inc. subsidiary launched Star Wars Authentics, starwarsauthentics.com, on December 21, offering witnessed autographed photos of Star Wars actors, and official unsigned Star Wars photos. The launch follows the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Authenticators, Inc. and Topps have prior Disney connections. Authenticators is run by Major League Baseball, and Disney just made a billion dollar investment in their BAM Tech subsidiary. Topps is partially owned by Tornante, a company owned by Michael Eisner, the former chairman of Disney.

“We identified a hole in the entertainment industry, a need for certified authentic pieces for the Star Wars brand, and with this collaboration we are able to meet consumer demand. Topps excels in visual arts and printing technologies and we are thrilled to bring our expertise to Star Wars, building upon our trading card and Major League Baseball memorabilia business.” said David Leiner, Topps’ General Manager and Vice President of the North American Sports and Entertainment division. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

RR Auction Lawsuit Update: Court Rejects Johnson Attempt to Change Lawsuit

A trial date was set on August 26 for the Michael Johnson v. RR Auction lawsuit, two weeks after an August 12 ruling denying Johnson’s fourth attempt to add allegations of illegal bidding practices. While Johnson’s lawyers claimed in their motion that they spent six months and $50,000 extensively investigating “shill bidding” allegations, they didn’t present any evidence to the court of such practices by RR.

Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna Geck also granted RR’s motion barring Johnson from conducting any further discovery related to “shill bidding,” including taking depositions. [Read more…]

RR Auction Sues rrauctionlawsuit.com Owner for Defamation, 14 Other Counts

New Hampshire-based auction house RR Auction filed a lawsuit in Federal Court on Tuesday, June 2, against Michael Johnson, owner of rrauctionlawsuit.com. The complaint charges 15 counts, including business defamation, abusive litigation practices, false light invasion of privacy, interference with contractual relationships, misappropriation of RR Auction’s marks and trade name, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and cybersquatting.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire. Johnson resides in Bakersfield, Calif. RR Auction also has an office in Boston, Mass. The Boston Globe reported the suit on June 3: “Cybersquatting law could be tested in N.H. court case”

Johnson filed a lawsuit in California against RR Auction in 2012, claiming that RR Auction sold him forgeries and refused to honor their guarantee of authenticity. RR Auction claims that even though they believe that the autographs are genuine, they tried to refund Johnson’s money, but he would not return the autographs to them. They claim that Johnson is the first customer to file a lawsuit against them for failing to honor their guarantee in the company’s 39-year history.

RR Auction claims that Johnson registered rrauctionlawsuit.com in 2013, a domain that misappropriated RR Auction’s trade name, and began populating it with misinformation to harm their business in order to force them to settle his lawsuit against them. They say that by registering at least 13 domain names using RR Auction or the personal names of RR employees or owners in the title, Johnson has tried, and been successful, in coopting the attention of clients or potential clients. They claim he referred to his lawsuit as a class action lawsuit, but that despite soliciting 400 RR clients in California to join him in a class action, no one did and the California court wouldn’t certify a class.

Mr. Johnson also posted a scathing document online that he refers to as an “affidavit,” which he claims was written by a former employee, Karen “Kay” Burris. According to court documents, Burris was terminated in 2008 after it was discovered she embezzled what turned out to be $455,000 from RR Auction. Burris committed suicide shortly after RR Auction went to law enforcement with their discovery. The court in California excluded the document, referring to it as “hearsay,” “lack[ing] foundation,” and observing that “the content of it remains speculation.”

Preliminarily, RR Auction says that they will ask the Court shut down Mr. Johnson’s Internet domains that incorporate RR Auction’s mark and trade name and intentionally divert clients and potential clients to “this misinformation.”

Representatives at RR Auction”s law firm, Burns & Levinson LLP, released this statement:

“Rather than post websites riddled with salacious and outrageous accusations, we will let our court filings do the talking.  The law and facts are, we believe, firmly in our favor, and we are hopeful that the Court and any jury that may review this case will agree.

“When a dissatisfied former customer takes it upon himself to turn litigation into a platform to escalate a personal dispute beyond reasonable limits, highly respected companies like RR Auction are not obligated to sit back and take body blows indefinitely.  Too many people”s jobs, too many collectors” faith in the memorabilia industry, and the integrity of the judicial system are at stake.  We look forward to assisting RR Auction in this litigation.”

“We have built this company for almost 40 years with a guarantee, like no other auction house in this industry and we have ALWAYS honored that guarantee,” states RR Auction president Robert Eaton. “We hope that RR Auction’s customers, after months of hearing Mr. Johnson’s account, will pay equal attention to this litigation, and decide for themselves who they can believe: RR Auction, a trusted name in memorabilia auctions, or one man who has litigated three years over a handful of items totaling a few thousand dollars in value – items for which he was offered a full refund but refused.”

Johnson was served with the lawsuit June 3. Autograph will be covering this story on an ongoing basis as Johnson or his attorneys release their statements or file their responses.