NBC Investigative Report on Michael Jackson Forgeries in Julien’s Auction’s Tompkins & Bush Sale

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Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills held their Tompkins & Bush Michael Jackson auction on December 2, but outrage has flooded Michael Jackson fan sites and the world of rock autographs since mid-November.

Fans, dealers and collectors alike told Julien’s CEO, Darren Julien, that almost all of the autographs in the sale were obvious forgeries. Forgeries so obvious that they don’t even resemble Michael Jackson’s genuine autograph. We are aware of only one dealer who has supported Julien’s: Todd Mueller, of Todd Mueller Autographs in Colorado Springs, Colo.

But pleas to cancel the sale fell on deaf ears. All 290 lots of autographs were sold for a total of almost $1.5 million. The only autograph in the sale we believe to be genuine brought $896.

We started a discussion about it on our community site, Autograph Magazine Live, on November 19: Michael Jackson Signing Styles in Julien’s Tompkins and Bush Sale. At 153 pages to date it is the longest discussion in our history. Scores of suspected forgeries from the sale have been analyzed in the discussion. The consensus is that the most of the autographs were likely forged by the consignor, Jackson’s long-time friend and costume designer, Michael Bush. Not only because all of the autographs came from his collection, but because the autographs have many of Bush’s handwriting characteristics.

NBC News Los Angeles aired an investigative report on Julien’s Tompkins & Bush Michael Jackson sale on Tuesday, Dec. 18’s 11:00 News. Watch the report and read the accompanying article on NBC Los Angeles’s website.

Julien’s CEO Darren Julien told NBC News that any client who questions the authenticity of the Michael Jackson autographs they bought in the Tompkins & Bush auction can return them for a refund. If Julien’s will cover shipping both ways, that’s the best news possible.

Julien’s filed a copyright infringement claim against us over many of the images used in the discussion, and on Dec. 17, our website provider removed the images Julien’s identified pending our counterclaim and any further actions Julien’s may take. We are legally allowed to use the images under Fair Use laws, and will file our counterclaim this week.

Join Autograph Magazine Live to keep up with the latest developments.

About Steve Cyrkin, Editor

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