Monday, October 31, 2011
PAWN STARS Watch John Reznikoff Bomb
It’s pretty unique to witness someone trying to impress 6 million viewers on television and watch that same person who was thought by the program to be an expert on autographs prove to the whole world watching that he had no clue and no business authenticating an autograph.
This happens often to John Reznikoff but this time he does so on national television. There is no way Reznikoff can spin what he did in front of millions.
Those who watched Pawn Stars saw Reznikoff entertain us with what many feel is the most embarrassing show of incompetence in the last decade of the autograph hobby.
Reznikoff sent many on his mailing list an email that he was to be called in as an autograph “expert/authenticator” on the hit show Pawn Stars. He strutted into the show dressed in dark clothes like Darth Vader or Dracula. Interestingly, Reznikoff post stories on different internet blogs and uses what appears to be a high school graduation photo of himself. Yet, what showed up on Pawn Stars was a scrubby old looking, unshaven fellow basically unrecognizable to those who have not seen him in the last ten years.
Immediately there seemed to be some sort of a problem as the person representing Pawn Stars only identified Reznikoff as “John”. Not as John Reznikoff or John Reznikoff of University Archives as would be expected. Some feel this happened as Pawn Stars may have googled Reznikoff’s name after a contract was signed.
The fellow at Pawn Stars shows Reznikoff a script for the movie “The Godfather” which was bound. Reznikoff was to examine a full page inscription signed “Al”. Reznikoff makes it appear that this is the first time he is seeing the inscription and signature.
The woman who is offering this script did not know for sure but was hoping the inscription and signature was by the hand of Al Pacino.
Reznikoff pulls out his trusty magnifying glass, like Sherlock Holmes, basically ignoring the fifteen word inscription and focuses on a signature simply signed “Al”. Reznikoff tells the viewers how there are no breaks and stoppages in the signature which tells him its not a forgery. Adding a few more standard comments he continues to give the appearance he has skills and knowledge authenticating autographs. Reznikoff makes the determination that the script is signed by Al Pacino. He continues by saying that it’s his opinion the script has a value of about $2,000.
Based on Reznikoff’s “expert” opinion it appears everyone is happy. The person who owns the script and now the people at Pawn Stars who hopes to purchase it. Yet, not everyone watching the program was just as happy especially serious collectors of entertainment autographs and those truly familiar with authenticating autographs.
Todd Mueller, a well respected autograph dealer by the legitimate autograph hobby saw the Pawn Stars program. It took Todd only a few seconds to know for sure that the fifteen word inscription and signature was not by the hand of Al Pacino. According to Todd, anyone with the slightest knowledge of Al Pacino’s handwriting would come to the same conclusion!
Todd checked his exemplar files and discovered the inscription and signature was without a doubt written by Al Ruddy. Al Ruddy was the producer of the film. He won the Academy Award for Best Picture for “the Godfather” in 1973.
This is not the first time Mueller has had to set Reznikoff straight. Many may remember when Reznikoff was running around telling any reporter who would listen that he had purchased Neil Armstrong’s hair. Mueller came forward and proved Reznikoff was not telling the truth. Mueller produced his cancelled check, made out to Armstrong’s barber. During a phone call with Armstrong’s barber he confirmed he did not know of any person named John Reznikoff.
Back to Pawn Stars, we must keep in mind that Reznikoff was not seeing the inscription and signature on the script for the first time when on television. You can bet that he had a copy well in advance of his appearance on the show. He had ample time to research this item, study the handwriting and signature with known exemplars of Al Pacino’s handwriting. Worse, if he didn’t know what to do he had all the opportunity in the world to show the writing to his associates for whom he is an authenticator before appearing on national television. Whatever exemplars he may have used and who ever he talked to in advance, they all got it wrong!
John Reznikoff is well known in the hobby for mis authenticating autographs. This is the same Reznikoff who took part in selling several million dollars worth of fake John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe autographs. That ordeal still holds the hobby’s record for the most sold fake/forged autographs. His name is also involved in the selling of those forged Elvis Presley lyrics that came from Germany. Reznikoff’s name is associated with numerous mistakes in authenticating many presidential signatures including the famous handwritten Oath of Office by President Reagan that was a forgery. As with the case of Al Pacino/Al Ruddy, Reznikoff has authenticated the wrong person in the past. A few examples are his authenticating as genuine a signature of Maggie Mitchell the civil war actress as Margaret Mitchell of “Gone With The Wind” fame. Another Reznikoff blunder was authenticating Samuel Sewall, Jr as his father the noted judge at the witchcraft trials in Salem, Ma. For a Dallas based auction house.
John Reznikoff is one of the authenticators for RR Auction, PSA and James Spence (JSA). PSA and JSA are authenticators for eBay.
Shortly after the Pawn Stars show aired, the usual handful of suspects came out of the autograph hobby’s litter box. They were on a site run by Steve “anti-Semite” Cyrkin who has been given multiple opportunities to apologize to the Jewish person he made the statemen to. Www.autographalert.com and an autograph organization have called on Cyrkin to apologize but he refuses obviously standing by his hateful statement. This is the same Cyrkin, called an “autograph terrorist” by some in this hobby who is noted for his autograph business failing while he admitted he was pulling all the forgeries out of his inventory. For years, Cyrkin was in denial or simply outright lying, telling all, that his company website was down because he had no time to bring it up to date. Yes, the same Cyrkin who took a well respected hobby magazine and run it into the ground publishing stories like the one of dozens of autographs on a guitar that later proved all to be forgeries.
A handful of bloggers on his site, many who hide and go under fictitious names and others using multiple names praised Reznikoff for his appearance on Pawn Stars. Obviously, every one of them knew as much about authenticating autographs as Reznikoff did.
On another blog site one collector wrote: “I’d be afraid to send Reznikoff my Abraham Lincoln signed item to be authenticated. It may come back as being a genuine Art Linkletter.”
John Reznikoff’s recent blunder in front of the world is the talk of the International autograph community. The story and its horrors was recently picked up by a Las Vegas newspaper.