Highland Mint sold Patriots & Seahawks gear with forged player autographs
According to Share Sleuth the Highland Mint once had an outside party confirm the authenticity of its autographed merchandise. But in recent years, customers have received certificates signed by the company’s president and owner, Michael E. Kott.”
Editor’s Comments: I checked the Highland Mint website and under their about us could not find any details concerning how they authenticate their Super Bowl flip coins, photo mints and sports collectibles. While it is great to get a certificate of authenticity with the memorabilia you purchase, how do you know it is actually authentic?
Excerpted from Share Sleuth
by Chris Carey
Just days after the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots claimed their spots in Super Bowl XLIX, a memorabilia company called The Highland Mint contacted customers with a tantalizing list of autographed collectibles.
Highland — best known in sports circles as the maker of the commemorative coin used for the game’s opening toss — said it was selling a limited number of Patriots and Seahawks items, including official Super Bowl XLIX footballs and mini-helmets signed by star quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Tom Brady.
The pieces on the company’s list ranged in price from $399 to $2,500 and had a combined retail value of more than $300,000. Highland said each would be shipped with a certificate affirming their authenticity.
But a Sharesleuth investigation found that all, or nearly all, of the items were fakes. What’s more, we found that the Melbourne, Fla.-based company has marketed virtually identical merchandise before previous Super Bowls, dating back to at least 2011.
After becoming suspicious about this year’s items, Sharesleuth contacted representatives for Wilson and Brady, who confirmed that the players had no part in their creation. We also sent the evidence to the NFL’s headquarters, but got no response.
The special collectibles were not advertised on Highland’s web site, which features a wide range of legitimate, NFL-authorized merchandise. Instead, a list with descriptions and pictures was offered to customers who previously had expressed interest in such items.
Although forgeries are a perpetual problem in the memorabilia business, experts said it was highly unusual for an established, league-approved vendor to be dealing in them.
It is unclear how many of the questionable Super Bowl-related items Highland actually sold. But if it managed to move most of the inventory it advertised for the past five games, the proceeds could be in the neighborhood of $1 million. Continue reading “Highland Mint Sold Forged Player Autographs”