In an attempt to write my post for today, I did a search online. Sometimes, I’ll come across a piece of memorabilia that will stir some creativity, and off I’ll go – writing a full article in the process.
Today is no different, except that the search result was for something that – while *might* be memorabilia, is also a great cautionary tale. For one, if you are going to sell a signed item, perhaps knowing something about the band would be helpful. Today, I stumbled across a signed guitar listed at memorabilia.expert.com that makes me think twice about two things: the validity of the item, and the expertise of the website! This particular item is currently listed as out of stock, but I thought it was a great example to share.
The guitar is reportedly signed by John Taylor and….someone else. Now, without ever even scrutinizing the signatures, I can already tell you I’m questioning the authenticity, based purely on the description. Let me share (although you can certainly click on the link above to see it for yourself):
“In the early 1980s a fresh new sound traveled through the airways and the song Hungry Like The Wolf became an instant hit. The band that delivered this classic was Duran Duran. Two brothers Andy and John Taylor, joined forces with lead singer Simon LeBon and produced a string of hits that can only be compared to The Beatles. Like Paul McCartney, John Taylor was considered the cute brother. Andy left the band and joined the band, The Power Station, who had a big hit with the remake of the T-Rex classic, “Bang A Gong.” Duran Duran continued and enjoyed another hit with the James Bond title “A View To A Kill.” The guitar offered was signed by both John Taylor and Simon Lebon.”
There is so much wrong here, I don’t even know where to begin. We joke about the Taylor “brothers”, full well knowing that they are definitely not brothers. Alas…the “expert” here did not, and quite obviously did not do even one single Google search. Truly. ONE search. It isn’t that hard. Second, while John was indeed one of the first founding members, I think most of us know who the second was. (spoiler: it wasn’t his “brother” Andy) I’ll leave the sentence about their string of hits alone, although perhaps the Beatles fans amongst us might take issue. I might even agree that yes, John was considered the “cute” brother (as I chuckle), but what about The Power Station? Didn’t Andy’s “brother” John join that group as well, or am I just confused?
Then there is the bit about the signatures on the guitar itself. While they are kind of obscured in the photo, correct me if I am wrong – but I don’t see Simon’s signature on there at all. So whose signature is that alongside of John’s? Let’s look:
So, I can pick out the signature that seems to look like “John”. While I’m not authenticating the signature, I’ll just say for the sake of argument that it says John. That leaves the other one above it. If I had to guess, that looks like an “R” on there. Not Andy, definitely not Simon. So….
There are two sides to this, of course. On one hand, if I were to come across memorabilia like this somewhere, I’d be a whole lot less apt to buy any story the “expert” was trying to sell, purely because it is obvious they know next to nothing about the band. As someone who has authenticated, appraised, purchased and sold memorabilia before – and not necessarily items I am super familiar with – it is part of my due diligence to educate myself before ever assigning value. Appraisers research. It’s simply what we all agree to do, or expect to go to court to defend ourselves! At the same time though, if you are an expert on Duran Duran, which many are – you’d take full advantage of the situation, particularly since this guitar was priced at a ridiculously fair price of $98.00 (assuming the signatures are in fact real, which I am not authenticating from this single photo)
As always, buyer beware.
Perhaps we should just ask the brothers for their opinion.
There’s a show my dad watches (name escapes me now but I think it’s pretty popular and on History) where people always bring in signed items to sell and they have an appraiser who specializes in autographs. This guy can identify authentic almost always, showing signatures but also items (for example a signature of someone who died before the item was made is common and a fake). He stated a huge percentage of signed items are fake and I agree. I do have actually signed Duran Duran items, because they signed it in front of me, I don’t think I would buy anything just because it was signed unless I knew it was authentic and something I wanted anyway. As for the other things like “brothers” yeah that would send warning vibes but then again it could be someone not familiar with them. But yeah if I was going to buy anything like this I would have it appraised first, way too many fakes,