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  1. #1

    Exclamation A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    Dear Forum Members:

    Over the past couple of weeks a situation has been brought to my attention; after several days of wresting with the issue, I have come to the conclusion that it is for the better of the hobby that the facts of this situation be known. I say "facts" specifically, as that is what I intend to post below. While these facts have led me to much additional conjecture and speculation, that is not my position to promote these, nor is this the proper venue even if it were my place.

    To wit...

    In early December I had done some initial pre-purchase authentication work for a customer who was looking to bid on a game-used John Elway Broncos' jersey. The jersey in question was offered by Historic Auctions’ jersey (http://www.historicauctions.com/index.cfm?&fuseaction=search.List&auctionid=31664) and had been authenticated by Bernie Gernay of Pro Sports International (PSI), under contract with Global Authenticators. Contacting Bernie at PSI by phone to see what could be determined about the provenance of this particular jersey, he had indicated that this jersey was procured from the collection of 49ers equipment manager Bronco Hinek along with a number of other like-era pieces that he had consigned to the auction. Personally aware that Hinek indeed had procured a sizable collection during his tenure with the 49ers, I relayed this information to my customer who placed the high bid and purchased this jersey, but not before learning that, just hours before the auction ended that PSI had placed a nearly identical jersey for sale at eBay (item #8732166668 - http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=8732166668&rd=1&sspage name=STRK%3AMEBI%3AIT&rd=1).

    This eBay item was in fact so “nearly identical” that PSI initially chose to use the same photos from the Historic Auctions’ web site in the eBay listing, setting off a number of red flags including the initial posting to another thread on this forum (see http://www.gameuseduniverse.com/vb_forum/showthread.php?t=520). This Historic Auctions' bidder was also none too happy to learn of this, wondering just how many of these jerseys PSI had available. After both I and the bidder had follow-up communications with Bernie at PSI, the bidder was reassured PSI had in fact “acquired two jerseys from the same collection which were in nearly identical condition”. Based upon this, the bidder hesitantly completed the transaction (something which he initially threatened to withhold doing).

    Due to the "photo borrowing" flap, after ending the original eBay listing and re-listing the eBay jersey with new photos (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=ADME:B:BCA:US:11&Item=8739034829), this auction ended without having met reserve price. Following the close of this auction listing, the jersey was sold (in a transaction outside of eBay, which I believe is a violation of eBay seller rules) to Steve Silverman. In researching this jersey on his own, Steve was also told that this was the 2nd of the two Hinek jerseys. Upon receipt he requested that I examine the jersey and upon examination I gave my blessing based on both physical characteristics and on Bernie's word regarding its known provenance.

    Having watched as Bernie's name had seemed to have taken an unfair beating on the GameUsedUniverse forum as of late, I was quick to jump up an post a positive note, noting the fact that I had full confidence in the above reference jersey and posted a .jpg image of my letter of opinion on the forum (See post #8 at thread http://www.gameuseduniverse.com/vb_forum/showthread.php?t=520). Within a day of posting this, I was contacted by another forum user, who had indicated that, he had purchased a third nearly identical Elway jersey directly from PSI. As the under-bidder on the eBay auction, Bernie had contacted him and offered him what was also described as the “2nd of two Hinek jerseys”, a plausible story to this buyer as well since he was unaware of the Historic Auctions’ jersey or Bernie's interest in it. He did not become aware that his jersey was actually one of 3 until my posting of the above mentioned post re: the LOO in which I mentioned 2 others. Also, in his communications with Bernie it was revealed that the so-called "Hinek Collection" purchase was actually a bulk purchase that Bernie made in partnership with noted collector/authenticator Lou Lampson.

    This above information is concerning on a few points...
    • Two similar jerseys coming from the same collection, while unusual, would not be unfounded, based upon Mr. Hinek’s status. Three 20-year-old, nearly identical jerseys from ANY source, would be nearly impossible to fathom without rock-solid, concrete provenance. During the 1983-'88 period, John Elway can be identified as having worn three distinct jersey styles from Russell Athletic--each style with its own uniquely identifiable collar style--the fact that all three of these have the exact same style collar date them all to within a 1-2 year period (1985-'86) within the above identified Russell Athletic run. We have compiled a fairly detailed database, having actively tracked the sales of Broncos' jerseys since 1999. During this period, I know of a total of six mid-'80s road Elway jerseys being sold publicly--of these six, four transactions have occurred in the past 3 months--the three mentioned here and a 4th which sold at Broadway Rick's Strike Zone auction on 1/26/06 (http://bid.strikezoneauctions.com/Bi...on_uid1=626820). Though identical in (collar) style, this 4th jersey--authenticated by Lou Lampson (consignor unknown)--differs in sizing and tagging (includes the "100% Nylon" tag) from the 3 mentioned above.
    • In and of itself, the one examined jersey stands on its own, with the only point of concern having been the absence of the "100% NYLON" flag tag which is typically found on this style/period of Russell jersey. On occasion, however, this tag is missing and such absence can be discounted as a manufacturing anomaly. When all three jerseys are presented together, however, the absence of this tagging on each is more concerning as this is no longer an anomaly, but rather a pattern that would seem to stretch the bounds of statistical probability.
    • To four different people--myself and, more importantly all 3 customers--Bernie clearly represented each of the three jerseys was "one of two" purchased from the Hinek collection. Such clear misrepresentation raises credibility questions and some concerns about the integrity in general of other jerseys purporting to have come from this "esteemed" collection.
    I offer this information as a word of caution to anyone who may have an opportunity to purchase a jersey where the provenance of said jersey traces back to this particular collection and/or purchase. This is not presented with the intention of warning off collectors from a particular dealer or authenticator, but rather so that, in performing their due diligence when considering a purchase in the future, they not take for granted the "Bronco Hinek Collection" provenance and ensure that each piece under consideration actually does stand on its own merits.

    Finally, I should also point out that Bernie was contacted by me via e-mail on the morning of February 1st regarding this matter. Presented with these same facts, he was given ample opportunity to come forward to address these issues proactively on his own, prior to my making them public. While he owed no direct response to me, he has also chosen to not reply to the e-mails/phone messages of 2 of the 3 involved customers who have made attempts to follow up with him and obtain clarification on this matter.

    Respectfully,
    Patrick W. Scoggin
    Endzone Sports Charities
    www.EndzoneSportsCharities.org

  2. #2
    Senior Member kingjammy24's Avatar
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    Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    Patrick,

    Suffice it to say, posts like the one you made to start this thread are one of the biggest justifications for the existance of this Forum. They're also among the most valuable aspects of this Forum.

    That said, I have a few questions and comments.

    Re: this entire PSI Elway debacle:

    - The Elway auctioned off by Historic Auctions: Just to make sure I haven't misunderstood anything, are you saying that Bernie consigned a jersey to Historic Auctions and the authentication of this jersey was performed solely by the consigner (Bernie) himself?

    - You said that you offered "this information as a word of caution to anyone who may have an opportunity to purchase a jersey where the provenance of said jersey traces back to this particular collection and/or purchase.. they not take for granted the "Bronco Hinek Collection" provenance". I believe I understand your point here, but I think the wording and title of this thread may be misinterpreted by some. ("Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection"..). More specifically, it could be interpreted to mean "if you have the opportunity to purchase something from Bronco Hinek or his collection, beware". I imagine the truth of the matter is that if you come across the opportunity to genuinely purchase something from Hinek or his actual collection, you should consider yourself fortunate. It's not really Bronco Hinek (or his actual collection) that you should be exercising caution with, but rather items which purport to come from him. Did I paraphrase that correctly?
    Which brings me to my next question:

    "..in his communications with Bernie it was revealed that the so-called "Hinek Collection" purchase was actually a bulk purchase that Bernie made in partnership with noted collector/authenticator Lou Lampson."

    I'm unclear on what's being said here. Are you intending to say that:
    1) Bernie partnered with Lou and both bought these jerseys from Hinek himself (ie: the jerseys really did indeed come from Hinek) or ...
    2) Bernie purchased the jerseys from Lou and said it was from Hinek or...
    3) Bernie partnered with Lou and together they bought these jerseys from an unidentified source which was most likely not Hinek?

    I suppose if the answer was #1, there would be no issues and this thread would not exist?

    I think that all of these revelations necessitate the mentioning of a previous thread. This previous thread discusses 2 PSI "80's Montana" jerseys on Ebay:
    http://www.gameuseduniverse.com/vb_f...read.php?t=746

    I bring up this thread because of the striking similarities with the Elway.
    Specifically:
    1) 2 "late 80's" Montana jerseys sold by PSI on Ebay in the same week. Both are void of the 100% Nylon tag, just like these Elway jerseys.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=8739034776

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=8739034612

    2) At the very same Historic Auctions auction that the PSI Elway was sold at, an "80's Montana" without the 100% Nylon tag was also sold and was authenticated by PSI:
    http://www.historicauctions.com/inde...uctionID=31398

    Note: All 3 jerseys show the exact same font for the "#1" (the font I kept questioning). All 3 jerseys show an abundant excess of material after the final 3rd sleeve stripe. That is to say, all 3 appear identical.

    It's an incredibly similar situation to these Elways; 3 80's Montana jerseys, all lacking the 100% Nylon tag, all authenticated by PSI, 2 of them sold by PSI directly on Ebay and one at the very same Historic Auctions auction as the Elway.

    Additionally, I believe I was contacted by the buyer for one of these Montana jerseys and he mentioned that he was told that it came from Bronco Hinek. This buyer is a Forum member.

    I'm not trying to imply anything. I'm simply bringing to light what seems to be, in my opinion, some interesting similarities between the PSI Montana jerseys and the PSI Elway jerseys.

    Rudy.

  3. #3

    Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    Rudy:

    To save you the time the answer is #1:

    1) Bernie partnered with Lou and both bought these jerseys from Hinek himself (ie: the jerseys really did indeed come from Hinek)


    so, you are correct:

    I suppose if the answer was #1, there would be no issues and this thread would not exist?


    Funny how there is no question of authenticity, but now a question of "how many" jerseys I owned.

    First of all I have no clue what involvment Pat would have with any of this or his point of the thread because none of it involved him other than he gave a thumbs up to Steve Silverman who purchased an Elway jersey directly from me. Other than him "passing" the Elway I sold Steve, none of this is his business.

    Pat is absolutely wrong on so many of his points in his thread. He should have called me instead of spending 3 hours trying to put together untrue statements on a public forum. This is how people get sued. This is why there are only about 5 of the same users who post here every day. People are tired of uninformed posts by others who are totally clueless and just start to type on a keyboard without thinking.

    In a nutshell:

    I personally spoke with the individuals (Tom Jacobson, David O'Brien) who purchased the 2 Elway jerseys and have exchanged phone messages with Mr. Silverman the past week.

    The Elway that Historic auctioned off came from me via the Hinek collection last year and was sold to Fleer at the time to be chopped up then was eventually sold at the Fleer bankruptcy auction among thousands of other game used jerseys, etc many of which were consigned to Historic Auctions.

    I have absolutley no involvement nor did I sell or previously own the John Elway in Strike Zone's auction. Don't know where you came up with that one either.

    These are only a few of your inaccuracies. You better have your facts straight before you intend to boldly post them as if you solved some crime. Instead of me spending any more time on this forum explaining my business dealings to total strangers I will call you tomorrow Pat. Since you were big enough to write a thread of misinformation here you should have no problem speaking to me over the phone when I call you and hold you accountable for what you stated here.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kingjammy24's Avatar
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    Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    After reading this about 6 times, I still can't understand how Historic acquired the jersey:

    "The Elway that Historic auctioned off came from me via the Hinek collection last year and was sold to Fleer at the time to be chopped up then was eventually sold at the Fleer bankruptcy auction among thousands of other game used jerseys, etc many of which were consigned to Historic Auctions."

    I'm confused about the chronological flow. Which one is correct:

    A) (start) from Hinek to Fleer to PSI to Historic (end)
    B) (start) from Hinek to PSI to Fleer to Historic (end)

    A or B?

    Rudy.

  5. #5

    Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    Having waited patiently for Bernie’s call today which never came, and since this was a rather lengthy and complex topic, I’ll do my best to try to clarify a few points.

    First to Rudy:

    When I was originally enlisted by an interested bidder to do some research on the Historic Auctions’ jersey, I called them and was told that the jersey had been authenticated by Bernie for Global Authentications Inc. Calling Bernie, with the intent if determining how, during the authentication process, he had determined/verified the jersey to be a 1985 vintage, he revealed that he had purchased the jersey, along with several others that had been consigned to the auction, from the collection of Bronco Hinek, former equipment manager of the San Francisco 49ers. As to whether or not others at Global Authentications were involved with the authentication process or not, I have no knowledge.

    Regarding the warning, I will leave it at that and let each individual decide how much (or how little) weight they would choose to give this information. The warning can only be that of a general nature since the whole truth of the matter is unlikely to remain unknown. While I have no doubt that there are indeed a number of high quality pieces from this collection, I would also look with great deal of skepticism on anyone’s claim to having ownership to no less than three 1985-’86 road Elway jerseys as Mr. Hinek apparently did.

    As to the purchase arrangement question, I believe that Bernie has already verified that he, along with Lou Lampson, purchased these jerseys in bulk from Bronco Hinek.

    And to Bernie:

    “Funny how there is no question of authenticity, but now a question of "how many" jerseys I owned.While authenticity was not the prime issue here, it most definitely does come into play. How many jerseys were owned certainly cannot be dismissed particularly when discussing a collectible that exists in a very finite number. As we’re talking about a 2-year style during an era when even top star players rarely were issued more than a few jerseys a year, having three of these pop up from the same source in a 2 month period raises considerable concern where authenticity is concerned. I’m assuming that this fact was not lost on you since if it were, there would have been no need to have misrepresented this number to four different individuals.

    “First of all I have no clue what involvement Pat would have with any of this…. None of this is his business.” Briefly outlining my involvement, I became involved when (as you pointed out) 1. I had been retained to examine a jersey for a customer that you sold, only to find out that after putting my name to it that you had materially misrepresented the origin of the item; 2. I had been retained by a customer to provide pre-purchase research on a jersey which he purchased at auction, based in part on misrepresenting information which you provided; 3. I received unsolicited contact directly from another party who had purchased yet another Elway jersey from you and had concerns about it, based upon his newly found knowledge of the other two.

    “Pat is absolutely wrong on so many of his points in his thread. He should have called me instead of spending 3 hours trying to put together untrue statements on a public forum.”
    As a long-time critic of the careless bashings that often take place on this and other similar public forums, I was very mindful that such a posting might seem hypocritical. On numerous occasions I’ve gone out on a limb to even defend Bernie, not so much as his advocate, but because in general I was so personally opposed to the type of hit-n-run cheap shots that so often occurred. In fairness, I sent an e-mail outlining the facts of this situation to Bernie on the 1st of February asking that he take proactive measures to acknowledge and explain the situation publicly (on this forum). Having declined that opportunity, he would now lash out at me for making this information public.

    “I personally spoke with the individuals (Tom Jacobson, David O'Brien) who purchased the 2 Elway jerseys and have exchanged phone messages with Mr. Silverman the past week.” If this is indeed the case, then I commend you for finally making the effort to make contact. At last contact with Tom and Steve, neither had received any word from you over a week after initially trying to reach you.

    “I have absolutely no involvement nor did I sell or previously own the John Elway in Strike Zone's auction. Don't know where you came up with that one either.”If you read my original post, I made no inference regarding your having any involvement with the Strike Zone jersey, to the contrary I specifically stated that it was authenticated by Lampson and consigned by a person unknown. My point was simply to point out that we’ve tracked a total of six sales of this style jersey over a total of six years, yet four of them have occurred in the past 3 months, with 3 of them being yours.

    “Since you were big enough to write a thread of misinformation here you should have no problem speaking to me over the phone when I call you and hold you accountable for what you stated here” Again, I will stand by what I’ve stated as fact until proven otherwise, and when and if proven otherwise I will be big enough to stand up and admit it. A week ago I would have been likely to welcome your private phone call, and pass the context of that call on to my concerned colleagues. At this point in time, however, I would just as soon keep things out in the open.

    While Bernie has laid claims to gross inaccuracies and misinformation on my part, the one thing that his response lacks is an address to the critical issues at hand. Which remain:
    • As a knowledgeable authenticator, how many of the exact same style of any 20-year old jersey from the same player is reasonable to come from any single source?
    • As an ethical dealer, having established the answer to the first question, what rationale would there be for misrepresenting this number to your customers
    Regards,
    Patrick W. Scoggin
    Endzone Sports Charities
    www.EndzoneSportsCharities.org

  6. #6

    Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie J. Gernay
    I personally spoke with the individuals (Tom Jacobson, David O'Brien) who purchased the 2 Elway jerseys and have exchanged phone messages with Mr. Silverman the past week.
    Received this in this morning's e-mail...

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Jacobsen, Tom
    To: Endzone Sports
    Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 6:53 AM
    Subject: The Forum


    Hi Patrick - Just reading the thread on gameuseduniverse. Just wanted you to know that Bernie still has not contacted me. The only time I have ever been able to speak to him is before I gave him any money (indirectly, of course, via the auction). After that, nothing.

    I appreciate you efforts on this....my thought is drag it out into the light and see what it is. If I got duped (while I will be very upset and exhaust all options to get my money back), I would rather know that not.

    Thanks again!

    Tom

    Regards,
    Patrick W. Scoggin
    Endzone Sports Charities
    www.EndzoneSportsCharities.org

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    Hi Everyone - Just wanted to clarify two points. (and I am the 'Tom' in the e-mail Pat posted, by the way.)

    While what I stated in my e-mail was correct, Bernie and I talked about one of the Elway's in question prior to the auction and I hadn't been able to talk to him after these questions arose, I wanted to share that Bernie and I are now communicating with each other on this topic.

    I also want to state for the record that I am not questioning Bernie's integrity. I am only looking for some clarification as to the history of the jersey I now own.

    Thanks

    Tom

  8. #8

    Lightbulb Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    As per request from many forum members who know that I attended the Fleer Auction, here are 2 links to the full catalog.

    There were not 1000's of GU items, much less football equipment. Most of the GU stuff were basketball.


    PDF>> http://www.auctionsaleinfo.com/aucti...732_1-2051.pdf

    Auction site> http://www.auctionsaleinfo.com/aucti...llcorporat.asp

    Hope this helps someone.

  9. #9
    There seems to be a lot of questions about Bernie Gernay's business practices. I was curious. I did a search of "Bernie Gernay" on gameusedforum.com archives. Is seems there are many collectors who have had positive experiences with Bernie! For example, this post from "Sal"...

    August 22 2005 at 5:54 PM Sal* (Login baltimore_colt)

    Response to Interesting observation......
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I actually met Bernie Gernay from PSI at the National in Chicago at American Memorabilia's booth. A real genuine good guy who says it the way it is. Maybe that's why I liked him! I will tell you that he may be the only one out there with REAL football gamers. I put my order in already for an unwashed Curtis Martin gamer. I hope it stinks like lemon juice, skunk, and vinegar!

    -Sal

  10. #10
    Senior Member kingjammy24's Avatar
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    Re: A Word of Caution Re: Hinek Collection Items

    Patrick, thanks for taking all of the time and effort to post all of this information on here. I know many, if not most, other people in your position wouldn't have bothered taking the time, effort, and hassle of posting on here solely for the benefit of others.

    In a similar vein, anyone could ask me what business it is of mine to make most of the posts I make on here, given that I'm not involved the sale or purchase of the majority of jerseys I discuss. The answer, as sappy as it may sound, is I'm simply trying to do what I can to make a hobby I enjoy a better one by sharing information. Personally, I still don't think there's enough dissemination of information in this hobby. Compared to the amount of collective knowledge and experience out there, a relatively minute amount of it seems to trickle out. I don't think the Kim Stigall's, Howard Wolf's, Barry Meisel's and Rob Steinmetz's of the hobby post nearly enough to satiate me. Then there are others who have never posted on this Forum..Jim Yackel? the boys from Grey Flannel? John Taube? anyone from Steiner? (I understand the folks at MEARS are trying to get their own forum hopping and so posting here would just be counter-productive for the purposes they're trying to acheive.) Why not make the effort to share information? At any rate, before I go off on a tangent, thanks for taking the time to "share information", when many others would've chosen to do the opposite.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, when should you start to question someone's integrity, as opposed to just questioning a particular jersey?
    That is, how many bizarre, inexplainable acts does a person need to commit before people start to think that, even if a jersey seems ok, things might not add up?
    I've always thought where there's smoke, there's fire. I've seen jerseys I thought looked good on their own but the actions of the seller seemed shady enough that I lost faith in the jersey. (I simply figured that there are issues that I'm simply not seeing because an ethical dealer selling a legit piece wouldn't be acting in such a way).

    I'm sure there are fake jerseys out there good enough to fool me and many others, and in those situations the behavior of the seller may be all that's left to help us discern things.

    Rudy.

 

 

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