Courtesy of Dave Smith...
Roger Epperson Experience
On May 8, 2009, one of our associates contacted Roger Epperson. He wanted to discuss some pieces that he had, and his desire to have Roger Epperson certify them. He did not know Roger Epperson. Roger Epperson did not know him. He did not use any references from others. He just told Roger Epperson that he had heard he "was the man" to go to. No more. No less. They were just two complete strangers conducting business.
He made up a name that coincided with the last name of a friend's bankcard. All Roger Epperson really knew about him was that he could charge that bankcard for any reports he issued.
During one of their conversations, he told Roger Epperson that he had several items that had certificates from Chris Morales. Epperson told him that he could not comment on Morales' work, as he was going to be a witness for the opposing side in a case involving Morales. Subsequently, in spite of this, he said the Morales was "the w***e of the industry. He never fails anything. Just send him a check and he sends you a cert." He also referred to Morales as a "total incompetent" and said that he never bothers to even examine anything with Morales' certificate; he just automatically fails the piece .
Ironically, Roger Epperson then said that he would deny these statements if the conversation was being taped. Although his words seem harsh, a review of other postings on the Internet indicates that Roger Epperson has similar things to say about the vast majority of the individuals who do authentication.
The information contained in this story certainly indicates that Roger Epperson should not be the one throwing stones.
Our associate sent a number of items to Epperson, including a Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From the Road album, a Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks album, The New York Dolls' In Too Much Too Soon and New York Dolls album covers, Metallica's Kill Em All and Master of Puppets album covers, and Niggaz With Attitude's N.W.A. and the Posse album cover.
During the authentication process, our associate exchanged emails and had several phone conversations with Roger Epperson.
All of the listed albums passed and were certified by Roger Epperson. During the conversations, Roger Epperson told him that "you can sell these at any auction house in the world with my certificates."
Unfortunately for collectors, Roger Epperson's statement about his certificates is accurate. In addition to his own business, Signed Sealed & Delivered, he authenticates the musical memorabilia for both James Spence Authentication (JSA) and PSA/DNA. Phone calls to both companies confirmed this. Additionally, Roger Epperson is a former PSA/DNA staff member and his name appears on a significant number of PSA/DNA certificates. As a result, Roger Epperson's work can be found, among other places, at:
ABC Autographs - Jim Pavlish
B & E Collectibles
Broadway Rick's Strike Zone
Clean Sweep Auctions
Geppi's Memorabilia Roadshow Auction
Gotta Have It
Huggins & Scott Auctions
Premier Auctions Online
Robert Edward Auctions
The results that our associate and others have received when they have employed Roger Epperson's services certainly question why the auction houses and any of the above-listed companies would use Roger Epperson's services. It certainly seems to defy logic.
Each of the albums that were sent to Roger Epperson will be discussed separately.
The Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From the Road album was certified as having been signed by Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson, Gary Rossington, Ed King and Allen Collins.
Interestingly enough, examination of the album cover reveals not one, but two signatures of Artimus Pyle. It gives the impression that someone was practicing Pyles signature. Why wasnt he mentioned on the certificate? Did Roger Epperson miss the two signatures when he examined the album? Furthermore, when he looked at his exemplars, what did he have that would have indicated Leon Wilkeson actually spelled his name Wilkenson, as it appears to be on the album, and as it is printed on Roger Eppersons cert? Roger Epperson has stated, in writing, that what you do when determining if an autograph is authentic or not, you compare them to known exemplars. Usually between 12-25 known exemplars is sufficient sometimes maybe less but never none at all... Does this mean that Roger Epperson has 12-15 Lynyrd Skynyrd exemplars with Leon Wilkeson spelled Leon Wilkenson? Nevertheless, Roger Epperson issued the report. He charged the bank card our associate had given him.
Isn't it possible that, even if Epperson really had exemplars, the exemplars themselves were "bad?" Isn't this all the more reason to use a competent forensic analyst?
The two photos above are of the Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks Heres the Sex Pistols album cover and the certificate from Roger Epperson. Epperson passed it. Once again, he charged the bankcard. There does not seem to be anything unusual about the album. Its relevance will become more significant shortly.
Next up are the two New York Dolls albums. As the photos indicate, the last name in Johnny Thunders signature on the In Too Much Too Soon album cover is virtually invisible. Roger Epperson told our associate that he had only seen Johnny Thunders signature once before. With that fact, once can only question what exemplar base Roger Epperson used. His own words and logic answer the question. He said that your Sid Vicious is real, so your Johnny Thunders has to be real. Only seen one Johnny Thunders signature? Isnt this the same Roger Epperson who stated, in writing, that what you do when determining if an autograph is authentic or not, you compare them to known exemplars. Usually between 12-25 known exemplars is sufficient sometimes maybe less but never none at all... Does this mean that Roger Epperson has 12-15 New York Dolls exemplars, with Johnny Thunders signature, that match this signature that is practically invisible? Now, consider the logic he said he applied. Two distinct individuals. Two distinct bands. Never mind that one of the signatures is not completely visible. If one is real, the other must be. And remember, he said his certificates will be accepted at any auction house in the world. Both of these albums were purchased from a vendor at a flea market in Baltimore. Regardless of the aforementioned facts, Roger Epperson issued the report. Yet again, he charged the bankcard. Next up is Metallica. Steve Cyrkin, publisher of Autograph Magazine, has referred to Roger Epperson as one of the worlds two pre-eminent Metallica experts. This is his specialty. He bills himself as a music expert, but he really excels at Metallica. Ironically, Steve Cyrkin was given an advance copy of this story, and was given the opportunity to run it in Autograph Magazine . Apparently, he did not view it as news. After reading the material, he described Roger Epperson in an email as one of the legitimate autograph hobby's protectors. Are we supposed to believe that, if Steve Cyrkin had information like this about anyone who was not one of his cronies or an advertiser in Autograph Magazine , the story would not end up in his publication? Sadly, the reality is he has run much more defamatory pieces, with far less evidence, on others. Apparently, the protection that is going on is not of collectors, but of Steve Cyrkins cronies and advertisers. According to Autograph Magazine , Autograph magazine also screens dealers and auctions it allows to advertise and seriously responds to complaints by collectors. This statement sounds great, but Steve Cyrkins actions indicate this does not apply when the complaint is against a member of his team. Steve Cyrkin has had no problem finding space to run glowing stories on what he considers Roger Eppersons expertise. He has even found space for Top 10 Rockin' Buys by Roger Epperson (April 2008). This story seems to be the only story about Roger Epperson Steve Cyrkin has not been able to find any room for in Autograph Magazine .
The three photos above are of the first of the two Metallica albums that Roger Epperson certified for our associate, the Kill Em All album cover. The album bears the signatures of Cliff Burton and Lars Ulrich. Once again, one has to ask what exemplars Roger Epperson used to certify this album. Why? Because this album is a re-release. The photo below is a detailed shot of the back of the album. It was released in 2008. Isnt this the same Roger Epperson who has stated, in writing, that what you do when determining if an autograph is authentic or not, you compare them to known exemplars. Usually between 12-25 known exemplars is sufficient sometimes maybe less but never none at all... Does this mean that Roger Epperson has 12-15 Metallica exemplars with Cliff Burton signatures that match this piece? How can that be? Cliff Burton died on September 27, 1986. How can a dead man sign an album released after his death? Doesnt Roger Epperson know that albums are released and re-released at various times? Doesnt he check that? How could Roger Epperson not have checked the release date to know the album was released 22 years after Cliff Burton died? Isnt he the Metallica expert?
This album was purchased from the same vendor at the same flea market in Baltimore.
Once again, Roger Epperson issued the report. He charged the bank card.
Isnt this the same Roger Epperson who has stated, in writing, that what you do when determining if an autograph is authentic or not, you compare them to known exemplars. Usually between 12-25 known exemplars is sufficient sometimes maybe less but never none at all... Does this mean that Roger Epperson has 12-15 Metallica exemplars with Cliff Burton signatures that match this piece? How can that be? Cliff Burton died on September 27, 1986. Once again, how can a dead man sign an album? Havent we heard this question before? How could Roger Epperson not have checked the release date to know the album was released 22 years after Cliff Burton died ? Isnt he the Metallica expert? Yet again, Roger Epperson issued the report. Once again, he charged the bank card our associate had given him. There seems to be a pattern developing here. Roger Epperson certifies albums with practically invisible signatures. Roger Epperson certifies albums signed by dead men. He charges bank cards for his services. Even worse, he offered to buy all of these albums, to sell at his Signed, Sealed & Delivered website. Only one of the albums can be described as anything other than questionable. Most of them are undeniably forgeries. How could this be? Wait, theres more.
These last two photos are of Niggaz With Attitudes hip hop N.W.A. and the Posse album cover, featuring the signatures of Eazy-E, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. This album was bought from the same vendor at the same flea market in Baltimore as the practically invisible New York Dolls signatures and Metallica albums. Roger Epperson confided in our associate that he just did not know about the NWA album, as he did not have any exemplars. He asked our associate where he got it. Our associate lied. He told Roger Epperson that he had gotten it signed in person. After hearing this, Roger Epperson said he would take care of it if you had it signed in person . Roger Epperson issued the report. He charged the bankcard. Isnt this the same Roger Epperson who has stated, in writing, that what you do when determining if an autograph is authentic or not, you compare them to known exemplars. Usually between 12-25 known exemplars is sufficient sometimes maybe less but never none at all... Isnt this the same Roger Epperson who referred to another individual as a w***e who would certify anything for a paycheck? Didnt Roger Epperson just do just that very thing when he issued a certificate based upon a made-up story from a complete stranger with a bankcard? What was he basing his examination on? The bankcards availability? The bankcards expiration date? On one of his own websites, Roger Epperson states that his fees are from $75 to $150 for a written letter of authentication. Item must be sent to me with insured return postage included. I will study the item and give a written and signed letter of my determination. What is he studying if he has passed albums signed by dead men, after their deaths? What is he studying if he passes albums with signatures that are virtually invisible? What is he studying if he passes an album that he acknowledged having no exemplars for comparison? What is he studying if he passes albums with names misspelled? What is he studying if he passes albums based on the made-up stories of a complete stranger using an alias? Is he studying the expiration date of the bankcard? One possible answer for some of these questions is Roger Eppersons established business practices. Another business associate of ours visited Roger Epperson in Texas at his place of business. This individual brought more than one dozen pieces with him for Roger Eppersons review. The associate indicated that Roger Epperson flipped through the entire collection in less than one minute. He flipped through them like one would shuffle a deck of cards. No exemplars. No equipment. He failed all but one piece. Roger Epperson said the Mamas and the Papas piece was real. Once again, without any equipment. Without any exemplars. Mere seconds per piece. Once again, isnt this the same Roger Epperson who has stated, in writing, that what you do when determining if an autograph is authentic or not, you compare them to known exemplars. Usually between 12-25 known exemplars is sufficient sometimes maybe less but never none at all... If nothing else, Roger Epperson should have checked the release date of the Mamas and Papas album. He did not. This poses a problem, since Cass Elliot died on July 29, 1974. A lot of Mamas and the Papas albums were re-released after Cass Elliots death. We do not know if the album was an original or a re-release. Thats not the point. The point was that Roger Epperson did not check, nor did he use any exemplars or equipment for comparison. He flipped through the pile and then, by memory, said that the Mamas and the Papas signatures were real. How often does he see the Mamas and the Papas to be so sure in seconds? What tipped the scale? Denny Dohertys signature? Michelle Phillips signature? Cass Elliots signature? John Phillips signature? Was his decision based more upon the fact that there is not a lot of demand for Mamas and the Papas memorabilia, so he figured it was not really worth forging? Since Roger Epperson did not use any exemplars or comparison equipment and did not check the album release date, we can only figure it was something along the line of the last possibility. All of these problems merited a review of Roger Eppersons Signed, Sealed & Delivered website. Apparently, there are some problems there, too. Roger Epperson is selling an Allman Brothers piece, an A bsolutely rare signed Promo test press for the Allman Brothers first LP signed on the cover by Gregg and Duane Allman, Butch Trucks, Berry Oakly adding "Allman Brothers Band", Jamoe Johnson and Dickey Betts. He is selling it for $3,700.00.
Here is the photo Roger Epperson has posted on his Signed, Sealed & Delivered website.
These are detail shots of the rare Allman Brothers piece. The first close-up is of Jai Johanny Johanson, born John Lee Johnson. He often goes by the nickname Jaimoe. Even a cursory review of the signature reveals that there are letters that just should not be there. The signature on the rare Allman Brothers piece appears to be that of Jaimoe J.J. Johnshon. There is clearly an extra h thrown in there at the end. Roger Eppersons written description lists Jai Johanny Jaimoe Johanson as Jamoe Johnson. The written signature appears to be something else, all together. It would be interesting to see Roger Eppersons 12-25 known exemplars that match the Jaimoe J.J. Johnshon signature. In a similar fashion, Dickey Betts has apparently signed his name as Dickie on this rare Allman Brothers piece. The write-up lists the name in the right way, Dickey, but the signature is clearly Dickie. Where are Roger Eppersons 12-25 known exemplars that Roger Epperson used to identify Dickey as Dickie? Unfortunately, there is more. Berry Oakley seems to have signed his name Oakly. This matches the write-up n the item, but not the actual name, Oakley. Once again, where are the 12-25 known exemplars that Roger Epperson used to identify Oakley as Oakly?
Isnt Roger Epperson the same guy who authenticated the previously mentioned Lynyrd Skynyrd One More From the Road album cover with Leon Wilkeson spelled Wilkenson?
This is an Atlanta Pop Festival piece also being sold at Roger Eppersons Signed, Sealed & Delivered website. The asking price is $1,400.00.
Once again, Dickey Betts has apparently changed the spelling of his own name to Dickie for this piece. One has to pause to wonder why the Allman Brothers seemingly forgot how to spell their own names on pieces certified by Roger Epperson . One has to further pause to wonder why the Allman Brothers seemingly forgot how to spell their own names on pieces being sold by Roger Epperson . Roger Epperson certified them? Roger Epperson is selling them? Isnt there some conflict here? Does Roger Epperson both certify and sell these pieces because someone else may get hung up on the misspellings? Should we assume the rest of the signatures are real on both pieces from Roger Eppersons Signed, Sealed & Delivered website? Do recording artists really misspell their own names? Do they do it anywhere other than on pieces certified by Roger Epperson and sold by Roger Epperson? Could we really sell these pieces at any auction house in the world because they are accompanied by Roger Eppersons certificates? Unfortunately, that may be the case. How many competitors pieces have been turned down because of Roger Eppersons findings? How many good pieces have been turned down because of his findings? How many forgeries have been sold because of his findings? Since Roger Epperson buys his own pieces, certifies his own pieces, sells his own pieces, and decides what gets into auctions, how many pieces like the invisible signatures, the dead men albums and the misspelled pieces have been sold to the public? How can his competitors get a fair shake? How many has he hurt? How many collectors have been ripped off because of his findings? How many collectors have no outlet to the auction houses because they have no ties to Roger Epperson? Why do the auction houses tolerate this? Shouldnt they be held accountable for their reliance on individuals such as Roger Epperson and his authentication services??