Skip to comments.Reagan Letter Called A Forgery (CBS News deeply saddened)
Posted on 02/11/2006 1:12:56 PM PST by presidio9
A red-faced auction house was forced to withdraw a letter it believed was written and signed by the late President Ronald Reagan while he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease after it discovered it was a forgery.
The autographed letter was supposed to be auctioned off this month, but Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Autographs in Greenwich, Conn., told CBSNews.com the letter was withdrawn after the forger came forward and admitted his handiwork.
Originally it was believed Reagan wrote the note to a friend in February of 1998, about four years after he mostly disappeared from public view following his announcement that he had Alzheimer's Disease. In the letter he told a friend, "Individuals like you give me the courage and inspiration to move forward, and with your prayers and God's grace, we'll know we will be able to face this long latest challenge." He adds a P.S: "I didn't write this with Nancy's help."
But Panagopulos said the letter was actually a form letter that Reagan wrote in 1994 to thank those who expressed sympathy for his affliction. Reagan had hundreds copied onto his official letterhead.
Panagopulos said the forger, who he refused to identify, somehow got a hold of one and used a heavy felt-tip pen, which Reagan often used, to trace over it. The forger allegedly added mistakes, crossed out words and changed some of the text and the date.
Panagopulos said the letter fooled everyone who saw it. "We showed it to 3 or 4 prominent collectors, and they also missed it. This forgery has been fooling collectors and dealers since its creation in 1999, and it continued to do so until we withdrew it."
The forger allegedly called Panagopulos after seeing the letter on the cover of the auction house's catalog. He told Panagopulos that he created the forgery back in 1999 to increase the value of a box of other autographs he was auctioning off."
"It's called 'salting the lot,'" said Panagopulos. "He had a box of worthless autographs and he wanted to get more for it."
Panagopulos said more than 2,000 customers received a catalog that contained images of the letter and millions of others could have viewed it, but not one complaint or suspicion was raised.
"Since the letter was traced-over, the handwriting was a very close approximation of Reagans actual hand, with any discrepancy easily attributable to his advanced Alzheimers," said Panagopulos.
In a statement on his company's web site, Panagopulos said, "Despite careful examination and the obvious evidence pointing to the letters authenticity, we were wrong...Autograph authentication is not an exacting science, sometimes all the diligence in the world is not enough to unravel the forgers handiwork."
The auction house thought the letter could fetch as much as $9,000.
The cold war crusader whose sunny optimism made a nation believe it was "morning in America" died June 5, 2004, at the age of 93.
Reagan battled the effects of Alzheimer's disease for a decade before passing away. He returned to the spotlight shortly before he died, as his health deteriorated and his wife, former first lady Nancy Reagan, began to publicly support stem-cell research as a way to find cures for Alzheimer's and other diseases.
Mary Mapes trying to earn a little $?
No, if Mapes or any of the usual leftist suspects were involved in this forgery attempt, it would have been a smear to try and portray Reagan as a pedophile, or homosexual, or some other garbage because the one thing the left loves to do more than even breathe oxygen, is to try and trash the good name and memory of the 40th and Greatest President of these United States.
fake, but accurate
True, it is rather innocuous. If Mapes had done it it probably would have been written in a child-like scrawl saying "Gorby is good. I like him. He let me win the Cold War. I shouldn't have left the Democratic Party. CBS is my favorite network. The governor of Texas is a bad man."
Paging Mary Mapes
CBS News report.
Rather: Reagan dementia "fake but accurate."
"got a hold"?
This writer had to have grown up in the South.
That's hardly relevant. After all, it represents underlying true facts. The fact that the letter itself may not be genuine shouldn't impact the news value at all.
Paging Mary Mapes. Please report to the exposed liars conferance room.
No... it was somebody from Texas with the initials B. B.
The credibility of CBS is on par with that of The National Enquirer.
Seems to me that you are the one being hypersensitive if you can't appreciate the irony of CBS News breaking a forgery story. The magnitude of their earlier crime is generally underappreciated if anything.
So did CBS hire him?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.