A Born Sleuth

Bill Panagopulos knows a fake when he sees one, whether it’s a very good forged signature or a reputedly authentic artifact.



Bill Panagopulos has the story behind every article he buys (to sell, of course) — among them are the baseball inscribed “Ted Williams”; a bow tie once worn by Humphrey Bogart; a gavel presented by Harry Truman made of wood from the White House; even a Colt “Peacemaker” revolver carried by General William T. Sherman’s bodyguard.

Photograph by: John Rizzo

(page 1 of 4)

In a world of cyclical economies, Basil Panagopulos rides an industry of endless growth. Someone’s always making history, and someone’s always buying it.“I’ve got a bottle of Scotch here that was in North Africa in World War II,” Panagopulos explains. “First Rommel captured it from the British, then the British captured it from Rommel. Stationery from Bill Haley’s estate, with ‘Bill Haley & The Comets’ letterhead. Go ahead, take a sheet. I got one guy whose crazy about Nixon. Anything Nixon I find, he’s interested.”

Panagopulos’s third-floor corner office off I-95 overlooks a pungently stagnant Stamford canal, but the business he operates is in constant flow. Alexander Autographs, in just its second decade of operation, has built an impressive reputation in the memorabilia-collecting market, noted for well-stocked online auctions and accompanying catalogs jammed with hundreds of historical curiosities. Autographs are a specialty, though hardly the limit.

Looking for a doctor’s kit used for hacking off mangled limbs during the Battle of Gettysburg? Panagopulos is your man. A note from a dying P. T. Barnum could be yours for $400 to $600; a penny shot through by Annie Oakley for eight to ten times that.
Over the last two decades, memorabilia has moved from attics to the world stage known as the Internet. Riding this wave, Panagopulos,
a garrulous giant from Cos Cob with a graying beard and a twinkle in his eye, known to all as Bill, has established himself as one of the trade’s most enthusiastic middlemen.

“Some think it’s a passion, some think it’s a disease,” he says. “It all depends on the level of the passion.”

The state of Panagopulos’s office suggests that passion can run high indeed. A row of slot machines stands along one wall. Lying on the floor beneath them is an old “Apple Computers” sign, the first-ever Apple signage, he says, used at a 1982 trade show and bought from a former Apple employee who also sold Panagopulos one of Steve Wozniak’s tool kits from the same period.

There are framed autographs of everyone from General Douglas MacArthur to Frank Zappa. Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly are represented, too, but their signed glossies are actually addressed to Panagopulos, gestures of gratitude for items he helped them acquire.

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese

    2014.09.24
     @ Meli-Melo

    Meet Holistic Health Practitioner Kevin W. Reese & Take Home a Signed Copy of His New Book! Kevin is a holistic health practitioner,...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
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