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

  • Exhibit Ira BARKOFF

    2014.10.11
     @ Canfin Gallery

    “The beauty of the physical world becomes a metaphor for the capacity of the spirit to reveal itself". Ira Barkoff Evocation of...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • SPLURGE Matches Scarf Donations for Cancer Patients

    2014.10.01
     @ SPLURGE

    SPLURGE and the Cancer Institute at Greenwich Hospital are partnering to bring comfort and encouragement to cancer patients.  From October...

  • Flinn Gallery Art Opening

    2014.10.30
     @ Flinn Gallery 2nd floor

    FLINN GALLERY Opening Reception 'IN FOCUS' Thursday October 30, 6 - 8pm Seven artists share their visions - Carolyn Conrad,...

  • IMAGINE CANDY- SWEET TASTINGS!!!

    2014.10.24
     @ Imagine Candy

    Imagine Candy located in Scarsdale Village- Winner of 2014 Best West of Westchester by Westchester Magazine- holds a Belgian Chocolate and Candy...

  • Flower Power

    2014.10.08
     @ SM Home Gallery

    SM Home Gallery show featuring two Greenwich based artists: Margaret Bragg and Penny Putnam. The art show runs thorough November 22nd....

  • Harvest Fair and Gift Show

    2014.11.01
     @ Second Congregational Church

    Event Will Include Hay Mazes, Games, Crafts, Food, Holiday Shopping The community is invited to a Harvest Fair and Gift Show on Saturday, Nov....

  • New Fitness Class: SalsaTone

    2014.11.01
     @ Latin Moves Dance Studio

    Starting November 1st ~ Every Saturday morning 10 to 11 AM Instructor: Melissa Lopez Start your weekend off right with this exciting cardio...

  • Lynne Scalo Design Opening

    2014.11.05

    Please join Lynne Scalo, Greenwich Magazine and athome Magazine to celebrate the Greenwich showroom opening of Lynne Scalo Design Cocktails...

  • Breast Cancer Alliance Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show

    2014.11.06
     @ Hyatt Regency Greenwich

    Breast Cancer Alliance to Host Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure 19th Annual Benefit Luncheon & Fashion Show: November 6,...

  • Free Screening of Documentary ' Children of the Inquisition'

    2014.11.06
     @ Bush-Holley House

    Join filmmaker Joseph Lovett as he presents his documentary film and multi-platform project of personal exploration and...

  • P.A.L.S. 2nd Annual Soarin' Soiree~ November 7, 2014

    2014.11.07
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    You are invited to join our State Senator, L. Scott Frantz and our First Selectman, Peter J. Tesei, for an awe-inspiring evening to benefit Patient...

  • John Hardy Event

    2014.11.08
     @ Bloomingdale's

    John Hardy One of a kind. One at a time. Each by hand. Bloomingdale's is inviting YOU to meet the head designer Guy Bedarida as he presents...

  • Olivine Gabbro Opening

    2014.11.08

    Olivine Gabbro invites you to join them for their Opening Party! DJ | Cocktails | H'Orderves | Gift Bags Made to Measure Beautifully...

  • Meet Joshua Safran, Author of "Free Spirit: Growing Up On the Road and Off the Grid"

    2014.11.11
     @ YWCA Greenwich

    Meet the author of this powerful memoir. Joshua Safran is an author, attorney, occasional rabbi, and nationally recognized advocate for...

  • Markham Roberts: Decorating the Way I See It

    2014.11.13
     @ Belle Haven Club

    Join us as Interior Designer Markham Roberts shares coveted design insights, key to creating the perfect home. The program will include...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Henry & Me
    Greenwich
  2. Go For Pink
    Greenwich Avenue
  3. Joie Shopping Event
    Joie Greenwich
  4. 100th Annual Hunt Ball
    Conyers Farm
  5. 6 Ways to Practice Mindfulness
    Simple steps to get the most out of each moment