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.



(page 4 of 4)

Content Counts

Research is a big difference maker for Panagopulos. Another is content. His early interest in isolated autographs cut from documents was soon superseded by a realization that an autograph could be far more valuable when connected to the right content.

“You can buy a Harry Truman letter for $100 if he’s thanking someone for a box of smoked oysters,” he notes. “You get a letter from Truman explaining his reasons for firing that bum MacArthur, or dropping the Bomb, and it’s the difference between $100 and $30,000. Content, content, content.”

Sometimes the content can be quite attention getting. A letter from Jackie Kennedy to her then sister-in-law, Ted’s wife Joan Kennedy, is full of indignation at Teddy’s philandering ways and an unconscious mirror of what Jackie herself might have experienced: “What kind of woman, but a sap or a slave, could stand that & still be a loving wife … & care about him & work like a dog for him campaigning,” Jackie writes. “It’s so old-fashioned.”

That letter got attention from newspapers across the country when Alexander Autographs acquired it last year. It had been found in a storage locker, apparently discarded by Joan’s maid who didn’t pay the requisite fees.

A riveting read, to be sure, but not one read without qualm. Doesn’t this violate poor Joan’s privacy?

Panagopulos says no. “What I’m selling is a piece of paper with writing on it, not the reproduction rights,” he maintains. “I’ve never seen someone sue for a letter. Once you send a letter, it becomes that person’s property. Once it’s discarded, thrown in the trash, it becomes anyone’s property.

“There’s an old saying: Don’t write down anything you don’t want someone to know.”

Fortunately for Panagopulos, they do.

For him, it’s a good business, but business isn’t the only consideration. To make his point, he tosses on his desk a glassine envelope filled with hair. As the envelope is inspected, he reads a letter dated 1865 from Karen R. Wright, wife of a former governor of Indiana, thanking Mary Todd Lincoln in part for the gift of her husband’s hair.

“Yes, that’s right,” says Panagopulos. “That’s Lincoln’s hair you have in your hands.”

A single follicle pokes out the side of the envelope and bends slightly at the touch. It’s hard not to feel something surge within you at such a moment, the polar opposite reaction from that experienced a few minutes before when noticing one’s business card was touching that framed portrait of Hitler. The business card was moved, quickly. The finger stays, caressing the reputed follicle from the same head that pondered and directed so much.
Panagopulos notices and lets out one of his throaty, infectious chuckles.

“Now maybe you begin to understand what it’s all about, eh? Now just make sure you put that in your article!”    

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • 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...

  • YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week

    2014.10.18
     @ YMCA of Greenwich

    YMCA of Greenwich Harvest Art Week October 18 - 26, 2014 Join us for a week-long celebration of local art! Showcasing established and emerging...

  • 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...

  • Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Networking Event

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce will hold its October After Six Networking event. All are invited to exchange business cards, enjoy appetizers and...

  • October After Six

    2014.10.23
     @ Delamar Hotel

    Join us for After Six Networking at the Delamar Hotel

  • 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...

  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

    2014.10.23

    Athome Magazine celebrates Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' fall collection with fabulous vignettes from some of your favorite A-List designers....

  • 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...

  • 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....

  • Oktoberfest 2014 Greenwich United Way

    2014.10.24
     @ Loading Dock

    Greenwich United Way’s sixth annual “Oktoberfest” fundraiser is set for Friday, October 24 at Stamford’s Loading...

  • 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...

  • The Food Network Open Casting Call for Home Cooks

    2014.10.25
     @ My Cooking Party

    FOOD NETWORK’S TOP CELEBRITY CHEFS ARE SCOURING THE NATION IN SEARCH OF AMAZING HOME COOKS! You’ve watched them on TV, bought their...

  • Greenwich Hospital Gala

    2014.10.25
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    It will be a Gala worthy of a doge when retiring Greenwich Hospital president and CEO, Frank A. Corvino, will be presented with the...

  • The Wilton Fall Antiques Market

    2014.10.26
     @ Wilton High School Field House

    Barnstar Productions and the Wilton Historical Society will present the Wilton Antiques Market. More than 80 exhibitors are expected to...

  • La Soirée d’ Automne at Bistro Versailles

    2014.10.27
     @ Bistro Versailles and Patisserie

    Wine dinners at Bistro Versailles are entertaining social events held on a regular basis. Socialize with friends and mingle with other attendees...

  • Explore the Bruce Museum

    2014.10.28
     @ Stamford JCC

    Join us at the Bruce Museum for a private tour of the inaugural showing in the U.S. of “Northern Baroque Splendor: The Hohenbuchau Collection...

  • Educational Seminar - Effective Resume Writing & Interviewing Skills

    2014.10.29
     @ Greenwich Library

    Are you sure you are putting your best foot forward in your job hunt?  What will make employers pick your resume and ask you for an interview?...

  • 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,...


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