3OYS: Tempe man 'strikes out' over Babe Ruth baseballs

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Matt Boggs has a small collection of sports memorabilia that he's trying to build up.


"Oh yeah, I love baseball," he said. "I've always watched it and grew up a big Tigers fan."


When Boggs came across some interesting memorabilia on the Internet last August, it caught his attention. In particular, he noticed signed baseballs from Hall of Fame baseball legend Babe Ruth were going to be auctioned off.


The baseballs, he says, even came with certificates of authenticity. However, before Boggs and others were able to bid on the baseballs, they were allowed to inspect them in person.


"The balls were in their display cases and then they had the certificates next to them as well, and so I'm thinking, 'OK, well, hey, if they're protecting them, there obviously is not something horrible here,' " Boggs said.


The autographed baseballs were part of a bankruptcy auction, and money from the items was supposed to pay down the amount owed by the debtor. In this case, the bankruptcy company hired a company called AuctionAZ.com to sell off those Babe Ruth baseballs, which Boggs bid on and won.


“I ended up buying two baseballs and spent just under $12,000. It was like $11,000 and some odd dollars," Boggs said.


Boggs thought he had hit a home run by purchasing the baseballs for just over $11,000. However, when he went to have them professionally appraised later, he was told by several different appraisers that the two Babe Ruth signatures weren't the real deal and those certificates of authenticity were worthless.


Boggs was stunned.


"It was a strike out, completely," he said.


Boggs wanted his $12,000 back, so 3 On Your Side went to the auction company to see what could be done. We sat down with George Cunningham, owner of the auction house


He told us he's simply the middle man who sold off the baseballs for the bankruptcy court and that all information regarding those Babe Ruth autographed balls was made available to everyone, including Boggs.


"Some of them even had letters that said that they weren't real, that they were fake, and so we just disclosed every bit of information that we had," Cunningham said.


He went on to say that all the items that were auctioned even came with a disclaimer warning consumers. Unfortunately, he says there's nothing that can be done for Boggs.

  

"Buyer assumes all risk that the item is not authentic. So, if anything, we erred on the conservative side, saying that these probably aren't authentic," Cunningham explained.


What this all means, of course, is that the original owner of the baseballs, the man who declared bankruptcy, was able to pay his creditors with forged items, which Boggs paid a premium for.


"I'm literally looking at myself as a financial failure every day of my life right now," Boggs said. "I'm looking at myself and I'm just thinking, 'You are the biggest idiot in the world.' And I look, and I've got these two baseballs staring at me right back in the face."