HERE is a recent expose about a fake Ernie Bushmiller sketch on Ebay. It got me thinking about the Ebay seller I wrote about over two years ago in this post. He was selling caricature prints that he claimed were by Caniff. I could see that they were so obviously not Caniff that I wondered why he was making the claim. So, I e-mailed the seller and asked him. He argued that they were by Caniff, and that he was personally involved in having the art done as a promotion for a company he worked for.
He pointed out that they're signed by Caniff. The signatures on the prints aren't visible with his small, blurry scans. I asked for a better scan, and he refused. I asked Caniff experts, and they agreed that no, Caniff didn't have a side career doing terrible celebrity caricatures. Representatives from the Milton Caniff Estate said they weren't Caniff, and I forwarded an e-mail from them to tell him so. He was undeterred, and a little irate. He told me that the prints were only $18, so it didn't matter if they were by Caniff or not. Then he told me to stop e-mailing him, which I did.
He's also got a print of Joe Palooka, a comic strip character created by Ham Fisher. He says even this is by Caniff, of "Terry and the Pirates Fame." Why would Caniff be ripping off his friend Fisher? The picture is signed, but once again too blurry to be read.
What's boggling is that this same seller does have legitimate Caniff product for sale. He regularly sells National Aviation Hall of Fame prints that were drawn by Caniff.
Another questionable Caniff auction from a different seller was this original drawing. It's one I came close to bidding on, but something wasn't quite right. It's not signed, and the price was low so it seemed collectors were staying away. The ultimate buyer got it for $43.50, and wrote about his skepticism on his own blog. The back says "Museum of Cartoon Art" and "Caniff Class." It makes me think this was a student piece, trying to draw like Caniff. He did a great job as it's a nice drawing, but enough of a question mark that it would be hard to authenticate.
The moral of the story is, of course, BUYER BEWARE.