An alleged forgery ring is unraveling after authorities garnered enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for artist Donald “D.B” Henkel’s property in Traverse City, Michigan. According to reports, the FBI began investigating the artist after learning he was involved in the sale of fake works said to be by notable 20th Century American artist to U.S. galleries, collectors, and museums. Conservators confirmed that materials used in these “rediscovered” works did not exist during the period in which they were supposedly created.
These forgers did not only use their talents in the art world, but ventured in the world of sports memorabilia. According to one article:
Since 2015, two accused co-conspirators have sold a purported Babe Ruth bat for $60,000 and a Lou Gehrig bat for $120,000, according to the FBI agent. Most of the money was sent to Henkel and another person.
The FBI affidavit does not say the bat was counterfeit.
The timing of the Gehrig bat auction and price tag appears to match one sold by Hunt Auctions of Pennsylvania. According to the listing, the Gehrig bat belonged to a descendant of a bat boy who had met the New York Yankees legend.
With that, 30 FBI agents raided the home, seizing a number of undisclosed items. No arrests have been made… yet.