Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Judge Takes No Action in Civil Contempt Case Against John Rogers

Comment by BigCity: It appears the collection (7,500 of 8,300 glass slides) will be auctioned to a new owner this coming summer. Let's hope it is to someone who might consider restarting the baseball card collection.PS: Anyone got an extra $2 Million?

by George Waldon  on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016 12:05 pm  

John Rogers, in a booking photo from Dec. 3. (Pulaski County Detention Center)

Civil contempt proceedings against John Rogers were put on hold this morning in Pulaski County Circuit Court. But the judge did give the green light to the sale of the famed Charles Conlon Collection of glass-plate negatives of professional baseball players.

Judge Chris Piazza decided to take no action on a civil contempt motion against the fallen sports memorabilia and photo archive dealer until a criminal case against Rogers for burglary and theft of property had run its course.

The contempt motion and criminal case are tied to a late-night weekend visit Rogers made to his former North Little Rock office in August during which he allegedly stole three hard drives.
North Little Rock police recovered two of the three 5-terabyte hard drives from his vehicle when Rogers was arrested in a traffic stop on Dec. 3. The 42-year-old businessman is out on bond pending trial.

An alleged serial fraudster, Rogers also is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation that became public after federal agents raided his business and home on Jan. 28, 2014.

The hard drives that he allegedly stole from his former Sports Cards Plus office at 115 E. 24th St. contained more than one million scanned photographs with metadata. The value of the digital images on the hard drives was estimated at $364,167.

Michael McAfee, the court-appointed receiver for the former business assets of Rogers, made the contempt motion against him because of his alleged illegal entry of the property and alleged theft of receivership assets.

Andrew King, attorney for the receiver, said his client would withdraw the civil contempt motion if Rogers would return the third hard drive.

Blake Hendrix, criminal defense attorney for Rogers, successfully argued that if his client were to do that it would violate his Fifth Amendment rights.

"I'm not saying John has the hard drive," Hendrix told the court. "If John had the hard drive, the act of producing it is incriminating."

Piazza was content to let the contempt motion lie for now, pending the outcome of the criminal case.
"But I can tell you, there will be consequences," Piazza said.

The hearing marked the second time Rogers has attended a court proceeding relating to his business troubles. He did not speak during the hearing.

Judge OKs Conlon Auction

Also Wednesday, Piazza approved the future auction of the Conlon Collection, which Rogers once owned.

The order allows sales efforts to proceed for an estimated 7,500 glass-plate negatives produced by photographer Charles Conlon (1868-1945).

McAfee indicated it will likely be summer before an auction is held.

The Conlon Collection that Rogers acquired in June 2010 numbered about 8,300 pieces. McAfee said he wasn't sure what happened to reduce the count to about 7,500 before he came aboard and inventoried assets.

"Some of the Conlon plates seem to have evaporated," McAfee testified.

Ownership of the collection is in dispute, with competing claims totaling more than 100 percent. But the only opposition to the sale was made by five people associated with Legendary Auctions of Lansing, Illinois: Doug Allen, Mark Theotikos, Bill Fulton, Amy Allen and Dale Huizena.

Referred to collectively as the Allen parties, they claim outright ownership of about 185 Conlon negatives, which largely consisted of images of Hall of Fame players. These glass plates were held in Illinois until a court-order led to their return late last year.

Steve Niswanger, attorney for the Allen parties, said his clients' plates represented the most valuable part of the collection and they would be financially harmed if the plates were included in the auction.
The Allen parties represent a combined 65 percent ownership claim, while the 185 plates they had represented about 2.4 percent of the collection.

Piazza said the particulars of who is entitled to receive what portion from the Conlon Collection sale can be addressed in the future. Until then, money from the auction will be put in the court registry.
"We need to have some closure and try to salvage something for the people who have a claim on the collection," Piazza said.

McAfee testified that he was advised the sale of the entire collection as a whole would bring more money than if plates were sold piecemeal.

What is the value of the collection?

"I don't know," he told the court.

Rogers once placed an $18 million value on it, which seems to be tied to projections from marketing prints from the collection.

Sources believe the collection should fetch something north of $2 million, twice what Rogers paid for the Conlon Collection and other assets owned by The Sporting News more than five years ago.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Latest News about the Conlon Glass Negatives

This  was all I could capture online about the future of the Conlon glass plates without paying $20 to see the rest of the article from the Arkansas Business Newsletter. It does, however, suggest that the Receiver is working hard to get the set back together...

Rogers Archive Receiver to Gather Final Pieces of Conlon Collection

Wed, Oct 21, 2015

An agreement has been reached to reunite the famed Conlon Collection of major league baseball images from the early 20th Century.

Michael McAfee, court-appointed receiver for the insolvent sports memorabilia and photo archives business of John and Angelica Rogers, will retrieve 185 pieces from Illinois.

These glass plate negatives, considered to be among the most valuable of the collection, are held by Doug Allen and others connected with Legendary Auctions of Lansing, Illinois.


If anyone has access to the Arkansas Archive and could forward me the article, it would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

John Rogers
Used Car Salesman

For those of you that either collect the various versions of Charles Conlon's baseball photography - usually through baseball cards published by the Sporting News, Marketcom, World Wide Sports, or Megacards - you are well aware that in 2010, John Roger's purchased 8,354 original glass negatives of Conlon's work from 1904 to 1939.

Much was hoped when this happened, including the possibility that Rogers might continue the baseball card collection that was stopped abruptly in 1994 during the baseball strike. Rogers even claimed, in 2012, that he was considering restarting the collection.

Instead, Rogers company produced high priced "Museum Quality" prints from the Conlon negatives to an audience willing to pay the exorbitant prices.

In the meantime, Rogers began buying up newspaper photo collections for huge sums of money, under the promise to organize and digitize these collections for easy access. It is estimated he purchased up to 200 million historical newspaper photos.

Well, long story short, Mr. Rogers' actual intentions seemed to be what in the reality business we call "flipping". Many of the collections, and/or parts of the collections, were resold to other buyers for profit. It didn't take long before questions rose as to what was being purchased; originals, rights, or fakes.

In a very short time, many lawsuits were brought against Rogers, and the FBI ultimately took control of most of his photo collections.

Getting back to the portion of the story I'm interested in, that means the Conlon collection (or whatever part Rogers actually owns at this point if any) is no longer in possession of a single owner that could, at some point, do something productive with these photos.

It is likely these photos will remain under FBI control for years - if not decades - before anyone will have the chance to consider doing anything with them.

It's tempting, and too easy, to blame the Sporting News for selling such an important collection to Rogers in the first place - but the Sporting News is not the criminal here - John Rogers is - and because of his greed, our generation will likely not see the vast majority of Conlon's work made into the baseball cards we've loved to collect.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blog Has Been Revised !!

As of today, April 28th 2015, all descriptions and checklists have been updated. Over the next few weeks, I might "tweak" a few things but for all practical purposes, what is now the final product.

I updated this Blog to insure there a source of accurate information on the Conlon card set all in one place. My adventure in collecting these wonderful cards was riddled with a lot of work to both learn and organize the 2,848 cards in question.

I hope your adventure is thus a little easier...