A number of our readers have told us that they are uneasy about the authenticity of LFC memorabilia they bought or ordered from Koptalk in the last few years. It includes footballs and shirts. We want to help them establish the truth.
If you ordered memorabilia from Koptalk in the last 3-4 years please tells us what happened. You can write in strict confidence or post publicly in the Comments section. By sharing your experiences you may find out if they were unique or part of a pattern. It may be your contribution that encourages others to write in.
Koptalk sold the memorabilia as being authentically signed by individual players or the entire team. Because of this they fetched prices up to £500 per item, perhaps more.
They were sold in a variety of ways:
- promoted on the Koptalk website:
- promoted by email offers sent by Koptalk to individual members:
- by a Koptalk auction on E-bay.
Some of the sales were said to be in aid of charity – for Lauren, whom Duncan Oldham claimed was his cousin, or for other appeals. Because sales were for charity, bidders tended to bid more than they normally would.
Causes of Unease
The unease arises from a number of cumulative factors:
- Some of the memorabilia was sent without certificates of authentication. In cases were the recipient repeatedly insisted on a certificate one was belatedly produced and signed by Steve, the 15 or 16-year-old (as he was then) step-brother of Oldham or by Oldham, himself:
- In some cases no invoice was provided and there were other oddities about the transaction:
- In some cases an item was offered at auction as a one-off. After Koptalk announced that it had been sold and delivered to the highest bidder, it sent private letters to other bidders offering them an identical item if they would repeat their failed bid.
- In some cases, the money was paid but the item not delivered. Koptalk has not responded to enquiries from the buyer.
- There was no satisfactory explanation of where and how Koptalk obtained the memorabilia and when it was signed.
- In some cases there are questions about the authenticity of the signatures. These were reinforced when Oldham displayed a photograph of a shirt which he claimed Dirk Kuyt signed in his presence “To Dunk”. But some readers who are experienced in these matters think the photograph has been doctored. While that shirt has not been offered for sale, as far as we know, the possible doctoring of the photo is troubling. Click for the Kuyt shirt story.
- Oldham has never published accounts for the Lauren charity and not everyone got a receipt for their donation. He directed that donations be made out to Koptalk or to his mother’s personal account. He is the sole owner of Koptalk and appears to mix business, personal and charitable revenues and expenditures. He has produced no public accounting of the revenues from the sales of the memorabilia for charity.
- Some buyers have come to learn that Oldham used a football Usenet group to sell illegal Sky satellite cards using a false name, Del Johnson, and was accused by many of his customers of not delivering them and was investigated about it by Trading Standards in North Yorkshire. They have also learned that he has taken deposits for three years on a book he has still not written entitled Anfield Exposed. And they are aware of false representations he has made about direct dealings he said he had with executives of LFC, and other matters that raise questions about his reliability.
We ask those who have already written to us on this topic before the last two weeks, to write again. If possible give us hard information such as dates and prices and photos or links if you have them. If you give us permission to publish any of your information we would remove any detail that could reveal your identity.
Please let us know if any particular item you bought was sold by Koptalk for the benefit of the Lauren or any other charity.
Similarly, if you have subsequently proven the authenticity of any item you bought and were satisfied with the transaction, let us know that, too. We want to be fair.
We appreciate that not everyone would want to pursue a complaint even if our investigation does reveal something wrong. In that case we would write to you privately to see what you want to do.
Photo: Duncan Oldham of Koptalk and the cover of his phantom book.
Click for details