I'm in a bit of a pickle here and I could use anybody's advice. Here's the deal. A couple of months ago, my aunt bought me an autographed ball at a Rotary Club's silent auction. She knows that I'm into autographs and she thought that she would help me out and she bought the ball. The ball is supposedly signed by Rod Carew and it was donated to the auction by a guy that knew a guy that knew Mr. Carew. When she bought it, she told me that there was no certificate of authenticity, but that the guy was trying to get one. I told her not to worry about it since I have seen enough fake COAs that I really don't credit them anymore. There are enough resources on the net now to do that.
Anyway, my aunt got into town today from California and she gave me the ball. Here it is.
The first thing I thought when I saw the signature was- WTF? Sharpie? The second thing I thought was- there is no way that says Rod Carew. I know how most modern signatures do not look like what they should be, but that is not always the case for some of the older players. It seems like most of the players pre-1990 have fairly legible signatures. I assumed that would be the case for Rod, but I wanted to make sure before I cast any judgement. So, the first I did when I got home was to head to ebay to take a look at some Rod Carew autographs. As I expected, none of them look anything like mine.
In every scan/photo I saw on there, you could always make out "Rod" in the signature. All of the balls I saw where signed in ballpoint, so I tried to focus on the cards as a reference since they are usually signed in Sharpie. Here is one of the better looking certified autos that I could find. Obviously, we do not have a match.
So, I started to hope that my aunt hadn't spent too much on me when I noticed that the invoice was in the box. She spent $90 on this for me. It looked like most autographed balls on the bay were going for $40-$60. If the money from the Rotary auction is going to charity, it really isn't that bad of buy (if it was real).
So, here is my question to you all. Do I tell my aunt that she got suckered? I certainly appreciate the gesture from her, but what would I do with this ball? She is only in town for about a day and a half longer and I don't know what to do.
If I don't tell her, she is out ninety bucks and I have a useless baseball and a new ball cube. If I do tell her, there may be some chance that she could get her money back. I don't know how the Rotary works, but judging by her invoice, I think that she should have some valid points for getting her money back. Here is a scan of it.
Look at the description section. It says that it is a "Rod Carew signed [illegible] MVP 1977 baseball". If this was a 1977 baseball, it would be an American League baseball (or maybe even a National League ball). But, this ball is a Major League baseball (I know there is no photo of the logo; just trust me). I do not know for sure when they started using the Major League ball, but I do know that it was around the most recent turn of the century. It certainly wasn't anywhere near 1977.
So, I figured at the very least, my aunt could argue that aspect of it, regardless of the authenticity of the signature.
What do you all think?