Rogers Archive Receiver to Gather Final Pieces of Conlon Collection


Rogers Archive Receiver to Gather Final Pieces of Conlon Collection
A photograph of Detroit Tigers outfielder and future Hall of Famer Ty Cobb stealing third with a hard slide past the New York Highlanders’ Jimmy Austin, an iconic asset from the Charles Conlon Collection. (Charles Conlon Collection)

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.

More: John Rogers appeared in court today as attorneys argued over a request for a contempt hearing

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.

The balance of the collection is in North Little Rock under the control of McAfee. The entire collection totals about 8,300 glass plate negatives of Charles Conlon (1868-1945).

The Allen/Legendary Auction parties claimed a 65 percent ownership stake in the Conlon Collection after allegedly investing $750,000 with John Rogers in 2011 and 2012.

John Rogers touted an appraised value of $18 million for Conlon’s surviving work. Estimates obtained by McAfee place the value of the collection between $1.2 million to $3 million.

Conflicting ownership claims totaling more than 100 percent are mixed with a security interest claim by First Arkansas Bank & Trust of Jacksonville. 

A hearing will be scheduled to determine the priority of competing claims. A ruling will set the pecking order and share of cash distributions when the collection is sold by the receiver.

According to court filings, Mark Roberts of San Francisco holds the oldest claim: a 25 percent stake purchased from John Rogers for $1.1 million on Oct. 21, 2010.

Roberts also claims a security interest in the rest of the Conlon Collection, collateral pledged by Rogers on March 31, 2012, to secure $1.1 million owed Roberts.

According to court filings, the debt represented money Roberts paid Rogers for sports memorabilia in 2009. Roberts later discovered the items had authenticity problems, and Rogers promised to repay him $1.1 million plus 6 percent interest in 10 semi-annual payments.

Rogers allegedly defaulted on the debt, which had an outstanding balance of $473,000 as of Oct. 3, 2014.

John Rogers, an alleged serial fraudster bearing upwards of $50 million in creditor-investor claims, remains under federal investigation.

Allen, president and CEO of Legendary Auctions, pleaded guilty to crimes committed between 2001 and 2009 while working for another Chicago-area memorabilia dealer, Mastro Auctions. Allen was indicted on 14 counts of mail and wire fraud in July 2012. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud last year and is awaiting sentencing.

The Conlon plates in Illinois include images of Grover Alexander, Chief Bender, Moe Berg, Modecai Brown, Frank Chance, Eddie Cicotte, Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Kiki Cuyler, Johnny Evers, Jimmie Foxx, Frank Frisch, Lou Gehrig, Charlie Gehringer, Kid Gleason, Lefty Gomez, Goose Goslin, Hank Greenberg, Lefty Grove, Gabby Hartnett, Rogers Hornsby, Waite Hoye, Carl Hubbell, Miller Huggins, Travis Jackson, Hughie Jennings, Walter Johnson, Wee Willie Keller, Bill Klem, Tony Lazzeri, Connie Mack, Rube Marquard, Christy Mathewson, Joe McGinnity, John McGraw, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Joe Sewell, Tris Speaker, Billy Terry, Jim Thorpe, Honus Wagner and Ross Youngs.


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