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Feeling duped and disappointed, a New Gloucester man says the signed Patriots helmet he won in a charity raffle has since turned out to be a fake.
James MacNaught is a big Patriots fan, with a living room to prove it. Entire shelves are filled with memorabilia, but his most cherished possession lives under a glass case, in a hidden location.
“Team helmet signed by 45 of the players,” he said.
MacNaught said he won it in a raffle hosted by the Optimist Clubs of New England back in 2002.
“They drove up. They had the helmet,” he said. “They had pictures, and their certificate of authenticity they presented me with.”
With the Patriots now a dynasty, he decided 2018 was the perfect time to find out what it’s worth.
“Sent some pictures to a dealer in the Boston area and he came back with a response in about three minutes saying that it was all fake,” said MacNaught.
He wasn’t convinced, so he took the helmet to a Boston sports show to be inspected by JSA, one of the top authenticators in the country.
“It came back fake,” MacNaught said.
The JSA report found “the item is not, in fact, an authentic example,” citing inconsistencies in the handwriting.
“The fact that Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe didn’t have this in their hands and sign it, that was the big disappointment,” MacNaught said.
George Mathews, a member of the Lewiston-Auburn Optimist Club, who was around at the time of the raffle, didn’t want to speak on-camera, but told the CBS 13’s investigative I-Team he believes the helmet was donated by the Patriots and taken around the region to encourage people to buy tickets.
The American Football Coaches Association is listed on the certificate. A spokesman said they used a third party to assist in obtaining autographed items in the past and are now investigating.
MacNaught may not have any value in the helmet, but that’s not getting him down. He’s glad it only cost him a $20 donation.
“I’ll keep it around,” he said. “I’ve attached to it. I’m not gonna smash it with a hammer or anything.”
CBS 13 reached out to the Patriots. A spokesman said they would look into it the matter.
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