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Fake: Forgery, Lies, & eBay

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  84 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
It was the golden age of eBay. Optimistic bidders went online to the world's largest flea market in droves, ready to spend cash on everything from garden gnomes to Mercedes convertibles. Among them were art collectors willing to spend big money on unseen paintings, hoping to buy valuable pieces of art at below-market prices. EBay also attracted the occasional con artist un ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published May 15th 2006 by Gallery Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 120)
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Roberta
I picked up this book for a few cents at a library sale and it turned out to be a very readable book. I buy a lot of stuff on eBay so nothing here was much of a surprise to me but it was interesting to see how a sort of regular-guy, who was smart enough that he could have earned a living honestly, can slip down the slope of immaturity and fall into the pit of dishonesty and greed. It is also interesting to note how difficult it is for people, even experts, to tell the difference between valuable ...more
Kate Gould
Kenneth Walton is sorry: to his friends, parents, ex-girlfriends, and the people he conned into buying forged paintings on eBay. “I’ve met my inner con man,” he says, “and I can never again pretend I don’t know him.” This inner con man tells the story of Walton’s venture into internet fraud in which he went from a middling lawyer to an ersatz art dealer, forging artists’ signatures and palming off junkshop paintings as masterpieces. He worked with other sellers, setting up fake eBay IDs and maki ...more
Amanda
Dec 30, 2007 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fake is a gripping real-life tale of Kenneth Walton's growth from small-time seller on eBay to a full-fledged internet swindler, selling art forgeries for ridiculous amounts of money.

I literally couldn't put this book down, and that says something for a first-time author like Walton. What makes Walton's story so fascinating is that he takes the reader through his thought process that led him to a decision that destroyed his life.
Cindy
Apr 14, 2014 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read. Suspense, drama, intrigue along with the compelling choices and consequences that changed the author's life in an unimaginable way. Difficult to put down as you ride the roller coaster of the authors daily choices, revelations and sometimes ironic outcomes. I highly recommend this!
Debbie
Nov 04, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
I enjoyed this easy read. Finished in 2 days. It tells the story of a highly educated man who essentially became addicted to EBay back in the day and went down the slippery slope of lies and easy money until he crashed. It's written as a confession with the emotional and legal stress woven in. Overall, a good book.
Deron Hicks
Good quick read, but would have liked some more details on the forgeries. Sidebars with short interviews of other people involved in the case would have rounded it out nicely. Still, enjoyable, interesting read.
Nancy
Jun 14, 2010 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
As far as books about art crime go, Provenance was a more gripping read. But this was readable and, if some people find the mea culpas a bit too much, you have to give the author some credit for revealing himself to be immature, weak, dishonest and greedy. Made you want to kick the guy in the pants or knock some sense into him, but then getting caught and charged and dis-barred seems to have had some effect.

Fact is, though, that shill bidding still happens on eBay, seems like no-win or seemingl
...more
Harvey
Aug 05, 2015 Harvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- EBay's popularity exploded in the late 1990's as millions of bidders went online to the largest flea-market on earth, ready to spend cash on everything from garden gnomes to Mercedes convertibles (and now - yachts, airplanes, and real-estate). Among them were art collectors willing to spend big money on unseen paintings, hoping to buy valuable pieces at below-market prices. EBay also attracted the occasional con-artist, unable to resist the temptation of abusing a system that prided itself on ...more
Jessica
Quick read about a man who sold forged paintings on Ebay for thousands of dollars and his eventual expulsion for the auction site. Anyone interested in art would find this book both fascinating and sickening as Kenneth Walton recounts his relationship with this partner and fellow art-forger Fetterman, his interaction with Ebay customers, and the shill bidding that pushed the price of the some paintings up over $30,000. The ending is sad and leaves the reader wondering if the old adage, "Once a c ...more
Miychen
Much more readable than I actually expected- literally sat down and read it in one go. Walton's voice is easy to follow, and it's easy to feel sympathy for the huge forgery scam he was embroiled in. Though not quite as exciting as I'd expected (Walton's job wasn't actually forging artworks per se, but selling off crap pieces and passing them off as genuine on eBay), it's still eye-opening and pretty interesting. The book has a significant focus on Walton's personal life as well, and how his art ...more
Melody
Sep 16, 2007 Melody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aieee. Creeps ripping off honest folks on eBay. Also creeps making excuses for bad behaviour and rationalizing stealing. Thoroughly despicable author goes from lawyer to cheat to forger. One wonders what sort of a person then writes it all up, almost proudly, and publishes it. After this book, I needed a shower. With steel wool to get the really sticky nasty bits off. Walton is a decent writer, it's the sordid details that got me down.
Sheena Tahilramani
A good story. How anyone thought they could get away with this more than once is beyond any level of stupidity. Ken Walton got exactly what he deserved and as someone who has (almost) been scammed on eBay (much smaller amount than any of Mr. Walton's dealings), I am glad the defrauded received their money back.
Stefanie
Jan 02, 2013 Stefanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting story about art fraud on eBay from a guy whose remorse for his part in the whole thing I believe. He describes how he got into it, the moral compromises along the way, and what the choices he made ultimately cost. And, in the end, I liked the guy. Nicely done.
Natalie
Nov 22, 2007 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in eBay scams and art forgery
Great true story of the first high profile corruption story of eBay. It's also a great art forgery story. This book is written from the seller/art forger perspective. The author is also a lawyer. I don't completely believe his story, but it is still a good one.
Amber
Mar 16, 2009 Amber rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's true. That guy that I knew is mentioned several times by name in this book. Other than that, it's a fairly interesting read in the "people I don't like doing things I don't want" category.
Kelly
Aug 04, 2007 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
Ken Walton used Ebay to compulsively re-sell art--faked, forged, and otherwise misrepresented. He got caught and wrote a book about it. His story is straightforward, if it can be believed.
Trista
Aug 10, 2007 Trista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ken is a friend of mine - This is a great read and true all the way through!
Tjoh
Jul 11, 2012 Tjoh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting view of the early days of eBay and the internet...
Alex Benenson
Nov 29, 2007 Alex Benenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a slow descent into art forgery via eBay. incredible.
Thinkingstiff
Jun 08, 2011 Thinkingstiff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My brother wrote this book.
Thomas F. Farb
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Feb 01, 2016
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