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Thread: Open Letter to AFA and UKG

  1. #1

    Open Letter to AFA and UKG

    To Chad Thompon and Stephen Ward:

    On December 5th, a bombshell was dropped on the collecting community when a Star Wars collector with a checkered past alleged he had lost out on a deal involving 25,000 cardbacks that were originally acquired when the Palitoy factory had been closed. The dealer who ended-up with the cardbacks has since been the topic of great controversy, which includes the allegations and photographic evidence that have raised considerable doubt and concern amongst collectors who have either dealt directly with Antoni Emchowicz (Toytoni and Zoomertoys), or indirectly with goods deriving from this source that have changed hands since first being introduced in the market sometime in the early 90's.

    The main reason for addressing this directly to both your companies is that the actions of Jason Joiner, and the allegations against Antoni Emchowicz have essentially burdened the collecting community to prove these allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. The fallout from this is a level of distrust which hasn't been felt since my time as a SW toy collector, and the distrust continues to escalate as people are feverishly trying to dump suspect items from the toy lines in question in various online marketplaces and eBay.

    While some members both on SWFUK and RS have worked hard to try to uncover tells which might help us better understand and possibly prove that modern seals were used on Toni's MOC's, this has placed an unfair onus on the community to keep everyone honest. We simply cannot keep up with the cat and mouse game, initiated by Toni if these allegations turn out to be true, and continued by collectors dumping AFA/UKG graded suspect items.

    I would ask that effective immediately, both AFA and UKG ban Antoni Emchowicz from being able to submit any toys to either of you. This is not a suggestion without precedent as CGC had banned Danny Dupcak (Fantasia owner who was recreating comics using unused covers from the Eastern Colour Printing) and Jason Ewert (for micro-trimming hundreds of comics using methods that CGC was not able to detect). Assuming he was a high volume submitter, given he was sending toys over the pond and was very likely economizing on shipping costs, cutting him off or agents acting on his behalf may require acting with a merchant who is validating transactions to refute any credit transactions tied to him or any familial variation. To further eliminate the possibility he is crafty enough to find an unrelated agent to submit on his behalf, you need to put out a statement immediately putting a hold on any items from being eligible for grading that appear on this list.

    Secondly, I would ask that if neither of you has commenced such actions, to begin backtracking any/all invoices that came from Antoni Emchowicz and to produce a list of serial numbers which the community can cross-reference. At this point, while these are still allegations, I believe requesting this information from both your companies will help the community remain vigilant in tracking potential submissions that are circulating online and help consumers avoid being unnecessarily embroiled in acquiring potentially tainted samples floating around in the wild.

    Moreover, if you do find submission patterns, or tells to distinguish modern seals as you investigate this matter further from your end, it would be particularly helpful to report them to the community. You may use this thread to respond to the above, or to update the community on other ways you are responding to this matter.

    As a matter of public awareness, I have been in contact with Antoni Emchowicz and while he barely abided by my deadline to respond, through his curt response to my request for a refund, he has demonstrated himself as an individual that is untrustworthy, unprofessional, and who is ready and willing to use whatever stalling tactics available to him. It is for this reason that I urge you both to act in a matter which clearly demonstrates there are consequences for individuals who act irresponsibly, and this extends to the criminal allegations of a cheater trying to use certification as a method to circulate counterfeit goods.

    I would urge you to consider these suggestions carefully and with priority as the negative trickle effect on your reputations is inevitable, and will be greatly aggravated or minimized by your in/actions and timeliness in issuing a response. Regardless of what pans out, his silence, behaviour and attitude towards customers seeking refunds has itself caused enough doubt in collectors minds to forever avoid him, and that may possibly extend to purchasing any certified Palitoy line items floating around in the market.

    However, as I have experienced and seen first hand for over 30 years, and when the Eastern "file copies" first began to hit the back-issue comic market, individuals who have demonstrated the capacity to rip collectors off will not abate their pursuits. When caught, they need to be constantly reminded their activities aren't going unnoticed. While this situation may call upon the community a tremendous burden to unravel this mess to come to the truth, the inspiration to post this open letter is found in my belief you both have otherwise acted as hobby stewards, and that this situation, while difficult for all involved, presents an opportunity to not only demonstrate it to a community still reeling from this revelation, but hopefully to put this individual and any accomplices out of business for good.


    P.S. While there are numerous threads on this matter, this blog summarizes and posts link for those interested in learning more about the situation
    Last edited by finestcomics; 12-31-2013 at 09:50 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Sydney Australia

    Great letter and some great points Joe and i agree with all youve said.

    Tom Derby was good enough to come on and make a post in the TT palitoy thread, hopefully he can come in and make another one here.
    I hope youve sent both UKG and AFA a copy of this open letter, and told them about this thread so they can come on and discuss your points above further, i think they owe that to the community that feeds their business's.

  3. #3
    Thanks Aussie. I have been in contact via email when I first caught wind of the situation. I've taken your suggestion and email them a link to this thread.

  4. #4
    I could be wrong here, but I don't think that Toni himself did submit a lot of these to AFA - I think many of his customers, especially people lie Robbie (Galactables) did instead.

    However, I do agree with the sentiment of the letter. As a minimum, a decision is required from both AFA and UKG as to whether they are happy to grade these suspect items any more.

  5. #5
    A very well thought out non-threatening post. Well done.

    and don't forget the guys from TIG who've helped!
    1 - 0 to the Arsenal!
    member of The Vintage Rebellion Podcast
    Used to be cc4rhu but changed to avoid "confusion for no reason."

  6. #6
    I suspected the same myself, but I also understood from a conversation I had with Stephen Ward that Toni direct submitted himself. It is likely that many people buying from him were testing the grade assertions, and submitting themselves, but my hope is that by producing such a list, we can hopefully start to catch them, and learn more about how they vary in terms of their seal methods, and any other observable data points which could help us arrive closer to the truth.

    In the meantime, I think it would be prudent for both AFA/UKG to stop grading them at minimum, and in my personal opinion the suggestion of banning Toni should have happened yesterday.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Cc4rhu View Post
    A very well thought out non-threatening post. Well done.

    and don't forget the guys from TIG who've helped!
    Yes, absolutely. I didn't mean to exclude anyone, and TIG has definitely been just as helpful in covering this unfolding revelation. My intent was to publish this in areas where I frequent most, as I know collectors of both Palitoy and Star Wars toy lines are in those communities as well.

  8. #8
    I and others have sent similar queries to AFA, and I can only assume UKG as well. Perhaps it is because it is the holiday season or because nothing has been "proven" with rock solid, 100% evidence, but the lack of any formal statement back by either of them to date is very disappointing.

    I don't blame either company at all for being duped along with the rest of us, but the only statement I have seen to date from AFA is that they "don't respond to speculation in chat forums," which Erik (BobaFett34) posted a week or so ago.

    I see that as a big cop out, especially considering that at the end of the day they should know there is little that separates them, what they do for a living, and what they really know about vintage Star Wars collectibles from many of the talented and smart folks on SWKUK, RS and TIG that helped uncover the Tonigate issue. So calling what is out there the "speculation" of some unqualified chat room members at this point is a slap in the face to all the hard work of all the brilliant, long standing collectors that are members of these sites.

    If they don't squarely address this issue and follow Tom Derby's lead VERY SOON after the New Year, then count me among the likely many that will not send them any more of my business.

    Happy new year,


  9. #9
    PS forgot to add that I agree with virtually everything you said, Finest. I thought your letter was polite, but necessarily direct and well reasoned. Well done. Will be interested to see if and how they respond.


  10. #10
    First, I like the letter, its civil and yet gets the point across.

    Now that said. i dont know what impact this has on AFA. They still grade video games, and many other toys as an example. So I dont know if they decide this blows over or perhaps they dont want to act because of their ties to dealers who have,, maybe many items in question.. i dunno how it all works out.

    I think also, until something where there is an admission of guilt, AFA stays quiet and ignores this. Now, if it can be established where there is no doubt, why couldnt AFA be sued in a class action law suit?

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