Friday, January 25, 2008

Possible Dunlap Broadside Scam

Over on ExLibris, Everett Wilkie passes along a bulletin from Bea Hardy, the director of the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William and Mary's Swem Library. Hardy reports:

"I was contacted earlier this week by email by a woman claiming to work for 'Atam Sahamanian, a private art dealer here in Manhattan.' She claims that he has been commissioned to sell the 18th copy of the Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence by a descendant of a signer, discreetly, of course. She went on to say that after doing some research, she had concluded that William and Mary would be a good home for it and gave a string of reasons as to why. Should I be interested, she offered to send more pictures and the price.

If you have been or are similarly contacted, please be aware that the accompanying photo is not of a Dunlap broadside, and there are other reasons to view this offer with suspicion. A Google search for Atam Sahamanian or Atam Sahmanian (she spelled it both ways in the email) leads to a Yahoo! Answers post inquiring about a NY art dealer of that name who the poster alleges has scammed people. The post has been removed but is still in Google's cache. Google also turns up a high-end shirtmaker by that name in Manhattan who does seem to be legitimate.

It's always safest to buy from reputable dealers, such as members of the Antiquarian Booksellers of America, who agree to abide by a code of ethics."

Wikipedia's entry for the Dunlap Broadside is actually quite decent; also see the MHS' description of the broadside and this background page (which lists the locations of all 25 known copies).

If you receive a similar email, I encourage you to let me know - the more public we can make this, the better.

[Update: The New-York Historical Society has also been contacted, Director of Library Operations Nina Nazionale reported this afternoon on ExLibris. She includes the original email sent by an Olivia Day Thacher. More as I get it.]

[Further update: Here's the image that's being circulated with the email, and here's a Dunlap Broadside for comparison. Somebody better call the State of Texas and make sure they don't buy this one ... sorry, was that mean?]

[Still further update: Please see this important update to this post regarding a clarification made by Atam Sahmanian, Inc. - 28 March 2008]


Sunshine said...

There are many people out there who have been scammed by Atam Sahmanian..

Informed said...

I have been defrauded by Atam and would be very pleased to have you join me in a complaint with the Attorney General. If you are willing, simply answer here that you'd be willing to and then we'll plan for a method for us to contact each other. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Unknown said...

These are completely absurd statements and accusations! Some of my business associates and I have been doing business with Atam for several years and have been incredibly pleased with his candor, expertise and overall professionalism. Time and time again he has proven that he's an ethical businessman on every front we've done business. This is a person that gives greatly to honorable causes, cares for his friends and family deeply and is always available for his broad clientele. This is beyond being a top rate fine art dealer and participating greatly in the success of his father's business.

I never have to second guess Atam Sahmanian. Perhaps the person in charge of this blog should do some homework or offer a fair interview of the subject before slandering them. Atam has been doing business in the same building in Manhattan for roughly 30 years and proudly posts his name on the door. This certainly doesn't sound like a deceitful, conniving business man to me.

I highly recommend verifying your facts in order to redeem the credibility of your blog.

Unknown said...

Just a quick comment in response to Stephanie's note above - I have been in email contact with a partner of Mr. Sahmanian's several times, and am awaiting receipt of a press release from him regarding this matter. Once I have that in hand, I hope to be able to issue a clarification.

Mary said...

Stephanie Rudat who works for Atam Sahmanian is a liar, fraud and scum.
She convinced me to invest $$ is an art fund she said is guaranteed to doublr or triple my $$ with 3 months. After our meeting, when I wrote her a check made out to her personally, I have not received any of the contracts, documents, art decription/authenticity...nothing. I sit here now with a copy of a cashed check I wrote to her personal account, and no communication from her. I wrte the check in October 2007. Fortunately, my attorneys are going after her and I also have informed the local police of what has happened.
If any one has been approached by Stephanie Rudat, run for the hills FAST! She is a liar, a fraud and gives the human race a bad name. She could actually look me straight in the face and lie. I do believe Karma will get her in the end, I still want my $$ back though. She has nothing to show that she even invested the $$ in art.
Its so frightening that the world has gotten to this point

Unknown said...

I too was scammed by Atam, by way of Stephanie Rudat. I, actually, thought she was a friend, but after given numerous chances to make good or reimburse by money, there was no resposne. She claims to do a bunch of philathropic work, but is a fraud as well. I would be happy to participate in a claim against these two.

Eric said...

Hi Jeff, Sunshine, Informed,
I'd like to talk to you about your experience with Atam Sahmanian. After investing $$ in '07, I have not heard an update since beginning of '08. I'd like to close this "investment" chapter and move on.