A few years ago a bunch of photos began appearing on ebay that were obviously not made by Weegee.
The only thing that connected the photos to Weegee was a stamp on the back: “Credit Photo by WEEGEE The Famous.”
Here are some of these stamps:
Here are some real stamps from the backs of real Weegee photos.
There are some obvious differences.
Our theory: In preparation for the book, Weegee by Weegee (1961), and perhaps for distortions, Weegee photographed his “Credit Photo by Weegee The Famous” stamp. In the enlargement and reproduction processes the stamp changed. (There is photographic evidence of this.) The C and E of “CREDIT” and the H in “THE” acquired artifacts, the type has fattened up, primarily the “Credit Photo by… The Famous” which is very thin on the real stamps, there is a notch in the circle, at the three o’clock mark, or opposite the final E in Weegee, and the circle is uneven – thin on the bottom, etc., etc…
It is Weegee’s reproduction of his stamp that has been the primary, if not exclusive, source of this image since 1961. Chronologically:
Weegee by Weegee (1961)
Weegee The Famous (1977)
Weegee’s New York (1982)
Weegee’s Tote Bag (ca. 2012)
The stamp on the back of the “phony” Weegee prints, (based on a small JPEGs from ebay), appears to be an exact match to the reproduction of the stamp, and is not the original stamp.
Approximately 90% of the “Credit Photo by Weegee The Famous” stamps that we have seen are in purple-ish/red-ish ink; off-center; not straight, or aligned with the print… Furthermore, the stamp was used primarily between 1941-1945 (after he was “famous”). The purpose of the stamp was practical and professional…
“An educated consumer is our best customer.”
Now, we move on to more important things…
(To be continued…)