Discovery Channel’s “All Star Dealers” on deck

It’s one of the most American of American dreams — finding a home run ball hit by a Lou Gehrig, a Mickey Mantle or a Hank Aaron and buying it for a song. And there was a time when the realization of that dream was tantamount to folklore. But in a world in which the market is flooded with collectibles, valuable and otherwise, there’s always the risk of counterfeit goods, forged signatures and other troublesome merchandise. It’s all part and parcel of the memorabilia game, and it’s at the heart of a new series, All Star Dealers, premiering on Discovery Channel Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 8pm ET/PT.

Richie Russek and his sons, Michael and Darren, head up Grey Flannel Auctions, and in All Star Dealers, they’ll be sifting through everything from rare, game-worn jerseys to bats that may have plowed the way to some player’s entry in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Every day, hundreds of items are offered to the Grey Flannel team. And while some are authentic and potentially worth thousands to both the Russeks and to the consigner, others are ejected from the game as either phonies or based on their cheap, imitation quality.

The marrow of All Star Dealers as a show lies in the investigation and detection of the authentication process. Richie has at his disposal a legion of expert authenticators who help the Grey Flannel bunch to sort out the grand slams from the foul balls. Employing state-of-the-art tools and highly detailed methods of investigation, they deconstruct the truth behind the object brought before them to find out the real story … or, as the case may be, the fake one.