Such was the case with this item -- and had I known about it, I'd have made this an entry, and perhaps saved someone some money.
The item in question is a letter sent in February 1941 to a couple, Katherine and George Minnick, who worked at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It's from the Clark Gable and Carole Lombard home in Encino:
The message reads,
Dear Katherine & George,
Mr Gable and I want to thank you for the wonderful fruit cake. We do appreciate your thought of us. Please forgive the belated thanks but as you know we have been out of town since Xmas. Sincerly,
Carole & Clark Gable
It's on stationery that apparently is from Bullock's, the department store where many of filmland's notables shopped.
A nice, belated thank you from Lombard, printed in her trademark green ink. (The Gables were indeed away after Christmas, visiting Washington and Baltimore, the former as tourists, the latter for a medical visit to Johns Hopkins Hospital.) Heck, there's even an apparent misspelling at the end typical of Lombard, although to be fair, that's apparently due to lack of space.
An interesting artifact, one somebody bid $503 for (18 bids were made). There's just one problem -- the handwriting isn't Lombard's.
Was this forgery, as was the case a few years ago when someone paid more than $50 for a railroad ticket "signed" by Lombard that obviously wasn't hers (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/55847.html)? No, ghostwriting is probably a more accurate description.
This was probably written by Jean Garceau, Clark and Carole's personal secretary, writing as Lombard. (She surely typed letters for the Gables.) No deceit was intended; who at the time would ever have thought this would be auctioned nearly seven decades later? It simply was a note sent to associates at work (although Lombard wasn't an MGM employee, her marriage to Gable meant she spent a good deal of time there).
I doubt the seller was trying to hoodwink anyone, especially since this item came from the Gables' home and had been sent to someone Clark worked with. The letter is the real deal -- simply not quite as "real" as believed.
There's only one more comment we have to make: "wonderful fruit cake"? Well, it's the thought that counts.