An obvious place to look is the cover page. You've already seen cover pages for a few of her self published Needle Adventure and Loretta Spears Designs charts here. Through the courtesy of GE and her husband, I have a set of mystery cover pages for you to enjoy. Please note that these have been marked Sample so that these images cannot be used as templates for selling xeroxed copies of Loretta's designs on eBay or elsewhere.
The presence or absence of a cover page is no guarantee of authenticity. These things get lost over the years. I think it likely that the original printing of the mystery charts had pink covers, but I have seen pastel blue and pastel violet covers on eBay sales. Is that a fake or just Loretta running out of pink paper? There is no way to tell. GE's covers are all white and she bought directly from Loretta in two batches.
GE says the mysteries started appearing in 1993 but she bought her first group of charts in 1996 and bought the others (except for the limited edition Mystery #7 which was sold out) later. She has misplaced Mystery #11 but the others (minus #7 which she was unable to purchase as it was a limited edition) are shown here. Please note that Mystery #1 was flipped in printing. Through the magic of Photoshop, I have a corrected version for you to see as well. Note Loretta wrote the mystery number on the cover for #1 and that the alien space ship design is the same for all the mysteries, but the charts differ in various ways. A white cover is probably the sign that someone bought a group of mystery charts from Loretta, in my opinion. But this is just an opinion.
I have heard some folks have mystery charts with a stick-on label that says "Mystery number" and "class number." Did Loretta run cyber classes on these pieces? Or was this some sort of way to track what she sold? Any ideas? I'd like to hear from folks who bought their mystery charts as each was released. Do you have stick-on labels that sound like these?
When it comes to eBay sales, the most reliable way to know if you have an actual chart that Loretta sold is to look at the photos carefully for clues and check the feedback on the seller as well as their selling history. Even an ethical seller may think they have an original Loretta when it is a xerox, so these methods may fail you, but I can't come up with any way to really authenticate the mystery charts. The small ornament charts are much easier because the covers are harder to replicate but when it comes to the mystery charts, buyer beware.
Here are the Mystery Covers, all in white, with #7 and #11 missing and with two versions of #1. GE was sold a version with the cover flipped, but PhotoShop magic fixed that. I would like to thank GE and her husband for all their work in providing scans and adding the Sample message (in my favorite color-Pink!). Mystery #11's cover was furnished by Miss Kitty.
This is GE's original cover, which was obviously flipped when reproduced by Loretta. She probably missed that the cover was reversed and sent it out in the group of mystery designs GE ordered. This seems to be unique, but if you also have a flipped cover page, please let me know.
|Mystery #1 (Photoshopped to reverse)|
There is no photograph of the cover of Mystery #7. It was a limited edition chart and sold out by the time GE purchased her second set of Loretta Spears mystery designs. One person with a copy of Mystery #7 didn't get a cover page, so there may have not been one. I'd like to hear from anyone with a copy of Mystery #7 to hear if you have a cover page or not.