Want to stick your fist into a beehive? It's easy. Just head on over to any Interweb-based skate forum and bring up Mark "Gator" Rogowski's name. No surprise, really, what with Gator's story being one of the most sensational, disturbing, shocking, and sad in the history of skateboarding, after he plead guilty to the murder of Jessica Bergsten in 1991 and became a fixture within the U.S. penitentiary system (all the lurid details of which can be found in the documentary Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator). Prior to this tragic incident, however, Gator had been one of the most high-profile skateboarders in the '80s with his Vision models selling untold thousands during the peak of the industry boom. I'd even go so far as to say his first pro model on Vision is one of the top ten defining graphics of that decade, making his subsequent downfall all the more awkward for collectors. You know, it's not like John Wayne Gacy was a top-rated clown working in the Ringling Brothers circus circuit before his conviction and incarceration—this being one of the main differences between the morbid fascination exhibited by collectors of Gacy's paintings versus the nostalgia for some over a former Gator pro model.
Nonetheless, for some there is no separation between the model and the man's later transgressions, so when a person showed up on the Interweb around 2002–03 offering a large selection of boards from the personal collection of Gator (each sold with its own signed letter of authenticity from the man himself) it sparked numerous heated debates indeed. All of these eventual sales took place privately, but a few of the boards shown above did later surface in the hands of several prominent collectors, while others I have no idea where they wound up (if in fact they were all sold).