Some third party authentication companies will glance at your autographed memorbillia and instantly tell you it's not genuine, but not before charging you a huge fee to do so. 

Make Sure You Do Not Fall Victim to Third Party Authentication Companies.  

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PSA/DNA CAN'T MAKE UP THEIR MINDS

Here's one for the books. Send in your item to PSA and pay their fee for an autograph authentication and get it back authenticated "as genuine." Little while later send it back to them with their authentication sticker attached. You are sending it in to have it encapsulated and it comes back rejected (not genuine).

Read from bottom up.....

 
12400960263?profile=RESIZE_710xHOW MUCH MONEY IN YOUR WALLET TO SPEND ON SO-CALLED AUTHENTICATION COMPANIES?

 

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Shame on the PSA/DNA sports authenticators. Sports authenticators listed on the PSA/DNA website are Bill Corcoran and Kevin Keating.

How do they explain the following???  They can easily respond to this message near the bottom of this story.

If you are a collector who still believes in spending money for an "opinion" from one of those high profile companies who claim to authenticate autographs, this story should change your mind.

The following illustration is of a slabbed card bearing signatures of 9 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. All signatures authenticated as "Genuine" by the "experts" at PSA/DNA. Most of the signatures are not rare and there is an unlimited amount of exemplars all over the Internet where anyone can try their authenticating skills.  It is my opinion that a true sports authenticator will not have to do much if any researce on all these nine signatures.

According to PSA/DNA's website, it should have cost the collector $710 for authentication fees and who knows how much was added for the encapsulation.  The seller obviously embarrasses themselves by not knowing that all nine signature are pooorly forged. So much respect for 2,395 feedbacks.12400261066?profile=RESIZE_710x 

THE SELLER IS ASKING $7,999.00 FOR THIS WORTHLESS SLABBED CARD OF AUTOGRAPHS.

LET'S SEE HOW LONG IT TAKES PSA/DNA TO RESPOND!

Over the years, MUCH DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE TO THE REPUTATIONS OF BILL CORCORAN AND KEVIN KEATING.  THIS EMBARRASSMEMT ALONE SHOULD BE ENOUGH FOR THEM TO RESIGN FROM PSA/DNA.

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Buting autographs on eBay could be a good thing for the professional dealer or seasoned collector.  For EVERYONE else it's a mine field.  We're going to illustate a football autograph on a 2023 fairly new card.  We don't know if it'sgenuine or not so we go with our feelings.  Or we can do something real dumb and pay for an authentiation fee from one of those companies who claim to authenticate autographs. That would be a very foolish move. Spending good money on what could probably be a bad guess, isn't smart.

Let's look at the description of this newly printed card.12399752659?profile=RESIZE_710x

#1-  $29.49  If the seller thinks this is a good price, then why offer "a best  offer"?

#2- Basically an unlimited amount was available. Sold 97 of these cards, better hurry only three left!

#3- Why no returns, does the seller know something that we don't?

#4- The seller possibly had a cost for the card, a cost for the autograph, and a cost for the plastic holder, a cost to put it on ebay, and a fee from PayPal when sold, and they accept your offer for $20 or less, how's money being made?

#5- NO RETURNS??????????? Smells somewhat, I think we'll pass.

#6- Use common sense and be educated before dealing on eBay for autographs.  Many collectors and even some small time dealers got burnt many times, thay are gone, no longer collecting or buying autographs.

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This is the final respose from the PSADNA representative regarding the badly forged signature of Mark Twain authenticated  as genuine and encapsulated by PSADNA..

The autograph authenticators for PSADNA are as follows;

Tom Poon (?), Bill Corcoran(Sports), Kevin Keating (Sports), and John Reznikoff of University Archives. Reznikoff is the authenticator for Historical Autographs.

 

PSA Customer Service 
From:info@psacard.com
To:skoschal@aol.com
 
Sun, Mar 10 at 9:03 PM
 
 
Hello Steve,
 
I am afraid that for security purposes and the safety of our staff, I cannot divulge the personal information of anyone for works for PSA/DNA or Collectors as a whole. I am sorry that I cannot assist you further with this inquiry............
  
Thank you, and have a good day,

Kai D
PSA Customer Care
 
This is the first admisiioon that I am aware of that a company who claims to authenticate autographs will not divulge which of their "experts" authenticated a forged signature as genuine.  They make is somewhat clear that admitting who made this inexcusable blunder has his life endanger.  

 

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Why I Don't Trust COAs

An exploration of the contradictions and conflicts of interest in the certificates of authenticity industry

MAR 4
 
 
 
 
 
 READ IN APP
  

Why I Don’t Trust Certificates of Authenticity and an Argument Why Maybe You Shouldn’t Either

I think Certificates of Authenticity (COAs)¹ for autographs are bullshit, and here’s why:

If you can’t trust 100% of a company’s COAs, then you have to double check all of them. That means you are authenticating autographs on your own, so what do you need an authentication service for?

Thanks for reading Dispatches from the Rare Book Trade! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.

Currently, the largest and most respected autograph authentication service is probably PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), a subsidiary of Collector’s Universe, a formerly public company that was taken private in a $700 $850² million hedge fund deal.

Here’s an example of a famous autograph they authenticated:

  

I read this as “To Leslie and [?], the most beautiful reading is done between mother and daughter—…read on…. X [love, as in xoxoxo] D[ad].

This inscription is in an otherwise worthless, badly water damaged copy used book. The asking price from an eBay seller was $12,000.

The seller used PSA’s reputation to justify the price: “THIS HAS BEEN AUTHENTICATED BY A RECOGNIZED WORLD LEADER.  It is beyond question.”

That’s what PSA would like you to think.³

But this isn’t even a forgery.

It’s just a father giving a copy of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger to his wife and daughter to read together. It was kind of sweet, until PSA said it was a rare inscribed book by Salinger, one of the most reclusive and collectible authors of the 20th century.

  
PSA’s online confirmation of the autograph, downloaded on February 22, 2024

Apparently the person at PSA who authenticated the autograph read the signature as “J.D.”—at least that’s the most generous interpretation I can come up with.

Salinger tended to sign his name “J. D. Salinger” but people didn’t call him “J.D.” To those who knew him, he was Jerry. Assigning the handwriting to Salinger fails on the basic facts, without even considering the handwriting.

Back in December, I contacted PSA about this autograph and informed them that they had probably made a mistake. I exchanged several cordial emails with a customer service representative that went nowhere (the cert number was still showing as authentic the last time I checked it). I’d excerpt PSA’s emails but they come with threatening-sounding language about unauthorized quoting that I think is legal bullshit, like the Salinger authentication, but why chance it? I do wonder, though, what they have to hide.

Now you might think that PSA would be concerned about their liability if someone relied on their COA and paid $12,000 for this book, only to learn later that it wasn’t actually signed by Salinger.

Most members of the major bookselling associations (ABAAIOBA) would feel this way because as long as we are in business, we have to offer refunds to our customers if we sell something that turns out not to be authentic.

PSA calls itself “the only third-party grading service to offer a guarantee on its services,” and it says that the “PSA Authenticity and Grade Guarantee…is fundamental to PSA’s reputation.”

But it’s always good to read the fine print, especially when there’s a hedge fund involved looking to make a significant return on an $850 million investment. By my count, there are currently 18 itemized exceptions to the PSA “guarantee” totaling more than 1600 words (compared to 350 words for the guarantee itself).

Collectors and dealers relying on PSA’s autograph authentication services and COAs should pay attention to this part of the PSA “guarantee”:

“The Guarantee does not apply to the authenticity or grade assigned to any autograph, whether certified by a manufacturer or applied after its release.”

In short, PSA is happy to take your $100 to authenticate a J. D. Salinger autograph but they make no promises about whether their authentication opinion is actually right. Perhaps that’s why they didn’t bother to correct the apparently bogus Salinger I told them about. They got their money. For everyone else, it’s buyer beware.

This supposed Salinger autograph is by no means the only time PSA’s authenticators have made an egregious error. Here’s a sports card with a printed signature on the front that was encapsulated in an “authentic auto[graph]” plastic slab. To be fair, sometimes it can be hard to tell a printed signature from a real one (but, of course, that’s one of the reasons you might want to hire a professional autograph authenticator).

In this case, however, the back of this Justin Verlander card states twice that the autograph on the front is a reproduction, but it looked reasonably real, so PSA took the money and certified it, relying on the autograph exception on their guarantee not to take any responsibility for the error.

 illustration of a card with a printed signature authenticated by PSA 
An illustration from screen captures showing a sports card that PSA authenticated as having a real autograph when the card itself says “it does not contain an original autograph.”

Collectors who value COAs from companies like PSA might brush off errors like these as the inevitable result of grading hundreds of thousands of autographs. A few errors are bound to creep in, they might say. But now that you’ve seen one bogus PSA “Salinger” autograph, would you trust their judgment on this one for $98,000? (permalink).

These errors aren’t errors of judgment made by someone trying to identify a real signature from a good forgery. The Salinger I reported to PSA and the printed Verlander autographs aren’t celebrity autographs at all. No company that professes to have expert authenticators should ever make this kind of mistake.

And I return to my original point. If you have to second guess any autographs, then all the COAs are effectively worthless because you still have to do your own authentication. COAs are also arguably counterproductive because they cause collectors and dealers to let their guard down and may make them more likely to accept a bad autograph with a COA than a bad autograph without one.

Autograph authentication is hard, particularly when someone is trying to evaluate a simple signature. There are lots of forgers at work; more now than ever before (user saveafricanow on eBay is my personal favorite, both for the volume of forgeries that they sell and for how truly awful all of the “signatures” are).

Even the world’s best handwriting experts will have a hard time identifying a good forgery, particularly when the handwriting example is very small, like the one, two, or three words of a person’s name.

I wondered who the autograph authenticators at PSA are, but of the nearly 800 employees on LinkedIn, none are obviously working on autograph authentication. The one authenticator I located outside of the coin division got her job following a couple of years of college and thirteen years experience as a “Custom Logo Order Specialist” at Northern Safety and Industrial.

I don’t mean to pick on this employee, but getting good at authentication requires years of experience, none of which is particularly evident in the LinkedIn profiles of Collectors’ (the parent company of PSA) employees.

I searched Justia and found a single US court case where PSA’s opinion about authenticity was accepted by a court, and that was for a baseball card that had been touched up with paint, an objectively obvious alteration that was easily confirmed by other sports-card authenticators.

PSA is not the only autograph authentication company pumping out tens of thousands of COAs each year. Autograph authentication has become an industry with (at least) tens of millions of dollars of sales each year.

James Spence Authentication (JSA) is another autograph authentication firm popular with collectors (James Spence Jr, the founder, also founded PSA’s autograph authentication division. JSA’s COAs are now signed by James Spence III, who is taking over from his father).

While a much smaller company than PSA, JSA’s LinkedIn page at least has a few people identified as autograph authenticators. But as far as I can tell, neither PSA nor JSA obviously employ former law enforcement officers with experience with forgery, nor are any of their employees identified as belonging to the professional organization, the American Society of Questioned Document Examiners.

According to LinkedIn, one autograph authenticator came to JSA from SGC, a sports card grading company (recently acquired by the hedge-fund-owned parent company of PSA). I don’t want to pick on this fellow, but according to his resume he went from an entry-level position at SGC to “director of autograph authentication” in less than 18 months. His previous job, before he became an autograph authenticator? For eight years, he cleaned airplanes between flights for JetBlue.

As for this employee’s success rate at authenticating autographs, he claims to be “able to achieve 99% accuracy.” Sounds pretty good, but that implies that at least one in every 100 SGC autograph authentication was wrong. As the lead authenticator, this expert said he “authenticated highly valued items autographed by superstars such as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Wayne Gretsky.” Imagine: One year you are picking up pretzels off the floor of a budget airline and the next you are deciding which pieces of paper with “Babe Ruth” written on them are worth tens of thousands of dollars and which are worthless.

(Now that you know that one of JSA’s sports authenticators spent more time working with an airport ground crew than producing COAs, how confident are you in JSA’s authentication of this 5-figure Mickey Mantle autograph certified during his tenure?)

The resume of this expert perfectly captures the circular reasoning at the center of the whole industry of autograph authentication: “Working closely with some of the largest auction houses in the nation,” he writes, “I authored hundreds of LOA’s (Letters of Authenticity) for items which have sold at auction at significant prices.”

In other words, collectors pay large sums for authenticated items and then the authenticators argue that the large sums validate their authentications.

JSA is a prolific issuer of COAs for Stephen King signatures.

King has signed a lot of books over the years, including more than 50,000 signed, limited editions by my estimate. For many years, King also let collectors send in books to be signed, and he employed assistants who kept track of all the books and corralled the author into signing them. Despite the large number of real autographs in existence, a King signature often adds $1,000 or more to the price of a book.

In recent years, King has not gone on book tours, nor does he make many personal appearances, yet newly signed Stephen King books keep turning up.

I asked an advanced Stephen King collector about JSA’s COAs for Stephen King autographs. She responded, “Unfortunately it’s prevalent that JSA-authenticated Stephen King signed books are mostly fakes… Furthermore it is in the interest of unscrupulous sellers of fakes to get their copy ‘authenticated.’ ”

I did a bit of digging.

On January 4, 2024, some lucky person had six King books authenticated by JSA. The ink is still fresh and shiny, and yet they look like Stephen King signatures from ten years ago. Nevertheless, these autographs were issued certificates YY73722, -23, -24, -25, -26, and -27.¹⁰ Impressive!

Not nearly as impressive, however, as the run of 38 Stephen King autographs consecutively authenticated by JSA on or about December 6, 2023 (beginning with letter of authenticity no. YY65473 and ending with YY65511. You can easily check the adjacent certificates by simply changing the URL in your browser’s address bar).

A number of books from that amazing haul turned up in the eBay store A&E Sports hosted by the seller y2littlek. They recently sold a 9th printing of the Perennial Classics reprint of King’s classic On Writing for $1,499 (available new, not signed, on Amazon, for $17.49). That book came with JSA’s letter of authenticity no. YY65493.

  
These autographs bear only a passing resemblance to Stephen King’s current signature. JSA provided COAs for all of them. The certificate number is below each signature.

Several of these 38 autographs are very atypical of Stephen King. Even if they were real and signed under some extremely unusual circumstance, it’s hard to understand how JSA can authenticate them; at best an autograph expert should say their opinion is inconclusive. (This is another problem with the authentication business. They give refunds or credits if they can’t reach an opinion; absent scientific testing or detailed provenance research, a lot of autographs should come back inconclusive, but the COA mills don’t make any money if they say that.)

If someone handed in a stack of 38 books signed by Stephen King for evaluation, I think any professional autograph expert should be very skeptical. Of the thousands of Stephen King collectors out there, not very many have managed to acquire 38 signed trade (not limited) editions. How likely is it that a sports guy like y2littlek would turn up a world-class collection of books signed by Stephen King?

Herein lies another contradiction at the heart of autograph authentication—the firms and their customers both want the same thing: lots of real autographs. When a business that should be skeptical is dependent on giving the positive results their customers want, they have a conflict of interest. If JSA doesn’t return enough positive results, the customer can turn to PSA, or Beckett, or others. Collectors who buy autographs accompanied by COAs are not actually the authenticators’ customers, they just rely on the authenticators’ opinions. (It’s exactly the situation in this scene in The Big Short about how the rating agencies gave good marks to junk mortgage bonds, helping to perpetuate the banking crisis of 2008).

Like all businesses, PSA and JSA rely on large-volume customers to drive profits. Large-volume customers will switch services if they pay for too many autographs that come back as fake. JSA charges $50 for a Stephen King COA so a batch of 38 books means almost $2,000 in revenue; the eBay seller y2littlek has nearly 700 items listed that are accompanied by JSA COAs, which equals piles of money for JSA. This is exactly the sort of situation that can lead to errors in judgment. When their livelihood is at stake, even people with good intentions can be swayed to make decisions they might not normally make.

If you find my arguments compelling, a collector might reasonably ask what they should do if they want to collect signed books. Fundamentally, the desire for a COA reflects a keen wish for certainty. The COA companies feed this with their “letters of authenticity” and “certificate numbers,” while renouncing all guarantees in their fine print (JSA’s policies state, “JSA makes no warranty or representation and shall have no liability whatsoever to the customer for the opinion rendered by JSA on any submission.”) Certainty about autographs cannot be 100%. Even if you witness the autograph session, you can’t transfer that memory to anyone else. We are all stuck making our own judgment calls.

But here are a few guidelines:

  1. Buy signed, limited editions. Sometimes they are fake, but not often.

  2. Buy inscribed books, rather than simply signed books. This goes against the current collecting trend, but the more a forger has to write, the harder it is to make a convincing forgery (the exceptions are Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson, whose autographs are almost a caricature to begin with).

  3. Learn all you can about the signors you collect and the basics of forgery detection. Kenneth Rendell’s Forging History: The Detection of Fake Letters and Documents is a good start.

  4. Buy more often from booksellers (like me, :-) who actually guarantee their autographs, as all members of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA), the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA), and the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA) must do. The guarantee is only good as long as the booksellers are members of the organization, but considering that the COA companies offer no guarantees, it’s a much better deal however long it lasts. To be fair, the ABAA is not filled with angels. There have been member dealers connected to forgery and theft, but as long as the dealers are members, they will take returns of inauthetic items sold by mistake, and both IOBA and the ABAA have ethics committees that will mediate between customers and dealers, services that none of the COA companies offer.

Be careful out there.

Authentically yours,

Scott Brown
Downtown Brown Books, ABAA, IOBA

 
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PSA/DNA Please correct this inexcusable error

 Find below a "scan" of a PSA/DNA encapsulated signature of Mark Twain. Certified genuine item # 85170821.  Your current web site lists your current expert for historical autographs is a John Reznikoff of University Archives.  I request that you have another one of your "experts" take a quick look at this signature and decide that you might want to reverse your decision.

Anxiously awaiting your reply

On March 8, 2024   PSA/DNA replied:

 

PSA Customer Service 
From:info@psacard.com
To:skoschal@aol.com
 
Fri, Mar 8 at 1:13 AM
 
 
Hello Stephen,
 
Your original request had asked, "Please advise 'who' at PSADNA authenticated this signature of Mark Twain as genuine?" I'm afraid I do not completely understand the intent of your question. If you would not mind elaborating, I would be more than happy to help you.
 
Thank you for reaching back out to us, and if you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask.
Take care, and have a great day, 

Kai D
PSA Customer Care
 
from Skoschal@aol.com
To: PSADNA Customer Service
Fri. Mar.8 10:08AM
 
Kai D.
 I simply asked who, which "expert" at PSADNA authenticated the slabbed Mark Twain signature, a copy which was sent to you? See illustration below. Cordially, STEVE
 
SHOCKING RESPONSE from PSADNA representative. They go into hiding. See new story above!

 

 

12385897454?profile=RESIZE_710x.

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 There's no question that what some believe there are three high profle companies who claim to authenticate autographs, Beckett Authentiation seems to be the one most distrusted with accuracy.

All one needs to know is that the lead authenticator is Steve Grad,

By his own admission, his autograph experience comes from working at a Chicago Autograph Auction.  The owner of the auction, Bill Mastro went to prison.

Steve Grad claims that his expertsie came from handling millons of dollars worth of autographs while working for Mastro's Auction.  That to the uneducated seems quite impressive.  However what he does not tell you is that he worked in the mail room wrapping the items that were being sent to the successful bidders.

Now, a Steve Grad was once removed by security at the Chicago National Sports Convention.  Reason for this is professional dealers exhibiting at the show compalined to security that Grad was seelling numerous forged autographs.

Grad was removed from the building.  Some years later, Grad in a deposition and under oath was asked: "Are you the Steve Grad who was removed from the National for selling forged autgraphs"?

Grads response: "I don't recall."

Each year for five years Grad has been invited to an autograph seminar to discuss Beckett's Autograph Authentication Service to the autograph community.

There has never been a response.

This is most unfortunate, as the amount af authenticting mistakes made by Beckett is unfortunate and costing collectors an unbelieveable amount of money.

"PADAH" the largest autograph club in the world has over 70 professionl autograph dealers and auction house as members.  Not one member is required to issue a refund based on a "guess" from Beckett.

For more information on Beckett, required reading should be logging onto Beckett Media.Reviews

 

 

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This is simply an educational  story trying to help those who may want to purchase something autographed by Marilyn Monroe.  There are some land mines to avoid stepping on. This is also a lesson to learn about trusting the persons, companies and auction houses who claim to be experts.  The largest International Autograph Organization is "PADAH."  Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses that has over 70 professionals who deal in autographs.  The following most likely would not have occured should the buyer have purchased a Marilyn Monroe signed item from one of PADAH's members.

See below, illustration #1.  A genuine signed photograph adding "Love and Kisses" in her hand.

12377987852?profile=RESIZE_710x$14,999.99 for the real deal.

The following three examples are just a few of many that bear pre-printed signatures.  Added are "Love and Kisses" which is fairly common.  These type photographs can usually be purchased on eBay for under $20.00.  Carefullly examine the "Love and Kisses Marilyn Monroe."  It should be easy for everyone, newcomer to the hobby or someone with years of experience to determine that all three contain IDENTICAL writing and signatures.  These are all pre-prints not hand signed by Marilyn Monroe.

12377990059?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

Let's take a close look at one more. A fairly common example that can also be found for sale on the internet.

12377991493?profile=RESIZE_710x

The above photograph can usually be found on the internet for under $20.  Identical pre-print as the three illustrated before.

Now that the writing on the four photographs is imbedded in you mind, take a good look at the next illustration. 

12377993689?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

For clarity let's look at the above two photographs side by side.

12377995294?profile=RESIZE_710x

The photo on the left is also in green ink, just doesn't show well on this screen. Did you determine that some low life in this hobby took the photo on the left and has written in matching green ink "To Gil."  The forger, con-man has turned a $20 photograph into one that sold at auction for $15,943 including the buyer's premium. The following is the catalog desciption for the inscribed photograph.

                                                                                                                                                  12377998463?profile=RESIZE_710x

Read the last line...."pre-certified PSA/DNA and RRAuction  COA.  This worthless photograph is sitiing in some collectors collection.

SO MUCH FOR THE AUTOGRAPH EXPERTS. It would be wonderfull if the auction house would due diligence and go into their files and find the name of the person who submitted this item for the auction. Just maybe we could get to the bottom of these type forgeries and start to clean up the corruption in this hobby.

  

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Every year for the past several years Steve Grad of Beckett and James Spence of JSA Authentications have been invited to an autograph seminar to speak about the autograph authenticating service they represent.  A total of only 50 tickets would be available to attend this seminar and it would be filmed.  This would be the perfect opportunity to explain to the collecting public why their services are needed in the autograph industry.

Each would be asked about 25 questions about the service they offer and a little about the company they represent.  A fabulous opportunity for them to promote autograph authenticating at no expense to them.

During the last several years both have received an invitation, there has never been a single response.  This is very concerning to collectors and dealers. During the last few years more collectors and autograph dealers are very concerned about the accuracy and even the ability of companies who claim to authenticate autographs. 

As an example, the following is an email from a very seasoned collector of autographs.

12367071285?profile=RESIZE_710x

Steve Grad is the individual who was removed from the Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago by law eforcement. The reason was exhibiting dealers were complaining that Grad was selling non-genuine autographs from binders in his shopping cart.  Later, Grad was asked in court if he was the Steve Grad who was removed from the show. His response: "I don't recall."

Many collectors and dealers feel law enforcement is desperately needed to investigate 3rd party companies who claim to authenticate autographs.  Thousands and thousands of dollars are wasted every year on autographs that have been mis-authenticated.  The situation is so bad that over 70 professional autograph dealers, members of PADAH, no longer have to issue a refund based on a "guess" or "opinion" from a 3rd party authentication service.

Is autograph authenticating legitimate by those who work for these type companies or is it basically a scam?

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Autograph Authentication “BEWARE”

Not For The Faint of Heart

 

Should you be a newcomer to having an autograph authenticated by one of the so-called companies who claim to be able to authenticate an autograph, the following story is just the tip of the iceberg.

Should you choose to go this route, you will be on your own and you will learn the hard way!

One word of advice before getting started, find a professional autograph dealer to have an item authenticated.  There are over 75 professional autograph dealers worldwide who are proud members of PADAH (Preferred Autographs Dealers and Auction Houses).

The following is an illustration of the conclusion of a handwritten letter by Mohandas Gandhi. This partial portion of the letter states: “(i)s my autograph. Yours sincerely M.KGandhi.”

 SEE BELOW.

 12366273457?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

This item was to be sold at a February 2006 auction by Heritage Auction Galleries. Heritage in need of an autograph authentication chose PSA/DNA to authenticate the item. Frightening from the wording in the second line of the COA it states: “Heritage Auction Galleries describes the item(s) as:…just a signature “MK. Gandhi”….the signature is in fine condition, the signature has been clipped from a larger document….”  See Letter of Authenticity below.

12366273095?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

As you can see, what PSADNA did for their fee is improperly describe this item which will without a doubt affect the value of this autograph when it is sold. Some of these types of companies charge a minimum of $300 to authenticate a signature of Gandhi.

The letter of Authenticity continues: “ For information on how to receive a full authentication upgrade on the item(s) above, please contact…..for details”.  PSADNA’S “experts” are listed at the bottom of the letter.  Most interesting is if you have time, do a little research on the history of the names listed. Most find it shocking!

 Now that PSADNA states the autograph is genuine, the Gandhi item was sold at Heritages 2/21/2006 auction.

EIGHTEEN YEARS LATER, when experts “should” have 18 more years of experience, this same Gandhi autograph is sold in another auction. The buyer decides to do the unthinkable and send it to PSADNA for their “expert” opinion.

 This time on Thursday, January 24, 2004   PSA Authentication sends a letter stating “PSADNA Authentication Services has examined the aforementioned signature(s) and in our opinion it is not authentic and did not pass PSADNA authentication. . The item has a “?AUTHTCT” sticker attached to it.

12366273900?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

The “?AUTHTCT” sticker indicates that your item exhibits one or more of the following.

 Nine items for rejection are listed below, not one checked off.

  • Atypical letter slant, angle and/or pitch.
  • Drawn slowly.
  • Excessive pen pressure and/or improper shading.

See Above Unbelievable….THE ITEM IS WRITTEN IN PENCIL.

  • Irregular letter shape and/ or formation.
  • Irregular spacing between letters,
  • Lacks spontaneity, rhythm, conviction and / or movement.
  • Poor line quality and transition between connective strokes.
  • Sizing of letters disproportionate / Exaggerated / Undersized
  • Other

 TAKE NOTICE No “experts” have their signatures placed at the bottom of this rejection letter. If they truly believe they have an expert on their staff, why hide their name?  Why not check off a box or two why the item is rejected? 

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 What you now see after someone paying two fees for the same autograph to the same company tells a full story of wasting time and money.

 Two well know dealers in this industry have said that there should be a Number 11 on their rejection letter stating the item came from a dealer on their “blacklist."  It is well known that all of the high profile companies that claim to authenticate have a "blacklist."  If the item is sold by  certain dealers the item in most cases fails, in other cases it comes back as not being able to be authenticated.

Next step is trying to get a refund from the company you purchased the autograph. Then why, first they said is was good, now they say it is not genuine. If purchased on the internet, good luck.  This would not have even happened if purchased from a reputable dealer member of PADAH.  Always ask dealers if they are a member of PADAH before making the purchase.

 The partial letter of Gandhi has been personally examined by two members of PADAH. The conclusion is the letter is 100% g genuine and hand signed by Mohandas Gandhi.

See below.

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Moral of this story; how much more proof does anyone need that companies who claim to authenticate autographs, can’t get it right?  There’s so much more to be written on this subject!

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There is an unlimited amount of reasons why collectors and sellers of autographs should avoid supporting those who "claim" to be autograph authenticating experts. They are basically people with very limited knowledge in the hobby who offer simply an opinion for money.  Try tracking down one of the self proclaimed experts. We have for several  years requesting that they attend a seminar to discuss their expertise and reasons WHY anyone should use their services. Not one so-called expert has even the courtesy of a reply.  This is a wonderful  reason, at no cost to them, to introduce themselves in public and promote their business. One can only guess after so many of their mstakes why they hide from the collecting public.

Take a look at the baseball below that is guaranteed to be signed with a genuine signature of Barack Obama by JSA.You make the call, true or false?

Would like to see what the so-called expert used as a genuine exemplar.....12360907884?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

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The PADAH group (Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses) has stated from its inception that all members, 70+, do not have to issue a refund based on the guess/opinion from the 3rd party companies who claim to authenticate autographs. The two, who claim to be the best, for several years, have been invited (at no cost to them) to be part of an authenticating seminar and discuss with attending collectors why they are qualified to authenticate autographs. This would be a fabulous opportunity for JSA (James Spence Authentication) and Beckett Authentiation (Steve Grad) to discuss autograph authenticating.  Both companies have not even the courtesy of responding and to take advantage of free publicity.

PADAH's leadership in the industry has taken off as others are following this clubs lead.  The following is a newly published "Guarantee Section" of an active monthly autograph auction house.

Buyer's Premium
  • 10%
Terms & Conditions
''GUARANTEES OF AUTHENTICITY - Each signed item is unconditionally guaranteed genuine without time limit and comes with a signed Certificate of Authenticity. If a lot is declared to not be authentic, we will ask the purchaser to supply the written opinion of the competent authority acceptable to us. (Any of the over 300 registered UACC dealer members will suffice) WE DO NOT REFUND BASED ON OPINIONS OF THE OPINION COMPANIES such as PSA JSA GAI Or BSA in the other case described above.....''
 
OF COURSE THE INACCURATE STATEMENT THAT OVER 300 REGISTERED UACC DEALER MEMBERS IS VERY RIDICULOUS AND OUTDATED.  The UACC never had over 300 registered dealer members and that group has been  defunct. They have been out of business for a few years, very controversial as the longtime treasurer who has been under fire for years has decared himelf the President of the UACC and privately sold the club (non-profit) for an undisclosed amount.                      
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Autograph Authentication: Who Is The best

 

 Autograph Authentication

Who Is The Best or At Least The Most Accurate

There’s so much negative talk amongst collectors about how poorly is the accuracy of  the so called autograph authenticating companies.

At a recent sports show a group of collectors were discussing how they all agree that COA’s from the more active high profile companies on eBay are basically a joke and useless.  More and more collectors are no longer submitting items for their autographs to be authenticated.

 They are now depending on an accurate bill of sale from an autograph dealer that has credentials.  After all it’s your only legal document.

 Since popular areas of collecting seem to be sports and Presidents of the United States that was the area to do a short study on the accuracy of some of the authenticating companies.

 A team of autograph experts from  PADAH (Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses) was chosen to do a survey and President Bill Clinton’s signature on a baseball was their choice.

 The following two signed baseballs were chosen from eBay as good exemplars to start the investigation.  Both baseballs were authenticated by PSA/DNA.

 It is recommended that one uses these two illustrations as a guide.

 

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 On eBay it seems that  JSA has authenticated the most baseballs believed by their “experts” to be genuinely signed by Bill Clinton.

 We have chosen four illustrations from eBay.  How can someone (an expert at JSA) state that the following baseball is genuinely signed by Bill Clinton?

Compare the following signature with the two certified by PSA/DNA.

 

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 Now if  JSA states the above ball is signed by  Clinton, then how can the next one also be genuine.

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 The “experts” at  JSA have stated the following ball is genuinely signed by Clinton.  How could this possibly be if the one’s illustrated  above are genuine.

 Based on JSA believing the above two Bill Clinton signed balls are genuine, who at JSA has determined this third one below is real?

 

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 Let’s look at one more ball below passed by JSA.     This one is only asking  $449.99.

Which of the four balls above would you purchase?  CAN THIS TYPE OF AUTHENTICATING BE CALLED LEGITIMATE?

 

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 If this short study thus far hasn’t convinced you that COA’s are basically worthless, you deserve to have one of these balls in your collection.

 Let’s try another one of the high-profile companies. The signature on this ball is so bad that only one example will be illustrated from this company. This should convince anyone not to spend more time with this authentication company.

The ball illustrated below has been authenticated by  Beckett Authentication, Steve Grad as the lead authenticator . With his past history authenticating autographs, enough said.

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 How can anyone, certify the above signature as genuine. Like the old saying goes, "Is something wrotten in Denmark?"

 Trying one more time with a little unknow outfit is a ball authenticated by PAAS.  The lead authenticator is listed as Mike Frost.  However from several court records his name is Michael Fiegenbaum.  Why hide your real name?

Maybe you hide your real name when you put out a COA like the following.

One more thing, his “experts” listed are his wife and brother and son. Two others have asked Feigenbaum to remove their names, Neil Lanigan and Roger Gilchrist. They have done so in writing, as they have never  been associated with this PAAS. 

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Most interesting, is that this item is authenticated as genuine.  the signature is so bad, in the description the seller has written “PAAS Authenticated full letter of authentication. Please also make the determination of authenticating for yourself by examining the photo/signature."

PAAS has a history of being the choice of forgers.  Based on the above xample, it is understandable.

 

The autograph experts at PADAH have determined that:

 PSA/DNA is the obvious winner of being the most accurate when authenticating signatures of Bill Clinton on a baseball.

 As for the other three, apparently they don’t appear to be in the game.  SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG WITH THE BUSINESS OF AUTHENTICATING AUTOGRAPHS. It needs to be examined by some agency to clean it up.  Even a barber who charges $15.00 to give a haircut needs a liscense!

 

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BECKETT Authentication….Very Strange

The Value of a Beckett Authentication

 Recently we came across a vey poor looking forgery of Babe Ruth.  This signature was authenticated “as genuine” and placed in a Beckett plastic coffin.  Beckett Authentication # 083241973425171.

 

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 Almost impossible to believe the above Babe Ruth signature could pass "as genuine" by anyone.

 We reached out to Beckett and requested information about “who” GIVE US A PERSON'S NAME, at Beckett authenticated this signature.  To our surprise we got a rare response from Beckett.

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                                 Our response......

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                                     Beckett responds....

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                             Our response......

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                    Beckett's shocking response...

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                    Most likely embarrassed, they completely avoid commenting on the signature they once authenticated as genuine.

                    12306309298?profile=RESIZE_710x                  In closing, the above email was my last email to Beckett which there was NO response.

  When a company makes a mistake, as they have done with this horrific Babe Ruth signature, why can’t they just own up to it. Tell us the name of your expert who authenticated this signature.

 Beckett charges $400.00 to authenticate a Babe Ruth signature, not to mention the additional cost of placing it in one of their coffins.

 The ole saying appears to still stand “You get what you paid for!"

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Autographs are a tricky business. Many companies claim to authenticate autographs by giving their opinion. Who is giving the opinion? All these companies include PSA, JSA, BSA, PAC, AOC, and on hire what they call experts to go to shows, in-house, or through the mail. The conflicts of interest are eye-popping as these authenticators also sell autographs. The customer can pay hundreds of dollars for a sticker of opinion. One authenticator, Steve Grad told the truth when asked what it takes to become a PSA/DNA authenticator he responded online; “A Pulse.” Still, collectors flock in line to buy these little stickers for a blanket of sorts. They feel it’s a layer of protection to buy an opinion from an unknown child backed by absolutely nothing. No recalls, no refunds, and no care either way.

The turnover as a so-called expert at a third party authentication company is faster than McDonald’s in most cases as one authenticator stated he’s paid $200 to place stickers on autographs over the weekend from Friday-Sunday They are displaced from their families or in many cases high school classes equaling over 60 hours at a show, coming and going and nights in the hotel bar if those that aren’t old enough have fake I.D. This equals around $4 per hour, four times less than an opening position making French fries at McDonald’s.

Everyone knows third-party authentication is a mess. It’s real one day, fake the next, then real again, then fake again. So who are these experts? Whoever they can push as an expert? When Steve Grad worked as a shipping clerk at Mastro’s auctions and Bill Mastro decided to make him an expert he marketed him as “handling millions of dollars worth of autographs.” It was true, he took these autographs, packaged them, and mailed them from the company so he did handle them. But now we come upon what most could have predicted in the beginning. Many third-party companies, self-described but not educated autograph authenticators desperately want to hang their hat on a new expert. The standards are so low, you don’t even have to exist.

One New England auction house, RRAuctions is a big fan of creating their own experts. They have John Reznikoff as their historical expert who was known for selling $7-8 million dollars worth of forgeries in JFK alone. Then they have their music expert Roger Epperson who authenticated over $1,000,000.00 worth of fake Michael Jackson sketches forged out of Canada. It seems you have to break a world record for selling the most forgeries in your area of expertise to be considered an expert by some auction houses.  RR Auction uses Epperson for music but Epperson took a back seat to a David Bowie expert named Andy Peters out of England. Beginning December 4, 2019, to now, over 39 items of David Bowie have been sold by RR Auction as; “Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Bowie expert Andy Peters.” RR felt Andy Peters was a better expert than Roger Epperson thus replacing Epperson on Bowie items for the past three years. Roger ran things through Andy Peters as did other auction houses using third-party authenticators. The 39 items authenticated by Andy Peters in the RR Auction sold for a whopping $36,247.00.

Also of interest, one blog owner used Andy Peters to accuse John Brennan of being a forger. RR Auction lists 5 David Bowie autographs as being from the John Brennan in-person collection but their blog friend claims John Brennan is a forger. It’s so confusing as different so-called experts render their opinions on Bowie material and when nobody will sign off on it you’ll see a story like this; “which notes that the album derives from the collection of Tony McGrogan, a former RCA employee and friend of David Bowie.” Nice story except it’s not true. Tony McGrogan, who passed away in 2015, never got an autograph nor collected autographs of David Bowie. Yes, he kept some notes and trash but he never asked Bowie to sign anything for him according to his family. Another description when a so-called friend/expert won’t sign off on it can read; “…..Obtained in person by a New York autograph collector who collected from the 1950’s through 2000’s.”  Wow what strong provenance!  Was this verified or what they told you? 

Finally, to the rescue comes Andy Peters. He took the offense and declared himself a David Bowie expert. He even created a scare tactic at the following link.

https://www.davidbowienews.com/2021/01/david-bowies-autograph-genuine-or-fake-and-how-to-spot-it-by-andy-peters/

Andy Peter’s has now made himself extremely valuable to third-party authentication companies and auction houses. The only problem? He doesn’t exist! A collector impressed by Epperson and RRAuction’s promotion of Andy Peter’s decided to do a large six-figure deal with Andy Peter’s based on their recommendations and promotions of Andy. He asked while doing the deal via the phone; “You know Andy, nobody has met you. Can you send me a selfie so I can see what you look like?” Andy Peters complied and sent a selfie. No auction house, not Epperson, nobody verified Andy Peters, just this collector.

Upon getting the photograph he did a Google back search on it. Pretty easy to do, it takes seconds yet these so-called experts have been promoting Andy Peters since 2019. The Google back search of Andy Peter’s by a novice showed he wasn’t Andy Peter’s but a well-known forger known as Tony Ford. Here is Tony Ford now.

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He had been authenticating his own and his friend's forgeries of Bowie and failing genuine material. Third party authenticators & auction houses ran with this information without a second to verify what Andy Peters claimed, or worse, if he even exist. 

It is now coming to light that we have a real problem. We can hire kids and make them experts, but now we are creating experts who are really forgers and don’t exist. Yet people will buy based on these fake people who don’t exist. Collectors do know more than any self-proclaimed expert out there, including the forger Andy Peters aka Tony Ford. This will be brushed under the rug like all the other scandals.  How embarrassing!

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Elvis Presley Signed Guitar

I get a call from someone who wants to make an appointment to get a so-called rare item autheticated.  I asked im what it was and he said "Trust me, you'll never see another."  Even though I had heard this statement many times before, and was disappointed,. the voice of the man seemed quite sincere. The appointment was made.  He arrived several days later with a large album. 

He said he investigated all the autograph authenticators and they seem to all have serious problems.  I was chosen because in his opinion, he found out that most of them have said wonderful things about me and even used me when they had problems authenticating.

His album was filled with photographs of the man standing in front of me with Elvis Presley.  Some of the photographs were inscribed to this man, who was one of Elvis Presley's bodyguards.  I looked down on the floor and obviously there was a case with a guitar.

This man said it was signed 35 years ago, in front of me,  and Elvis said while he was signing,"it'll be a long time before you see a signature like this again."  HE WASN'T KIDDING!

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