For almost three decades I've been telling all who will listen to purchase autographs from reputable dealers. These type dealers spend quite a bit of time researching an autograph before they open their wallet!  You can find a list of these dealers on


For example some of the high profile authenticator companies have been pullled out of thin air. These so-called experts range from a former ladder salesman to a kid who worked in the mail room of an auction house. The owner of the auction house ended up going to prison.  Other quasi authenticators screwed the hell out of Pawn Stars. They made mistakes by the many thousands.  One authenticator made the news all over the U.S. by selling several million dollars of fake/forged JFK and Marilyn Monroe items. He turned as a witness against his partner to save his own ass. His partner in the crime went to prison.  You can guess how many buyers got a refund?

Most autograph collectors have read the hundreds of documented horror stories back on

Some of the undesirables caught over and over again in the authenticating fraud pooled their money and went to court trying to shut down the site.

The autograph authenticating service has gone far beyond anything I can comprehend.  I have been authenticating and studying autographs since 1967.

i crerated an autograph research center and a Certificate of Authentication Reference Library. When asked, I have helped all the high profile quasi authenticators when they needed my advice.  When I refused to join them and add my name as one of their experts, war broke out.  It goes on today!

Their associates write horrrific made up stories under fake names and then answer them under another fake name.  It seems like there are dozens of people attacking the good guys in the hobby yet there are only 3 or 4 writing the negative stories.  The corrupt authenticators are much worse for the hobby than just the high profile compnaies making guesses. The corrupt authenticators work  with the forgery industry and pass everthing as genuine. They are in business to sell certificates of authenticity in bulk.

Getting to the point, the autograph authenticating services seems to be getting beyond my pay grade.  A recent discovery has me baffled.  Maybe a reader can help educate me and explain what I am missing?

This article is for educational puposes only. It is not to try an expose any one authenticator. We all have to try and keep up with the industry.

The following two illustrations, in my opinion,  are 100% genuine. They are autographs of football Hall of Fame member Andre Reed.




First take notice his  jersey number is "83."

An autograph professsional and member of PADAH who I respect came to me looking for answers to some questions.

He has in his possession the following two items.  They are cloth #1 numbers for a football jersey.  They are signed by a player adding #11 on the letters. Both #1 cloth numbers have stickers attached to them from a high profile person who  claims to authenticate autographs.  In addition they come with a matching certificate of authentication cards bearing numbers w679309 and w.679310.


The very first thing that caught my eye that i didn't understand was the wording on the cards: "The Witnessed Protection Program."  Sounds real interesting, I had to dig further and went to the authenticating company website to find out more.  The following is a portion of what I read.

The Witnessed Protection Program (WPP) is unique to JSA and is one of the most coveted certificates of authenticity in the autograph verification business since it guarantees that an authenticator from JSA personally witnessed the autograph being applied by the signer. 

Very impressive!  They could have picked a better name for it however their wording is set in stone.  Or is it?   I've learned something already that i did't know "Witnessed Protection Program."

Then I went back to the web site to trace the autographed items reference numbers.  This is what I received.


Their web site runs quickly and specifies that the above two #1 cloth letters were signed by Andre Reed in Chantilly, Virginia on July 13, 2014.

Is there something we are all missing here?  Personally witnessed by a member of the authenticating company.....the player signed their name (name unidentified at this time, certainly not Andre Reed). The player adds their number as "11."  Andre Reed is number "83."

I certainly need to understand this "in person" witnessing the autographs being signed idea.  It may be useful, if it worked.  Someone did purchase these items based on a COA they trusted.

In the meantime can any one out there tell me who signed these number "1" cloth items?  As always, the authenticators do not respond to requests or questions.

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