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  #1  
Old 06-04-2004, 03:10 PM
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Default Authentication services

Posted By: AutographCollector 

Hi All,

I happened upon this message board from a Google search and it seems pretty active although there is really little posted regarding autographs. As an old time collector recently back on the scene I am wondering which authentication services that you all reccomend. Obviously, PSA/DNA has the most advertising dollars to spend but I want to know if their opinion is highly valued by real collectors or if I should go with GAI, Mike Gutierrez, SCD Authentic (I don't know if they do autographs ?), PAAS, William Tell, Mark Jordan, or Kevin Keating. (did I miss anyone?).

Any help is greatly appriciated.

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  #2  
Old 06-04-2004, 03:20 PM
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Default Authentication services

Posted By: warshawlaw

If your goal is reassurance over the authenticity of your autographs, frankly, I'd suggest you skip the expensive services and research it personally.

If you need the third party voucher for sales, go with PSA/DNA.

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Old 06-04-2004, 03:32 PM
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Default Authentication services

Posted By: Rob_L

There have been some issues with PSA/DNA but there probably has with everybody who authenticates. I think there stuff goes for higher prices due to there association with PSA.

Anyways, I would go with Gutierrez (either through him personally or through GAI) or Richard Simon (now at PAAS). Both have excellent reputations.

Just my $0.02.

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Old 06-04-2004, 03:47 PM
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Posted By: Judge Dred

Autograph authentication is a subjective opion rendered by a so called expert in the field. A buddy of mine tells me that a lot of these grading services and authentication services only legitimize fraud. I'm sure he didn't mean that they are wrong too often but they do make mistakes.

As far as autograph authentication goes follow these rules of thumb:

1) If an autograph authenticator buys an autograph then you know it's going to be authenticated, regardless.

2) If you were to buy the same autograph then there is a lot of scrutiny placed on the item.

Here's something that I don't understand - perhaps someone can explain this to me: Services will charge an arm and a leg to authenticate a Babe Ruth signature (or some other very high dollar autograph) but will charge much less for a lesser known star. I would think that they would spend as much time on both signatures and they would be able to determine if a Babe Ruth autograph was legitimate because they've seen so many good ones (and bad ones) that they'd be able to pick out the fake signature with only a few quick glances. On the other hand perhaps the lesser known star has far fewer examples with which to compare.

If I had deep pockets I'd love to submit an autograph that was rendered authentic at one time until it came back as questionable or non authentic. This would only go towards proving the subjective nature of this procedure.



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Old 06-04-2004, 05:57 PM
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Default Authentication services

Posted By: warshawlaw

Because no two sigs are alike. You also have to take into account that sometimes the athlete was rushed or peeved about signing and may not have done a typical good job. Then what does the authenticator do?

I like to get autographs in person for free and being in LA, I have lots of opportunities. Sometimes they are not really clean and sharp because the person is not sitting at a table. I once got a Lennox Lewis autograph in person. He was on the move and wearing tape on his hands (it was after a workout) so the signature looks lousy. No authenticator is going to vouch for it because the signature was so rushed and sloppy. But I know it is real and as a collector, that's more than sufficient for me.

The authentication price issue is really irksome too. I never understood why they would charge more depending on whose autograph is being certified, especially since they've already told you in the submittal form that they won't stand behind their authentication even if they make mistakes (i.e., the explanation is not insurance or liability driven). because of the pricing crapola, I like the PSA/DNA $20 for signed cards. It is a really good deal, especially with a sig that they otherwise charge $75 or more to authenticate otherwise. I suppose the sliding scale charge is simply based on what they feel they can extract from you.

I also like to research my signatures myself and see what I can determine. I've run down exemplars of some of my sigs from impeccable sources and have been able to authenticate some of ny items myself. It was particularly important to me to do that for my boxer cousin. I got some of his handwriting scanned from a cousin and was able to use it to purchase a signed note and a signed photo. Believe me, it is a lot more satisfying to be able to track down and authenticate your own collection than to pay some clown for the privilege.

Meanwhile, I'm gonna drop a bunch of signed cards with the slabbers tomorrow so I can sell them in peace.

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Old 06-04-2004, 06:22 PM
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Default Authentication services

Posted By: Rob L

It's very true that the authentication companies have hard times with signatures that are not pristine. I had an Angels jersey signed by the 2002 team that was not issued LOAs from PSA/DNA or GAI. I know the signatures were authentic because I collected them myself and thought the LOA would help to sell it. They claimed that there were skips and bleeding in the signatures. Well duhh!! The signatures were signed in sharpie on a piece of cloth.

I also have a Ruth autograph that I had researched and decided was authentic. I sent it to PSA/DNA Quick Opinion to confirm my research and they came back with "likely not genuine" but with a comment that said to send it in for further review. If they had said it was inconclusive, they could not have charged me with their "quick" analysis (which came after the auction ended), they were able to keep the fee. It did ultimately pan out as authentic.

I agree that becoming educated on the autographs that you are interested in is the best way to go. There are many sources to find exemplars of autographs including several websites and auction catalogs.

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  #7  
Old 06-04-2004, 09:56 PM
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Posted By: Sean Coe

I agree that educating yourself about the signatures you wish to collect should be any autograph collector's priority. It will save you a lot of money and time in the long run as well as enhance the collecting experience. As to the authenticators, I've dealt with Gutierrez, Simon and Keating and have found them all to be knowledgeable, honest, with excellent customer service.. For Negro League signatures Keating is the best. If you wish to sell I would avoid William Tell(hey that rhymes). I have heard virtually nothing good about this company.

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Old 06-05-2004, 02:03 AM
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Posted By: hankron

In only my opinion, PSA/DNA and GAI are reputable. As both are well known, it makes resale easier. Mike Gutierrez is one of the judgers for GAI. If you sent an autograph to Gutierrez you likely will receive a GAI LOA, and if you send a baseball signature to GAI it may very well be looked at by Gutierrez.

I've never paid to get an LOA for an autograph, as I couldn't afford it.

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Old 06-06-2004, 04:19 PM
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Posted By: prewarsports

I have dealt with all of them. Keating is the most honest and straight guy I have met in the autograph collectibles area. PSA/DNA is shotty, and expensive but I believe they are reputable and have had no complaints within the past 4 years personally. My problem with GAI is this. I took some signatures down to the Sun Times show that originated from a large collection I bought. The stuff I did not chose to buy was sold to Mike Guttierez later and all authenticated by him (GAI). All items were obtained by the same collector, mine were just photos and the Guttierez stuff was on baseballs. He was not there to authenticate for GAI at the show so he had some lackeys there who were looking through Mike's exemplar book and giving free opinions as a promotion. They said my items (from the same collection as Mike's stuff) didn't match their exemplars. So I waited and watched at their table while I had some cards graded. Out of 50 people there getting autographs authenticated for free, only about 5-6 were given certificates. I took my items to PSA/DNA and they all passed. I would trust Mike Guttierez to look at them, but I would not trust the other guys at GAI with my autographs. Richard Simon seems to know quite a bit and was very personable when I met him in Chicago and had him authenticate a baseball for me.

No COA is a good substitute for research and common sense when buying autographs. All reputable sellers and dealers will offer a lifetime guarantee on their items and if someone does not I would steer clear regardless of the COA which comes with it.

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