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Old 02-12-2012, 01:57 PM
mighty bombjack mighty bombjack is offline
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Default So, what's an autograph collector to do? LONG POST AHEAD

Let me ask a practical question of the board: In your opinon(s), what's a high-end autograph collector to do?

You can answer now or bear with me through a long and meandering post.

I collect baseball HOF autographs and have been doing so for many years. I have 225 different players, managers, umpires, and executives (see link in sig), and have spent a lot of money and very enjoyable time searching and researching the history and the autos themselves. I'm proud of my collection. I have sold a few duplicate autos here and there, but am far from a dealer of any sorts.

I think I am familiar with the vast majority of outlets for purchasing high-end autos. I have purchased from ebay and a large number of different auction houses. A certain amount of my collection consists of IP autos, while the rest consists of company-certified cards, JSA or PSA/DNA certed (the horror!), or autos purchased from ebay after completing my own research.

I have seen the rise of TPAs and card grading and looked at both of them skeptically. I view both of them as flawed but somewhat helpful services. The saying on the other side of the board is "Buy the card, not the slab!" Most of those guys probably recognize the value of grading when buying online, even if it is not the end-all-be-all. That goes for autos as well. It seems that many simply buy a cert instead of an auto, but I actually enjoy the research that goes into a hobby purchase and view it as a big part of the hobby for me.

I have only ever sent one item into PSA/DNA to be slabbed. I used their Quick Opinion service a few times before realizing that I was always coming to the same conclusion on my own and was not going to follow up my sending autos in anymore, so why waste the $7.50. The fact remains that JSA and PSA/DNA certs add a lot of value to autos, though I have several autos that were certed by GAI back in the day and have seen what has happened to the value of that cert. Of course, a big part of me thinks it would be crazy to assume that little pieces of paper with scribble on them will retain any type of value in the future, but I digress.

Down to brass tacks: I have been reading all of the autograph posts (and the links therein) and noticed (as has everyone else) the similar pattern that they have all followed. I think I understand the issues and concerns that various members here have with FDEs, ABCs, etc. I am on the verge of abandoning this board altogether because very little of substance appears in autograph posts anymore. It's just squabbling that seems beneath what has been a usually very high level of discourse on net54.

Yes, there are clearly numerous problems in the autograph portion of this hobby. They've been rehashed here ad infinitum. So, after reading autograph posts here, I keep coming back to my question: What would the various members here have an auto collector do? Is it as simple as not actively using TPAs (as in sending anything to them)? Only purchase autos that have not been certed at all? Ignore any and all certs? Act as if they are all created equal (while I currently believe that they are not)?

What needs to change on the part of collectors, as opposed to dealers? There has been a lot of complaining. Now let's be constructive.

(On a side note, I have only ever come here once to post an auto and ask opinions as to its authenticity. I will not do so again. I would, however, love for any- and everyone here to take a look at my HOF collection in my sig. There are many autos there with and without TPA certs, some of which can be told from scan and some of which can't. I feel as though my collection is totally authentic, but I'm admittedly not 100% on any of them that weren't obtained IP. If anyone has opinions on the authenticity of anything there, PLMK. I'd be happy to listen).

Thanks for your patience and any and all responses.

Wayne Walker
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Last edited by mighty bombjack; 02-12-2012 at 01:58 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-12-2012, 02:13 PM
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I think the first thing to remember is that the majority of what you see here that may come across as chest beating, finger pointing and an overall wee-wee measuring contest as it relates to autos is primarily a function of the passion that the players have for it. They will never see eye to eye and nearly all posts eventually get to the same place. Hopefully at some point we can all just move past that.

I think that it is natural for most of us to want to give more creedence to the major ABC groups than the other groups because a. many of us feel that they do a good job on most items, and b. (very important point) many of us have a financial stake somewhat in the fact that they get it right most (and have gotten it right most) of the time.

There have been very legitimate cases where they have been pointed out to be in error, to have certed something without an exemplar, etc. The bottom line is that all you are getting is their best hunch/opinion which they are not backing up with a guarantee as far as I can tell. So to me self-education instead of reliance is the way to proceed.

You will never be able to tell the authenticity 100% of anything that was not signed in front of you. And for something that is, that ironclad provenance is good for one person - you. The next person down the line is just taking your word for it.

You may and I may have some non-authentic autos in our collections, again anything not signed in front of you is questionable at some level to someone.

I think we have a tendency to overblow some of this stuff but as we have seen the forgeries seem to be rampant. I think that the best advice given is to align yourself with "sellers" who have an outstanding reputation and have earned it over the long haul. Sellers that stand behind their product and don't rely on or pass the buck to anyone to do their legwork for them.

Just my $0.02.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:21 PM
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David Atkatz David Atkatz is offline
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First, as I said before, Morales et. al. are not authenticators. They are shills. Just ignore them. No one here would ever buy a Morales-certed piece, or send an item to him. Case closed. (Please.)

That leaves the only two actual "authenticators," PSA and JSA. They make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. BUT...

They hold themselves up as the experts, yet their "expertise" is nowhere near what they claim it to be. And what are they actually selling? They do not, in any way, stand behind their opinions. Empty words, and nothing more. Still, some believe they are the best thing since sliced bread, some believe they're better than nothing, and some (myself included) believe they do more harm than good.

Take your pick, and act accordingly.

Last edited by David Atkatz; 02-12-2012 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:07 PM
keithsky keithsky is offline
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I always worry why so many people are obsessed with 3rd party companies. If there is ever a scandle with one of these companies and they go belly up all the certs from that company will be worth less than toilet paper. Look at all the sports companies and auction houses that you thought they were to big to fail and have failed like Mastro, GAI, Fleer to name a few. I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket like some guys all they want is PSA stuff cause they are the biggest and bring in the most money on an item but if they would ever fail your stuff is worth nothing near what it would have been with there cert. And with there wording of "in our opinion" they don't have to be liable for anything. Seems like a pretty good gig to not be responsible for anything and get paid for it. Kind of like predicting the weather to say 50% chance of rain 50% chance of sun. (no disrespect to any weather guys out there). I guess everyone spends there money how they want and to each his own. I can do without 3rd party companies but I do have items with there certs that came with my item I bought. The way things are anymore it's easier to resell with them than without and that is a sad thing. Just my opinion. keith janosky

Last edited by keithsky; 02-12-2012 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:21 PM
mighty bombjack mighty bombjack is offline
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HRBAKER-seemes we see things similarly

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Atkatz View Post
First, as I said before, Morales et. al. are not authenticators. They are shills. Just ignore them. No one here would ever buy a Morales-certed piece, or send an item to him. Case closed. (Please.)
Agreed. I view what they do as outright fraud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Atkatz View Post
That leaves the only two actual "authenticators," PSA and JSA. They make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. BUT...

They hold themselves up as the experts, yet their "expertise" is nowhere near what they claim it to be. And what are they actually selling? They do not, in any way, stand behind their opinions. Empty words, and nothing more. Still, some believe they are the best thing since sliced bread, some believe they're better than nothing, and some (myself included) believe they do more harm than good.

Take your pick, and act accordingly.
You're leaning towards actual advice there, but I feel compelled to ask what advice you would give to a novice collector regarding TPAs. They may have done more harm than good (people have said the same about grading, ebay, etc.), but like those things they are here and not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. Or is there something we could do to make them go somewhere?


Quote:
Originally Posted by keithsky View Post
I can do without 3rd party companies. Just my opinion. keith janosky
Can you expand on "do without"? Do you simply ignore any cert that an auto has, or only buy autos with no cert?
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:31 PM
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MB,

To me the issue of the cert is more an issue on the back end as to whether I buy or not. I have many framed pieces hanging on my wall today with cuts/3x5s/GPCs/checks, etc. that have come from Bill Corcoran, Jim Stinson, Kevin Keating, Richard Simon, etc. I wouldn't waste a .10 sending those to someone to look at or opine about. I trust the source.

The issue is going to be when I want to move them. Due to the marketing that these firms have done - they have created a "need" or the "perception of a need" for these items to be papered in order to be real and real liquid.

I have saved all of the documentation from when these items were bought and hopefully that will help.

I do have some items that have been certed, those most typically are trading cards, etc. I submitted those myself.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:37 PM
travrosty travrosty is offline
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just buy the autograph and not the cert, whether the autograph has an abc cert or is not certed at all. It doesnt matter, as an abc cert doesnt make it good, and no cert doesnt make it bad.

I bought a 325 dollar james jeffries boxing signature that i knew was good, it came in an abc autograph slab. I simply busted it out of the slab, and put it in my collection.

someone else parted with the 150 dollars to get it slabbed. I didn't. I bought it for the going rate, and when I sold it later, i sold it for the going rate. You dont need abc to tell you its real, when they have enough trouble figuring it out for themselves.

as far as no one can know for sure if an autograph is 100% real without seeing it signed themselves, that's not true.

but most people buy autographs of the big names for the big bucks way too fast, and then regret it later when abc company couldnt shoot straight and got it wrong, or they don't know for themselves if the autograph is legit but trust the company and the company fails and the 5000 dollars someone put in getting all their autographs "authenticated" is now chalked up to being essentially flushed down the toilet.

Either the autographs you have in your collection are real, or they are not real. An abc cert will never make a fake one real.

As far as what does a new person do? Well, when I wanted a Muhammad Ali autograph for the first time, and I didn't know Ali's autograph, I didnt just buy the first abc certed one that came along. How do I know that they know Ali (I have since found out they don't know much about Ali's signature), well, i just said to myself that there will always be Ali signatures for sale, so I researched his signature intensely, and 4 months later, I bought my first Muhammad Ali signature, which was on an Islamic pamphlet, it was a textbook signature on a medium (pamphlet) that is very rarely forged because forgers like to forge signatures of Ali on an 8 x 10 or a glove because it is potentially worth so much more than on a pamphlet.) I have only seen 1 fake Ali signature on a pamphlet which coincidentally, (or not) has an abc sticker on it.

So I didn't jump in a Ferrari and go 170 miles per hour right out of the bat. I took a big buick, and rolled out of the driveway slowly. Then I slowly bought another, and another, until I was comfortable looking at his signature and knowing I could find a legitimate one, whether or not it had some cert from abc, or xyz that may or may not an accurate opinion backed with no guarantee. so I know the autographs in my collection are legitimate and I don't have to trust "the world experts" (at what I have no idea!)

Last edited by travrosty; 02-12-2012 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mighty bombjack View Post
Let me ask a practical question of the board: In your opinon(s), what's a high-end autograph collector to do?

Wayne Walker
I have repeated this many times and HR (thanks for the plug) has backed me up.
Buy from the known entities in the field. There are a number of dealers with impeccable reputations who have been around for a long time. These dealers are as good or better than the TPA's, so if you consistently buy from them, chances are you will be able to build a very nice collection.
Since I have said this statement so many times, I think I will retire it for at least a while. Stay with the good, knowledgable dealers. Save the TPA money that you would be spending. Remember if you buy a TPA autograph on ebay, you are paying for that TPA examination fee, the dealer is just passing along his cost to you. That is part of the reason why TPA autographs are selling for higher prices.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:08 PM
thenavarro thenavarro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travrosty View Post
just buy the autograph and not the cert, whether the autograph has an abc cert or is not certed at all. It doesnt matter, as an abc cert doesnt make it good, and no cert doesnt make it bad.

I bought a 325 dollar james jeffries boxing signature that i knew was good, it came in an abc autograph slab. I simply busted it out of the slab, and put it in my collection.

someone else parted with the 150 dollars to get it slabbed. I didn't. I bought it for the going rate, and when I sold it later, i sold it for the going rate. You dont need abc to tell you its real, when they have enough trouble figuring it out for themselves.

as far as no one can know for sure if an autograph is 100% real without seeing it signed themselves, that's not true.

but most people buy autographs of the big names for the big bucks way too fast, and then regret it later when abc company couldnt shoot straight and got it wrong, or they don't know for themselves if the autograph is legit but trust the company and the company fails and the 5000 dollars someone put in getting all their autographs "authenticated" is now chalked up to being essentially flushed down the toilet.

Either the autographs you have in your collection are real, or they are not real. An abc cert will never make a fake one real.

As far as what does a new person do? Well, when I wanted a Muhammad Ali autograph for the first time, and I didn't know Ali's autograph, I didnt just buy the first abc certed one that came along. How do I know that they know Ali (I have since found out they don't know much about Ali's signature), well, i just said to myself that there will always be Ali signatures for sale, so I researched his signature intensely, and 4 months later, I bought my first Muhammad Ali signature, which was on an Islamic pamphlet, it was a textbook signature on a medium (pamphlet) that is very rarely forged because forgers like to forge signatures of Ali on an 8 x 10 or a glove because it is potentially worth so much more than on a pamphlet.) I have only seen 1 fake Ali signature on a pamphlet.

So I didn't jump in a Ferrari and go 170 miles per hour right out of the bat. I took a big buick, and rolled out of the driveway slowly. Then I slowly bought another, and another, until I was comfortable looking at his signature and knowing I could find a legitimate one, whether or not it had some cert from abc, or xyz that may or may not an accurate opinion backed with no guarantee. so I know the autographs in my collection are legitimate and I don't have to trust "the world experts" (at what I have no idea!)
Some pretty good advice there. I concur. +1.153612 (the extra .153612 to account for the extra weight I carry around my middle)

Mike
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:26 PM
mighty bombjack mighty bombjack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travrosty View Post

I bought a 325 dollar james jeffries boxing signature that i knew was good, it came in an abc autograph slab. I simply busted it out of the slab, and put it in my collection.

someone else parted with the 150 dollars to get it slabbed. I didn't. I bought it for the going rate, and when I sold it later, i sold it for the going rate. You dont need abc to tell you its real, when they have enough trouble figuring it out for themselves.
As Richard notes below, this isn't true in baseball. It could be true in boxing in general, but if it is, why do you have such a beef with the ABCs? It seems they aren't bothering you, why do you care at all about them? And do you scour Coach's Corner for boxing autos, planning to tear up the cert that they offer if you find one you want and believe to be real?

Quote:
Originally Posted by travrosty View Post
as far as no one can know for sure if an autograph is 100% real without seeing it signed themselves, that's not true.
We are going to disagree here. No one is right 100% of the time.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mighty bombjack View Post
As Richard notes below, this isn't true in baseball. It could be true in boxing in general, but if it is, why do you have such a beef with the ABCs? It seems they aren't bothering you, why do you care at all about them? And do you scour Coach's Corner for boxing autos, planning to tear up the cert that they offer if you find one you want and believe to be real?


We are going to disagree here. No one is right 100% of the time.
I am not sure where you are quoting me from. I have said in another thread that the TPA's are not knowledgable in boxing and that is why Travis has problems with them. The mistakes they have made have been well illustrated by him.
I never defended them in baseball either, though I guess their % is higher in baseball than it is in boxing. But that is faint praise.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:47 PM
mighty bombjack mighty bombjack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardSimon View Post
I have repeated this many times and HR (thanks for the plug) has backed me up.
Buy from the known entities in the field. There are a number of dealers with impeccable reputations who have been around for a long time. These dealers are as good or better than the TPA's, so if you consistently buy from them, chances are you will be able to build a very nice collection.
Since I have said this statement so many times, I think I will retire it for at least a while. Stay with the good, knowledgable dealers. Save the TPA money that you would be spending. Remember if you buy a TPA autograph on ebay, you are paying for that TPA examination fee, the dealer is just passing along his cost to you. That is part of the reason why TPA autographs are selling for higher prices.
This is good advice, but can you honestly tell me that I'm saving money by going to Kevin Keating's website? I understand that he has a great reputation, but if I'm not paying for that reputation, I can't understand why the prices on his site are higher than any other outlet I can find.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:48 PM
mighty bombjack mighty bombjack is offline
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Quote:
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I am not sure where you are quoting me from. I have said in another thread that the TPA's are not knowledgable in boxing and that is why Travis has problems with them. The mistakes they have made have been well illustrated by him.
I never defended them in baseball either, though I guess their % is higher in baseball than it is in boxing. But that is faint praise.
My quote of you was that baseball autos with TPA sell for more money (certainly true), which Travis said was not true in the boxing example he gave.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:35 PM
steve B steve B is offline
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I'd sort of qualify as one of those "new" collectors.

I've only collected a handful of autographs, most of them in person.

So far I haven't spent much on any of them.
And I've relied more on the overall item for the ones I bought. If the autographs aren't good, then I'm still not out much. (Like the photo is still worth what I paid, or I can still use the baseball - Like I said I'm way on the low end.)

I look for old items, ones that aren't typical autograph items. And the rest is the situation.
Frank Navin - On a postcard sized photo of Fenway Park. At about the right price for the photo and "signed by some front office guy"
Bob Cousy - On a somewhat beat black and white 8x10 showing him in some sports club jacket. Very faded signature $3 at a local mall show.
Happy Rockefeller- Nelsons wife, On a postcard mailed to a friend while on their honeymoon. From a stamp dealers dollar box. I saw the message mentioning "rocky" and signed "happy" and took a chance on it.

I'm pretty confident in those. The items are right, the way they were sold wasn't exactly pushing the autograph, and in two cases -Navin and Rockefeller a small bit of research made it more likely. The Navin is dated 1934 and the photo pictures a boston v detroit game from 34. The Rockefeller postcard is from the place and within the time of their honeymoon, and sent to someone known to be a friend of hers. I haven't looked much at the Cousy yet.

On the other hand I had a handful of HOF autographs on 3x5 cards. Bought at a card club auction pretty affordably. After having them a few years I realised they just weren't interesting to me, and I'd come to feel less comfortable about the source even though they were all pretty comon. I consigned them to a local auction, and asked if they thought they were good. They thought so, so off they went. I don't miss them at all.

I've also been ofered a few items that would be pretty nice over the last 5years. All with certs, all of the certs shaky at best, and all items ripe for faking. (500 hr litho, another litho, stuff like that) I passed on all of them since I don't really know enough to tell and feel confident in my opinion.

So for new collectors I'd agree with the starting slow and with inexpensive stuff. The mistakes won't be financially painful, and the knowledge will really help later.
On expensive stuff I think as a collector I'd want to learn enough to make my own decision treating the item as if it had no certificate from anyone. But I'd also lean towards tempering that with the presence of a certificate "good" or "bad" or lack of one. Personally I would and have passed on stuff with very shaky certs. And maybe lean a bit towards ones with what for lack of a better term -Better certs.

Problem is that so many people don't want to learn, they just want to own. And own NOW! So there's a lot of room for third parties to offer opinions. It helps dealers sell stuff and opens the hobby to people who wouldn't learn or risk anything without someone elses opinion. Of course it also allows the fraudulent or incompetent to make their profits too. And with big money there's more pressure from sellers and more desire to believe something is real. The stakes are higher,(If some TPA gets it wrong on say a fake sig on an 88 Donruss common it's a lot less damaging than getting it wrong on a Ruth ball)
With pressures of time and insistence mistakes get made. Maybe easier by some than others, maybe deliberately by some. What hurts us all, even the card guys is that to some degree we'll never know which scenario happened. And that hurts the credibility of everything.

I learn a bit from even the bickering -up to a point.

I think a major change in the way TPAs do things would help a lot. Make a cert hard enough to get that it means something. Take the time to actually get it right. In the case of my 3x5s that was about two minutes for the auctioneer. Expensive and/or tougher stuff should take longer. And the result would break down to tiers "sure enough that I'd actually guarantee it" " fairly sure" " not sure enough to make an opinion" " fairly sure it's fake" and "positive it's fake" And give detailed reasons on the cert. And hardly ever use the "sure enough I'd guarantee it" category.
Of course, that will never happen. It's not simple enough for most buyers who want good/bad, and many dealers would never go for it. The only way it could ever work is if someone with enough experience started doing it and was succesful. And anyone with that sort of ability is probably making more as a dealer.

Steve B

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Old 02-12-2012, 05:43 PM
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This is good advice, but can you honestly tell me that I'm saving money by going to Kevin Keating's website? I understand that he has a great reputation, but if I'm not paying for that reputation, I can't understand why the prices on his site are higher than any other outlet I can find.
Saving money compared to what? Kevin typically has very nice items and he is proud of them. There are other good options which have been listed many times, depends on what you want. But I can tell you that you're saving money going there as opposed to buying a non-genuine item with a cert somewhere else.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mighty bombjack View Post
My quote of you was that baseball autos with TPA sell for more money (certainly true), which Travis said was not true in the boxing example he gave.
They sell for more money partly because the dealers add the expense of the TPA to the price of the item.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:20 PM
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This is good advice, but can you honestly tell me that I'm saving money by going to Kevin Keating's website? I understand that he has a great reputation, but if I'm not paying for that reputation, I can't understand why the prices on his site are higher than any other outlet I can find.
I listed dealers that I know maintain authentic inventory. What else is more important than that.
Dealers can and do charge what they want.
I won't defend or attack anyone's pricing, the decision to buy from him is obviously up to you.
In the interests of openness, Kevin does buy from me.
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Last edited by RichardSimon; 02-12-2012 at 06:22 PM.
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  #18  
Old 02-12-2012, 08:04 PM
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I tend to straddle the fence on this issue.

I do my homework. I study the signatures I go after and I do not buy unless I am completely comfortable with it regardless of TPA opinions.

I also buy the TPA cert. I use TPAs all the time. Regardless of personal opinions, they are accepted by the vast majority of collectors and create a resale market. I may not like PSA but if PSA will bless an item I know I can flip it into the "PSA Nation" of collectors who will buy it without a question.

Unfortunately, anything other than signed in your presence is a bit of a Fox Mulder "I want to believe" leap of faith.
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:54 PM
mighty bombjack mighty bombjack is offline
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Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
I tend to straddle the fence on this issue.

I do my homework. I study the signatures I go after and I do not buy unless I am completely comfortable with it regardless of TPA opinions.

I also buy the TPA cert. I use TPAs all the time. Regardless of personal opinions, they are accepted by the vast majority of collectors and create a resale market. I may not like PSA but if PSA will bless an item I know I can flip it into the "PSA Nation" of collectors who will buy it without a question.

Unfortunately, anything other than signed in your presence is a bit of a Fox Mulder "I want to believe" leap of faith.
Totally agree on all points.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:00 PM
mighty bombjack mighty bombjack is offline
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Originally Posted by RichardSimon View Post
I listed dealers that I know maintain authentic inventory. What else is more important than that.
Dealers can and do charge what they want.
I won't defend or attack anyone's pricing, the decision to buy from him is obviously up to you.
In the interests of openness, Kevin does buy from me.
You're right, nothing is more important than authenticity, but price is always a factor. My point is that, while you said earlier that dealers are pricing into their sales the cost of a TPA, the prices I'm seeing on the lists of the reputable dealers you have mentioned all seem to price their opinion into their numbers, nobody more so than Keating. He has some amazing stuff that I want, but not at those prices.
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  #21  
Old 02-12-2012, 11:59 PM
Hankphenom Hankphenom is offline
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Originally Posted by mighty bombjack View Post
You're right, nothing is more important than authenticity, but price is always a factor. My point is that, while you said earlier that dealers are pricing into their sales the cost of a TPA, the prices I'm seeing on the lists of the reputable dealers you have mentioned all seem to price their opinion into their numbers, nobody more so than Keating. He has some amazing stuff that I want, but not at those prices.
If you could magically remove all the bogus autographs from the hobby, thereby exposing the true rarity of the good ones, perhaps the prices asked by the handful of dealers with the golden reputations wouldn't seem so high all of a sudden. They know just how hard and expensive really great, legitimate stuff is to replace. The presence in the market of bad material drives the prices down for everything, good and bad alike. Each individual has to make buying decisions based on his situation and preferences, of course, but a truer perspective of the market value of genuine items would be revealed in a universe of only those competing with each other.
Hank Thomas
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  #22  
Old 02-13-2012, 07:21 AM
mschwade mschwade is offline
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Originally Posted by mighty bombjack View Post
This is good advice, but can you honestly tell me that I'm saving money by going to Kevin Keating's website? I understand that he has a great reputation, but if I'm not paying for that reputation, I can't understand why the prices on his site are higher than any other outlet I can find.
+1

I've been interested in several items on his site before, but have only bought once from him and it was a $40 autograph that was the best example of a $25 dollar name I could find. There are several autographs I am interested in he has, but I usually just end up being patient, doing a lot of research on the signature, and finding it elsewhere.

Last edited by mschwade; 02-13-2012 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:14 AM
Hankphenom Hankphenom is offline
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Originally Posted by mschwade View Post
+1

I've been interested in several items on his site before, but have only bought once from him and it was a $40 autograph that was the best example of a $25 dollar name I could find. There are several autographs I am interested in he has, but I usually just end up being patient, doing a lot of research on the signature, and finding it elsewhere.
Kevin's been one of the largest volume vintage autograph dealers in the country for about 20 years now, so I guess his business model works for him. He's not making his living on $25 autographs, that's for sure. As a general proposition, I've never understood complaints about a dealer's prices. If you're not interested in an item, what do you care about his price? If you're interested in an item but can find it cheaper elsewhere, as in the example above, what do you care about his price? And if you're interested in an item but can't find it cheaper elsewhere, how can you complain about his price? So what's the point, exactly?
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  #24  
Old 02-13-2012, 11:52 AM
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i've checked out keating's site, some good stuff and i've never complained...he can ask whatever he wants. i figured for the price tho i can buy 3 same pieces from jsa or psa/dna and at least one of them is authentic #lawofaverage.

wayne--thx for the link to ur images. i enjoyed looking through them, the old and new sigs.

Last edited by chaddurbin; 02-13-2012 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:16 PM
mschwade mschwade is offline
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Originally Posted by Hankphenom View Post
Kevin's been one of the largest volume vintage autograph dealers in the country for about 20 years now, so I guess his business model works for him. He's not making his living on $25 autographs, that's for sure. As a general proposition, I've never understood complaints about a dealer's prices. If you're not interested in an item, what do you care about his price? If you're interested in an item but can find it cheaper elsewhere, as in the example above, what do you care about his price? And if you're interested in an item but can't find it cheaper elsewhere, how can you complain about his price? So what's the point, exactly?
Hank Thomas
I wouldn't necessarily say I was complaining, but agreeing that I think his reputation is built into his price. He has a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable dealers and reputation of having nice stuff, but also has a reputation of having higher than average prices.

"If you're interested in an item but can find it cheaper elsewhere, as in the example above, what do you care about his price?"

I care about his price because there are several items I would want right now because of the quality of the item and the availability (can't find anywhere else at the time), but often times his price doesn't even leave me "on the fence". And I am not talking about just a $25 dollar autograph. My best example was a Pat Collins last year.. He had one listed, and I believe still does, at $1500. I really wanted it, but remained patient and ended up getting one six months later just as nice, if not nicer imo, for right under $1000. Had he had it a little more reasonably priced at lets say $1200, it might have been mine right now. Believe me, I'm not trying to knock Kevin or his pricing, I think he is great and I think his assistant Nitsa is great, but maybe financially, I am not in his target market. And that's fine, I'll still look at his site to fill holes and if I can bring him business, I will.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:15 PM
Hankphenom Hankphenom is offline
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Originally Posted by mschwade View Post
I care about his price because there are several items I would want right now because of the quality of the item and the availability (can't find anywhere else at the time), but often times his price doesn't even leave me "on the fence". And I am not talking about just a $25 dollar autograph. My best example was a Pat Collins last year.. He had one listed, and I believe still does, at $1500. I really wanted it, but remained patient and ended up getting one six months later just as nice, if not nicer imo, for right under $1000. Had he had it a little more reasonably priced at lets say $1200, it might have been mine right now. Believe me, I'm not trying to knock Kevin or his pricing, I think he is great and I think his assistant Nitsa is great, but maybe financially, I am not in his target market. And that's fine, I'll still look at his site to fill holes and if I can bring him business, I will.
You actually weren't complaining, that was directed at the previous and other posts in the past that took Kevin to task for his prices. And I think you've explained the dynamics at work here pretty well with your personal example. You were willing to be patient and, more importantly, bring some work AND your hard-earned knowledge of the marketplace to bear in getting an acceptable substitute at a better price. I don't think collectors with your expertise are Kevin's primary targeted market. His tremendous inventory offers about as much of a "one-stop shopping" experience as you can find in the vintage autograph hobby. Also, the high end of his stock, all those amazing one-of-a-kind pieces, are anybody's guess as to true market value, and if you really want one, you're probably never going to find another quite like it anywhere else, and that's a big part of his business, too. As for your Pat Collins example, did you at least try to find out his best price for that? I'm just guessing here, but I'd be willing to bet that could have been had without any haggling at all for $1,200, and with some back and forth perhaps even closer to $1,000. You know how it works. He can be stubborn, sometimes, but he's not stupid, either, and I've seen him wheel and deal to make it work many times at the shows we do together, so I know it can be done. Anyway, good discussion about the hobby we love.
Hank
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:27 PM
mschwade mschwade is offline
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As for your Pat Collins example, did you at least try to find out his best price for that? I'm just guessing here, but I'd be willing to bet that could have been had without any haggling at all for $1,200, and with some back and forth perhaps even closer to $1,000. You know how it works. He can be stubborn, sometimes, but he's not stupid, either, and I've seen him wheel and deal to make it work many times at the shows we do together, so I know it can be done. Anyway, good discussion about the hobby we love.
Hank
To be honest with you, I don't think I ever did. I think all the dialogue surrounding the Collins was with Nitsa and she had told me that she didn't know how much negotiating he would be able to do on it because they had been selling their Collins they had in inventory and this was the nicest example he had.

I also remember a regular customer of his telling me that he'll negotiate a lot more at shows than he will over the web.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:49 PM
HexsHeroes HexsHeroes is offline
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I also remember a regular customer of his telling me that he'll negotiate a lot more at shows than he will over the web.

That is very good information for all to know. Kevin's been attending National shows for the past few years, so that might provide an opportunity to snag an item that's been sitting in his inventory for a while. If he's at the National show on a Sunday, that might be a good time to haggle. Then again, if his show sales have been very good, perhaps not. Hmmmm . . . what to do?

Last edited by HexsHeroes; 02-13-2012 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:10 PM
Hankphenom Hankphenom is offline
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I've never seen him not be willing to come off his sticker price, and I'm guessing it's the same, although perhaps not as easy as when you're face-to-face, with his internet sales. There's some slack built into everyone's prices, just part of the game. We'll be in Baltimore, so come by and try it.
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