Expelled From IACC/DA For Ethics Violations
www.autographalert.com has learned that John Reznikoff, owner of University Archives, has been expelled from the International Autograph Collectors Club & Dealers Alliance. His membership has been terminated effective immediately.
Mr. Reznikoff was a president of the IACC/DA. He resigned that position on May 6,2002.
On May 18, 2006, a complaint regarding ethics violations was filed against Mr. Reznikoff.
This complaint was sent via regular and certified mail to Mr. Reznikoff. The mail was signed for an opened. Both pieces of mail were marked by hand "refused" and returned in an envelope with a Westport, CT postmark.
Mr. Reznikoff had been given an allotted period of time to respond to the complaint. His refusal to respond to the complaint caused the termination of his membership and his expulsion from the club.
Some Have Problems Without It, Many have Problems With It!
Many seasoned memorabilia collectors we spoke to recently do not take the collecting of celebrity hair seriously. Just this week, one seasoned collector from Hackensack, New Jersey stated most of that stuff is sold by "snake oil salesmen". Another major dealer recently wrote: "...doesnt almost everyone know of these hair scams by now?" Very few respectable dealers will even handle this commodity. The reason being, the more you know about this subject, the more you want to stay away from it.
Collecting celebrity hair became somewhat popular during the last 15 years only because it was promoted by a few autographs and memorabilia sellers. Some of these entrepreneurs have made small fortunes selling these perceived collectibles to gullible collectors.
It was during the early 1990's when a noted New York based autograph dealer who fell on hard times called and asked if we wanted to be partners selling some of George Washington and Abraham Lincolns hair. We purchased one of each, just to see the quality of what was being offered. Good sized locks were being offered for quite reasonable sums. They were nicely matted with a picture of the president and a reproduction of what most could possibly believe was the original authentication written by someone basically unknown. It was difficult to trust this person selling these supposedly new acquisitions because it was a dealer who just filed bankruptcy.
After several phone calls it became evident this dealer was determined to create hundreds of collectible hair displays. The seller needed financial backing. Thats when the conversation got interesting. I was told: "this hair collecting game is a new found gold mine" and "as long as there are orders, we will not run out of inventory." In addition: "...the original lock of hair can be kept and almost any hair can be put on the collectible card..." That conversation alone was enough that I never want to own a piece of celebrity hair!
My next call was to Bob White. A collector/dealer who dabbled in hair. My question to Bob was "In all the years of collecting autograph auction and dealer catalogs in only a few instances has celebrity hair appeared for sale, where is this new found hair coming from?" His response was "excellent question, the obvious seems obvious." Bob also stated that he felt a good portion of the hair he had collected had problems but "it was fun collecting it." He also stated " I had two great days, its like owning a boat, its a great day when you buy it and a greater day when you sell it."
A recent program on collectibles and autographs televised on PBS warned of the dangers of collecting hair, suggesting to stay clear of this type collectible.
A Chicago auction house, well known for not making refunds on items they auctioned, refunded a six figure amount for some of Elvis Presleys hair. The buyer went the extra mile to have the hair DNA tested. The results were that the hair he had successfully bid on came from several different heads.
Another recent spin in this "hair raising" collectible business concerns the famous astronaut Neil Armstrong. Much press was given to the purchase of Neil Armstrongs hair. A website www.thesmokinggun.com states the barber as saying "he did not initiate the hair sale, but rather was approached by Todd Mueller, a Colorado memorabilia dealer." In fact Todd Mueller personally visited the barber shop in Ohio and struck a deal with the barber. Yet, John Reznikoff boasted to the press that he had a lock of Armstrongs hair. The manner which John Reznikoff spun the Armstrong hair tale, most news reports listed Reznikoff not Mueller as the purchaser of the hair. When the truth about who actually bought Armstrongs hair was discovered, phone calls from the Gazette to Reznikoff were not returned. This is just one example of how "provenance" can be misconstrued.
It is said by some that even if a genuine lock of hair appears on the market with believable documentation, what is to stop an unscrupulous dealer from switching that hair with other hair thus the supply could become endless.
One supplier of celebrity hair has found what they believe is the perfect way to dispose of hair into the marketplace and not be held accountable. Their comment to another dealer was: "Once it leaves my hands I cant control what someone in an auction house or collector may do with the hair." Clever way out? Not really, just a gimmick not to be held accountable.
As stated, very little hair was offered to the market until a few started to push this new wave of collectible. Since then its amazing that a potential uneducated collector can basically get hair from the head of anyone they desire. In recent years hair claimed to be from the heads of the popularly collected celebrities have almost magically appeared for sale. Just some examples that come to mind are, George and Martha Washington, Abraham and Mary Lincoln, Mary Surratt (Lincoln Conspirator), Lord Nelson, John Brown (Harpers Ferry Fame), Alexander Hamilton, Charles Dickens, Jenny Lind, Robert E. Lee, Andrew Jackson, Napoleon, William Quantrill, Jefferson Davis, Edward VII, Ludwig von Beethoven, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley and of course Geronimo.
One of the greatest hair stories was told by a California dealer, who jokingly called another dealer, offering locks of hair by many of the celebrities of the 1930's and 40's. Speaking with an Italian accent he stated that he was a barber for the celebrities and had hair from the likes of Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo, George Reeves, The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Vivian Leigh, Judy Garland, The Marx Brothers and Humphrey Bogart and more. By this time the dealer was salivating and dying to get to the end of the conversation so he could begin to discuss a price for the collection. The conversation continued about all the celebrities hair that was included in the collection and the potential buyer finally said, "Just tell me what you want for the collection." At this point the seller said there may be one problem! The potential buyer asked "what could that possibly be?" The seller answered: "All the hair is in one bag!"
A few persons in this hobby were discussing about how this area of collecting has gotten so far out of hand. One stated: "Name a person and within weeks well have a sample of their hair." As an obvious joke, the name Yul Brynner was thrown into the conversation and within weeks a well documented sample of Yul Brynners hair miraculously appeared! As for authentication, what turned up was a vintage photo of Brynner (bald) containing a beautiful bold genuine signature (see below). Typed above Brynners signature: "Dear John, a most unusual request which is impossible to fill. I send you a small sample of hair, from a more private area with the hopes it can still be used in your collection." Great documentation, genuinely signed by Yul Brynner. If you believe this is genuine Yul Brynner hair, we have a bridge in Brooklyn we can sell you.
There was recent conversation not long ago between a mid west autograph dealer and one of those east coast sellers of autographs who try to flood the market with hair. The conversation went something like this...mid west dealer asked "If you have what you truly believe what may be a genuine sample of celebrity hair, well documented, and while examining the sample a few strands of your own hair fall into the pile and get mixed in, what can you do?" The reply from the east coast seller was "well, s_ _t happens!"
If you invested some of your hard earned dineros for what you believed to be a celebritys lock of hair, you are probably getting very nervous or saying maybe the author of this article is just having a bad hair day. If that is the case, lets take a moment and go to class. Lets choose a recent sale of a celebritys hair that sold for a large amount and walk through the description point by point. Then you decide.
In a recent February 2006 sale held by Heritage Galleries in Texas, item # 26644, being offered for sale was two strands of Ludwig von Beethovens Hair. For the record Beethoven died in 1827. The description states: "Two strands of hair taken from a larger lock probably clipped the morning after his passing. The hair was housed in a carved, dark wood frame along with a lock of Niccolo Paganinis hair; the antique lignum vitae frame can be dated to c1845. The composers hair was purchased from Robert C. Eldred, an antique dealer and auctioneer in Massachusetts, who confirmed that it was obtained from a well-known musicians family residing in Rhode Island. This large collection also included a Toscanini letter which was consigned to Eldrid. It was customary in Beethovens time to snip a lock of a loved ones hair to keep as a tangible reminder after their passing. Although it is unknown how many locks were originally taken, it has been ascertained that at present only a few remain in private collections. Only a few presentations of Beethovens hair have been prepared, when they are dispersed, no more will be offered. Each is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from University Archives and a video tape recording the first opening of the frame since it was originally sealed. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.
Lets start at the beginning of the description, keeping in mind Beethoven died in 1827. Two strands of hair taken from a larger lock "PROBABLY" clipped the morning after his passing. Who created this fabrication? Probably? Dont you know? This statement of fiction was created by a recent cataloguer. Moving forward: "..frame can be dated to c1845.." What does this mean? If the hair was removed in 1827, and we still dont know by whom, where was the hair for 18 years?
Was the hair not important enough to protect it for nearly two decades. Also we must keep in mind that a frame from 1845 can be purchased today in many antique shops. To continue: "...the composers hair..." now we are calling it the composers hair, are you convinced? Where up to now has that been determined? Continuing: "was purchased from Robert C. Eldred, an antique dealer in Massachusetts.." This sale was not held long ago, the dealer is still in business, where has the hair been since 1827? Moving forward: "who confirmed that it was obtained from a well-known musicians family residing in Rhode Island." Did anyone consider asking the name of this well known family? I guess its more believable that it came from an unidentified musicians family rather that a well known plumbers family. Besides, Rhode Island is as good a place as any in the United States for Beethovens hair to appear. The description goes onto say: "...this large collection also included a Toscanini letter...." What does this have to do with authenticating the Beethoven hair? To cloud the description and create a lengthy story taking your mind of what they call Beethovens hair they continue: "It was customary in Beethovens time to snip a lock of loved ones hair to keep as a tangible reminder after their passing." This could be true but what here tells us this is Beethovens hair? Now its time to break up this lock of hair and it is stated: "only a few presentations of Beethovens hair have been prepared..." They think by now with their created description you are actually believing this is Beethovens hair. Moving along: "each is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from University Archives." A COA based on what? Continuing: "And of video tape recording the first opening of the frame since it was originally sealed." Now we have a video tape of the opening of a frame that contains whatever you want to believe from the flimsy description. The frame is from c1845, but when was it originally sealed? The hair could have been put in this frame a century later!
We save the best for last: "accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA." If this hair was actually given to this company who advertises they authenticate autographs, lets take a guess regarding how many samples or scans of Beethovens hair PSA/DNA had in their file to be able to determine that the hair from this frame was from Beethovens head based on their usual claim that they "thoroughly examined" and that the hair is consistent because of color, angling, spacing and size and it did conform to known exemplars.
Interestingly, other offerings of celebrity hair by University Archives, that come with a COA signed by John Reznikoff have similar problems with "provenance credibility." We have attempted to contact Mr. Reznikoff on multiple occasions regarding this issue. He refuses to respond! Adding to this most unfortunate issue, many auction houses are very much aware that a large amount of this hair being fed into the autograph market is extremely questionable, yet they continue to take these items on consignment. The best way to answer this is the hair offered above as Beethovens sold for more than $8,000 with little or no credible provenance. Its all about money.
Basically, it all gets down to credibility of the seller of anything. This is where collectors have to do their own homework. One cannot listen to a seller promote himself. Many in the industry will tell you there are basically two well respected autograph dealer organizations. PADA and the IACC/DA have a listing of their dealer members. Before investing another nickel on your collection, it is always wise to check these organizations to determine whether the dealer you are about to do business with is a member in good standing. If they are not, start asking why!
As in all areas of collecting, it is the opinion of www.autographalert.com to be extremely cautious in what you collect and especially from whom you buy. Do not be taken in by those with full page self promoting advertisements.
This is an amazing story that needs to be told. It is mind boggling that it took about 60 years for us to finally learn the truth. This is a "War Story" that needs to be told.
We start by going to eBay item number 6589943097, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Terms of Surrender Certified by PSA/DNA.
Illustrated (right) is the item for sale, a copy of a souvenir German Surrender Document signed and dated by Admiral Karl Dönitz, 27.7.76. Immediately after Hitlers death suddenly and to his great surprise Dönitz became head of the German State. It fell to Dönitz to negotiate the surrender of the German forces to the Allies.
The signature of Karl Dönitz is very common and it would be near impossible to find an auction house or dealer who has not sold his signature at one time or another. Exemplars are plentiful.
However, the "experts" James Spence and Steve Grad sign off on a PSA/DNA Certificate of Authenticity dated Thursday, April 24, 2003, Re: CU14136-27, PSA/DNA Certification Number B16187 (see below). These "experts" state this Surrender Document was signed by Chester Nimitz. This is the first time we discover that it was our own Admiral Nimitz who surrendered the German Forces to the Allies in the European Theatre. An amazing historical discovery. Incredibly, he also managed to sign and date this copy over ten years after he died.
The signatures of Dönitz and Nimitz are by no means similar. A novice in the field of autographs can easily tell you which is which without looking at exemplars. The only way we can even stretch a similarity is that both signatures end in "itz."
This mistake is beyond ludicrous. This is the ultimate display of incompetence! How serious is this mistake? This authenticating company is one of the choices of eBay to authenticate autographs. They do so without seeing original documents and give "opinions" based on a scan.
What can one learn from this story?
1) How can these people who are
called authenticators also be called experts?
The document offered here teach the world that American Fleet Admiral (Pacific Fleet) Chester Nimitz surrendered the German Forces to the Allies, and he came back from the dead to do it. History re-written, authenticated and certified by PSA/DNA all for the low cost of $429.00.
The scathing article on autograph authenticators in the Saturday, February 25th edition of Barrons magazine may have played a major roll causing the stock of Collectors Universe, parent company of PSA/DNA to drop to a low of $13.88. A year ago, the stock was $20.60.
Why did this happen? Barrons article which scratched the surface of the authenticating problems was advising investors what many autograph collectors and dealers already know. Those who tout themselves as "autograph authenticators" are continuing to be exposed.
The Barrons article refers to a horrific James Spence incident! Spence was then the lead autograph authenticator at PSA/DNA. A Fox news television station forged several signatures on baseballs in their studio and brought them to James Spence of PSA/DNA to authenticate. The result seen on the 11:00 news was extremely embarrassing for Spence. This very popular news report of Spence, on camera, authenticating forged signatures as genuine, was taped and copies of this embarrassing report were sold on ebay.
How and why has the autograph industry gotten into this quagmire? Everyone is beginning to understand that PEOPLE AUTHENTICATE AUTOGRAPHS NOT COMPANIES! Who are the so-called authenticators?
Fifteen different educational courses have been held in the United States over the last ten years. Some were within driving distance of Jimmy Spences PSA/DNA office in Pennsylvania. One of the major courses was attended by the representatives of the Autopen machine. One of their machines was on display and the operator not only explained the use of the machine but each person attending received a beautiful ball point blue ink signature of John Hancock as a souvenir. Everyone who attended has the knowledge of the operation and ability of the Autopen. Records of the course on file with the International Autograph Collectors Club and Dealers Alliance who sponsored the show indicate that Mr. Spence did not take the course. Also on file with the IACC/DA are Certificates of Authenticity signed by Mr. Spence authenticating autopen signatures "as genuine!"
In a recent article in Sweetspot magazine, January 2006 issue, Mr. Spence states: "During the years I was there (PSA/DNA) everything was done to my expectations...everything that carried my letter of authenticity, indeed were items I examined." The files of the IACC/DA contain a huge volume of mistakes made by Jimmy Spence. Autopens, secretarial, rubber stamped signatures, printed signatures, laser printed signatures and forgeries all authenticated "as genuine" by Jimmy Spence.
In a 2005 interview with Sports Collectors Digest, Spence admits when authenticating for an auction house he may have to look at an item for a second as the auction can have hundreds or thousands of items to be inspected and they only want to pay him for one days work. He has to use his "gut" feeling to make a determination on items. Are uneducated bidders, so ignorant as to be bidding thousands of dollars on a single item based on a split second look and gut feeling? With someone making so many documented errors, in the same article Spence was asked "which of the other authenticators do you trust?" There was a long pause with no answer. Wouldnt one surmise that Spence would have answered with at least one of the several other names that their preprinted signatures appear on the thousands of PSA/DNA Certificates that also bear Spences signature? That speaks volumes!
The SCD interview continued with questions regarding the many of Spences errors in authenticating. Spence has recently broken away from PSA/DNA and has gone out on his own under a different business name.
While on the subject of credentials or lack thereof, a high profile company lists the name of one of their new persons hired to authenticate. They state the authenticator has gained invaluable experience handling millions of dollars worth of collectibles. Our investigation found this statement to be absolutely correct. This individual worked in the mail room of an auction house. He wrapped the collectibles for shipping, therefore handled millions of dollars worth of collectibles!
In a January 2006 SCD article, Justin Priddy of Global Authentication was interviewed. We checked the records of the IACC/DA to see if this "autograph authenticator" had taken any of the 15 autograph educational courses. He did not! We also checked the membership directories of The Manuscript Society and all other autograph organizations. He was not a member of any autograph organization. These organizations issue journals filled with autograph educational material and signature studies. In the interview, Mr. Priddy claimed he had been authenticating for only 5 or 6 years. He told SCD hes only 24 years old. His response to one of the questions was: "its more about experience, how many autographs youve actually looked at, not how long youve actually been professionally authenticating." Experience????
Seasoned collectors are more informed about the numerous amount of worthless COAs issued by authenticating companies. Whats worse is the fact that there are so many more mis-diagnosed autographs on COAs that will not be recognized until the collector decides to sell their item!
Frequently, collectors are very upset with the authenticating companies after they have attempted to get a thorough/correctly worded COA stating the item they obtained in person is genuine. Many of these in person signatures get a turn down letter by the authenticating companies.
Collectors, dealers and some websites are inquiring "who is actually pushing the use of these authenticating companies?" The answer is clearly the auction houses! We interviewed some auction houses whose responses should not surprise anyone. One major auction house said it best. "We dont have to know a thing about autographs. We can sell anything as long as it comes with a certificate from a high profile authenticating company. No matter how embarrassing the mistakes in authenticating, no one can blame me for selling bad material. Its simply a mistake by the authenticator." Another major auction house who uses PSA/DNA as their authenticator clearly states in their catalog that all items have been examined by this authenticating company. It did not surprise us to find out that the authenticator who examines many of the items is an "ex-employee" of the auction house. Oh by the way, no refunds for any reason!
To make a point, this auction house was contacted about a misidentified historical document they sold with a Certificate of Authenticity from PSA/DNA. The person who signed the document was not the person who they claimed in their catalog description. The auction house was told that a signature study exists regarding this person, written by a known autograph expert.
The head of the auction house stated "Im not getting involved in a battle of experts!" The response to that statement was "How could it be a battle when we are talking about two different persons and there is a published signature study proving your document was signed by a different person." Didnt matter, no refund, the item was examined by their "expert" before the auction. This is by no means an isolated experience!
As mentioned earlier, COMPANIES DO NOT AUTHENTICATE, PEOPLE DO!" In many cases its hard to determine who the person is who supposedly examined the autograph submitted for authentication.
A representative of www.autographalert.com contacted Marsha Dixey in the political memorabilia and Americana department of Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas. This was the most recent major autograph auction being held. The two volume set of auction catalogs are most impressive, as was the assortment of the material being offered. PSA/DNA was the autograph authentication company utilized to authenticate the autograph material being offered for sale. Since companies do not authenticate people do, we asked Marsha who was the person who physically examined their items. Her answer was John Reznikoff. Reznikoff is one of several names whose printed signature appears on PSA/DNA Certificates of Authenticity. We informed Marsha that there were numerous mistakes with items that were authenticated in this sale. She replied that some of the items had already been pulled before the sale.
We contacted Marsha after the sale asking for information about a specific item. Item #25371, "Samuel Sewall, Salem Witch Trial Judge, autograph endorsement signed. Estimate $750-$1,000." This item came with a Letter of Authenticity from PSA/DNA. The item was inspected and authenticated "as genuine" by John Reznikoff. Days later we emailed Marsha to find out what this lot sold for. Her response was $1,341 + change. This includes the BP (buyers premium).
This particular item, being sold "as genuine", signed by Samuel Sewall, is without question an inexcusable mistake! Signatures of Samuel Sewall are not scarce. Illustrations of Samuel Sewalls signature can be found in common autograph reference books and several of his signed documents have been illustrated in auction house catalogs during the last few years. The signature on the document sold in this particular sale is clearly the signature of Stephen Sewall, brother of Samuel Sewall. Their signatures are not even similar. How can this terrible and costly mistake be made by anyone who has the slightest bit of expertise authenticating? This specific incident has raised many questions regarding the expertise of highly promoted individuals who are presently authenticating.
During a recent lawsuit, Miller vs Collectors Universe, parent company of PSA/DNA, one of the exhibits used in court was a presidential oath of office authenticated as handwritten and signed by Ronald Reagan. This item should have been a very high valued piece of Americana. The item was authenticated as genuine by John Reznikoff. Actually PSA/DNA issued two different COAs regarding this item. The reason for this is the first COA was so poorly worded it did not properly identify the item. When this item was sent to PSA/DNA a second time an email from Steve Grad (head authenticator of PSA/DNA) dated 16 September 2004 stated: "John(Reznikoff) just wanted me to take another look at it. As of today and the scan he saw, he asked how much you wanted for it. He could change his mind but as far as hes concerned its Reagan."
How much do you want for it????? This item was being submitted a second time for a properly worded letter of authentication! We also refer to an email from Michael Haynes, CEO of Collectors Universe dated April 15, 2005 stating: "our employees do not buy or sell and our company does not buy or sell." In another email from Mr. Haynes dated April 16, 2005 he stated: "...sometimes errors happen, as a matter of public record Collectors Universe paid over $300,000 in the 12 months ending June 30, 2004 for errors..."
These payments are for errors that were uncovered in one year. How many more errors will turn up as collectors decide to sell their autograph treasures in the years to come? They wont know that their item may have been mis-diagnosed and their COA is worthless until they try to sell.
Referring to the above mentioned Reagan handwritten Presidential Oath Of Office that had two letters of authenticity issued by PSA/DNA, it was determined by another authenticator that the item was a complete forgery.
Continuing our investigation of Mr. Reznikoff, over the last several months we find he had been advised of many errors he had made. In some cases he did correct the problem. He arranged to pull items from auctions and he removed a common photograph of Ronald Reagan, signed by the autopen, from his website, that was being offered for $300.
Another documented and very embarrassing blunder that Mr. Reznikoff made was his listing of a King George III signature for sale on ebay. The description stated: "We think this is a signature of George III when he was mad." This authenticator was either unfamiliar with or simply had no clue as to the signature he was offering for sale. Signatures of King George III late in life are common. Illustrations of this type signature can be found in numerous places. This common signature was so unfamiliar to this authenticator that it was illustrated on his ebay site UPSIDE DOWN!
The above examples are just a few of numerous errors exposed. Major mistakes in the $100,000 plus range are not mentioned, as this information may appear in separate articles at a later date.
In a recent issue of Sweetspot magazine, Bill Daniels paid approximately $20,000 for a collection of signed photographs in a December 2004 Mastronet Auction. The items came with a PSA/DNA Certificate of Authenticity. According to the article, Daniels is suing PSA/DNA and Mastronet. During discovery "the only thing weve been able to pry out of them (Mastronet) is that Zach Rullo, one of PSA/DNAs authenticators owned the lot." According to the article, Daniels called Steve Grad a PSA/DNA authenticator. According to Daniels, Grad said he had never looked at the photos in the lot and no one at PSA/DNA had looked at them." Calls to Grad and Joe Orlando, president of PSA/DNA have since gone unanswered!
Daniels also asked Grad, "How can you issue a letter of authenticity without inspecting something?"
"Well I dont want to talk about it," Daniels said Grad told him. Court date is set for April 2006.
There are many professional autograph dealers who are willing to offer collectors advice regarding an autograph. Exemplars of celebrities in all fields are illustrated in hundreds of reference books. It is imperative that collectors start doing much of their own homework regarding authentication.
To help protect collectors, there is a movement in the hobby of collectors and dealers who are avoiding participating in auctions that use the services of authenticating companies. The heat has already been felt, as some auction companies are calling potential consignors for items and are being told they will get nothing until they stop using the authenticating company and start offering a guarantee for the items they auction. The same is true for many who no longer bid at auctions that use authenticating companies. A large auction company can put heavy pressure on an authenticator. If a questionable item isnt authenticated "as genuine" chances are the authenticator will loose future business. After all, the hobby has changed and its basically all about money.
It is the opinion of www.autographalert.com that collectors need to do their own homework regarding authenticating items in their collections. After reading about who the identified "experts" are and the common mistakes they make regularly, you may realize that your "guess" may be much more accurate that those who have labeled themselves as autograph authenticators.
This article does not intend
to single out any individual authenticator, company or auction
house. It merely illustrates current news and recent documented
See How You Finish As Compared To Those Who Claim
To Be Experts
This is the second in a series of educational autograph courses to be found on this site. We continue with these type courses as the first in this series was of Charles Schulz and Snoopy sketches which was extremely popular with readers of www.autographalert.com
We are in a time where some of the leading "high profile" autograph authenticators are only in their twenties. According to a recent interview in the January 6, 2006 edition of Sports Collectors Digest the lead "authenticator" (24 years old) for a high profile authenticating service is not even aware there were 14 autograph educational courses available. His comment "...theres really no courses available for learning autographs, so it really comes down to experience." Experience?
We checked the history of this authenticator and found he is not a member of the IACC/DA nor is he listed as a member in the 2006 Directory of The Manuscript Society.
Anyone can take the following test, all should find it interesting. It is most important that you follow this test line by line. Do not scroll down to the bottom of this test until you examine the eleven illustrations. It is most important that you look at each illustration, compare the signatures to each other and make your final determination before looking at the facts.
Following Are Eleven Illustrations of Britney Spears For Your Examination
Hopefully you have made some notes and also a decision regarding what you have examined.
Each and every signature you have examined was sold "as guaranteed genuine". The seller of these signatures was Bob Eaton of rrauction.com, R&R Enterprises Autograph Auctions of New Hampshire.
Each and every one of the above eleven illustrated signatures that were on photographs came with a certification of authentication from R&R Enterprises. Bob Eaton is also a member of the PSA/DNA authenticating team. Two of the other authenticators on his staff are Roger Epperson and John Reznikoff who are also members of the PSA/DNA team. Mr. Eaton and/or his authenticating team believe all eleven signatures were signed by the same hand.
If your answer was all eleven signatures were signed by the same hand then you agreed with the autograph authenticators. This same test was given to a handful of other autograph authenticators and dealers. Many of the opinions were that they were hard pressed to find two signatures that were signed by the same hand. How did you fare? You may be a candidate to be an autograph authenticator.
The next in this series will be on the signatures of Steve McQueen.