- Breaking News:
- December 15, 2008
Reznikoff, Please Stop Authenticating (PSA)
The mistakes authenticating autographs made by the self proclaimed
autograph authenticators has reached epidemic proportions.
www.autographalert.com is bombarded with complaints from readers
who have had their "in person" signatures turned down
as non authentic by these guessers. Why anyone who received an
autograph "in person" and would pay for an authentication
is beyond our imagination.
The major problem is that private collections are filled with
non genuine autographs that have been authenticated as genuine.
Apparently after all the stories about authenticating mistakes
we have yet to read anything where these companies are doing
anything about improving the qualities of their service. What
seems important to them is just getting submissions and watch
the revenue hopefully grow.
Most of us know who are making these mistakes yet all the authenticating
companies (who also know) keep on staff the same people who have
made all these mistakes over the years. Www.autographalert.com
would love to hear from any one of these companies why this remains
It is true, business has fallen off for most of these authenticating
companies as collectors get educated. This doesn't help all those
collectors who are sitting on bad items thinking they are genuine!
One of our dedicated readers of this site has alerted us to another
inexcusable, embarrassing mistake in authenticating.
We are not picking on John Reznikoff, it's just that he has made
so many mistakes authenticating autographs and many are in the
field of Presidents of the United States. Many of his mistakes
are not printed on this site because readers would be bored reading
about the same person making so many errors. However every once
in awhile, we need to remind our readers when a deplorable error
in authenticating is made.
The latest tragedy can be found in the R&R Enterprises last
sale of December 14, 2008. Item number 184 is identified as a
document signed by Martin Van Buren. In the description it states:
"...LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA." Both
R&R (Bob Eaton) and John Reznikoff claim to be autograph
Sadly, this item attracted 7 bids yet sold for only 198.00 which
is below what a genuine "clipped" signature would sell
of Van Buren. Why so cheap? All the educated collectors and dealers
know this document is not hand signed by Martin Van Buren so
they didn't bid on it.
Martin Van Buren secretarial signature sold as genuine in R&R
authenticated by both John Reznikoff and Bob Eaton
Worse is that so much has been written about Van Buren's signature
and those of his secretary. As far back as 1990, A Lovell Elliott
(autograph dealer) advised Charles Hamilton of these type documents
being signed for Van Buren by Benjamin F. Butler. An autograph
club printed in their journal a few pages just on these signatures
and how to clearly tell the difference between both. Why, 18
years later does Eaton and Reznikoff (autograph authenticators)
not know this? There is simply no excuse for this mistake. Shamefully,
these authenticators lack the reference material on a subject
they claim to have expertise.
Reznikoff is one of the authenticators for R&R Enterprises,
PSA/DNA, JSA, James Spence Authentications and is also listed
as a Registered Dealer in the Universal Autograph Collectors
Club and one of their "Approved Appraisers and Authenticators".
The rule of thumb has not changed. Do research on the person
or company before you purchase any autograph. Make sure you get
a sales slip with the purchased item clearly and accurately described.
For your protection make sure the dealer states, on the bill
of sale, you get a lifetime guarantee and that you will get a
full refund should the item be determined at a later date not
to be genuine.
Our personal experience is if the item has been handled by an
authenticating company, you should get a second opinion!
Once again, we have attempted to contact John Reznikoff to hear
his side of the story, but as usual, no response.
John Reznikoff, our readers would love to hear your explanations.
- Breaking News:
- December 6, 2008
- Another Strike-Out?
Those who will get a real kick out of this story are those
who are familiar with the autographs of members of the Baseball
Hall of Fame. Take a look at the image below found in the last
autograph auction of Nate D. Sanders. It was the auction ending
Thursday, September 4, 2008, Lot #500.
Catalog description reads: "Signature of baseball great
Cy Young. Dark blue ink signature framed beneath Perez-Steele
card featuring a close-up drawing overlaid by an action sketch.
Signature card measures 3.25"x2"; framed image measures
7.25"x75". Accompanied by PSA Certificate of Authenticity.
- Oops! Do
you see an extra "o" in Young?
above is a genuine signature of Cy Young
www.autographalert.com would love to hear from the opinionator
at PSA/DNA who authenticated the Yooung signature.
- Breaking News:
- December 1, 2008
How Do You Defend This?
Go to the PSA/DNA web site and read about autograph authentication.
They state: "Have your autographs examined and certified
by the world's foremost autograph experts."
Their authentication process includes a four-level authentication
system. Level One being "The Authentication Process."
The first step of Level One includes: "Ink/Medium Analysis,
autograph structure analysis, object evaluation and also side
by side comparisons (when necessary)".
This Level One step also includes the use of the controversial
Video Spectral Comparator. PSA/DNA claims using this machine
can tell "differences in ink types."
Several names are listed as autograph experts at the bottom of
PSA/DNA Certificates. However we can find no instance where anyone
of these so called experts will take the blame for a mistake.
By now, most everyone in the autograph collecting hobby should
be well aware that "people authenticate autographs not companies".
Some questions need to be asked.
With so many documented mistakes, many being sophomoric, why
would any company still claim they have "autograph experts"
on their staff?
Why would any company who claims to authenticate autographs hide
who the individual is that passed or failed any autograph?
Most interesting is why do some dealers and auctions houses continue
to use the same authenticating companies that have made in the
past and continue to make so many inexcusable mistakes?
An inexcusable blunder made by the "experts" at PSA/DNA
could be found in a Heritage/Odyssey Auction #612. Lot #22262.
Cataloged as a Mary Pickford Signed Photograph. "RARE, vintage
photo signed by the Pollyanna' star, one of the greatest
actresses of the silent era." This supposedly RARE item
is accompanied by a COA from PSA/DNA. See illustration below.
Item # 22262 from Heritage/Odyssey catalog #612
- These photographs
are by no means rare. They have been around for nearly 100 years
and any dealer with the slightest experience most likely has
come across these photographs. With a little effort a collector
and surely an "autograph authenticating expert" can
go to the educational web site of www.isitreal.com, click on
the Reference Directory, type in Mary Pickford and voila, an
identical photograph with the same signature comes on screen.
On this site, the photo is accurately described as a photograph
bearing a rubber stamped signature of Mary Pickford.
Can you imagine, someone paid for this quality of service?
How could such a mistake be made by the "experts" at
Who is the one or more "experts" at PSA/DNA that passed
this as a genuine signature?
How can an autograph "expert" not be able to tell a
real ink signature from a rubber stamped signature?
PSA/DNA's website states they do a side-by-side comparison (when
necessary). Wasn't this case necessary?
Who was at the helm of the controversial Video Spectral Comparator
which PSA/DNA claims can tell "difference in ink types?"
Lastly, why oh why, do these embarrassing mistakes continue to
- Breaking News:
- November 10, 2008
- AUTOGRAPHS 101
Just when you think you have
a handle understanding the autograph industry, something new
One of our dedicated readers has advised us of at least one auction
house who sells autographs has established a new rule.
The rule is: "Buyer responsible for shipping." These
words may be overlooked as many bidders don't read all the auction
house rules. Many collectors are more concerned about how much
the auction house charges for a "Buyers Premium" In
this case the auction house charged a whopping 20%.
What does "Buyer Responsible For Shipping" actually
mean? It means exactly what it says. The auction house will not
pack or ship the item! The auction house gives the winning bidder
the phone number for the local UPS store and tells the buyer
they have to arrange everything through the store.
The auction house will only call the store to say that the item
is ready to be picked up.
- Breaking News:
- October 28, 2008
JSA James Spence Authentication
Looking Very Foolish!
Ask most anyone in the book business and sports autograph
business which is the most common recent book in the sports industry
where each copy contains a pre-printed signature? The answer
is hands down Bo Knows Bo by Bo Jackson and Dick Schaap.
Printed in 1990 this extremely common book has been around for
eighteen years. Each copy is signed with a pre-printed
signature. For those who are reading this and are new to the
hobby a pre-printed signature is not a genuine hand signed
signature. The signature is printed in the book just like the
rest of the text. Naturally, each book contains the same
identical printed signature.
Enterprises, based in Florida, runs an occasional auction.
Lot #1738 which ended July 10, 2008 listed one of these
books. One day before the sale ended they had a current bid of
Illustrated was the page which contained a pre-printed signature
of Bo Jackson. The auction house's description stated: "Striking
black pen signature on the first inside title page of this 218
pg. book. Sig(nature) is mint! JSA (James Spence Authentication)
extremely common pre-printed (non genuine) signature of Bo Jackson
has been authenticated "as genuine" by JSA, James Spence
is that Bricol Enterprises listed this book or another copy just
like it the year before but was notified the signature was not
genuine by a reader of www.autographalert.com
. The book was
pulled from that auction. Could it be that same copy was
sent to JSA, James Spence Authentication and JSA passed the signature
house's can sell an item that is not genuine yet
comes with a COA from an autograph authenticating company. Many
of them will take no responsibility for their action. When
confronted, they will simply blame it on the incompetent
company they used to authenticate autographs.
At the time this article was being written, we went on eBay
and found 27 identical books being offered. Not
one of these books was being offered by an autograph expert.
They were being sold by average sports people and book dealers.
Not one was offered stating the signature in these books were
genuine! Since the sellers were not autograph experts their
terminology describing the pre-printed Bo Jackson signature were
dissimilar, yet accurate.
are just a handful of descriptions from non autograph authenticating
eBay item # 110288115148...."this book has Bo's signature
eBay item # 370098803350...."facsimile autobiograph...."
eBay item # 200202859625...."it is not signed by Bo Jackson.
It contains a printed signature that is in every copy of the
book. They are all identical pre-printed signatures."
eBay item # 230283047374...."signature of Bo Jackson on
front endpaper appears to have been signed before printing. This
is not an original."
to ask yourself why did 27 non autograph experts easily identify
the Bo Jackson signatures in these books as not being genuine?
Yet the company who tells you to "Follow The Leader"
cannot tell a pre-printed signature from a genuine ink
signature signed using a pen.
has tried with no success on several occasions to address this
and similar issues with James J. Spence, Jr. who runs this
The JSA website states
there are nine individuals on staff who they claim are autograph
The following names are
members of the Spence gang:
James J. Spence, Jr.
One or more of the
persons listed above has authenticated the pre-printed, non-genuine
signature of Bo Jackson as genuine. "People authenticate
autographs, not companies" and from any JSA LOA you
cannot determine who actually made the wrong decision.
Basically the autograph authenticating companies have made it
impossible for you to pin their mistakes down to any one individual.
Some collectors/dealer believe the existence
of incompetent autograph authenticators have already done as
much harm to the hobby as the autograph forgers. After
all millions upon millions of dollars have been spent by collectors
who purchased non-genuine autographs based on COA's issued by
authenticating companies. The average Joe will complain about
being ripped off by being scammed by an auto repair shop yet
there are still some people who want you to look the other way
after you paid for an autograph that came with an inaccurate
autograph authenticating companies COA.
recommends collectors/dealers read the book Busted! The author
is Thomas J. Riccio of O.J. fame. In this book the author
states that a popular autograph authenticator at the time:
"....was the number one authenticator on eBay, and any item
certified by him sold for a great deal of money." The book
goes on to say: "That guy (authenticator) is a quack: every
crook uses him to get their forgeries passed. He doesn't know
a Mickey Mantle autograph from a Mickey Mouse autograph!"
This same autograph "expert"
authenticator examined several forged items for Real Sports.
The reporters posing as customers had a hidden camera. The autograph
authenticator passed all seven forgeries and provided seven certificates
of authenticity. The customers told the authenticator the
items he authenticated "as genuine" were actually forged.
The authenticators response: "If these are items that I
passed and they're known to be fake, again, I gave an opinion
on these items."
about their mistakes, is this the best lame excuse that comes
from one who claims to be an expert on autographs?
This may be the reason why most authenticating companies refuse
to respond to requests to discuss some of their horrific errors.
Which one or more on the JSA team will
step up to the plate and admit they gave their opinion that this
pre-printed, common, non-genuine signature of Bo Jackson was
in their opinion genuine!
Pre-printed signature (not genuine) authenticated "as
by JSA, James J. Spence Authentication "Follow The Leader"
has attempted to contact James J. Spence, Jr. for a short interview
regarding this incident. Spence was told the interview
should not take more than 2-3 minutes. As in all the requests
for an interview in the past, there is no response from Spence
or his company.
Some dealers and
auction houses of autographs continue to use companies that were
created to claim to authenticate autographs.
Most will take no responsibility for what they sell, using the
excuse that the "autograph experts" said it was
genuine. Fewer collectors are falling for this gimmick and many
purchasers of autographs now advise the seller/auction house
that they are aware of this game. If the seller/auction
house continues to use their chosen authenticating company then
you know they are well aware that their choice of authenticator
One dealer told
us that authenticating companies have gotten away with this for
so long because there is no law against stupidity. Big
brother isn't watching and why should he if someone is willing
to pay dearly for someone's opinion. In most cases the collector
doesn't even know whose "opinion" he is getting.
The "phantom opinionator" has a 50% to 50% chance of
being right or wrong. Now, how much is that worth?
On the plus side, there are still many sellers and auction
houses who "unconditionally guarantee" what they sell
with "no time limit" for returns. That's kind
of a no-brainer!
Of the several
professional autograph organizations in existence, Internationally,
at this time not one has taken an advertisement from a company
who claims to authenticate autographs. That alone speaks volumes.
There is only a very few autograph or sports related autograph
publications or news letters that continue to take their ads.
In all cases these publications are well aware of the incompetency
and the plethora of errors made by the authenticating companies.
This does not speak well for the publications.
Some professional autograph dealers will no longer take
ads in these same publications. They just don't want their names
associated with the autograph authenticating companies. Advertising
is down with all these publications.
Slowly but surely collectors are educating others and fewer
collectors are spending their hard earned dollars for someone's
"guess" or "opinion" especially in cases
where autograph authenticators won't respond to intelligent
questions about their "opinions."
What are they afraid of?
- Breaking News:
- October 21, 2008
Ringo Starr, Former Beatle Drummer
Warns Autograph Collectors
The following information was sent to www.autographalert.com
from a dedicated reader
of this site. The following is partly from a video on Ringo Starr's
web site and information printed by the British Broadcasting
In the video on his web
site, Ringo dressed in black clothes and wearing dark glasses
made the following comment: this is "a serious message to
everyone watching". "....I'm warning you with
peace and love I have too much to do.....please do not send fan
mail to any address you have...nothing will be signed
after the 20th of October. If that is the date on the envelope,
it's gonna be tossed".
- Breaking News:
- October 7, 2008
Autograph Collecting's Latest Reference Book
Ronald Reagan and Nelle Reagan Autograph Mystery Uncovered
by Patricia Claren, Stephen Koschal and Ron Werntz is taking
the hobby by storm. One book reviewer stated: "Hot
diggity! Much to my delight, I received in today's mail the copy
of your newest work.....which I truly appreciate. It will of
course become a valued addition to our reference library....I
hope your study will help scale back the incredible shenanigans
taking place on the autograph market with early Reagan material....I'm
thrilled to see a worthy book out on this neglected topic....Bill
Butts, Galena, Il."
it already has! The 70 page study written by veteran autograph
dealers Patricia Claren, Stephen Koschal and collector Ron Werntz
has already changed the autograph community. Of the five
collections/items discussed in the study, three have already
basically been removed from either sale or from display. The
fourth is privately owned and the fifth is in the collection
of author Ron Werntz.
who read the book stated: "after finishing this study there
is no way anyone would ever be fooled purchasing a Reagan letter
that was written for him by his mother.." Another
reader commented: "this study is going to save a lot of
collectors and dealers a lot of money...."
This book has been carefully laid out as an educational
study. The authors begin with several pages of handwritten
letters by Nelle Reagan. This gives the reader an excellent chance
to get familiar with her handwriting.
In Chapter Two, illustrated is a handwritten letter
being offered by a dealer as written and signed by Ronald Reagan.
The letter has excellent content and is being offered for $10,000.
Readers of this study should now be able to determine that all
the letters in Chapter One were written by the same hand as the
$10,000 letter. The $10,000 letter has been on the market
for two years. Since this study was published, the letter
has been removed from the dealers web site.
The next few Chapters describe different collections of
letters which were believed to be written by Ronald Reagan,
one which was purchased for $500,000. Chapter Seven
illustrates genuine letters, documents and signatures of Ronald
Reagan that have been signed over a span of 40 years. This gives
the reader a chance to be familiar with Ronald Reagan's handwriting.
Chapter Eight, a most important chapter,
covers a seven page handwriting comparison and analysis of the
writing of Ronald Reagan and Nelle Reagan.
Chapter Nine covers the handwriting of Ronald Reagan's sister-in-law
Bessie Reagan. Bessie was answering mail for Ronald Reagan as
early as August 1949 and was still answering some of his mail
during the late 1950's and early 1960's.
One collector who has read this Reagan study said it best:
"No one should by a letter reportedly written by Ronald
Reagan until they read this study."
The study was published only in a limited, individually
numbered edition, hand signed by all three authors. Cost
is only $13.00 which includes shipping to address in the United
States. This invaluable study can be ordered through one of the
P.O. Box 311061
Miami, FL 33231 USA
- Breaking News:
- September 27, 2008
Collecting Human Hair
Buyer Be Educated!
is not this first educational article on this site regarding
the collecting of human hair. Our other article which exposed
the extremely questionable authenticity of Beethoven's hair was
took a seller of autographs description of the Beethoven hair
and the description includes the word "probably." Beethoven
died in 1827. The best the catalog description can come close
to this date is that the hair is housed in a frame that can be
dated to 1845, eighteen years later. Even today, anyone
can go to an antique shop or show and find a frame from 1845.
The few strands of hair came with a Certificate
of Authenticity from a John Reznikoff of University
Archives. His certificate was backed by a another Certificate
of Authenticity from PSADNA. One has to wonder where they
got their exemplars to match the so-called Beethoven's hair?
Two years ago some hair from Mary
Lincoln was being offered by University Archives which claimed
to come with "credible provenance." Twice we
attempted to contact John Reznikoff regarding the provenance
of the hair and he would not respond to our request.
Collectors who thought of possibly adding some hair to their
collection have asked how can they be sure the hair they may
want to purchase is genuine?
only way to do this is to watch the hair being cut from the celebrity's
head and make sure it doesn't hit the floor and mix with others!
If you are going to play the game of collecting
hair and purchase it from anyone, it all gets down to
how much you trust the seller!
long ago, one major distributor of celebrity hair was asked:
"If you have what you truly believe may be a genuine
sample of genuinely well documented celebrity hair, while
examining the sample, a few strands of your own hair fall into
the pile and get mixed in, what can you do?" The answer
was: "well shit happens!"
red flag should go up if you discover the person selling hair
has a long tradition of selling contrived items. That would
be a genuine signature on a card, where later, a typed quotation
was placed above the signature. Hundreds are items of this
sort are sold such as a Nixon signature with "I am not a
crook" typed above it or an LBJ bookplate with the presidential
Oath of Office typed above it. Persons who create or handle
this type of contrived item may have no problem switching genuine
hair with others. Problems also start when the seller only
has a few strands of original hair and they need to build
on it in order to make it into a limited edition. Many
seasoned collectors have watched the celebrity hair being sold
for many years, by multiple sellers, and we cannot find
one instance where any seller has stated they are sold out of
that particular hair!
stories about Neil Armstrong's hair have appeared in newspapers
around the country. One of the articles was in the July 20, 2008
issue of the New York Times by Jerry Guo. This article says in
part: ".....Though Reznikoff says he collects (hair) mainly
for personal enjoyment, his hobby has occasionally gotten him
in trouble. In 2005, he paid $3,000 to Neil Armstrong's
barber for some of the astronaut's hair. A furious Armstrong
threatened to sue..."
believe's this was
an amazing historical find. Hair from an American icon who shun's
collectors. We decided to dig a little deeper into this
story only because of our past experience with descriptions that
were very questionable.
We were successful in obtaining an article from a Colorado
Springs newspaper. In the June 2, 2005 issue of the Gazette a
story written by Andrea Brown. In part the story says: "As
far as local memorabilia wheeler and dealer Todd Mueller was
concerned, all he bought was some trash' off a barber's floor.
But the first man to walk on the moon, astronaut Neil Armstrong,
wants it back. After all, it was once attached to his famous
head. Armstrong, 74, is mad at Marx Sizemore, his now former
barber in Ohio, secretly sold clippings from a haircut about
a year ago to Mueller for $3,000."
Wait a second, didn't Reznikoff different newspapers
including the New York Times he bought the hair???????
Reznikoff continues: "...a
furious Armstrong threatened to sue..." We discovered
this is true but Reznikoff did not say who could be sued,
making it appear that Armstrong would be suing Reznikoff. We
discovered who could really be sued. The following
illustration is the top portion of Armstrong's attorney's letter
to the barber. The letter goes on to state that Armstrong wants
his hair back and if that is not complied with Mr. Armstrong
"indicated his willingness to pursue all claims and remedies
afforded to him by the law." So the drama and spins
end here as although it could appear from Reznikoff's own words
that he could be sued we discover the truth and it was
the barber who was threatened.
But this is not the end of the story, we are still trying to
find out who is the credible purchaser of Armstrong's hair.
Reznikoff clearly stated he is the one who purchased Armstrong's
hair for $3,000 yet the article in the Gazette stated Mueller
was the purchaser. This twist also bothered
the reporter from the Colorado Springs Gazettte. In an
attempt to try to get to the truth, the reporter called Reznikoff
however according to the June 02 article "Reznikoff did
not return a phone call Wednesday."
Upon further investigation we have discovered that there
was only one sale of Armstrong's hair by the barber. Read
the first paragraph of the legal letter. It is written to Marx
Sizemore owner of Herald' Barber Shop. It clearly states:
"This firm represents Neil Armstrong, who has advised us
of your transaction with Todd Mueller......sold that hair to
Mr. Mueller at a price you have indicated to Mr. Armstrong to
is starting to smell. We have attempted on more than one occasion
to contact John Reznikoff of University Archives about his claim
to be the purchaser of Neil Armstrong's hair. Once again,
when it comes to questioning the credibility of celebrity hair,
he will not respond to us.
of Reznikoff's refusal to respond to those questioning his claim,
we contacted Todd Mueller of Todd Mueller Autographs. Mr.
Mueller confirmed he is the only purchaser of Neil Armstrong's
hair. In an interview with Mr. Mueller he stated: "Reznikoff
was not aware of the negotiations between myself and the barber.
Matter of fact Reznikoff was not aware of the purchase of the
hair until it was bought, paid for and in my hands."
We were shocked about our findings.
We still wanted to do a little more investigating even
though we were pretty much convinced who was telling the truth.
We had a copy of the lawyer's letter and the interview with Mr.
Mueller yet we still wanted to give everyone the benefit of doubt.
Illustrated below is a copy of the original
check from Todd Mueller Autographs made out to Marx Sizemore
for $3,000 and in the upper right corner in Mueller's hand it
states: "Armstrong Hair." This copy of the check
was sent to the Gazette as proof that Todd Mueller is was the
only purchaser of Neil Armstrong's hair.
There can be all kinds of
spins regarding the content of all the newspaper articles such
as "the press got it wrong" or "that's what they
wrote, I didn't say that." Nowhere in all the newspaper
articles and stories to be found on the Internet can you find
one article where Mr. Reznikoff states "Todd Mueller bought
the hair directly from the barber for $3,000."
- Breaking News:
- September 2, 2008
The folks at www.autographalert.com
would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers
and supporters for an amazing record number of visits to this
site in August 2008. We call this amazing because most know that
the summer months are traditionally slow during the summer season.
The record number of visits is more than the combined membership
of the three American autograph clubs.
would also like to thank all those who have sent in their emails
of support for this site. Part of the success can be attributed
to all those dealers including our International friends who
have requested to add a link to their web sites.
will continue to bring you educational autograph information
on a timely basis with no advertisers to offend.
- Breaking News:
- August 28, 2008
Autograph Authenticators In Hiding???????
A few weeks ago www.autographalert.com
emailed separate invitations
for an interview to three persons whose names appear on PSADNA
Authentication Services Certificates (COAs).
were sent to Steve Grad, John Reznikoff (University Archives)
and Zack Rullo. It was explained in the request that only
about a dozen questions would be asked of each and that the interview
would not last more than 20-25 minutes.
one of these persons honored the request for an interview!
What is there to be afraid of?
Are there questions they are afraid to be asked?
Why are they afraid to be publically accountable?
What dont they want you to know?
A story touching
on this invitation, including the embarrassment of passing as
authentic a well know stamped signature of Andrew Johnson was
posted on www.autographalert.com
was advised by someone in this industry that they got a
call from one of the above three individuals. We were told
the authenticator seemed like a raving lunatic when asked about
story posted on www.autographalert.com
The authenticator stated that they are going to spend some money
in an attempt to find an internet hacker, break into www.autographalert.com
and take down the
Sounds like a second request for an interview
would be fruitless!
Should this site be taken
down, we will contact our readers and let them know who the authenticator
is that made the threat.
- Breaking News:
- August 23, 2008
One More Very Unhappy Customer!
many emails on a regular basis from those who have used third
party authenticators and ended up extremely unhappy. We
cant print them all, but keep them on file. The following
is a sample just received.
I submitted 18 Muhammad Ali signed items to a PSA authenticator
in New Jersey (Bob Zafian). All the items were signed at shows
between 1986 and 1993. They include photos, a bat, two gloves,
and a few signed Cassius Clay (We were told not to ask but my
girlfriend at the time asked him and he signed a book and a 16x20
photo Cassius Clay).
While no great fan of P.S.A. I felt
that the amount spent on the letters (COAs) would bring me greater
resale value. The agreement I had with Bob Zafian
was I was to pay him $25.00 for any item turned down. As
I had all the items signed in person I agreed. I was shocked
when he told e that 16 of 18 were no good. When I protested
that they were all good he told me in a condescending manner
I should get P.S.A. quick opinions before making a purchase.
I told him how I went to shows and spent at the time big money
to get these items signed. He talked to me as I was a liar, these
guys are running a big scam and one day the public will find
out. They are incompetent. You may publish this letter in your
newsletter if you would like.
Thank You, Mark.
- Breaking News:
- August 18, 2008
Third Party Authenticators Quickly
party autograph authenticators continue to get more bad press!
There is a record number of professional
autograph dealers who will no longer issue a refund based on
the opinion of most third party authenticators.
As collectors become educated more are realizing that if
a signature comes with a COA from a third party authenticator,
that signature most likely needs to be re-examined. More importantly
the money spent on the authentication is basically wasted.
Collectors have found that when it comes
time to sell, usually because they wanted to upgrade their signature
or signed item for a better item, they were advised their
autograph was not genuine and was as worthless as the opinion
or guess made by the autograph authenticator on the Certificate
of Authentication that came with the item.
We have talked with more major autograph dealers who are
presently editing the wording on their websites that
no refunds will be made based on 3rd party so called autograph
In the recent edition
of Autograph magazine, September 2006, the editor/publisher
takes on this subject in his article, Be Careful Out
There. This article names some names but in our opinion
others could be added to the list.
magazine goes on to say in part: .....another clue is that many
of these companies use forensic document examiners as authenticators.........I
am not aware of one respected dealer in the industry who uses
forensic document examiners for certificates of authenticity,
and to most, its a sign that the item is likely fake. Others
offer certificates of authenticity from authentication services
that are known in the industry to regularly certify forgeries
Another major sign
that third party authenticators are struggling is when they have
a sale. Consumers realize when a business has a sale, things
are very slow. A business is usually slow because consumers
are not supporting the business or have lost respect for the
James Spence Authentication
(JSA) has had a long list of bad publicity both in print and
on television news stations. According to a recent article
in Sports Collectors Digest, August 20, 2008 issue:
JSA had a weekend special.......for any item signed anywhere
in Cooperstown during the weekend, JSA authenticators studied
the signature, considered the situation where it was signed and
offered their opinion on its veracity for only $5.00. JSAs
usual fee is $20-$40.00. Some we have talked to think even
$5.00 is too much for someones guess especially from someone
who has a very long history of making so many documented mistakes
and still has trouble telling a printed signature from one that
was signed with ink.
You may be
reminded of another article on this site where not long ago JSA
offered the same service at a show held in the Northeast. The
news media forged some baseballs of a celebrity who was attending
the show and JSA authenticators passed the forgeries as genuine.
Most collectors and dealers with experience in the
autograph business will tell you that legally everyone has the
right to their opinion and theres no law broken for being ignorant
when authenticating autographs. Judges dont want to see COAs,
they carry little or no weight. What a judge wants to see is
your bill of sale, your only legal document.
says there is a solution to this modern dilemma. Collectors
must purchase from known professional autograph dealers or auction
houses that have valid credentials. Should they ever make
an honest mistake, they should make good.
- Breaking News:
- August 8, 2008
Grad, John Reznikoff & Zack Rullo
The Mistakes Just Keep Coming
Www.autographalert.com openly requested an interview with each
of these three persons who claim they can authenticate autographs.
The challenge includes a representative from www.autographalert.com
asking each of these gents about a dozen questions. The interview
should not take more that 20-25 minutes.
Many of our readers are concerned about the people at PSADNA
who claim to be autograph experts. Questions about their actual
backgrounds in autographs, their autograph education and several
other questions need to be answered. Many collectors now
somewhat educated no longer believe in self promoting full
page advertisements. Collectors now want to hear from the authenticators
We want to take this opportunity to thank those dealers who have
contacted us regarding not giving refunds based on the guess
of any 3rd party autograph authenticator. All dealers have to
do is refer your customer to the stories on www.autographalert.com
Here is one more reason to understand why 3rd party authenticators
are incompetent. Read the following. Again we can
refer to the current Mastro Auctions. Lot number 2071, Andrew
Johnson Military appointment. That short description alone
sends up a red flag to anyone who has even limited experience
handling signed presidential items. Who doesnt know most
of these documents are not hand signed by President Johnson?
It appears only Steve Grad, John Reznikoff and Zack Rullo at
PSADNA dont know!
The following is a condensed version of Mastros catalog description
of this lot. ...offered is an 1866 military commission certificate,
signed by President Andrew Johnson....Johnsons black fountain
pen signature is a full name example....and rates an 8"
in strength......LOA from Steve Grad & Zack Rullo and John
Johnson Stamped Signature being sold as Genuine
Once again, www.autographalert.com would like to hear from the
boys at PSADNA how this got passed them? The only possible
excuse, even for these gents is that none of them saw the document.
But we would like to hear that from them.
Yet, there is a COA from PSADNA from these three passing this
item as genuine.
Lets take this one more embarrassing step forward. Worse, is
that not one of these three can tell a signature signed by a
pen using ink verses a signature placed on a document by a stamp.
THE SIGNATURE ON THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS A VERY COMMON STAMPED
Now, if someone cant tell a real ink signature from a stamped
signature, why should any collector submit their autograph for
authentication? Why should ANY dealer make a refund based on
one of their guesses? Why are these people authenticating autographs?
Steve Grad, John Reznikoff, Zack Rullo, send us an email and
lets set up an interview!
- Breaking News:
- June 4, 2008
- PSA/DNA Trio
Grad, Rullo & Reznikoff Botches Mastros Lot
What autograph auction company doesnt have something signed by
President Theodore Roosevelt?
His signature is very common in all forms.
Mastros current auction is no exception. Lot number 2092 is what
their cataloger describes as a signature of President Theodore
Roosevelt. They even go one step further and give it a grade.
- Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919),
the 26th President of the United States, employed black fountain
pen to neatly script "Good luck! / Theodore Roosevelt"
("10") on the 3" x 5" page offered here.
The paper presents at the NM level with a small area of residue
on the reverse, likely from past display. LOA from Steve Grad
& Zach Rullo and John Reznikoff/PSA DNA.
- Mastros Lot Description
- Mastro continues to use the
company PSA/DNA who claims to authenticate autographs. The trio
of so-called experts who authenticated this signature are Steve
Grad, Zack Rullo and John Reznikoff.
Illustration of what they call President Theodore Roosevelt
- We are not here to educate those
who want to be called autograph authenticators however as a hint
these three bloks can start by researching signatures of Roosevelts
secretaries or family members.
Mistakes such as this are totally unacceptable and speaks volumes
of the experience of these experts. WWW.autographalert.com would
love to hear from one of these experts regarding their research
of this Roosevelt signature!
Its anyones guess why Mastro continues to use this company after
all the times this auction house has been advised of PSA/DNAs
history of sophomoric mistakes.
- Breaking News:
- May 31,
- Victor Morenos American Memorabilia
A horror story that has been around for some time! Victor Moreno
and his sidekick Susan Kieta have been holding auctions out of
the Las Vegas home for a handful of years. Our files indicate
numerous problems with this company over the years. From complaints
to the Better Business Bureau in Las Vegas to Mr. Moreno having
his membership in a major autograph organization terminated for
his failure to respond to ethics complaints during March 2004.
In August 2004 Susan Kieta received a delinquent letter from
First Data demanding a payment of over $1,800 for default in
a lease agreement for their electronic credit card machine.
Many of you may remember the fiasco of 2005 when American Memorabilia
attempted to sell the famous mass produced Columbia Records Bruce
Springsteen album that contained a preprinted signature of Bruce
Springsteen authenticated as genuine by PSA/DNA.
American Memorabilia has had their share of problems in the past
with regard to authentication as well as making payments. One
autograph authenticator who worked for American Memorabilia still
has outstanding invoices for non payment dating back to 2003.
Moreno and Susan Kietas latest problems are now exposed on the
Statements from consignors state: it is now almost May and still
no consignment check or any other compensation for lots sold
in AMIs November auction. No return communication either.
Another consignor states: I should not have believed they were
truthful the first time around...
And yet another consignor says: What auction house gives their
buyers 5+ months to pay. My guess is that the buyers paid long
ago and the auction house kept your money.
Another says: I didnt even realize they were still holding auctions.
And another: I was given the same standard answer..the winning
bidder has supposedly not paid for the items...the trouble is
that this was the excuse given me the time before. Shame on me..
One disgruntled consignor writes: ..I had to actually threaten
Kieta with legal action to get paid on my last consignment.....AMI
is quickly getting to the point where they cant even be taken
One more consignor states: For anyone considering consigning
to American Memorabilia, a word of caution...count on it taking
a minimum of 5-6 months to be paid for your consignments. This
is a trend that has grown progressively worse...there is only
one person who oversees consignment checks (her initials are
K) and she is rarely present. She is readily accessible however,
if you have a payment due....or are considering consigning something...
- Victor Moreno of American Memorabilia
This auction house is a supporter of 3rd party authenticators
who they obviously pay for certificates of authenticity. For
autographs they utilize PSA and JSA. American Memorabilias website
states you only receive a standard authentication letter. However
those winning bidders have the luxury of upgrading the standard
letter for an additional fee. Their most interesting statement
is : (American Memorabilia) reserves the right to refuse any
item that comes from any authentication company.
- Breaking News:
- May 17,
- R & R Auction Takes One
Giant Leap Backwards
Remember the good ole days? That was when incompetent third party
authenticators would pass preprinted, rubber stamped, secretarial
or forged signatures as genuine? How about the countless number
of times they all turned down genuine signatures as not genuine.
These are the calamity of errors of the good ole days.
Its no wonder www.autographalert.com
cant get a single so-called authenticator to return a phone call
or answer an email with regard to an interview.
Many in this what use to be called wonderful hobby of ours said
because of third party authenticators, our hobby has hit bottom,
it cant get
Along comes the new R&R Auction catalog. Bob Eaton, owner
of R&R is also a PSA/DNA autograph authenticator. Item #
873 is described: Danny Kaye. Minimun Bid $100.00. Vintage matte-finish
8 x 10 photo, signed and inscribed in blue ballpoint Cee: What
can I say? Im grateful, Danny. In fine condition, with mild rippling
along bottom edge. R&R COA.
A genuine autograph authenticator should easily be able to determine
from all the writing and signature on this photo whether the
writing is by the hand of Danny Kaye. Given the benefit of doubt,
mistakes can happen, but not when the image on the photo is one
of the most recognize faces in the entertainment field. The photo
is clearly an image of DANNY THOMAS. The handwriting and signature
is clearly by the hand of Danny Thomas. So this PSA/DNA authenticator
is not only not familiar with the handwriting of Thomas but from
the image thinks hes Danny Kaye.
The lucky winning bidder of this item would have also received
the priceless R&R COA that accompanies this photograph. Luckily
for the hobby, R&R was educated with an email from an www.autographalert.com
reader advising them of their inexcusable error.
Incidents like this is just one more reason to keep the boycott
going and not support any company that still use third party
Illustration of item #873
- Breaking News:
- May 14,
- R & R Auction Office Manager,
Karen Kay Burris, 51 passed away in her home in Amherst, NH on
Wednesday, April 2. She left three children and a husband behind.
Karen began working for R&R in March 2001and was the former
office manager for R&R Auction. She was in charge of all
company finances which includes payroll, accounting and checking
Karen Burris earned her B.S. Degree (with Honors) in Architecture
at Sheffield University located in England. She received her
Masters Degree in Urban Design at Virginal Tech. Karen was actively
pursuing a second Masters degree in Management at the Harvard
According to Karens sister, Annette Donnelly, Karen was trying
to leave R&R and pursue a career elsewhere. She also stated
that Bob (Eaton) reads all of his employees emails and on March
5th, upon her return from a second interview, she was fired and
allegations of embezzlement were made against her. Annette continues
the last month of her life was lived in abject fear of R&R.
Kay knew a great deal about the inner workings of this company.
As late as today her name is still the contact point on items
listed by R&R and a call to her extension #297 reveals that
she is still electronically answering her telephone extension.
The lawsuit remains pending in the Hillsboro County Superior
Court in Manchester, New Hampshire.
- Breaking News:
- May 8,
- Third Party Autograph Authenticators
Boycott Under Way
Many of our readers are coming forward with serious complaints
they are having or have had with third party authenticators.
Every possible mistake imaginable has been made by these companies
who claim that they can authenticate autographs. One high profile
authenticator totally got it wrong on a complete limited signed
edition and was running around the USA trying to get back their
Certificates. Authenticating forgeries, secretarial, rubber stamped
signatures, machine signed signatures as genuine is commonplace.
Worse are the monumental amount of genuine autographs that are
deemed not genuine. This is not hearsay, these are facts. Television
news stations of a high profile authenticator passing forged
signatures as genuine is starting to seem common place.
Most of these authenticators will not return phone calls or answer
emails with regard to discuss their authentication abilities.
They chose to go into hiding. Should someone leaves a message
regarding having an autograph authenticated, then the call will
Many collectors and dealers we have had correspondence with have
chosen to avoid all third party authenticators or those associated
with these companies. The autograph educated are well aware of
the high percentage of non genuine items being passed as genuine
by these companies.
Many sellers of autographs, we can no longer refer to them as
autograph dealers, are knowingly selling autographs that are
not genuine but passed as genuine by a third party authenticating
company. For instance, the last story on this website was regarding
a very common secretarial signature of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
It was being offered on eBay by Strike Zone located in the Winston-Salem
area of North Carolina. The Eisenhower letter came complete with
a COA from JSA or James Spence, Follow the Leader.
STRIKE ZONE WAS NOTIFIED IN WRITING TWO DAYS BEFORE THE END
OF THE SALE THAT THE LETTER BORE A SECRETARIAL SIGNATURE OF EISENHOWER.
They were advised by one of the leading recognized experts on
presidential signatures in the United States. Strike Zones only
reply was you have a right to your opinion and did not remove
the item from eBay. They sold it two days later.
The word is out that 3rd party authenticating is easy money.
Very little investment, a computer, some letterhead and the ability
to make a guess. Two new authenticating companies have just been
formed and it wouldnt surprise us if in the next year or so more
It has now become the opinion of many to avoid any of the companies,
stores, auctions and card shops who utilize third party authenticators!
A collectors best protection is to purchase your autographed
item from a reputable autograph dealer who will guarantee what
they sell. The dealer must give you a receipt describing the
item in full and stating a 100% money back guarantee if the item
is ever determined to not be genuine. This is your legal document.
Guesses from third party authenticators have proven to be worthless!
According to what we are hearing, an official boycott has begun.
- Breaking News:
- JSA, James Spence Authentications
Cant Get It Right!
Enough has been
said just on this site alone regarding JSA and the outrageous
mistakes made in authenticating rubber stamped signatures, secretarial,
forgeries and preprinted signatures and calling them genuine.
Twice has Spence appeared on television authenticating forgeries
as genuine. Sadly, all this just in the area of sports autographs.
Spences expansion into other fields of collecting are beginning
with the same incompetence.
As of the writing of this article, item #370045746835 is being
sold on ebay. The item being sold is a typed letter by Dwight
D. Eisenhower and the sale ends April 28. The seller is Strike
Zone, listed in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area. The item
has twenty-five bids and the high bid is at $177.75.
Strike Zone presently has an unbelievable 130 negative feedbacks.
In the past, the owner of this company has been told on numerous
occasions, by more than one autograph professional, regarding
the use of 3rd party authenticators. The usual response is an
autograph seller does not have to know a thing about autographs,
the authenticator says its real, we sell it. This way the seller
feels they can safely sell anything as long as it comes with
a COA from a 3rd party authenticator, which they hire.
Collectors have to understand when they read the self promoting
qualifications of any authenticator the words of hype are usually
just that. Words such as ...our extensive database of known exemplars
we have examined throughout our hobby and professional careers..
What is considered extensive? How does the so called authenticator
know if what they have in their database is genuine exemplars?
If the so called authenticator is telling the truth, then why
do they continuously make such pathetic, inexcusable mistakes
on a regular basis?
The latest blunder to come to our attention is the item mentioned
above. It can be said that the most novice of presidential autograph
collectors can tell at a glace the signature of Eisenhower being
sold has been signed for him by a secretary. If you are not as
fortunate as JSA to have the so called extensive database ( which
obviously didnt work in this instance and in numerous others),
there is an entire book written with over 200 pages on just the
signature of Eisenhower. There are three pages in this book on
just this same secretarial signature.
How does JSA, James Spence Authentication explain this latest
inexcusable blunder? What possible spin or excuse can be given
for such an outrageous error? What thorough examination did Spence
and his flock of authenticators do on this specific item? How
is Spence capable of authenticating an Eisenhower letter when
he obviously doesnt have the book on authenticating Eisenhowers
The JSA COA that accompanies this letter clearly states: ...it
is our considered opinion that this signed item is genuine. He
is clearly leading you to believe more than one of his staff
has examined this letter! So, who is our?
If you go to the JSA website and look up who they claim to be
their experts you find only one name whose claim is to be a specialist
authenticating history and politics. The name is John Reznikoff.
- Will John Reznikoff admit he
authenticated this secretarial signature as genuine? Will John
Reznikoff say he never saw the item? If that is the case then
why does JSA say our considered opinion...? Is something starting
Over and over again, many collectors have learned if the autographed
item comes with a COA from a third party authenticating company,
red flags must go up. It is our opinion not to support those
card shops and sellers who use third party authenticating companies.
We recommend doing business with companies/auction house and
shops who guarantee what they sell with a lifetime money back
Many of our readers are requesting a list of those shops, auction
houses and autograph sellers who support third party authenticators
in order to avoid these endless problems. We are in the process
of compiling a list!
- Breaking News:
Autograph Authentication Services
How Will Collectors Know When You Hit Bottom?
Readers of www.autographalert.com
have read many horrendous stories of the autograph authentication
services of PSA/DNA. Hard to believe things can get worse.
Whatever happened to quality of workmanship, pride in the job?
We all read the self promoting statements made by all those who
claim they are autograph authenticators. We are this and we are
that and we have a large reference library and our qualifications
are second to none. If thats the case, how does anyone explain
Someone paid PSA/DNA to have a signature on a check certified
to be genuine. One has to ask themselves who are the experts
at PSA/DNA that took the time to research this item. Go to their
supposedly large reference file and have the gall to certify
the following as genuine.
- Check Laurel Tape & Film
We can only assume this is how it went. The expert or expertsat
PSA/DNA looks at the check and thoroughly examine it. The company
name on the check is Laurel Tape & Film, Inc. The signature
on the bottom of the check (in the eyes of the PSA/DNA expert)
looks like it could read G.A. Laurell (it does look to have to
lls to any untrained eye).
The PSA/DNA expert now has the name G.A. Laurell to work with.
Where did the expert go to do his research? Where did he find
exemplars for a G.A. Laurell? They didnt, it cant be done!
Next step is for you to go to the PSA/DNA website and verify
the unsightly sticker number that they affixed to a original
document (basically defacing it.) Up comes the page confirming
the PSA/DNA Authentication Process and clearly states it is a
check and signed by an athlete/celebrity Laurell, G.A.
What PSA/DNA experts are telling us is that a Mr. G.A. Laurell
from Laurel Tape & Film. Inc. signed the check and they verify
(through their extensive research) that his signature is genuine.
We are sure the owner of this check was pleased to find out his
item was certified genuine.
However, the owner was even more pleased when he went to sell
his Certified Genuine signed check. The person buying the check
told the owner that the check is actually signed by George A.
Romero, movie director, who is famous for his 1970's film Dawn
of the Dead.
This authentication work was done by the pros at PSA/DNA in June
of 2004. It is time that someone at PSA/DNA like Joe Orlando
has to be held accountable for this incompetence. The PSA/DNA
lead autograph authenticator was James Spence. James Spence needs
to be held accountable for this and should have to explain publicly
for this shoddy authentication.
Once again, we also have to look at the handful of dealers and
auction houses who still support these 3rd party authenticators.
They are all aware of these problems. However they continue to
use these 3rd party authenticators as an excuse so they can always
fall back and state we sold it because the authenticator said
it was good. Some of these sellers will not give you a refund.
Its time to avoid these sellers and support the sellers who do
their own homework and guarantee what they sell.
There is absolutely no excuse for this type of unrelenting lack
of quality workmanship.
The following is a list of what PSA/DNA calims to be their autograph
authenticators. We would all like to know how many of them examine
the check illustrated above.
Zack Rullo, Senior Authentictor
takes its hat off to all those card stores who emailed us
or told us in person about the 3rd party authenticators visiting
their shops trying to get authentication work and were told to
- Breaking News:
- R&R Auction Official Response
to the Scott Cornish Debacle
Like you, and so many of the professionals and hobbyists in our
trade, I am both surprised and concerned by the words written
by Scott Cornish to Florian Noller. They do convey a strong,
hurtful, message that is truly unwarranted. In short, we firmly
denounce the harmful words used in Scotts message.
Although, we believe Scott has provided a valuable service to
R&R and its customers in the past, under the circumstances,
we cannot continue our relationship in light of these published
remarks. R&R had no advance knowledge that apparent words
of dispute were being exchanged between Scott and another dealer.
Likewise, R&R would not encourage that a dispute or difference
of opinion be negotiated or debated in terms that are insensitive
or demeaning. For these reasons, R&R will immediately cease
our relationship with Scott Cornish.
Our decision is based on the unfortunate circumstances at hand
and not because of lack of confidence in Scotts knowledge or
authentication services. Nevertheless, we feel compelled to take
the action outlined herein and we regret the circumstances that
compelled us to do so.
- Breaking News:
- R&R Auction Astronaut Authenticator
The following story will be offensive to most all who read it.
Read it at your own risk and act accordingly. It is a bizarre
story which is just unfolding.
The name Scott Cornish is basically unknown to autograph collectors
unless you collect or deal in the autographs of astronauts. Little
is known of this man's background associated with the collecting
of astronaut autographs. However, he is the person who R&R
Auctions of New Hampshire uses as their authenticator for items
signed by astronauts.
is aware of a genuine expert on the autographs of the astronauts.
His name is Florian Noller and he is based out of Germany. He
is known and respected Internationally by those who collect the
autographs of astronauts.
The following email is posted here in its entirety. It was sent
on April 2, 2008 by Scott Cornish to Florian Noller.
- From: email@example.com
To: Florian Noller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Armstrong
Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2008 18:45:41
- No wonder Hitler took over
your country. If its current hobby
"leaders" won't even combat astronaut forgery occuring
could a dictator ever be stopped? But that's not to say things
haven't improved since then. I mean - it's not like y'all are
still making lampshades out of human skin or smashing babies'
against brick walls.
- Remember what I said, little
boy. You have no clue how ugly I can get.
- www.autographalert.com has been in touch with Mr. Noller and assured
him that these horrific statements are NOT the feelings of the
American people. It is the comments from a person obviously deranged.
Mr. Noller believes Scott Cornish does not deserve to remain
in the astronaut autograph collecting community. www.autographalert.com
strongly believes Mr. Cornish does not belong anywhere in
the autograph collecting community.
R&R Auctions has a long history of not responding to emails
and it is up to the entire autograph community to rid our hobby
of this individual.
Those with an interest in removing Scott Cornish from this hobby
- Breaking News:
- Autograph Club Goes International
Finally some good news
for the International autograph community. A club, free of the
usual politics with a main goal towards educating collectors
and dealers around the world. Many serious collectors and long
time dealers are no longer members of an autograph club and if
you are looking for some fresh ideas moving in a positive direction
recommends you consider joining this International Autograph
The following is their press release.
German Autograph Club (AdA) establishes a homepage in English.
The German Autograph Society (AdA) was founded in 1986. We were
the first autograph organization in Continental Europe that organized
meetings with collectors and dealers. We have designed an English
version of our homepage effective April 1, 2008. The club is
aware that collectors and dealers worldwide have a desire for
an International organization where they can exchange ideas,
educational information and find ways to protect themselves from
acquiring forgeries. Additional plans of the club are to notify
the membership of future autograph events and the publication
of autograph educational material such as reference books and
signature studies. These are the main goals of our organization.
Members who publish their field of collecting will be able to
exchange information with other members who have similar interests.
Log onto www.autograph-club.org
and see for yourself how this club has expanded. For just 10
Euro (about $15.00) members have the ability to publish autograph
related articles and much more. Those who write the most interesting
article will win a monetary award. The website also offers the
ability to discuss autograph related topics and exchange successful
addresses in a moderated forum. A membership application will
be found on the homepage. The German Autograph Society is a non
profit organization and is looking forward to your support. Join
today and help keep this wonderful hobby of autographs alive!
- Breaking News:
- Autograph Collecting-More than
by El Fraley
Freedom is but one generation from extinction.
-----Ronald Wilson Reagan
If the government were put in charge of the Sahara Desert there
would be a sand shortage in less than five years.
-------Anonymous ( for fear of reprisal)
He who controls the past, controls the future; and he who controls
the present, controls the past."
There is much depressing news these days concerning the dishonesty
and outright fraud in the autograph and manuscript hobby. In
fact, it sometimes seems like there are no limits to the mendacity
of many individuals in our field. But there is another, more
important and more uplifting side to this hobby that at least
in part motivates some very good people in the world of manuscripts.
Autograph collectors and dealers should understand clearly that
they have a potentially important role to play in preserving
the history of our country separate and apart from institutions
and that function may help to ensure the long term survival of
our freedoms as discussed herein.
Since there is no American Race our country is defined entirely
by its history which includes from its inception our founding
documents. Those documents encompass not only the Declaration
of Independence and our Constitution but also the written and
printed records of early commerce, literature and science. The
importance of this material was recognized by congress in the
1800s and that is why Peter Force was commissioned to collect
and thus preserve as much of the early written record of American
history as possible which resulted in his nine volume work entitled
American Archives***. It is tragic his effort was terminated
before it was completed because of a lack of funds.
Orwell wrote in his classic novel 1984 that to establish a tyranny
you first need to destroy a countrys history. Remember, the protagonist
in 1984 was Winston Smith whose job in the Ministry of Truth
was to keep rewriting history so that the government would always
be right. If you accept the argument that America and American
exceptionalism is defined by our history it follows that each
new generation of Americans must be afforded free access to the
pristine letters, newspapers and documents that define our beginning
history accurately so that they will understand and appreciate
how important it is to perpetuate our founding principles and
why they stand in part as a barrier to tyranny. One of the best
ways to ensure Americans have access to their written and printed
history is to keep as much of our history as possible in private
hands and that is where our field comes in. Our role as historical
conservationists will make certain that government never has
enough credibility to proclaim that history is what they say
it is. Just as environmentalists work to preserve the physical
environment autographists must work to conserve our political
environment including our inalienable rights and freedom. We
can well do without another Ministry of Truth.
One thing is clear, today the government is not the only threat
to our freedoms and rights. It is now apparent that neither the
American academe nor the mainstream media any longer serve the
function of watchchdogs of government. They now function more
like cuttlefish squirting ink to obscure the aims of those who
really are trying to scuttle America or at least transform it
into European-style social democracy. The evidence is now overwhelming
that the majority of mainstream media is thoroughly corrupt and
has become nothing but a cheerleader for socialism and the destruction
of America as we know it.
America has many governmental and private institutions that collect
and preserve our history and many of those entities are in fact
well known-The Smithsonian, The National Archives and The Presidential
Library System to name a few. But it is my contention that these
and similar institutions should not gain complete control over
our recorded history for reasons already cited as well as the
following: First, the record is now clear that many institutions
have done a deplorable job in archiving and preserving the items
they have been given. Thus, a recent audit of the Presidential
Library system by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)**
showed that several of the libraries including the Reagan Library
had inadequate staff, poor techniques of record keeping and below
standards for preservation. The Reagan Library staff was given
a list of 20 items they were alleged to have in their possession
by the OIG and they could only find 20 per cent of them. Along
the same line the OIG has launched a major criminal investigation
of alleged thefts from the National Archives the exact extent
of which remains unknown at present. And who can forget Sandy
Berger being allowed to stuff documents in his socks and underwear
and walk out of the National Archives in broad daylight only
to proceed to destroy what probably were very important records
of the National Security Administration effort, or lack thereof,
against terrorists by the Clinton Administration. Furthermore
Berger received a mere token punishment for stealing from all
Americans and he is already back in the mix in national affairs.
Another example of governmental incapacity and neglect surfaced
recently when it was revealed by the national media that the
Supreme Court had misplaced one of the Stone vellum Declarations
of Independence which was only found recently behind a row of
filing cabinets. Before it was found it was alleged to have been
stolen. A second reason for not giving historical material to
institutions is that it often becomes sequestered and thus unavailable
to average citizens without something akin to an Act of Congress.
Third there is the danger that the more these institutions acquire
the more they want and some have shown, especially at the state
level, that they will use the legal resources of government to
launch replevin actions to recover items that are now in private
hands but which they claim, but often fail to prove, actually
belong to them. Fighting replevin is very costly to all concerned
but especially for collectors and dealers. Finally as this article
previously argued that the more the government controls our recorded
history the more power it has to revise that history to its own
ends. When President Reagan was asked how he thought he would
be treated by history his response wasIt depends on who writes
So, to end this where we began, autograph and manuscript collectors
may play an important role in preserving our history and thus
the long term survival of freedom in America. Autographists can
function in a sense like worker bees pollinating the next generation
of freedoms. Autographists can not guarantee the outcome of the
perpetual battle against government usurping our rights and freedoms
but that does not negate trying. Original historical materials
kept in private hands can be used by citizens to teach and educate
and thus stimulate an interest in and appreciation for the importance
of our history. Understanding that history gives the citizens
the ammunition to oppose any public policy initiative that diminishes
our political or religious freedoms. A historically literate
citizenry should be able to deter government or even the academe
or the media from attempting to rewrite history to advance their
***Peter Force, ed. American Archives 9 vol 18371853, major compilation
of documents 17741776.
- Breaking News:
- Rick Gidding,
- Global Authenticator known
as Mr. Midget,
- is exposed...
Anyone ever hear of Rick Gizmo Gidding? He is the owner of Gizmos
Sports Cards near Rockford, Illinois.
We never heard of him (until a few days ago) and all those we
contacted in the autograph world never heard of him.
However very recently www.autographalert.com
was contacted by email from someone who refused to add their
name to the email. The email was from the email address: MIDGETWITAPISTOL.
The March 10th email from the midget was extremely unprofessional
not to mention crude and obviously coming from someone who was
not that familiar with the autograph industry. The midget referred
to other 3rd party authenticators and another who is not but
has a very good reputation. Proving his lack of intelligence
he not only drops names with negative comments he was unable
to back up, but he copies in several others in his hateful email.
The anonymous midget continues with his wrath with another email
dated March 12th. This email was not only imbecilic but extremely
foul and appearing to come from a deranged individual. The sender
used no less than three different four letter words. In this
email he trashes one of the authenticators on his own team at
Global Authenticating, Inc. stating the other Global authenticator
dont know sh.. It is now know that the midget has also placed
undesirable comments on a sports related blog. The readers on
that sight discovered who he was and many stated on the blog
they will never purchase from his sports trading card store.
The influx of unknowns in the autograph hobby becoming instant
expertscreated by 3rd party authenticating companies has become
a phenomenon during the last decade. Starting with a mat cutter
till now all have been exposed either on Fox News, in newspapers
or on website.
During the course of the last few years, almost every email to
has been extremely supportive and professional. There have been
only one or two from half-wits who were exposed on this site.
From the content of Rick Giddings emails we have to nominate
him as the first quarter-wit to contact this site.
PS: www.autographalert.com has just been advised from a good
source that Rick Giddings has admitted that Justin Priddy (who
is presently attempting to start his own 3rd party authenticating
company) is the author of the disgusting email and had his friend
Rick Gidding send it to www.autographalert.com
- Breaking News:
Beware of forgeries, authenticating
Almost every one who is a serious collector of autographs of
those enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame know the name Ron
Keurajian. He is considered by many to be one of the foremost
experts on the signatures of the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig,
Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx and all the other members of the Hall of
Fame. He is presently writing a book on the signatures of all
the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and this long awaited
treasure should be completed by years end. The following story
is a rare interview with Ron Keurajian.
March 12, 2008 - Would it surprise
you to learn the vast majority of autographs on the market from
baseball's early legends are fakes?
It doesn't surprise Oxford resident
Ron Keurajian, but then again he's an expert in this field.
"There's a lot of forgeries
out there, especially with the vintage material," he said.
"Ninety percent of the Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Cy Young autographs
out there are forgeries."
Since the early 1980s, Keurajian
has been collecting, studying and writing about vintage baseball
autographs, the real ones and the fakes.
"Baseball has such a hold
on the American psyche. It's our national past-time," he
said. "There's such a need to possess something signed by
people like Ty Cobb or Lou Gehrig."
Between 2001-06, Keurajian wrote
50-60 articles on vintage autographs for Sports Collectors
Keurajian also coedited sports
memorabilia guide published in 2003 by Krause Publications. He
wrote the sections on vintage autographs from baseball hall of
famers and professional golf's early legends.
"I'm working on my first
book, which I hope to have completed by Christmas," he said.
"It's a study of every member of the (baseball) Hall of
Fame and their signatures."
For about three years, Keurajian's
been collecting specimens and illustrations, trying to get multiple
signatures from each player at different times in their lives.
He's now down to probably seven
or eight names, some of which he admitted he's never going to
find like pitcher Rube Waddell, who played from 1897 to 1910
and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946.
No known examples of Waddell's
signature exist, so "it's impossible to complete a hall
of fame set," Keurajian said.
It was a 1982 meeting with former
Detroit Tiger Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer that sparked Keurajian's
interest in vintage autographs.
"He's generally considered
one of the five greatest second basemen ever," Keurajian
said. "He used to live down the road from me (in Southfield).
I lived at 12½ (Mile) and Evergreen. He lived at 13½
(Mile) and Lasher."
Keurajian called Gehringer to
interview him for a high school report he was writing. The old
Tiger, who played from 1924-42 and was inducted into the Hall
of Fame in 1949, invited him over for a face-to-face meeting.
"He gave me a couple signed
picture postcards and I was hooked," Keurajian said.
Collecting autographs is about
preserving history and owning something once handled by a legendary
"You're holding something
that was actually touched by them and that's very powerful that's
something you want to possess," Keurajian explained.
Vintage baseball autographs come
in many forms, from cancelled bank checks and photographs to
letters and gum cards.
"The single signed baseball
in good condition is the most desirable of any medium,"
said Keurajian, who noted the only problem is they're difficult
At one point, Keurajian had a
large collection of autographs.
"When I started collecting
back in the early 1980s, stuff was worthless," he explained.
"You could pick up a baseball signed by Ty Cobb or Babe
Ruth for $50 to $100."
Today, that same baseball sells
for $50,000 to $100,000, if the ball is a "museum-grade
specimen," meaning it's a "cream white ball with a
nice bold signature."
It was this meteoric rise in
values that forced Keurajian to store his collection in a safety
"The problem with this stuff
is it gets so valuable, you can't really enjoy it," he said.
"I was seeing my collection one or two times a year. That's
not a collection anymore."
So, Keurajian sold most of it,
but did hang on to a few specimens. He said "probably the
only piece of consequence" he has left is a 1924 baseball
signed by Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth at Navin Field in Detroit.
"Cobb was the greatest ball
player of all time and Ruth was the greatest slugger," he
said. "To have those two on a baseball is a great combination."
These days Keurajian is more
into doing research, collecting information such as examples
of autographs whether they're scanned or photocopied and writing
"I'd say I probably have
10,000-15,000 illustrations in my files," he said.
Keurajian's focus is on the physical
construction of the autograph, known types of forgeries in the
market and counterfeit documents, and how to spot forged signatures
as opposed to genuine ones.
"A signature's like a fingerprint
-- no two people in the world have the same handwriting,"
he said. "No forger can copy handwriting perfectly."
"If you have somebody that's
really good with autographs that understands handwriting they
can spot even the best forgery," Keurajian noted. "I've
seen thousands of Ty Cobb autographs, so with a Cobb signature
you can just put it in front of me and bang, in a second, I know
whether it's either real or not."
When it comes to well-known legends
like Cobb and Ruth, Keurajian said, "Nine out of every 10
signatures you see for sale of those guys are fake."
"The demand for these autographs
is just huge," he explained. "There's literally 100s
of thousands of people collecting these types of autographs who
are willing to spend big money on it."
The chances of an autograph being
a forgery increases with the hall of famers most people have
never even heard of before.
"When it comes to the really
rare names like the (Christy) Mathewsons, the Willie Keelers,
closer to 99 percent are fake," Keurajian said.
Mathewson was a pitcher from
1900 to 1916 and part of the first class of players inducted
into the Hall of Fame in 1936. Keeler, an outfielder from 1892-1910,
was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939.
But the biggest problem in vintage
autograph collecting is the so-called authentication companies
who supposedly examine signatures and issue certificates of authenticity
"Even if it comes with a
certificate of authenticity chances are they're still fake,"
Keurajian said. "There are no good authentication companies
in the market today that know what they're doing. Certificates
of authenticity carry about as much weight as the Hitler-Chamberlain
peace accord of 1938."
He's seen big items sell for
between $50,000 and $150,000 which "are nothing but high
quality forgeries that have been wrongly certified."
It's the people who don't know
much, but want to invest in vintage autographs that are getting
"burned" by these so-called authentication companies,
"A lot of big money's being
paid for forgeries by unsuspecting collectors," he explained.
"It's really become a problem."
Keurajian urged current and potential
collectors to visit www.autographalert.com
to "see all the mistakes these companies are making."
Printed from the Oxford Leader
- Breaking News:
- Global Authentication Inc.
- Appears that Global Authentication,
Inc. has re-appeared after their sudden and mysterious closing.
The new Global website states: Global authenticates autographs
of sports, entertainment and historical memorabilia using top
industry authentication experts.....by using exemplar signatures
and expert analysis we confirm they are genuine and rendered
has been contacted in writing by a few of their former and a
This is partially what these insiders had to say:
Global Authenticator #1
I am...and currently being used as the lead authenticator by
eBay even over PSA and their Stupid Quick opinion.
If you want the real inside story on GAI, I talk to the disgruntled
I have been one of GAIs major thorns even though I was (or am)
used by them. I butted heads with Justin Priddy for years over
his Global Express service. There were items that would come
in for me to see and Justin would slap a COA on them without
sending them to me for my approval....He was a little stunned
that I knew each item that he stickered without going through
me. Im sure you guessed that over 70% of his authentication were
Justin pretty much just offered COAs in bulk to dealers who needed
quick and cheap COAs. He was a pathetic excuse for an expert.
Justin having so much power with so little education and experience
was a major problem.
What about Mike Bakers name appearing on the new GAI COAs? The
guy knows nothing about authentication.
I know I am a target because I am with GAI. however, I can show
that I was working against them just as much as with them.
I really do think that GAI will maintain a presence. Unless we
decide that they are too big of a risk for eBay. If that happens,
I will come to you 1st as I want all of the customers to know.
They deserve to know if their COAs are worthless.
I have to say, that I have not been given free reign to attack
any dealers on eBay. I have worked hard to at least give dealers
a fighting chance against PSA. Their quick opinion fails countless
GOOD items that I am now allowed to counter.
Global Authenticator #2
I have been an autograph authenticator for Global for a year
now, my name and photograph was being used on their website however
I have never been asked to authenticate a single item for them....
Global Authenticator #3
I actually worked with Global as their.....autograph authenticator
for about six months. I did it as a service to the hobby I did
not receive payment from them. I had to quit because the head
authenticator, Justin kept passing non-authentic autographs.
I kept pointing out the forged autographs they were passing and
they would not reply to me. I even contacted his boss Steve,
the president of Global and he would not contact me back.....
My last communication with them was with Steve Rocchi, the President.
I told him via email and voice mail, that I thought Justin was
passing tons of fake....autographs and it was ultimately going
to give them a bad name and kill their business. He never bothered
to respond to me...
- Breaking News:
A joke is a joke, is a joke , is a joke
Autograph Authentication Team
There seems to be no end to the 3rd party autograph authentication
errors. Many think the errors are way beyond epidemic proportions.
Remember The Gang That Couldnt Shoot Straight? The gang of autograph
authenticators at PSA/DNA are making them look like sharpshooters.
Once again we go to the PSA/DNA website. What fabulous self promotion!
Have your autographs examined and certified by the worlds foremost
autograph experts. The worlds leading third party autograph authentication
company using state of the art technology. Foremost autograph
experts? Has anyone read the autograph credentials of their lead
You have to love state of the art technology! Whatever that piece
of machinery is, they need to return it for a refund.
Proof of the pudding. PSA/DNA was created in 1998. They have
been in business ten years. Lets repeat their claim...the worlds
leading third party autograph authentication company....worlds
foremost autograph experts...state of the art technology. WOW!
Impressive self promotion.
anyone tell us why after 10 years in business the geniuses at
PSA/DNA still cant tell a printed signature from one signed with
real ink? To those in the know, and that group is increasing
rapidly, it comes as no surprise that they still unable to do
The recent PSA/DNA embarrassment refers to one of the most common
printed signatures in the sports collecting hobby. Common, because
the signature has been around since 1990 and the book and sports
industry is deluged with copies. Anyone who has been to a library,
thrift store, book store, sports collectible shop, or sports
collectors show should have seen a copy of the book Bo Knows
Bo by Bo Jackson. The first edition has been printed in hundreds
of thousands of copies and each copy has the identical printed
signature of Bo Jackson on the half title page. For those novices
reading this article, a printed signature is one that is a copy
of a genuine signature printed on the page by the publisher.
It is NOT a genuine ink signature hand signed by the celebrity.
For the average collector it is generally easy to spot a fake,
printed signature verses someone who took a pen and signed their
name in ink.
Ebay item #140204459126 lists one of these extremely common books
which has the printed (non genuine) signature of Bo Jackson on
the half title page. Every copy of the book has the identical
printed signature. This copy was submitted to PSA/DNA who would
like you to believe they are the worlds leading third party autograph
authentication company, who has the foremost autograph experts,
who use state of the art technology, and they deemed this fake
signature as GENUINE! PSA/DNA Certificate F51344. Go to the PSA/DNA
website and verify the Certificate number. Experiencing this
are you in disbelief, denial or does it simply confirm what you
already knew about 3rd party autograph authenticating companies
- Printed signature of
Bo Jackson that PSA/DNA
- has wrongly authenticated
Listed on PSA/DNAs website as their worlds foremost autograph
Now, what does one do when they require an autograph authenticated?
How could you possibly think of using PSA/DNA? Who is PSA/DNAs
competitor? The answer is , Global Authentication, Inc. (GAI).
Now lets go back to eBay and look at item number 260127895153.
Its a different copy of the same book Bo Knows Bo. You
have already learned that this copy will also have the identical
printed signature of Bo Jackson on the half title page. This
additional copy is being offered by Northridge Sports Collectibles
in Northridge, California with a Buy It Now price of $169.99.
This copy comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from Global
Authentication Inc. (GAI).
- Bo Knows Bo, printed signature of Jackson authenticated
as genuine by Global Authentication, Inc. (GAI)
Gertrude Stein wrote A rose is a rose, is a rose, is a rose...
Hemingway wrote A bitch is a bitch, is a bitch...
Autographalert.com says a joke is a joke is a joke, is a joke...but
this joke isnt funny using third party authenticators.
- The use of many 3rd party authenticators
has become the premier method of having fake autographs passed
as good and some unethical dealers and auctions houses are knowingly
taking advantage of this conundrum.
Collectors must also take into consideration the handful of people,
usually dealers who support these authenticating groups. These
dealers are well aware of the severe damage that has already
been done to this hobby and their continued support of the market
being flooded with authenticating guesses can no longer be acceptable.
It certainly appears if an autograph item comes with a COA from
a third party authenticating company, it may be best to have
the item examined by a professional autograph dealer who specializes
in the field of the autograph you need authenticated.
- Breaking News:
- eBay Lowering Their Fee.....Yea
Before you sellers on eBay get excited about the big news, you
better dig a little further as all the information is not easy
ebay announces on February 20, 2008 their will be a reduction
in their fees for insertions. What an enticement to start listing
items for sale on eBay. Prices are coming down.
|Starting or Reserve
Fee (effective 2/20/08)
|$0.01 - $0.99
| $0.15 Lower
| $1.00 - $9.99
| $0.35 Lower
| $10.00 - $24.99
| $25.00 - $49.99
| $50.00 - $199.99
| $2.00 Lower
| $200.00 -
| $3.00 Lower
| $500.00 or
The above announcement was printed right at the beginning of
the notice. Cant miss it. How many sellers will rush on to eBay
the 20th of February and start listing their items and enjoy
the new lower fees?
Most sellers did not read further, however if you made it to
the very end of the notice you may have seen: and were balancing
that change by adjusting some final value fees. Maybe we better
go to our dictionaries and look up the meaning of balance before
What is eBay talking about? What about the final value fees?
If your curiosities got the better of you and you decided to
do some research you might hit a link to the overview page of
new fees. Nothing mentioned on this page. How about trying Basic
Fees? WOW, at the very bottom of this page under all the details
about the lower insertion fees is a statement about their planned
adjustment (remember their word balance) for their Final Value
For items under $25 your fee will jump or can one say will catapulted
from 5.25% to a whopping 8.75%, or a 67% INCREASE.
THANK YOU ebay for the WHAT ORIGINALLY APPEARED TO BE LOWER FEES!
- Breaking News:
A Wretched Saga Continues
Its just sickening that some third party authenticators still
dupe collectors into spending their hard earned money for a guess.
Lets look into the PSA/DNA crystal ball and see what was submitted
for a autograph authentication.
It was a fairly COMMON signature of a very popular sports celebrity
Lamar Hunt. Lamar Hunt is well known as the owner of the Kansas
City Chiefs. He is a founder of the American Football league
and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His signature
is quite common and known to almost anyone who collects signatures
of members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It is now apparent that not everyone is familiar with the common
signature of Lamar Hunt.
The signature of Lamar Hunt illustrated on the right was submitted
to PSA/DNA for authentication. Someone was actually foolish enough
to pay for this signature to be slabbed and authenticated.
The signature of Lamar Hunt was authenticated as a genuine signature
of Leon Hart, a totally different person. Shouldnt the management
of PSA/DNA hold their heads in shame?
PSA/DNAs website lists the following names as their autograph
Lamar Hunt Signature
Submitted to PSA/DNA
- Breaking News:
- Press Release
Autographalert.com announces the creation of the Autograph Award
of Honor. The recipient of this annual International award of
gratitude will be announced each year on the 15th of April. Everyone
in the autograph community is eligible to receive this award.
This International award of recognition will be presented to
an individual, a trade magazine, a business or auction house
or a club or organization who has shown an outstanding vision,
dedication, contribution and commitment to excellence in the
hobby of autographs.
Those who have a suggestion as to whom should be eligible for
the first annual award can email www.autographalert.com with
- Breaking News:
- Heritage Auctions, Dallas Texas
Sold Fake Hollywood Memorabilia, Now Offering Refunds
Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas has agreed to give refunds
to those who purchased collectibles from their $360,000 sale
of items reportedly to be from the Ann Sothern Collection.
However, an expert on Hollywood memorabilia says ....its not
just the Ann Southern collection.....
For more details on this breaking story go to:
- Breaking News:
- R&R Auction & John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA
You Need To Get It Right!
Theres hardly anything more important than an autograph dealer
or auction house describing an item correctly that they are trying
Many collectors, especially those who cannot personally attend
a sale, depend on a dealers description and trust that description
is accurate before bidding or ordering.
In the current rrauction.com, deadline February 13, 2008, item
#129 is described as a Theodore Roosevelt White House
card. The item actually illustrated is a Theodore Roosevelt The
White House card.
- Illustration from R&R Catalog
There is a difference in a Theodore Roosevelt White House
card and a Theodore Roosevelt The White House card
especially in rarity and price.
There is really no excuse for anyone to make such a mistake in
cataloging. The difference between these two cards has been described
in published articles and in autograph reference books.
What is described in this auction catalog is actually illustrated
Illustration of a Theodore Roosevelt
White House card
For those who collect these popular cards, Roosevelt signed three
types of cards. For a short period of time, Roosevelt signed
Executive Mansion cards. Very few are known to exist.
TR changed the name to White House and signed White
House cards. The ONLY president that signed White House
cards is Theodore Roosevelt. Later Roosevelt changed the name
from White House to The White House. Collectors
need all three signed cards to complete their collections.
It is imperative that these cards be described properly to avoid
confusion and a costly mistake. Both John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and
R&R wrote a COA based on the above erroneous catalog description.
- Breaking News:
- PSA/DNA Autograph Authentication
Another Inexcusable Blunder
Read Sellers Return Policy
Collectors have to ask themselves how can anyone who claims to
authenticate autographs make so many mistakes when autograph
references are available?
The following PSA/DNA blunder refers to a very common secretarial
signature of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The following illustration
is a signature Franklin D. Roosevelt slabbed by PSA/DNA. It is
Certified Authentic, see illustration below.
Secretarial signature authenticated as genuine by PSA/DNA
It is apparent no one at PSA/DNA has done any research regarding
this very common secretarial signature. One of the most basic
and popular reference books on autograph collecting is Charles
Hamiltons Collecting Autographs & Manuscripts. On page sixty,
Hamilton lists seven proxy signatures of FDR and illustration
#6 clearly matches the signature PSA/DNA has authenticated as
genuine. It appears obvious that PSA/DNA does not have this basic
autograph reference book.
Illustration from Charles Hamiltons book
clearly showing the PSA/DNA signature of FDR is secretarial
There are other places where information on FDRs signature are
available to avoid this most embarrassing mistake. We refer to
the four page signature study of FDR by presidential autograph
expert Andreas Wiemer. On page two of this popular study, seven
examples of this same secretary FDR signature are illustrated.
- Seven illustrations of the
secretarial signature of FDR from the Wiemer study
that PSA/DNA authenticated as authentic.
How can a mistake like this be made by anyone who claims to authenticate
autographs when so much reference information is available?
This item as of January 29 is being sold on eBay. Item #320212695224
and has a whopping Buy It Now Price of $1,499.00. Most interesting
the seller clearly indicates his faith in 3rd party authenticators.
The sellers return policy is: No Returns on PSA, JSA or GAI Authenticated
The person on the PSA/DNA team who is supposed to be the authenticator
for presidential autographs is John Reznikoff of University Archives.
- Breaking News:
- PSA/DNA Authentication Team
Fails Miserably, Again
One has to believe some of the self created authenticators of
autographs have been simply guessing with regards to authenticating.
In the following case it appears...if they dont know....they
just make up names as they go along.
The latest PSA/DNA
embarrassment, that has come to light, has been sent in by one
of our readers. It refers to PSA/DNA certificate # E37171 dated
Friday, September 29, 2006.
The PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity clearly states that the letter
will serve as a certificate of authenticity for...a multi-signed
album page, which WE thoroughly examined. It goes on to state
Signed on reverse side by April Chadwick. They continue: the
signature(s) is/are consistent considering slant, flow, pen pressure,
letter size, and other characteristics that are typical of the
other exemplars that we have examined in our hobby and professional
Has anyone ever heard of a person or celebrity named April Chadwick?
Yet this group was able to authenticate this signature which
they claim is typical of the other examples they have examined.
For the record, there is no such celebrity as April Chadwick.
The statement about studying other exemplars is absolutely false.
The autograph authenticating geniuses at PSA/DNA could have done
nothing else but attempt to read the name as it appears to be
spelt. No authentication work or research could possibly have
For the collector
who may own this piece, let it be known that the celebrity who
signed your album page is actor Cyril Chadwick. Cyril Chadwick
was a very popular English actor who appeared in 70 films.
The names of the PSA/DNA authentication team that appear on this
Letter of Authenticity are:
Roger Epperson (no longer with PSA/DNA)
- Actor Cyril Chadwick's Signature
- Breaking News:
- MISSING GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the National Archives
and Records Administration (NARA) is engaged in recovering historical
documents and manuscripts that are missing and which , in some
instances, are presumed to have been stolen from the National
America is defined by its history in general and by its founding
documents in particular. This article should alert autograph
and manuscript dealers and collectors to the fact that certain
documents are missing from the National Archives (NARA), and
many of us would argue that it is every citizens obligation to
assist in the recovery of such items if the opportunity presents
The contact persons in the OIGs office of NARA to whom reports
of suspected missing or stolen government documents should be
Kelly Maltagliati (Special Agent) OR
Mitchel Yockelson (Investigative Archivist)
Office of the OIG
Telephone (301) 837-3715 or (301) 837-3153
The OIGs office also has a brochure with color illustrations
that, at least in part, instruct one on how to identify stolen
government documents. That brochure is available upon request.
There is at least a partial list of missing documents listed
on the web site of The National Archives at the following link:
- Breaking News:
- MORDECAI BROWN - A CASE
- By Ron Keurajian
"You haven't space enough
to tell of all the grand deeds of Brown on and off the field.
There was never a finer character, charitable and friendly to
his foes and ever willing to help a youngster..."
Baseball Hall of Famer and teammate; Johnny Evers.
Mordecai Peter Centennial Brown was born on October 19th 1876
in Nyesville, Indiana. Brown, who began his career with the Saint
Louis Nationals, was one of the greatest pitchers of the Cobbian
era. In a career that lasted 14 years Brown won an incredible
239 games against only 130 losses. A six time 20 game winner
Brown posted a lifetime ERA of 2.06 a number that today seems
impossible to attain. Brown died on February 14th 1948 and was
inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949.
Browns signature is considered rare, albeit borderline. Signatures
are typically limited to index cards, government postcards, and
business related material (discussed below). Premium items are
extremely rare and border on the non-existent. I have never seen
a single signed baseball, tobacco card, or equipment of any kind.
I have examined only one genuinely signed 8x10 photograph.
Team signed baseballs from Browns playing days do not exist.
Brown signed in choppy hand. His signature has many breaks in
the first name. Browns habit of letter separation results in
a signature that is quite easy to forge. It goes without saying
that there are many well executed forgeries in the market. Unfortunately,
many fake signatures have been wrongly certified as genuine by
the major authentication companies so caution is warranted. Examples
1 thru 3 are genuine Brown signatures. Note: They have good eye
appeal but his hand is not eloquent.
- Example 1
- Example 2
- Example 3
Example 4 is a poorly executed
forgery, note the excessive shakiness of hand. This type of forgery
has been floating around for years so caution is warranted (see
secretarial signatures discussed below).
- Example 4, Forgery
Brown was said to have the most pronounced curve ball in history.
"It was the most devastating pitch I ever faced," lamented
the great Ty Cobb. When Brown was seven years old he lost parts
of two fingers in a corn shredder on the family farm, hence the
odd nickname of Three Fingers.
Locating a Brown signature on a baseball is a daunting task.
In my 25 years of collecting I have only seen two genuine examples.
Both were multi-signed balls, likely autographed in the 1930s-40s
and contained many signatures of players from various teams and
eras. A single signed baseball is a true rarity. I have never
seen a genuine example though many forged single signed balls
Letters of Brown are also very rare. I have examined only a handful
of genuine typed letters signed and maybe two or three handwritten
specimens. All letters were business related.
Also known as Miner Brown for his work in the coal mines of Indiana,
Brown became an accomplished business man. After baseball Brown
owned and operated a full service gas station in Terre Haute.
The fact that he owned a business correlates into many signed
documents but there is a caveat&.
MORDECAI BROWNS SECRETARY
Throughout the decades certain
ballplayers have been known delegate signing duties to secretaries,
family members, and club house attendants. The so called Ghost-signers.
Today, these authorized forgeries wreak havoc in the world of
vintage baseball signatures, both among unknowing collectors
and lesser educated authenticators.
Lou Gehrig, Chirsty Mathewson, Cap Anson, Joe Jackson, and Earle
Combs were notorious for this. Add to the list Mordecai Brown.
Unfortunately, Brown employed the use of a secretary or more
likely his wife or an employee to sign business related documents,
receipts, and endorsements on checks. The majority of signed
Brown documents are not signed by Brown at all. They have been
circulating for years and have been sold too many unsuspecting
There are essentially two variant secretarial signatures to watch
for. The first is a very legible and plain signature, Some are
signed Mordecai Brown while many check endorsements are signed
simply M. Brown. These signatures are easily spotted and in no
way resemble a genuine Brown signature (see example 5). There
is no attempt, in any way, to copy Browns handwriting.
- Example 5, Secretarial
Another secretarial signature (commonly found on check endorsements,
and bluish/green station receipts) resemble a genuine signature
but are labored in appearance evidencing a slow methodical hand.
With careful examination these secretarial signatures should
stand out. A genuine Brown signature will exhibit no shakiness
of hand and one that does should be considered suspect and avoided.
LIMITED EDITION CARDS
Over the past couple of years
the autograph market has been overrun with a new type of phenomenon.
Limited edition baseball cards with a signature inserted within
the card. I know many people collect this type of item and to
each his own. I personally dont understand the concept but collect
what you like. I raise this point because I have seen two limited
edition cards that featured bogus signatures of Brown. Both were
poorly executed forgeries.
It seems that forgeries are prevalent everywhere. These limited
edition cards, and I have seen hundreds, contain many nice signatures
but a lot of them contain forgeries. I have come across fake
signatures of Cobb, Johnny Evers, Cap Anson, Walter Johnson,
Babe Ruth, and the list goes on. These limited edition cards
should be studied like any other signature. A collector should
not allow high gloss and slick colored cards to replace careful
examination in determining the authenticity of a signature. These
cards simply contain too many forgeries as inserts so proceed
As to a price guide for Three Fingers: A Signature of Brown is
valued at $600-800. A government postcard will sell for $1,000-1,200.
A typed letter signed should sell for $1,500 while the elusive
autographed letter signed will start at $3,000. Signed book pictures
of Brown are rare but do exist, expect to pay $1,500 for one.
A signed 8x10 photo is a true gem and would start at $4,000.
Values of other mediums are generally not known
JAMES L. HIPPO VAUGHN
While Brown may have been
one of the greatest Cubs pitchers (if not the greatest) he was
not the only star hurler for the Cubbies. James Leslie Vaughn
began his career with the New York Highlanders over on Hilltop.
In 1913 he was traded to the Cubs. While pitching for Chicago
his career blossomed. He was a five time 20-game winner and recorded
178 kills against only 137 losses, good enough for a .565 winning
Like George Mullin, it is often said that Vaughn was one 20-win
season away from the Hall of Fame. Nicknamed Hippo because of
his girth, Vaughn would retire in 1921 ending a 13-year big league
career. He died in Chicago on May 29th 1966.
For years a Vaughn signature had little value but recently the
demand for his signature has increased markedly. In general,
demand for Cobbian era signatures has jumped over the past two
to three years and values of even minor stars have escalated.
Vaughn is an uncommon signature but I would not classify him
as scarce. He is generally limited to index cards and government
postcards. Premium items are considered rare.
- James "Hippo" Vaughan
Vaughns signature is illustrated above. His hand is very legible
and plain. His signature is easily forged. Fortunately for collectors
Vaughn signed many items through the mail so his signature can
be purchased for a reasonable price.
A Vaughn signature generally sells for $50. A government postcard
will run close to $100. Signed letters are rare and will sell
for $300-400. I have examined only two genuine signed gum cards.
I have never seen a signed 8x10 photo but single signed baseballs
do exist, they are extremely rare and should sell for $2000.
FACT: On September 4th 1916 Brown and New York Giants pitcher
Christy Mathewson faced one another in what would be the final
game of their long and illustrious careers. Today they stand
side by side in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Breaking News:
- The Long Pen
by El Fraley, The History Buff
A Canadian science fiction writer Margaret Atwood has developed
a device she had dubbed the the Long Pen that allows authors
to sign books by remote control at a distant location without
leaving home. The advantage for the author is that it obviates
rigorous book tours. The device consists of a control console
with a pen with which the author can carry out a pseudo signing
AND THE LONG PEN DEVICE imparts electronic (digital) instructions
to a remote pen that replicates the authors signature ( and inscription)
on a book placed on a platform in a store where the book was
purchased or at a book show. The signature produced by the Long
Pen is therefore slightly different than an autopen signature
because the actual signing requires participation by the author
and video interaction between the fan and the author is possible
since the device also has video streaming that allows the author
to converse with the book owner as their book is being signed.
So this format almost replicates a conventional book signing:
except, of course, the book buyer never meets the author in person.
What is produced by the Long Pen is not a real autograph (Auto-self,
graph-write) nor is an autopen signature. Rather, I would call
the resulting signature and inscription a ROBOGRAPH since the
author is using a robotic device to create the signature. Thus,
welcome to the new age of the virtual robographs.
Harry Truman once said, The only thing that is new is the history
you do not know. The concept of the Long Pen was put forth by
Gernsback over a hundred years ago:
She hesitated, and then, impulsively, "I wonder if it would
be too much to ask you for your autograph?" Ralph then attached
the Telautograph to his Telephot while the girl did the same.
When both instruments were connected he signed his name and he
saw his signature appear simultaneously on the machine in Switzerland.
- From Ralph 124c 41 +, by Hugo
The Long Pen is not unlike the
robotic daVinci Device, produced by the Intuitive Surgical Company
that is used by modern surgeons to perform surgery sitting at
a console either in the same room as the patient or at a remote
location. The devices, daVinci and Long Pen, are in principle
almost one in the same.
The implication of the Long Pen for the field of autographs in
general and collectors of signed books in particular is obvious.
Clearly, signed book collectors in the near future will have
to be able to distinguish between authentically signed books
, outright forgeries and the new kid on the blockvirtual robographs.
The next step in the evolution of this technology might be to
create a robotic signer with a memory cache of signatures of
infinite variation that were originally created by a major political
figure or other celebrity. Such proxy signatures that might have
a thousand or so different iterations may well turn out to be
much more difficult to detect than autopen signatures. Time will
There are three things certain
in life, death taxes and change. Autographists must be committed
to study and scholarship in order to stay current and to avoid
the costly mistakes of the unwary or uninformed collector.
More detailed information on The Long Pen is available on this
El Fraley is a long time autograph dealer who spends his time
between Minnesota and Palm Beach Florida. More educational information
can be found on his Internationally known website www.ehistorybuff.com
- Breaking News:
PSA/DNA Autograph Opinionators
Fail Miserably Again
wants to take this opportunity to thank all of our readers who
have submitted so many of the mistakes made by third party authenticators.
We have not published most of them, but need them for our files
so keep them coming. We feel the autograph collecting community
has read enough of third party authenticators mistakes on this
site and others that they have made the educated decision as
to the value of their guesses or opinions.
Many of our readers have advised us they will not support auction
houses and sellers of autographs that use 3rd party authenticators.
Also of interest we find that many legitimate sellers of autographs
will no longer issue a refund based on an opinion from a third
party authenticator. To take it one step further, these autograph
dealers will not offer a refund based on an opinion of an individual
whose name is listed as an expert with one of the third party
authenticators. Professional autograph dealers and collectors
have seen the horrible, inexcusable mistakes made by these autograph
We have avoided
publishing the many mistakes that our readers pass on to us however
once in a while we will publish a story for new readers who may
have not been following this site.
The latest 3rd party authenticating debacle is over one of the
most common signatures in baseball. Anyone, and we mean anyone
who collects the signatures of members of the Baseball Hall of
Fame is familiar with the signature of Willie Mays. Apparently
the handful who dont are employed by PSA/DNA.
The illustration to the right is of a Willie Mays baseball card.
His face is one of the most recognizable in baseball. The card
is signed Willie Mays! The autograph experts at PSA/DNA identify
the card as being that of Baseball Hall of Fame member Hank Aaron.
Take it one step further and take the PSA/DNA ID# off their description
and go to the PSA/DNA website and type the ID# in their search
and you will confirm they claim this is a Hank Aaron card.
The autograph opinionators at PSA/DNA not only failed to properly
identify the player but failed to recognize the common signature
of Willie Mays.
This documented example is so unbelievable it defies an explanation
Newsweek magazine published The Sporting News list of the 100
Greatest Baseball Players and Willie Mays was listed as the second
greatest player of all time.
Who are the individuals at PSA/DNA responsible for this unbelievable
error in authenticating? You are given a list of names who PSA/DNA
considers to be autograph experts and the company states one
or more of these experts has examined the item.
As an added
insult, can you imagine, someone paid PSA/DNA for this authentication?
As a courtesy, www.autographalert.com
illustrates a genuine signature of Hank Aaron because some of
the opinionators at PSA/DNA are also on the authenticating team
of ebay. The Quick Opinion. Oh My!