- Breaking News:
- May 29, 2009
- Just another embarrassing mess
Many thanks to one of our
readers for sending us the following information. Its nothing
more than the same ole repetitive incompetence.
The following item was up for auction at Historical Auctions
based in Florida. The auction house based their catalog description
on the information provided for them by the so-called authenticating
Heres just another example of money well spent by someone
who paid a 3rd party authenticating company to do what they do
PSA/DNA slabbed and certified Authentic a signature
of James Earl Jones. As most of you know James Earl Jones is
an American actor of stage and screen. He may be best known for
being the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars.
Take a peak at the autograph, gasping for air, inside the plastic
holder. It is a signature of James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin
of the civil rights leader Matin Luther King, Jr.
above according to PSA/DNA James Earl Jones 3x5 card
- How much money did someone waste for this authentication?
- This is a perfect example of another auction house
looking awful by offering an item thoroughly examined
by a third party authenticating company.
The PSA/DNAs web site states they have the worlds
foremost autograph experts. If this is so can you imagine
whats left to work for the competing authenticating companies?
PSA/DNAs Step 1" process includes an autograph
structure analysis. Step 1 also includes a side by side
STEP ONE OBVIOUSLY DOESNT WORK!
The autograph experts at PSA/DNA have done another
fine job of looking foolish. The PSA/DNA web site also states:
Occasionally our experts cannot express an opinion on an
autograph. These will be designated as inconclusive. The
James Earl Ray signature was not designated as inconclusive.
The experts expressed their opinion and that is it
is the signature of James Earl Jones.
Those who allow their name to be listed as autograph experts
on the PSA/DNA web site are:
- May 26, 2009
- Sports Collectors Digest, R.I.P.?
Today our mailbox was filled with emails from readers upset with
Sports Collectors Digest (SCD). There are just too many emails
to personally respond to so we will just group some of the comments
together with our reply.
Autographalert.com we can really use your help...I have
been shut out at SCDs web site, as T.S. OConnell
(SCD Editor) has shut down his blog comments from frustrated
readers who find him to be wrong....
It is our opinion you are wasting your time with OConnell.
Several years ago, OConnell and his merry band of men was
told by one on the staff of autographalert.com that if he continued
along the path he was taking, SCD will implode. Since then SCD
has lost nearly all its advertisers and its latest
issue has been reduced to a measly 42 pages. Not thick enough
to open and let our dog use it for a latrine.
The Voice of the Hobby is gagging for breathe of
air yet your voices are not heard. We strongly suggest all of
you express your dissatisfaction to Dean Listle, the publisher
@ firstname.lastname@example.org. Another one you can contact would
be David Nussbaum, Chairman & CEO of F+W Publications.
We gave up with SCD a few years back. Seemed like we were paying
$29.95 for a bobble head and getting a free weekly newsletter
was no longer worth it.
As far as some of the things sold through auctions advertised
in SCD we no longer feel sorry for those who purchase an autograph
worth $3,500 and pay only $500 for it. There is enough printed
on the internet to educate those who are foolish enough to think
they got a bargain and not smart enough to realize they got it
at such a low price because those who have expertise know the
item was not genuine and did not bid.
Some of our readers have emailed us stating they are so outraged
they have created blogs on their sites to allow their voices
to be heard.
Some have requested www.autographalert.com tell our readers about
their problems with SCD on their blogs, such as www.sports-rings.com
(Go to Sitemap and click on Sports Blog).
It is our opinion that SCDs latest actions may be the final
nail in their coffin. Talk about a possible conflict of interest,
they have gone into associating themselves in the auction business
with a June 2009 debut. They are dealing with a depressed and
vanishing readership have made the decision to go up against
some of the few advertisers they have left. A legitimate competing
auction house and advertiser would have to pay up front about
$1,000 to get a full page ad in SCD. To get the attention of
readers the auction house may want to follow up with a few additional
ads. SCD can publish all the full page ads they want for the
mere cost of ink and paper. The few auction houses, to date,
that remain with SCD can no longer be competitive.
To put a lid on this, we stopped complaining when it fell on
deaf ears and no responses. We no longer subscribe, so have no
desire to complain.
- Breaking News:
- May 21, 2009
- UACC - Hello, anybody home?
- Can anyone tell us whats going
on with this outfit? How about starting with what recently happened
to Registered Dealer #301?
Yes, a dealer was registered as #301 but most of the membership
in not aware of this. The story behind this may be juicer than
anything published in the last several issues of the clubs
booklet. It includes some very high profile names. This is not
for us to tell, but interested members of the UACC might want
to put pressure on their Board of Directors to get the story.
Believe us, its well worth the effort! We would love to
hear the UACC spin on this one.
Some of our readers have asked us about he UACC so we decided
to do a little update by going to their website. They claim to
be the largest club in the world; this is very questionable.
During the last several years the clubs membership has
diminished. Some old timers in the autograph hobby may remember
the clubs Membership Directory. One was issued in 1993
and the last in 1998. Add up the names and you knew how many
members they actually had. Cant do that today.
- Growth in membership has been a disaster
over the last decade. Even the clubs president ran on a
platform of building up the membership. The Directory was also
handy for members to see which other collectors might live in
your area. Dealers could use the membership list to mail catalogs.
Membership directorys were always nice for interaction.
Just another thing that got derailed.
What about the UACC shows? What shows? The website now list other
clubs or peoples shows like book fairs. No UACC show is
listed. Not long ago the club was active and had yearly shows
in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Florida, Washington
and New York. At one time the members of the club seemed to getting
something for their membership fee. The club now has their one
event a year where the Board of Directors get to choose any place
they want to hold the meeting and its all at members
expense. Members dues pay for the airfare and hotel rooms
for the Board of Directors. What does the membership get?
UACC eBay Store????? Nothing on it. Nothing! The last auction
ended on May 2. Thirteen insignificant items were listed and
apparently the membership and autograph community agreed. Only
one item was bid on for a measly minimum bid of $9.95.
Now for their so-called award winning magazine. Has anyone liked
the new look of the magazine besides the Board of Directors?
Not one of the collectors we spoke to. Matter of fact its
not even missed by many. Has anyone received their May/June issue
of the club booklet which is quite late??? May/June! You havent
even received your March/April issue.
Ridiculous, the UACC website states it was updated on May 8,
2009. The UACC had the chance to tell the membership what happened
to Dealer #301. How about explaining where nearly half the registered
dealers have gone? How about the courtesy of explaining to whats
left of the membership what they are getting for their $35.00
a year? How about telling the members when they will get their
March/April and May June issue of the Pen & Quill? How about
a few shows a year so collectors can interact? Hello, hello,
can you here us? Anybody there?
- Breaking News:
- May 11, 2009
- Autograph Authenticators Continue To Be An
Embarrassment to the Hobby!
We understand that most of you reading this site are not and
dont claim to be autograph authenticators. Trust us when
we say that most of those who claim to authenticate are also
not autograph authenticators.
The following example is from what we can call a good example
for Autograph Authenticating 101". Unfortunately there
are still some uneducated persons who are still willing to squander
their money and pay an authenticating company their hard earned
money for a worthless opinion or a guess. The only explanation
for the following is of the three who issued a Certificate of
Authenticity, the first one was simply incompetent. The other
two just went along with the first and not a one did a second
of research and for certain all three has no clue understanding
The following illustration is from the recent RR Auction which
ends May 13, 2009. We refer to item #1461 entitled Joe Louis.
R&R totally embarrasses themselves with a lengthy description
of this being a rarely seen example of the Brown Bombers
given name, Joe L. Barrow, is penned on the back of this..bank
check... The description continues with such wording that
they make it appear they know what they are talking about....on
the back of the instrument, Louis flowing, black fountain
pen inscription reads....
The description borderlines on being hilarious. Part of the description
reads: Accompanied by a full PSA/DNA letter of authenticity.
If you want to feel more secure bidding on this item, the bank
check is also backed by another COA: JSA (James Spence
Authentication) Mike Gutierrez Auction LOA. Just for good
measure they tack on a third COA from RR Auction. Sure wish PSA/DNA
would mention on their Certificate who the "wizard"
was that certified this item. Always seems like no individual
is ever held accountable.
- Item #1461 Joe Louis
Three COAs, and the item is finally withdrawn due to what
the RR website states is a description error? How
about being honest and saying a major authenticating blunder!
For those few who may still want to defend the authenticating
companies (for whatever your personal reason), you need to continue
reading. The rest should continue for entertainment and educational
Autograph Authentication 101. You dont even have know what
Joe Louiss hand writing looks like. Why should you, the
three authenticators didnt know? Lets just
assume the person who filled out the check was Marshall Miles
like the catalog description states. Its simple, just examine
Marshalls handwriting. Look for an unusual shaping of a
certain letter such as the F in February and the
F in Five. Class, now look at the back of the check
and notice the F in the word For. Does something
jump out at you, who are not authenticators? Lets go one
step further, and look at the signature of Joe Barrow on the
front and compare it to the signature Joe Barrow on the back.
Even those with no autograph experience can see the name Joe
Barrow written on the front and back of the check are by
the same hand. You passed the test, class dismissed. The three
who claim to authenticate have failed, miserably!
That was easy, however a genuine autograph authenticator would
know the words For deposit only is not the handwriting
of Joe Louis the boxer.
What more proof do you need that the authenticating companies
didnt do any research, did not check exemplars and have
no clue about hand writing? What more proof do you need to realize
that RR Auctions also has no clue and continues to simply issue
their own COA based on the others?
Many of you may now understand why the list of autograph sellers
grows that will not even consider giving a refund based on guesses
or opinions, backed by nothing, from these incompetent
so-called autograph authenticating companies.
Shame on the handful of auction houses who support the third
party authenticators. Shame on the few shops who allow them to
come on their premises and shame on the handful of shows who
rent these people booths. They wont rent a booth to a forger
but will rent one to an authenticating company who floods the
autograph hobby with non genuine items declared genuine. Its
still all about greed!
If some people had a dog this blind, they might consider putting
it to sleep!
- Breaking News:
- May 5, 2009
- Third Party Autograph Authenticators Spark talks
of a Class Action Lawsuit?
- 1899 Ed Delahanty Secretarial Letter
sells for $30,000, Ignites Debate
The buzz on the street is that some collectors and autograph
dealers are talking about a class action lawsuit against companies
who claim that they can authenticate autographs. The talk is
not only against the companies but also against the individuals
who are willing to have their names listed as experts.
It is said that even if one of the so called experts
never authenticated an autograph for the company, they have offered
the use of their name which can mislead collectors into thinking
the authenticator is active with the company. The listing of
a persons name as an expert who is not used for authenticating
is more common than you would think.
Some collectors have been duped into purchasing an autograph
based on the belief it was authentic because of certain people
being listed as an expert. In many cases the expert
was never aware the autograph was submitted to the company for
examination. Several experts we have talked to have
confirmed they have never been asked to authenticate an autograph
from the 3rd party authenticating company which lists their name.
The list seems to be endless with just the major errors in autograph
authenticating these companies have made. Some of those, associated
with third party authenticating companies, have made $100,000
plus mistakes even authenticating celebrity hair which was offered
at auction. When proven later the hair was not from the head
of the person described, the auction was forced to make a refund.
Fifty thousand dollar plus mistakes in mis-authenticating rare
autographs by third party authenticators common. Frequent errors
in all fields of collecting are made whether it be sports, entertainment
or political autographs. In rare cases refunds are made by the
seller or auction company but usually with an agreement that
the person getting the refund does not make the incident public.
It is beginning to appear collectors have had enough of 3rd party
autograph authenticators who accept payment to offer simply a
guess or give an opinion and offer absolutely no guarantees.
Many feel it is past due, when errors in authenticating are made,
the individuals who agree to be listed as experts
need to be held accountable.
The following example is what has happened in the now complicated
world of autographs. It was a sports item that appeared in a
Nov.10/11, 2006 Hunt Auction. Listed as item #474, it was described
as a handwritten letter by Ed Delahanty, member of the Baseball
Hall of Fame. The letter was dated, Phila, Pa Dec.27, 1899. The
item sold for a whopping $29,900. The letter was accompanied
with an LOA from James Spence Authentication.
- WWW.autographalert.com declared the letter as NOT
GENUINE in the article: "James Spence of James Spence
Authentication Hits A Foul Ball," dated December 23,
2006 . The story can be found in the archives of this website:
Some other hobby veterans got on board and notified Hunt
Auctions questioning the letters authenticity. Attempts to contact
James Spence by www.autographalert.com over this issue was fruitless.
He just doesnt respond!
To continue, the owner of the same Delahanty letter recently
consigned it to Robert Edward Auctions. It appeared as item #913
and the auction was scheduled to end May 2, 2009. This time the
Delahanty letter comes complete with what is called Full
LOAs from both James Spence Authentication, Certificate
#B49257 and PSA/DNA Certificate #G56541. Both James
Spence Authentication and PSA/DNA are also authenticators for
- The persons named below have chosen to
be listed as autograph authenticators for these companies.
- Steve Grad
- James Camner
- Bob Eaton
- T.J. Kaye
- Kevin Keating
- Kevin Low
- John Reznikoff
- Zach Rullo
- Bob Zafian
- James Spence Authentication
- James Spence
- Scott Cornish
- Bob Eaton
- Mike Gutierrez
- Kip Ingle
- Tom Kramer
- Frank Kukla
- John Reznikoff
- Roger Epperson
- Scott Stiwell
- J. Bardwell
- Catalog description stated in part Delahantys
...signature in any form is one of the most significant
and rarest of all Hall of Famers. It is one of the true Holy
Grails of Hall of Fame signature collecting, a virtually impossible-to-obtain
stumbling block to any complete Hall of Fame signature collection...only
a few examples of Delahantys signature are known to exist...
Immediately upon receipt of the auction catalog, two hobby veterans
notified Robert Lifson, President of Robert Edward Auctions that
the Delahanty letter was not genuine. The industry recognized
experts are Ron Keurajian who has been dealing in autographs
since the 1970's. Mr. Keurajian has written nearly 40 signature
studies on members of the Baseball Hall of Fame for Sports
Collector's Digest. He has also written signature studies
for Autograph magazine and is presently completing a book on
the signatures of the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The
other autograph expert is Steve Koschal who has studied autographs
since the 1960's. He has maintained one of the largest autograph
reference libraries in the world and his article on autograph
reference books won him a first place award by an autograph organization.
He is also the author of several books as well as over 200 articles
that have been published on autograph collecting. Koschal also
represented the United States of America and the Federal Bureau
of Investigation as their autograph expert in Federal Court for
Mr. Lifson was very responsive with the two experts in an exchange
of several emails regarding the Delahanty letter. Keurajian and
Koschal both advised Mr. Lifson that Delahantys signature
on the letter was mis-spelled, "Delehanty" (see below),
a common mistake to this day by those who write about Delahanty.
However, Delahanty, a graduate of St. Joseph's University, presumably
could spell his own name correctly.
- In the meantime interested parties were placing
bids for the letter. Bidding reached $15,000 the day before the
end of the sale. Mr. Lifson, still accepting the decisions of
the two authenticating companies did notify Kerujian and Koschal
that he will do and his own research. This is the research the
3rd party authenticators should have done before they charged
someone for the costs of the COAs they issued. Mr. Lifson
was successful finding information about Delahanty and requested
that PSA/DNA and JSA review the authentication of the item in
great detail armed with the research we (Lifson) has provided.
In the meantime, a little discouraging was that Mr. Lifson stated:
...we will go with what our authenticators decide....
this was the day before the auction would end. It was not clear
with all the prior documented mistakes made by these two companies
why Mr. Lifson would be interested in what they now had to say.
In the meantime Mr. Lifson discovered through Delahantys
biographer that Ed Delahanty was not in Philadelphia in December
On the last day of the auction, Mr. Lifson
sent an email to Steve Koschal indicating the Delahanty
letter has been withdrawn from the auction....
The Ed Delahanty letter, right (note the mis-spelling: "Delehanty")
- Mr. Lifson continued (referring to a response he
received from James Spence): ...is no longer comfortable
with their previous authentication, and believes the letter appears
to be a vintage secretarial version. I appreciate your communicating
with us about this item.
Robert Edward Auctions did the right thing not only by willing
to work with Keurajian and Koschal but going the extra mile and
doing some of their own research.
This does not end here. James Spence was contacted about the
authenticity of this Delahanty letter shortly after the Hunt
sale. Because Spence was unwilling to discuss his decision on
this letter with experts, the winning bidder paid for the item
not knowing the letter's authenticity was in question.
Robert Edward Auctions will be returning this basically worthless
letter to the consignor.
If the consignor had bought the letter from a professional dealer
who guarantees what they sell, he would have received
a refund long ago.
Who will admit or take responsibility for the original sale of
the Delahanty letter? The auction house or James Spence Authentication?
This $29,900 authenticating error could be added to a class action
- Breaking News:
- May 1, 2009
- 3rd Party Authenticators Stupid?
The following is quoted from an email received from one of our
Date: 4/30/2009, 3:45:26 PM
- ....I failed to mention a conversation
I had awhile back with a third party authenticator of the two
remaining companies [JSA
& PSA/DNA]. The subject of third party came up. I stated
they either guess incorrectly to intentionally harm certain dealers
or they are just stupid. The way I saw it those are the only
two options. His response was they are more stupid than you would
ever believe, it's not intentional. So here is the confidence
from a member of the only two remaining third party jokes left.
- As the song goes: "Just another brick in the
- Breaking News:
- April 28, 2009
- JSA AUTHENTICATION
One Customer, Three Strike Outs
It is no exaggeration when we say our files are bulging with
complaints from collectors about their experiences with the 3rd
party autograph authenticators. We manage to answer each email
and from time to time print one so that our readers can see for
themselves what others are experiencing.
- The following was recently received and we print
it in its entirety:
- 4/21/2009 10:42:11 PM
Good Evening. A friend of mine from the Toronto area has turned
me on to your website and I must say, I am absolutely appalled
(but grateful) at what you have been able to dig up on these
companies. This website is a fantastic tool to keep us informed
of the ongoing scams in the industry. Thank You!
I have forwarded my recent story on to you. I have no idea if
this can be used on your website or not, but it just adds to
the lists of mistakes these companies are making. I apologize
if its a little long, but I think its very informative.
Feel free to use at your discretion.
To set the stage, I am fortunate enough to have a good friend
(Jack Johnson) who plays in the NHL, and I have pictures, emails,
family friends, etc. to support this claim so its not just
one of those yeah right instances. My wife and I
were asked to join the Johnson family for their annual trip up
to the Magog Hockey Tournament up near Montreal 2 summers ago.
This is a tourney in which Sidney Crosby has been known to participate,
and one that he participated in this particular year. My wife
and I were able to obtain some autographs from Crosby first-hand,
as he and Jack are high school friends from Shattucks and
frequently room together. I also have an 05 Draft picture
that I had both Jack and Sidney sign for us. I decided to submit
the 2 pucks I got from Crosby to JSA. Surely theyd be passed,
yes? Much to my dismay, they were deemed likely not genuine
and whats worse, they came back damaged! Smudged, and basically
worthless to our collection! Thankfully I still have my pictures,
but now I have ruined pucks. Included is the email conversation
I had with one of their representatives...and needless to say,
I have never heard back from them or James Spence regarding the
submission, despite my trying after the fact. If you can use
this, great....if not, then I hope it was worth the read. Enjoy,
and keep up the wonderful work!
Samuel & Sabrina Behrens.
- One unfortunate deal with three strike outs.
- First, you pay for a worthless opinion
or guess. Money just thrown away.
- Second Strike Out, the opinion or guess
is without question wrong. So much for all the so called self
proclaimed knowledge and the massive supply of reference material
these companies all claim to have.
- Third Strike Out, you get your items returned damaged.
- Your bonus, and icing on the cake....you cant
get a hold of James Spence!
- Breaking News:
- April 27, 2009
- Authentication Stickers
Affixed by Morons?
Much has been said about affixing unsightly self-advertising
autograph authentication stickers to autographed material. Nothing
said about it is positive. One of our last articles had someone
who is a member of one of the high profile companies that claim
to authenticate autographs returning an autographed photograph
because it had one of these stickers affixed to it. The company
he is listed as an authenticator places these type stickers on
original autographed items.
No one to date has come to us advising how these horrific stickers
can be removed form an autograph without damaging the original
item. Many collectors would like to know?
- This sticker fiasco begs the question of all our
readers. PSA/DNA has added this sticker to the original 1930's
card and basically has ruined the originality of the 80 year
old collectible card. What happens if some person wanted to submit
the card to PSA/DNA for grading? Maybe, they'll just grade the
front of the card!
The following is a copy of a email from one of our educated readers
and how he feels about the sticker atrocity:
Subj: More PSA/DNA Stupidy
4/25/2009 9:13:14 PM
From their new 2009 Goudey baseball product, they have inserted
original Goudey cards that were autographed. As you can see,
PSA/DNA has attached their sticker to an original 1934 Goudey
card. What a bunch of morons!
- Original 1934 Goudey Baseball Card Defaced
by PSA/DNA Authentication Registration Sticker
- Breaking News:
- April 23, 2009
- The 100 Day Volunteer Certificates &
- the Proliferation of Facsimile Abraham
In the fall of 1864 thousands of Union volunteers who served
a hundred days of service that summer were issued a certificate
of thanks by the War Department --an impressive looking, partially-printed,
engraved document, bearing the signatures of Secretary of War,
Edwin Stanton, and the President, Abraham Lincoln. Other than
clerical editing and transcription on the document, all text
on the document is printed, including the signatures of Stanton
- In the century and a half that's followed
the issue of the certificate, perhaps no Civil War era document
bearing Lincoln's signature has been the source of more confusion
and fraud, and subsequently, bought and sold as authentic by
seasoned dealers, auction houses, and collectors. Even more disturbing
is the trend over the past decade of destroying the certificates
for Lincoln's, and to a lesser extent, Stanton's, signatures.
Authentic American Civil War documents have been routinely mutilated
by a handful of unscrupulous dealers-clipping the facsimile signatures
from the documents and selling them as real.
- A Hundred Day Certificate
for the Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin Volunteers
- The Hundred Days Men, or 100 Day Volunteers,
was the nickname for the short-term, volunteer enlistments mustered
in the summer of 1864 for 100 days of service in the Union Army
during the American Civil War. These lightly trained troops were
intended to free veteran units from routine duty to allow them
to go to the front lines for combat purposes.
- The concept of the hundred-day volunteer
was first proposed by the Governor of Ohio, John Brough, in the
spring of 1864. Brough was concerned with Confederate incursions
and invasions of the North, such as Brigadier General John Hunt
Morgan's cavalry raid into Ohio in 1863. Brough's idea was to
federalize the state militia into service for a period of 100
days to provide short-term troops that would serve as rear echelon
guards and laborers to free veteran units for combat duty. This
would increase the number of fighting men in the Union armies
campaigning in the South, which, ideally, would achieve victory
for the North within one hundred days.
- Brough contacted the governors of Indiana,
Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Jersey to do likewise in an
effort to raise 100,000 men. They submitted their plan to Secretary
of War Edwin M. Stanton, and the proposal was immediately approved
by President Abraham Lincoln.
- In total, approximately 81,000 men were
mustered for a 100-day period. Over 35,000 were federalized from
Ohio alone. The remaining numbers were primarily from Indiana,
Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. These veterans became known as
Hundred Days Men. Unfortunately for the North, the primary objective
of the Hundred Days Men-defeating the South within one hundred
days-fell short by a few months.
- Nevertheless, in recognition of their
efforts, at the end of their duty the Hundred Day Volunteers
were issued a certificate of service by the War Department. These
documents, a "Certificate of Thanks," were issued to
the tens of thousands of men who had volunteered. They were partially-printed,
with "THE UNITED STATES VOLUNTEER SERVICE" arcing across
the top margin over an ornately engraved eagle clutching the
American flag. There were at least two versions of the document
printed. One version recognized the men who volunteered from
the states of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin inclusive;
another was issued exclusively for the men of Ohio (presumably
because of the high volume of volunteers from that state). Signatures
of Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, and President Abraham Lincoln
appear at the bottom of the document.
- A Hundred Day Certificate
for the Ohio Volunteers
- Like other partially-printed, original,
presidential documents from the Civil War, personal information--names,
dates, rank, etcetera--was filled in by a clerk's hand. However,
not original are the signatures of Edwin M. Stanton and Abraham
Lincoln. Their signatures were prepared from traced engravings
onto the printing plate as part of the form document.
- The Engraved Signatures
of Edwin Stanton and Abraham Lincoln
- Over the years copies of the Hundred
Day Volunteer certificates have gradually entered the autograph
marketplace as authentically signed Lincoln documents. It's understandable
why. To the trained or untrained eye, at first glance, without
several certificates to compare with, the signatures of Lincoln
and Stanton appear to be original. On close inspection, however,
what stands out is the contrast in ink between the clerical writing
and the rest of the document. The iron-based ink from the clerk's
hand has rusted and turned brown and relatively faded with age.
Secondary is the uneven flow and impression one would expect
from handwritten script. In comparison, the facsimile signatures
of Lincoln and Stanton, perfectly imprinted onto the document,
are the same color ink and age-toned as the printed text of the
- Though naïve, unsuspecting, and
yes, unscrupulous dealers and collectors alike have bought and
sold the volunteer certificates as original Lincoln Documents
Signed, in recent years awareness of the printed signatures on
the document has grown. The practice of has been stemmed in large
part by the informative efforts of honest dealers and auction
houses, and websites like the Illinois Historic Preservation
- The practice that does continue, and
what dealers and collectors need to be aware of, is the printed
Lincoln signatures that have been cut from the document and sold
as authentic full Abraham Lincoln signatures. These signatures
were sold into the marketplace in the late 1990s and early 2000s
by a handful of unscrupulous dealers via the web. The rise of
online auctions, in particular eBay, with no checks, standards,
or independent, qualified authenticating authority, allowed for
the proliferation of the facsimile Lincoln signatures.
- The telltale signs you may have a facsimile
Lincoln signature cut from the Hundred Days certificates are:
a) Lincoln placed a period at the end of his name for the engraving
b) The dark, even flow of ink which is common of printed text
c) The faded, browned text common of iron-based ink is absent
d) The full Abraham Lincoln signature
- If you're still uncertain check for traces
of possible dot removement. There may be instances where a dealer
may have tried to remove the dot to make their signature look
different, or may have clipped the period off which would render
the "n" in Lincoln at the very edge of the right margin.
- It is certain that there are many presidential
autograph collections with the facsimile Lincoln signature in
them. It's only a matter of time before the generation of collectors
who acquired these signatures as authentic begin to return them
to the marketplace. Every effort should be made to trace back
to the originating source of the signatures to compensate the
victims down the line. If your Lincoln signature matches the
one above return the signature to the dealer for a refund. It
is important, at this juncture, for the autograph community to
recognize and weed out the facsimile Lincoln signatures from
the marketplace. Whether intentionally or innocently, the continued
selling of the facsimile Lincoln signature by anyone at any level
is a discredit and blow to the hobby.
- Breaking News:
- April 20, 2009
- Baseball Autograph Expert
Hits the Nail on the Head!
Ron Kerujian, is one of the few baseball autograph experts with
documented credentials. He has been interviewed by The Oxford
Leader. His observations and comments based on unequaled
experience ring true.
- Autograph collectors of members of the Baseball
Hall of Fame look forward to his new 500+ page book hopefully
later this year. It will become the industry bible. Log onto
the following link and learn from a genuine expert.
- Breaking News:
- April 14, 2009
- Third Party Authenticating Stickers
How Dumb Is This?
Anyone with half a brain knows to never affix a foreign matter
to an original autograph or document. Everyone seems to know
this except the companies who claim they can authenticate an
autograph. Over time, these unsightly stickers can also cause
damage to your precious collectible depending on the adhesive
What an eyesore it is to see a bright and shiny advertising sticker
affixed to your original George Washington letter or document.
Whats even more unattractive is the damage that can be
done to your item when you try to remove one of these stickers.
The autograph challenged individuals who affix these stickers
are now being held accountable by their own authenticators.
Recently an autograph authenticator/dealer called Todd Mueller
Autograph Auctions. This individual wanted to return a Jane Russell
signed photograph because affixed to the photo was a GAI (Global)
Authentication sticker. The authenticator/autograph dealer wanted
to know why there was no mention of the sticker in the description
of the item? He also stated if Mueller could replace the image
without a sticker that would be acceptable? The autograph authenticator/dealer
also said that these stickers should be mentioned in descriptions
as they detract from the value of the item.
The authenticator is presently on staff with James Spence Authentication.
This is also is an outfit that affixes these asinine stickers
to autographed items.
- Breaking News:
- April 10, 2009
- Farrah Fawcett Needs Your Help
Farrah Fawcett hardly needs any introduction. She is a noted
pop culture figure whose hairstyle was emulated by millions of
young women, and a sex symbol for millions of young men in the
1970s and 1980s (Wikipedia). She went on to become a critically
accepted actress, one of Americas favorite Angels (Charlie's
Angels), and her famous 1976 red bathing suit poster graced the
door of millions of boys and men across the world.
Farrah Fawcetts signature is highly forged. For over two
decades a secretary would sign most autograph requests by mail.
Many of these have since been authenticated as genuine by the
3rd party authenticators. Miss Fawcett is well aware of how many
forgeries appear on the internet and on websites such as eBay.
In 2007-2008, Miss Fawcett agreed to do her first ever private
signing. She did such with Todd Mueller of Todd Mueller Autographs.
Up until this signing she stated she would occasionally sign
autographs for fans but never for commercial use.This signing
brought out what her genuine signature actually looked like causing
some to destroy sales records and photographs they previously
thought were genuine.
Back in 2006, when Farrah Fawcett was diagnosed with cancer,
her records were sold by an employee at UCLA's medical center
to the National Enquirer. This was before Farrah could
even inform her son of the news. As recently as a week ago, the
press once again passed information that was simply not true.
They claimed that she was in a coma and her family was at her
Farrah Fawcett, through her agent and Todd Mueller is asking
for those of us who collect autographed photographs and who also
have an appreciation for her or any celebrities, to please express
that appreciation by joining the Paparazzi Hall of Shame on facebook.
This site is dedicated to calling out those photographers and
tabloid style reporters who go too far for the picture. Such
has been the case with Farrah Fawcett during her battle with
Every reader and collector can help by joining the Paparazzi
Hall of Shame on facebook lending their support not only to Farrah
Fawcett but to anyone else whose privacy is exploited in a time
of illness by the tabloids and paparazzi. This is your chance
to make a difference. The link to this site is:
Thank you to everyone for lending their support by joining this
site and expressing their support to Farrah Fawcett during her
difficult battle with cancer.
- Breaking News:
- April 8, 2009
- SCD Sports Collectors Digest
Where Have You Gone?
- The April 10th issue of SCD has been published
and it does not come as a surprise to many that this magazine
has been reduced to a mere 38 pages. That includes the two covers
which counts for 8 pages.
This collapse was predicted years ago and SCD management was
advised how to correct their obvious problems. Recommendations
from seasoned hobbyists were basically ignored.
Just a few years ago it took an entire afternoon to read the
publication which can now be read in minutes. Of the 38 pages,
27 are advertisements and that is with the disappearance of many
of the advertisers (which was also very predictable). The Vendors
Stand is down to an embarrassing three-quarters of a page.
One thing hasnt changed and that is the $4.99 Cover Price
or $6.99 in Canada.
Emails to Dean Listle, Publisher, requesting the number of paid
SCD subscribers remain unanswered.
- Breaking News:
- March 30, 2009
- American Memorabilia:
Same Ole Problems
The amount of emails we have received during the last two weeks
about American Memorabilia, a sports autograph and memorabilia
auction house operating out of a private home in Las Vegas is
Consignors to this auction house are begging www.autographalert.com
to post a story about how poorly run this auction house is operating.
Our response to most was that you have read about this auction
house on www.autographalert.com before, you have read articles
warnings about those businesses who use third party authenticators
yet you still consigned your material to one of these businesses.
Can't say you weren't educated and warned.
American Memorabilia is basically run out of the first floor
of a private home in Las Vegas. The principal of this business
is Victor Moreno however a gal whose name is actually Susan runs
much of the day to day operation. She will tell you her name
The Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) gives them an "F"
rating. The BBB has a listing of 13 ratings and the "F"
is the lowest. If you want a bird's eye view of what consignors
are complaining about (including one suggesting a class action
lawsuit) we suggest you go to this website for a most interesting
Be sure to read all the complaints on both pages. Thanks to reader
Dan Drue for alerting us to this website.
- Breaking News:
- March 19, 2009
- CEO of Collectors Universe
Parent Company of PSA/DNA Stepping Down
Michael Haynes, CEO of Collectors Universe, parent company of
PSA and P.A./DNA will be stepping down and departing later this
This move comes less than a week after a major investor suggested
the company be sold. Shamrock Capital Advisors, Inc. Headed by
Roy Disney asked directors to put the company up for sale.
It appears Hayes will pursue other opportunities. Michael McDonnell,
a member of the Collectors Universe Board of Directors has been
appointed the interim CEO.
- Breaking News:
- March 16, 2009
Our Readers Speaking Out
The following information has been very recently sent to us by
dedicated readers of this site:
Shareholder group seeks sale of Collectors Universe
Shamrock Capital Advisors, a private equity firm that lists the
family of Disney among its clients, has sent a letter to the
board of directors of Collectors Universe asking them to immediately
begin the process to sell the company.
Shamrock, founded in 1978 owns more than 8 percent of the company,
Roy Disney is the nephew of the late Walt Disney.
Ten years ago at its initial public offering, the stock went
for nearly $22 per share. According to Dennis Johnson, managing
director of Shamrock, Collectors Universe has gone through a
period of "lost opportunities, frequent changes in strategy,
near delisting from NASDAQ, incurrence of a series of operating
losses, and the board's pathetic recent adoption of a poison
pill we believe only serves to entrench management and this board."
In another email from a New Jersey reader states Mike Haynes
(CEO) reduced his ownership by 57% and several of their institutional
and Mutual Fund Investors have been dumping their stock.
Collectors Universe hit a 52 week low of $2.05 and is presently
In a recent autograph auction house catalog they state that PSA/DNA
no longer issues an Auction COA.
Earlier this month, Collectors Universe - parent company of PSA/DNA
-announced it was discontinuing its diamond and gemstone authentication
service after three years of unprofitable returns, saying it
would focus on its sports and numismatic grading services.
Sports & Grading Services?
Just two days ago this is what one of our readers from Hawaii
had to say about PSA/DNA's grading services.
"Aloha Autographalert Staff,
First off, I'd like to say thanks for giving ALL of us your insights
and findings. I'm so amazed of the things that are going on in
this hobby and can't trust anyone (except you guys) now days.
I've spent hours reading through your threads and find it VERY
helpful. Thanks! Here is another mess up from PSA, it's not regarding
an auto(graph) but rather a grading' topic. Not only is
PSA's authenticity messed up but, so is their grading side. Long
story short...a packed pulled 86/87 Fleer Michael Jordan RC is
pulled and 3, yes 3, graders have said that there is evidence
of trimming'. A pack pulled card caught on video and it's trimmed?
So, the guys who sent in the card contacts Joe Orlando (President
of PSA) and it now automatically turns into a PSA 9 card. Here's
the link, page 15 is where the OP states that Joe Orlando gives
it a PSA 9 grading.
I've experienced the same problem with a 93 SP Derek Jeter Foil
card, busted it open at a local card shop and had it sent in
(years later) only to come back as didn't meet minimum
qualification'...so what does that supposed to mean? I checked
the base cards from this 1993 SP product and guess what, mostly
every card did NOT match up and had different lengths from top
to bottom. If those monkeys would only take a bunch of base cards,
they would've known this.
Please keep up your hard work and let it be known that it's much
appreciated. Aloha from Hawaii...."
- Breaking News:
- March 12, 2009
Folds Under an FBI Investigation
- Bill Mastro folds sports memorabilia's
largest auction house amid FBI probe
BY Michael O'Keeffe
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Thursday, March 12th 2009
Mastro auctions chairman Bill
Mastro boasted in a Jan. 21 article in the Chicago Daily Herald
that his auction house would not be damaged by the recession
because it caters to high-end clients.
"When we do our big auctions
we're typically dealing with well-heeled guys, and this is what
gives them pleasure," Mastro said. "If anything, I
think guys are getting more choosy and discriminating about what
they buy and how they buy it. But at the end of the day a Mercedes
is a Mercedes, and if you want and have the means, you'll pay
Less than two months later, Mastro
Auctions is apparently out of business.
Sports memorabilia's largest
auction house is at the center of an FBI investigation into shill
bidding, card doctoring and other allegations of fraud that have
damaged the company's Mercedes image. While Bill Mastro said
in the January interview that the company would continue to generate
$50 million in annual sales, industry sources say it had crippling
credit-line and cash-flow problems. Consignors have complained
that they were not paid for items sold at Mastro's December auction.
Three Mastro executives, including
president Doug Allen, have purchased Mastro Auction's assets
and will launch a new company called Legendary Auctions. The
new business has taken possession of computer software and client
lists, sources told the Daily News. Allen did not return phone
calls for comment, but in a press release, the new company said
all outstanding Mastro Auctions business will be "seamlessly
facilitated, processed and completed through Legendary Auctions."
Industry sources told the Daily News they expect Mastro's consignors
will all eventually be paid.
Allen had told potential investors
that he is not a target of the FBI probe, according to sources,
but the new company appears to be taking steps to avoid shill-bidding
allegations and other problems that damaged Mastro's credibility
"The principals employed
by Legendary Auctions will put their own collecting interests
aside and concentrate solely on providing opportunities for our
customers," Allen said in the press release. "There
will be no mixing of business and pleasure at Legendary Auctions
in terms of our own collecting pursuits. This will really be
all about our customers."
The Daily News reported last
year that sports-memorabilia officials have testified before
a grand jury in Chicago that is investigating Mastro Auctions
and fraud in the collectibles business.
The grand jury deliberations
are part of an investigation into memorabilia fraud initiated
last year by the Chicago division of the FBI, whose "Operation
Foul Ball" smashed a multistate autograph forgery ring in
the 1990s. Other sports-memorabilia businesses and individuals
may also be under investigation.
Bill Mastro will not be associated
with Legendary Auctions. "Circumstances make it clear to
me that the business needs to move in a different direction at
this time, and Legendary Auctions is a positive step that allows
everyone to be taken care of, especially our customers who have
been so loyal," Mastro said in the press release. "I
am looking forward to taking some time off for now, and wish
Legendary Auctions only the best as they move forward."
- Breaking News:
- March 12, 2009
Third Party Autograph Authenticators
Costing You More At Auction
We have yet to hear one legitimate positive reason for anyone
using a third party autograph authenticator. We have tried endlessly
to interview some who call them selves "autograph authenticators."
No one will step up to the plate and answer intelligent questions.
The only time you can pin one of these guys down is at a trade
show or when they occasionally appear at a baseball card store.
Even there, the principals of the authenticating companies hide
behind a curtain or stay in the back ground as so many times
they just don't know and fail a genuine autograph and won't face
the in person signature collector.
The amount of mistakes these companies make is immeasurable.
It's a great business, if that's what you want to call it. Anyone
they desire to hire and put on their authenticating staff can
offer simply their opinion and get paid dearly for it. All this
with NO GUARANTEES. When third party opinions are questioned
in court the judge will usually say, everyone can have an opinion.
There's no law against being stupid!
Collector's are becoming educated. Our mail is overwhelming.
Each month this site seems to have a record number of visits.
The following are clips from emails from just the past several
days from readers of www.autographalert.com
"...one of the sources I have bought from in the past has
been @#%&*. It appears that some of the items being sold
by @#%&* have been to say at the least a bit questionable."
The writer is referring to an auction house who uses a third
"...keep up the good work!! I no longer purchase from any
of the PSA/DNA crowd and work diligently with private dealers..."
"....just one more reason not to bid or consign with them..."
The writer is referring to an auction house who uses a third
"..I enjoy your site and the investigative work you do on
the authenticators. Keep on digging!"
"...I was amazed at what stuff gets passed off as genuine
by third party authenticators..."
".....I love your website www.autographalert.com...."
"...just finished reading through your entire web site's
news history, and it was tremendously informative..keep up the
"...keep up the great work, I always start my day by first
checking your site...."
"...why this site is not mandatory reading for every collector
is beyond me...."
Who pays for these 3rd party authenticator opinions? You do when
you bid at a handful of autograph auctions. First you have to
ask yourself why would any auction house use a third party authenticator.
Most of the collectors we talked to come up with the same answer.
The auction house sells the autographs based on some third party
authenticating companies opinion. An opinion that was made where
in most cases the authenticator never personally saw the autographs.
Yet, the auction house can state, we put it up for sale because
the authenticator said it was genuine. How sad is this?
Again, we ask who pays for these opinions? Answer is YOU DO!
We have looked into some of the autograph industry's active autograph
auction houses and their charges. Each auction house charges
a buyer's premium. That's a charge over and above your high bid.
The auction's are listed in alphabetical order.
|Todd Mueller Weekly
Auctions, North Carolina
|RR Auction, New
Autograph Auctions, California
|The Written Word
Autograph Auctions, New Hampshire
What stands out is RR Auctions
has the highest buyer's premium in this group. They are the only
one of the above listed auction houses who uses a third party
authenticator. Who pays for the service of authenticators who
don't even physically see the original autograph to be auctioned.
- Breaking News:
- March 8, 2009
- Upper Deck/Razor Entertainment
No question, our original article has opened some eyes, educated
some collectors and others (who had an open mind) and rattled
the cages of others.
Desperate people do desperate things. Some of those who make
mistakes and get exposed post stories on the internet they actually
create, usually untruths, others usually shills for the exposed,
post stories they are dumb enough to believe because they are
fed by those associates who have been exposed. This is being
done to one of the officers of this website. The fact is anyone
with half a brain can read in between the lines and see the lack
of substance and details in their unfounded messages. In most
cases the name of the person listing the fictitious stories cannot
If the Upper Deck Eisenhower machine signed signature being sold
as a genuine signature was not serious enough for them to respond
to our request to discuss the matter maybe we can add one more
Upper Deck slabbed signature to the pile to get their attention.
We received an email from one of our readers asking for guidance.
Most of the content of the email follows:
- March 5, 2009
- Hi, I opened a tin of 2007 Sweet Spot
Classics Baseball last week and pulled a Classic Cuts Autograph
of Eliphalet Remington. The card is numbered 1/6. After doing
some checking of his signature I noticed that the autograph was
actually from Samuel Remington and not Eliphalet. I called Upper
Deck to see what to do and they said they could not do anything
because the product was past their 8 month replacement time frame...."
Illustrated below is what's called Sweet Spot Classic, Classic
Cuts, Eliphalet Remington 1/6 Rifle maker, Upper Deck collector's
- Upper Deck Eliphalet Remington cut signature 1/6
The signature of Eliphalet Remington (1793-1861) is quite scarce
and worth several hundred dollars if one can be found. Take a
closer look at the signature in the plastic case. Without question,
the slabbed signature is of his son Samuel Remington (1819-1892).
This signature has very little value. His checks can be found
on the internet selling for $50, sometimes less.
Again we have tried to find out who the person is at Upper Deck
that handles the purchase of autographs in order to discuss these
errors with the hopes they may want to change who they purchase
their autographs from and certainly suggest that they change
their authenticator of choice. The following was the reply from
their customer service which does not address the issue.
- That information is not available to
the public and will not be given out. Upper Deck does not buy
autographs directly from the public. Please contact any auction
or authentication houses.
- Thank you
- Upper Deck Customer Service
- Sports Cards: 800.873.7332
- Memorabilia: 800.551.8220
- Upper Deck's Response
- Breaking News:
- March 8, 2009
ENTERTAINMENT, FURTHER UPDATES
Unfortunately, Brian Grey is one other who has fallen into the
trap of believing stories told to him by others who have been
exposed and he has posted some hurtful messages on the web.
We were told by Mr. Grey that he has been able to contact the
two who bought the Nixon and Van Buren cards. He still states
he will do his best to make good on the mistakes.
More importantly, Brian has stated to www.autographalert.com
that the original article was most helpful in educating himself.
He has already notified John Reznikoff, one of his sources of
presidential and historical signatures, that he will no longer
purchase form their company. Brian Grey is now very much aware
of the downside of utilizing third party authenticators. According
to Mr. Grey, the Nixon signature was part of the inventory when
he purchased the company and he may not be able to find the purchasing
papers to identify the autograph dealer who sold them the machine
signed signature. We still expect to hear from Mr. Grey advising
us which dealer sold him the Van Buren signature and also which
3rd party authenticating company authenticated the item as genuine.
- Breaking News:
- March 6, 2009
- Razor Entertainment Update
Less than 24 hours after the story regarding Upper Deck and Razor
Entertainment was published, a member of the www.autographalert.com
team was contacted by phone by Brian Gray, President of Razor
Entertainment, Dallas, Texas.
The conversation lasted over an hour and Mr. Gray appeared to
be very concerned about some of the cards he has produced. He
believed he was purchasing presidential signatures from who he
thought were reputable sellers of autographs. He went extra lengths
to have those signatures authenticated by third party authenticators.
The very next day Mr. Gray called once again and spoke to us
for another hour. He stated he was receiving an ernomous amount
of negative emails regarding the story about his company on www.autographalert.com.
Mr. Gray wants the autograph community to know of his willingness
and desire to stand behind every signature.
He has assured www.autographalert.com that he will follow up
on both the Nixon and Van Buren signatures, try to locate the
persons who won the items on eBay and make it right by replacing
the signatures with genuine examples. Mr. Gray has also stated
that he bought the Martin Van Buren signature from a well known
dealer at a Washington, DC autograph show. As Mr. Gray goes through
his records he will alert us which dealer he purchased the signature
and which authentication company he utilized.
In addition, to show good faith, Mr. Gray went one step further.
He is willing to put up a $20,000 bond that will not be touched
until the wrongs have been made right. We don't think that will
be necessary but appreciate his good faith.
We have to say, if Mr. Gray follows up on his statements, we
have to take our hats off to him. He will have set an example
for the industry. We look forward to hearing from Mr. Gray in
the near future, as we believe our readers will be interested
in his findings.
- Breaking News:
- March 3, 2009
Deck Company and Razor Entertainment
the Unthinkable to Presidential Signatures
- Read the past stories on www.autographalert.com
and you realize it's almost the same names appearing over and
over again with regard to problems within the autograph industry.
Most of these stories come from our dedicated readers. From time
to time new names will be exposed however even with that said
the old names are tied to the new stories.
Isn't it bad enough that some of the authenticating companies
are affixing unsightly stickers to autograph items? Anyone with
an ounce of knowledge dealing with historical material will tell
you never to affix a foreign item to an original piece. How attractive
is it to see a colorful authentication company sticker affixed
to a signature of Thomas Jefferson. Not to mention the potential
damage that can be caused over the years by the material that
was used as a bonding agent.
The latest autograph atrocity can be witnessed in the April 4,
2009 auction held by Memory Lane Inc.Com. Lot #1021 consists
of a 2008 Upper Deck Historical Cuts John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline
Kennedy signatures. To fit the John Kennedy signature in the
silly plastic holder, Upper Deck has trimmed off the top of the
"J" in John, cut the bottom of nearly the entire signature
basically touching it and have removed the entire lower loop
of the "y" in Kennedy. This destruction of the Kennedy
signature has removed much of its value.
In the next lot, Upper Deck repeats the atrocity. Lot #1020,
2008 Upper Deck Historical Cuts John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
Once again the top of the "J" in John has been trimmed
off as well as the lower loop of the "y" in Kennedy.
The signature of Marilyn Monroe has basically been chopped up.
The "M" in Marilyn has been trimmed in two places,
the bottom of the "y" has been trimmed, the top of
the "M" in Monroe and the "e" in Monroe has
also been trimmed.
The eye appeal of these signatures is basically nil not to mention
what has been done to the value of the signatures should they
even be genuine.
As for the John Kennedy signatures, both were removed from typed
letters. Most knowledgeable collectors and dealers will tell
you that signatures of JFK on letters can easily be signed by
a secretary or by the Autopen signing machine. An entire book
has been written on this subject not to mention additional signature
The plastic holder containing these mutilated signatures have
labels stating PSADNA has certified the signatures as authentic.
We went to the PSADNA website to find out who their so called
historical expert is. Listed is none other than John Reznikoff.
The largest sale of forged John F. Kennedy signatures in the
history of autograph collecting took place in the late 1990's.
The collection comprised of over 300 items where about 140 investors
were duped. The man who claimed he found the papers was Lawrence
X. Cusack 3d. In a New York Times article dated March 17, 1998
it says in part: "the Government based its charges against
Mr. Cusack on evidence including what it described as a tearful
confession in August by Mr. Cusack to one of his partners in
the sales of the documents, in which he admitted forging the
papers. Later, in another conversation with the partner, John
M. Reznikoff, a Connecticut autograph dealer hired by Mr. Cusack
to help authenticate the papers....." The article continues:
"....Mr. Cusack appeared to have hidden most of the $5 million
in profits that he was believed to have earned as his share of
the $7 million in sales. The rest went to Mr. Cloud and Mr. Reznikoff..."
In a New York Times article dated April 15, 1999 it states in
part: "It was in 1993, he said, that Mr. Cusack told Mr.
Reznikoff of the Kennedy papers, convincing him, that they were
real..." (Where in autograph authenticating does a forger
convince an authenticator that forgeries are real? Only here!)
Mr. Cusack went to prison for several years. Adding to this lunacy
John Reznikoff is still authenticating John F. Kennedy and Marilyn
Monroe signatures for PSADNA and JSA.
As we were putting the facts of this story together another one
of our readers alerted us to eBay item 250369698672. A Dwight
D. Eisenhower President Cut Signature Autograph. The signature
is encased in one of those plastic holders and was produced by
the Upper Deck Co. The description reads: This card was
a redemption from the Upper Deck Company and their promotional
Signs of History' Set. Numbered to only 9, this is a fantastic
- Illustration of Upper Deck's Eisenhower signature.
The signature of Eisenhower illustrated above is a well known
and very common signature signed by the Autopen machine. Thousands
of these signatures were signed and examples of this signature
can be found in many autograph references including Presidents
of the United States Autopen Guide by Stephen Koschal and Andreas
Five uninformed collectors bid as high as $655.00 for this absolutely
worthless signature. Lucky for them, the $655.00 did not meet
the sellers Reserve.
Our attempts to contact the management of Upper Deck Co. regarding
all the above issues were fruitless.
- Razor Entertainment
This company was founded in 2005 and claims to be the innovative
leader in the trading card industry. They created the Oval Office
Edition, 99 packs were made.
The first card we were alerted to was a 2007 Razor Richard Nixon
Presidential Cut, ebay item #150324763330.
- Razor Richard Nixon Presidential Cut
Www.autographalert.com has contacted a handful of professional
autograph authenticators and everyone agreed the above signature
is without question signed by the Autopen machine. Copies of
this example can be found in many signature studies of Richard
Nixon and in the book mentioned above. Amazing the quasi autograph
authenticators who work for these authenticating companies don't
use basic reference material.
The seller of the Nixon signature was notified the signature
was not genuine and that the plastic holder it was in had more
value than the signature. Before the sale ended, Ebay was notified
the signature was machine signed. They did not remove it. Ebay
had plenty of opportunity to remove this item and not allow this
worthless and mis-identified signature to be sold. Thirty bids
were placed on this machine signed and it sold to some ignorant
bidder for $418.00.
One week later, again appearing on ebay is item number 400030641978.
Another Razor blunder. Described as Razor Oval Office Martin
Van Buren Auto 1/1 1840.
Razor Martin Van Buren Cut
The seller of the above signature was notified by at least two
presidential autograph experts that the signature being sold
was not genuine. Ebay was also notified the signature is not
genuine. Ebay allowed the sale to continue, 18 bids were placed
and the worthless, secretarial signed signature of Van Buren
went to some uneducated collector for $811.50.
We went to the website of Razorcollectibles.com. It clearly states
"call President Brian Gray at 214-393-4510 for more information."
We did so and actually spoke to Brian Gray for a few short moments.
The connection was quite clear but when Mr. Grey realized where
the conversation was going (we asked who authenticated his signatures)
he stated and we heard this clearly "we have a very bad
connection, I have to go, email me your questions." We emailed
not once but twice. No response! Appears Mr. Grey has gone into
hiding regarding these issues.
Several attempts have been made to contact card company executives
regarding their suppliers of autographs and their poor choices
of authenticators. They refuse to respond. Result is some unscrupulous
sellers of autographs have found an outlet for secretarial and
machine signed signatures.
This is not the end of the story, we need to shock you with more
One of the dealers (bet you could guess who he is) who goes around
buying clipped signatures for these card companies said to a
dealer he was buying from "The card company will not pay
for these signatures I'm taking until they are passed by so and
so authenticating company. Send these signatures I'm buying and
put my name and return address on the package. This way they
will all get passed as genuine!"
This is something a handful of us have known for some time. The
so-called 3rd party authenticating companies are authenticating
the individual submitting the autographs (especially when it
is one of their own), not the actual autographs.
- Breaking News:
- March 1, 2009
- PSA/DNA Continues to Decline and Reports
Shortly after Global Authentication filed for bankruptcy protection,
Collectors Universe of Newport Beach, California and parent company
of the sports card grading and autograph authenticating company
PSADNA reported a loss for the second fiscal quarter which ended
December 31, 2008.
A ten percent decline in net service revenues in the second quarter
was due to a $781,000 or 10.4 percent decline in grading and
- Breaking News:
- February 14, 2009
- Autograph Collectors
- Who Have Been Harmed
You Have A Place To Go
For decades collectors have been complaining about autograph
dealer abuse, autograph club mischief and auction ripoffs. Unfortunately
many of these collector's complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
In many cases, complaints were not even responded to including
those to organizations who would not act or even respond to serious
ethics complaints against one of their favorite dealers, board
members and even those filed against their presidents. General
membership would not be made aware of what was actually going
on behind the scenes.
Collectors who are unable to settle a complaint now have a place
to go and publish their unfortunate situation.
Log onto www.ripoffreport.com
In the search box type in autograph. Begin to read complaints
about some dealers and auction houses you may already be familiar
- Breaking News:
- February 4, 2009
- IN MEMORIAM
Minor of Lone Star Autographs, Kaufman, Texas
away on December 23, 2008
true autograph professional who will surely be missed!
- Breaking News:
- January 26, 2009
Choosing an Autograph Dealer
to Dig Deep!
Some of the most frequent questions we receive are from collectors
who are perplexed on how to choose an autograph dealer.
This is a major decision everyone has to make at one time or
another should they decide it is time to purchase or sell an
There are many different avenues to travel however it's best
to start asking questions. Many collectors see attractive full
page ads and many of those ads may say "we pay the highest."
Collectors say "Who can we believe?"
How many of the different companies who advertise state that
they are one of the leading dealers in autographs? How many leaders
does this industry have?
Collectors need to do their own research and start asking intelligent
questions. From all the ads if you think you have found a dealer
that appears good to you it's time to check them out. Start by
asking those in the field who have experience what they think
of your dealer of choice. Talk to as many collectors and dealers
that you can.
Www.autographalert.com did some research on who may be at the
top of the list of being a high profile dealer. We found one
dealer that has a full page ad in every trade magazine. They
boast that they are "prepared to do battle for your autographs."
They also claim for having "the fastest check in the business."
This seems like the perfect company to contact and ask for their
opinions on the subject of choosing a dealer.
We attempted to contact John Reznikoff of University Archives
on multiple occasions to request an interview on this subject.
We were able to confirm from other sources that he received our
multiple requests but refused to reply. This arose our curiosity
so without the help of Mr. Reznikoff we decided to dig a little
on our own.
"The fastest check in the industry?" Not according
to one major dealer we spoke to. They advised us that on multiple
occasions University Archives owed them money for several months.
We would have loved to hear Mr. Reznikoff's reply to this dealer's
claim before putting this in print.
Probably the next best thing to do before choosing any dealer
is to go to their website and see how they promote themselves.
Always keep in mind this is the dealer talking about themself.
You should read what they have to say and ask questions.
We went to the website of University Archives and clicked onto
"Curriculum Vitae for John Reznikoff."
The very first thing he writes about himself is his "Education."
"Fordham University, double major of political science and
Impressive 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981, that reads four years and
do we assume after 4 years graduation and a degree comes with
that? That's our impression!
This seems to be a good start, believable, anyway why would anyone
want to deceive readers on this simple issue? Just for drill,
we decided to check out his very first statement for truthfulness.
Unfortunately Fordham University could not confirm Mr. Reznikoff's
According to Anna Ponterosso, Senior Associate Director of Academic
Records, Mr. Reznikoff attended Fordham University from Sept
1978 (that's only 4 months in 1978) through May 1980 (that's
all of 1979 and only 5 months in 1980). According to Fordham
University John Reznikoff did not go back to college for the
balance of 1980 nor did he attend college at all in 1981.
from Director of Academic Records Fordham University
Wow, Mr. Reznikoff's very first statement is proven not to be
This is not getting off to a good start! Why even bother going
any further? Maybe curiosity.
Let's give the dealer a little slack, so we'll jump to another
category and just choose one item.
"Aided the New York Grand Jury in securing an indictment
and conviction of the perpetrator of a major manuscript fraud
in 1998." Now this is very impressive, but digging a little
further we would have liked to ask Mr. Reznikoff in the interview:
"isn't this the famous case of the Marilyn Monroe/JFK forgeries
in which you were a major player"? Isn't this the high profile
case published in possibly hundreds of newspapers across the
United States including many in the New York Times. On Oct.12,
1997 the NY Times wrote: "would constitute one of the most
audacious hoaxes in modern letters." Weren't there about
140 investors who invested over 7 million dollars in these bogus
What was once thought to be the greatest autograph scam of selling
forgeries was the Mormon forger which sales came to 3 million
dollars, a mere pittance compared to the sales of the Monroe/JFK
It was Mr. Reznikoff that the owner of the bogus JFK/Marilyn
Monroe documents turned to for help in getting the items authenticated
and sold. Amazingly, even today Mr. Reznikoff is still authenticating
items signed by JFK. According to a New York Times article by
Benjamin Weiser published on March 17, 1998 he stated that "...Mr
Cusack (the purported forger who went to prison) appeared to
have hidden most of the $5 million in profits that he was believed
to have earned as his share of the $7 million in sales. The rest
went to Mr. Cloud and Mr. Reznikoff, the complaint said...."
A question we would have liked to have asked Mr. Reznikoff is:
"Can you name all if any of the purchasers of the bogus
items who received a refund?"
Mary Jo White, the United States Attorney in Manhattan, called
the alleged scheme "an audacious attempt to distort American
history for private profit."
Publications, Press and Lectures.
Looking through this section it's difficult to determine when
Mr. Reznikoff officially became an autograph dealer. The best
we can determine from others is that it was around 1990. In a
printout of Mr. Reznikoff's credentials dated June 2006 Mr. Reznikoff
would have been in business only 16 years yet in this section
he claims he has appeared in hundreds (is that 200 or 900) radio
stations. He also claims he has appeared in hundreds of publications
but he only mentions four, but now he is going back to 1980,
ten years before he became an "autograph dealer." At
this point an intelligent question for the dealer would be: "If
the statement about appearing in hundreds of publications is
true, how many of these include your participation in helping
to authenticate and sell the bogus JFK/Monroe items?"
President of the International Autograph Dealers Association,
2001-2002. He must mean the International Autograph Collectors
Club and Dealers Alliance. Impressive? However what he left out
is that he was involved in an ethics situation with some club
members. Mr. Reznikoff was well aware of the seriousness of his
actions and on April 5, 2006 he sent an email to a club officer
attempting to "resign." His email read in part: "Please
consider this my resignation from the defunct IACC/DA. Remove
my advertising immediately..." Reznikoff was well aware
an official complaint was being filed against him. Mr. Reznikoff
received two copies of the complaint, one via regular mail the
other via Certified Mail. He refused to respond to the complaint.
He actually opened one of the letters containing the complaint,
read it, placed it back in the original envelope, marked it Refused/Return
and placed both envelopes in his own larger envelope returning
them to sender. His envelope contained a Westport, Ct meter stamp
#8446507 dated May 22, 2006.
On June 8, 2006 Mr. Reznikoff was advised, in writing, by the
IACC/DA Ethics Chairperson that his membership in the IACC/DA
has been terminated and that he has been expelled from the club.
Probably just an oversight that this is not mentioned in his
Very misleading, three years after his expulsion, later Mr. Reznikoff
still illustrates the logo of the defunct IACC/DA in all his
ads. Yet, in his attempt to resign from the club dated 5 April
2006 he requests "Remove my advertising immediately."
Let's drop down a few lines of Associations and question: "Conceived
and founded the Professional Autograph Dealers Association. Past
Vice-President 1993-1997." We have another question we would
have liked to ask Mr. Reznikoff. "Isn't this the organization
that accepted your resignation because of your involvement in
the Monroe/JFK hoax?"
Let's give this one more try....."Charter Member of the
Universal Autograph Collectors Club." Mr. Reznikoff how
is this possible? A little investigating tells us this organization
was founded in New York in 1965.
According to our dictionary a "Charter Member" is "an
original member of a group." How is your statement possible?
- Who can collectors believe?
It certainly appears when choosing a dealer whether you are about
to buy or sell an autograph, it's important to dig deep!
- Breaking News:
- January 21, 2009
- JSA (James Spence Authentication) Is A Joke!
- As collectors
get educated www.autographalert.com continues to get emails such
as the one below:
Subj: JSA is a Joke
I just came across your site and was reading up on all the great
articles exposing all of these "3rd party authenticators"
(allegedly). I had an experience with JSA when they came to a
local card store (Atlanta area) to offer their "great authentication
services." I am an in person collector so I knew my autographs
were real. I took them a few signed baseballs and 1 photo my
brother bought off the internet a few years ago. The baseballs
were not Hall of Famers, but players like Miguel Cabrera and
Evan Longoria. The photo that I took was of Wilt Chamberlain,
and was bought from Stan's Sports Memorabilia, a now-known forger,
so we were pretty sure it was fake. Well, all the baseballs I
got signed in person were deemed fake, and the Wilt photo that
I was 99% was fake, I was told was real!!!! When me and the store
owner (who knows I go around and get autos in person) questioned
them, all of a sudden my baseballs were now real. So 10 minutes
later they became good autographs. When I told them where the
photo came from and that I thought it was fake, they just left
it as is. All they really care about is getting their money,
not whether a signature is real or not.
I have 0% confidence in any 3rd party authenticator, and I did
not have much before this happened, but it proved something to
me, I was right all along. There is no way a staff of 8-10 people
can know an autograph of everybody out there enough to validate
it. Especially when their autographs change from minor leagues
to major leagues, in a big crowd, rushing, etc. It is ridiculous
to think that they would.
The sad thing is that they are coming back to the store to do
this again. But after reading your article, I think I will show
up with a Bo Knows Bo book just for fun and to tell everyone
there the story. Even if the book costs me $20.
Thanks and keep up the good work.
Response from www.autographalert.com
You can just imagine the huge percentage of mistakes made by
these companies. Many professional collectors and dealers simply
ignore or destroy the COA's that come with autographed items.
Each and every item authenticated by a 3rd party authenticator
is suspect and needs to be re-examined.
The autograph market is inundated with mis-authenticated autographs.
Thanks for your input and support of our site.
- Breaking News:
- January 15, 2009
Money On The So-Called
Party Autograph Authenticators
Many collectors and dealers
we talk to are referring to the 3rd party authenticators as "scams."
It has been proven time and time again they can't tell a genuine
ink signature from a printed signature. They've passed the wrong
celebrity and passed an enormous amount of forgeries as genuine.
One was goofy enough to pass a forgery at a show of a celebrity
who was attending the same show as an autograph guest. This is
no longer hilarious it has become sickening. This simply proves
that anyone can pass themselves off as an autograph authenticator.
No skills necessary!
We received an email from someone who, at this late date, was
still foolish enough to use one of these authenticating companies.
He learned his lesson well.
- "I just want to point out that I had 8 items
signed in person or my father had signed years ago. Mantle, Williams
and two DiMaggio autographs (included). I sent them to Global
Authentication because I feel they are the best of the 3 in authenticating
autos. I wanted to re-sell them was the reason for getting letters
of authentication. I listed them on eBay with my COA's from Global
and eBay pulled them off because of quick opinions done on them
from the "experts" at PSA/DNA."
- Let's assume the collector paid $50 per authentication,
that comes to $400 originally wasted on the authentications.
If authenticating companies are legitimate, how can one pass
all 8 items and another who doesn't even get to see the original
items fail all eight. Tells you one or both don't know what they
So $400 was wasted on silly, worthless COA's and now the collector
can't sell them on eBay.
Words of wisdom, no collector needs a COA from any authenticating
company. There are hundreds of people and dealers who don't recognize
these authenticating companies and will purchase your Mantle,
Williams and DiMaggio signed items based on their own knowledge.
Four hundred dollars wasted using the 3rd party authenticators,
this is just one story of many similar.
- Breaking News:
- January 7, 2009
"THE FIRST TO FALL"
- Global Authenticators who calls themselves "The
Leader in Authentication" has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
The company based in Tustin, California made claims that their
autograph authenticators had over 100 years of autograph authentication
experience. Their services included autograph authentication,
vintage autograph authentication and modern autograph authentication.
They launched the anti-counterfeit Certification Labels (very
unpopular to affix anything to an original autograph).
Global has listed their assets of up to $100,000 with liabilities
up to 10 million dollars.
Many educated collectors have been avoiding the use of third
party authenticators and this is the result.