Authentication Companies which is Best and Why?    

I am tying to determine which authentication company to use I'd like to hear thoughts on which one is currently the best, rated top to bottom, I know most of the big ones Psa, Jsa, Beckett, ACOA and any others any one knows of that want to include in the rating of them and I'd like to know reasons why some of them are good and some are not good.    Thanks 

Tags: ACOA, Authentication, Authenticator, Beckett, JSA, PSA, Psa/dna, Ratings, Reviews

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I think most people here would tell you that there's no set rule. Several of the big authenticators in the trading card market have had scandals or been caught out legitimizing examples of fake signatures. To tie it back to this forum, there was a big topic a year or two back about the Saturday Night Live Star Cards autograph set, where PSA apparently authenticated a Chris Farley autograph that the buyer strongly believes is fake (due to not looking like other exemplars), but can't really do anything about it because it means breaking an investment.

On the non-autograph side, a huge scandal came up recently where a sealed case of 1st edition Pokemon Base Set cards may have been faked by a known scammer/reseller, authenticated by a consultant who admits he didn't have enough experience with the card sets (and yet was approved by PSA and knowingly authenticated/encapsulated repacked cards), and was sold for $3.6 million to Logan Paul, who now has to break the case open to check if it's real or not.

Speaking personally, the only one I would ever touch if (a) I had no choice but to buy an item "certified" by one of the above, and (b) I was grading them solely on their reputation, is Beckett, and even that comes with caveats. I would never touch JSA (the COAs are amateurish), PSA has approved their share of duds, and I don't even touch any of the others. I'd put any recommendation made here by the members over any of the big authenticators any day.

Interested to know how do they hire there authenticators at Psa, Beckett, Jsa, ACOA, what kind of training and credentials do they have to have, and do they all use the same process or authentication technology to determine. 

I believe Herman Darvick worked for them, you could ask him. He’s a regular on the site.

Thanks, I really appreciate you thought out answer. I seem to think from what i have seen that ACOA is the number 1 however I think they are the newest so maybe they have not been around long enough yet to have reputation because the longer your around the more mistakes or scandals pop up, Followed by PSA number 2 even though they have a lot of mistakes, I view them as better than Beckett, because i have extensively browsed ebay and seen tons of the things that they have put their seal on and just shook my head, and in last place JSA and I wont even comment on them. 

I just asked this question a week ago, specifically for sports, and Beckett won hands down.  I guess it depends if its sports, Hollywood , politics or music items you are asking about .  Its of a pretty wide opinion that the 'new' PSA is not as good as JSA or Beckett.  ACOA is new but is very good.  Why there are so many who knows.  Its a money making industry!

Resale value PSA trumps all the others. PSA sells for several hundred more in the sportscard market and the autograph world than any of the competition. For cards I prefer SGC who no longer authenticate autographs but if I am buying an expensive autograph it will always be PSA. I don’t typically sell my stuff but sometimes I will parlay the money on one piece to buy another piece and PSA always sells.

Your right PSA resale value is the highest for sure, probably because they are the most well known of them all and are one of the oldest I think. Doesn't PSA use a different technology to authenticate than the rest of them or do all of them use the same technology now to authenticate?

Forgot to mention UDA (Upper Deck Authenticated), they are the best for sports and the gold standard. Athletes like Michael Jordan have a contract with them and Mickey Mantle when he was alive had a contract with them. If you buy UDA you buy the best and will pay up for it.

Yeah your right it's a industry it kind of seems like anyone can start their own.

And that's exactly what happened over the past two years -- the market insanity and pandemic fears caused a number of new startup grading companies to show up. Offhand, I can think of SGC, GMA, ISA, KSA, RCG (Revolution Card Grading)... it's like they're all snowclones of each other.

I'm hopeful that with the softening of the collecting hobby suffered over the past few months (Zion prices tanking because of his absence from the upcoming season, resellers getting BTFO, stimulus checks finally ending), we'll return to some sense of normalcy, but given how crazy the year has been already, that might not be in the cards (pun intended).

It must be a profitable business then if they get their name out there and the right exposure and establish a good reputation because their overhead on stuff to run one of them seems relatively small their just grading/authenticating and packaging it after and charging a fixed price for that, it seems like a high profit margin from the outside. 

In the short-term, sure -- a lot of these companies capitalized on PSA's backlog becoming too unsustainable and rushing in to fill the void. Problem is that, from a purely financial standpoint, none of the prices of these cards currently stand up to either of the big two (Beckett/PSA).

The big problem facing the grading industry right now is that there are several million cards (somewhere between 3.5-5 million, at last guess) sitting at PSA. Charitably, those cards won't be graded and resent until at least the middle of the year, if not the end of 2022 or beginning of 2023. A lot of people rushed to send absolute garbage in for dirt-cheap presuming that they'd be able to flip it for a quick buck and double or triple their money, which is what pushed PSA prices over the last two years.

Hence why I'm hopeful that we finally get a stop to this foolishness --for one, a lot of people funnelled money into graded items (signed or otherwise) that weren't worth the premium.

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