I watched a video on how at these trade shows you can bring in fake autographs and have these companies put stickers certifying them with virtually no issues. I was just curious as to your take on Witness stickers. It seems these should be more secure but wanted to see what people thought about this. The video in question was this one.
This is partly why I don't buy, sell or recommend anything with "stickers" and I will never see the point of paying someone else, with a very different priority and who does not logically have my interests first, to "do the work" (have the FUN and LEARN) of a hobby I chose for my own gratification. I will also never see the point of having to pay for a sticker to be put on something I just watched signed. I also don't like vandalism and free advertising. I do like thinking for myself - a key to this hobby IMO. This TV spot is worded carefully for novices IMHO - they seem to think an Autopen is front line or new artillery for example, or that fake items are coming from China (who knew?). I seem to recall a guitar order of some size mention in these threads. Is this made for the "average collector? I hope not! Anyway, they speak of collectors as if we all rely on TPG opinions. We all do not. And from what I saw those signatures that girl created in minutes would not pass any rigorous examination - just slow simulations that unfortunately will pass those who fail to do any research (here both buyer or sticker-applier) and rely wholly and blindly on the opinions of others. It was sad to see people just buying into fakes that can be bought for pennies online because "...it has the sticker so...". Such a false sense of security those little things can give...
I did not mean to imply they were stickering things w/o even looking, I was responding to some of the the linked video and stickers in general.
There is a distinction between "witnessed" or "In the presence" COAs and stickers applied at card shows.
"Witnessed" or "In the presence" stickers/COAs are from private signings attended by the authenticator.
Items done at open public shows are not labeled as witnessed.
An unfortunate incident from years ago captured on video should not be a blanket condemnation or proof that this has happened regularly. I have spent time with JSA at shows and I have witnessed them catching people trying to pass fakes off in this manner. They are not blindly approving items just because the person is signing at the show.
Well written, Steve.
Agreed. I thank you all for the replies. I like the idea Tradegeek stated that they be right there. The one I did in Boston was not close and I thought what if someone did bring fakes and then I saw the video and was somewhat surprised how easy it seemed. As far as the witness or in presence I did not know that was private signings. Thanks again for all the replies.
I have no experience with JSA, however I've been to any number of signings with PSA and more recently Beckett. In each instance the people from the authentication company were literally a couple feet away from where the athletes were signings. In the last public signings I attended the item was signed and handed directly to the Beckett employee (if you paid the $10 extra for the witnessed COA) who applied the sticker and entered the serial number into a laptop. There was zero opportunity to slip in a forgery.
Good they've upped their game a little bit. Only time I've dealt with PSA at all was when I decided to get them to "authenticate" a couple items at the Sun-Times sports show about 8 years ago. It did strike me that the entire operation was surprisingly shoddy, and it likewise occurred to me how easy it would be to slip in items that were not signed at the show.
yes 3rd party authentication is a joke. but because 95% of autograph collectors have no clue how to tell an authentic signature from a bogus signature, they will rely on psa/dna, jsa, or beckett to do the work for them. and that's sad considering how bad jsa and psa/dna have become within the past 2 years. i see so many forgeries certed by them. beckett has mistakes but not as bad as the other 2. beckett authentication is still fairly new and with time, will be flooding the market with certed fakes.