In our previous episode, we discussed some of the drawbacks that might be associated with relying on a Quick Opinion from PSA/DNA. The author of a previous discussion was confused about the possible authenticity of a Paul McCartney autograph with inscription when PSA QO returned "Likely Not Genuine", but Roger Epperson said it was authentic.

The consensus said to go with Roger's opinion and not PSA QO. Many people had less than flattering things to say about PSA's QO service. One member (me)even called it worthless, while noting that PSA's full service, on the other hand, had many merits to it. I also wondered how many legitimate sellers had lost potential sales of authentic items because of PSA QO. And I also noted that PSA QO also often shied buyers away from good items.

So here is one of the best (or worst) examples of how PSA QO can really ruin things for a buyer who is looking for a good deal on an authentic John Lennon autograph.

Some time not too long ago, a friend of mine won an auction (can't remember if it was on eBay or in an auction house) for a Beatles Fan Club letter that was signed on the reverse by John and Yoko. He won it for about $1200. The autographs were in good condition. However, the signatures had not been authenticated. So my friend paid for a PSA QO, and it came back, as so often it does, "Likely Not Genuine". So that scared him off, and he used that excuse to back out of the deal.

Well, the next thing he knows is that that same John and Yoko item is now on sale on eBay by PressPass collectibles for $3299, and it comes with a full LOA from PSA/DNA!
A piece he could have bought for $1200 is now being offered, fully-authenticated, for over $2000 more, by the same company whose Quick Opinion service rejected it! Yes, PSA's QO really screwed my friend. Here's a link to the current sale:

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I don't get the quick opinion services. Admittedly, I have more experience in sports cards, which certainly has a different dynamic than autographs. But I couldn't imagine PSA, or anybody else, being willing to offer an opinion that a vintage T206, Goudy or Crackerjack card was genuine or unaltered without a close examination under magnification. Most experienced collectors could identify a counterfeit or trimmed vintage card in seconds with a jeweler's loup. Looking at a scan, however high resolution, would be useless.

I know there are some low hanging fruit forgeries that can be identified in a scan. But for high dollar items, where a forger is likely to put in maximum effort, what is the reliability and value of the quick opinion services?

If they were offered in vintage baseball cards, I would not dream of using them.
Nice insight, great perspective!
Have a look at the fake Michael Jackson psa passed in the mj thread.
PSA has passed some bad (no pun intended) Michael Jackson items, especially shortly before and after he died.

I used to think Quick Opinion's conservative judgements was mostly an okay thing, still a valuable service to ward unsuspecting buyers away from bad items. The more I thought about it the more I realized being quite conservative with the results and declaring what ultimately amounts to many good items as "Likely Not Genuine" depletes most or any good the service might do for buyers.

I can almost understand (although I don't think it's a great excuse) being uncomfortable with labeling too many items "Likely Genuine" that they could potentially have to fail in the future. Some people would feel quite cheated getting a "Likely Genuine" quick opinion only to have it fail the full authentication exam once they'd bought it.

It seems to me, then, that if the quick opinion service continues, and they're still bent on being too conservative with the results, they should say more often that they cannot render an opinion and refund the fee. That's the truth of the matter, isn't it? So for any item that's not an absolute forgery/secretarial etc. or what they estimate to be an absolute authentic example, it should be said that an opinion cannot be rendered. That would give the service a little more value. It would at least help unsuspecting buyers stay away from blatant forgeries.

Excellent point, Brick. What you say is exactly how they should approach it. But they won't because they want to collect the $10 fee. In the meantime, many, many buyers miss out on great items which could be added to their collections, and honest sellers lose out on sales as a result of PSA's irresponsibility in this area of their business.

I now have an awesome, very authentic Michael Jackson signed Thriller LP because I did my own research and knew enough to ignore the teenager working that day for PSA's Quick Opinion service.

My best guess at who actually evaluates the items submitted to the Quick Opinion service is the squeaky-voiced teen from The Simpsons...

LOL! And probably true.


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