I'm in a bit of a predicament right now.
Last Saturday, my mom ordered a custom Joe Namath Alabama Crimson Tide jersey from Sportsmemorabilia.com as a gift. The jersey arrived on Friday, and it's a very nice piece. The jersey itself is really nice for a custom job, nicer than some replicas I've seen and the autograph is asthetically pleasing. I love Namath's clean and easy signature, but I'd imagine that it's super easy to create a forgery.
Herein lies the problem. It comes with a COA from Global Authentics, it's a Steve Sipe. As I said before, it's a nice piece. If it were authenticated by PSA or JSA, my mind would be at ease. After reading and learning about GAI/GA's reputation within the industry, I'm just sick to my stomach. 90% of their autographs are fake.
I wrote an email to Sportsmemorabilia.com's customer service early yesterday morning saying I didn't believe the item was genuine based on GAI/GA's reputation within the industry. The more I think about it, the piece really does raise some red flags for me beyond the COA:
-The custom jersey (Why would a supplier or dealer want Namath's auto on anything other than an officially licensed jersey?)
- Why would a dealer/supplier take anything of value to GAI/GA? It instantly devalues the piece and calls into question it's authenticity.
I can see the scam (so to speak) in my head. Here's a small lot of 20 or so Namath jersey's that cost $5-10 to produce, forge Joe's signature, autheticate them with the forger's best friend (GAI/GA), mark them up to $280 and pass them off on the unsuspecting consumer.
In fact, all of the GAI merchandise on Sportsmemorabilia.com is marked down substantially compared to the PSA and JSA memorabilia.
Someone like my mother simply saw a deal that was too good to pass up and since it came with a COA she assumed it was legit.
The piece itself is backed by SM.com's lifetime guarantee. I've read some of their customer service reviews online and they really seem to go above and beyond to satisfy customers. I'd like to save myself the $50 or so that it'll cost me to have it reauthenticated by PSA (Not likely to pass imo) so I'm hoping that perhaps I can exchange the piece for a similarly priced piece authenticated by PSA or JSA (perhaps $20-30 more than what my mom paid for the jersey) from what I've read about their customer service, they have marked other merchandise down in order to satisfy a grievance with a customer.
What would you guys do if you were in my position?
If the GAI thing is bothering you that much, then just exchange it. I don't know about 90% being bad. I have a few GAI items that are very authentic. One such item is a David Bowie signed album that Roger Epperson said was the real deal.
Why don't you post a clear photo of the signature. I bet someone on this site knows his autograph.
I went out and bought a new camera yesterday (long overdue) so I could take some pics.
Here they are. If anyone needs to see more, LMK.
Can't say I know too much about Joe Namath's signature, but it's pretty neat for a seventy-year-old guy given some other examples I've seen. Plus the "am" in Namath look kind of small and cramped together. Really, I don't have the knowledge to authenticate his autograph, but I'd be wary of the GA sticker.
I took the advice earlier in the thread and I've been studying examples of Namath's signature throughout the day. I think your on to something, Harry. What really stands out as bogus to me, is the "e" in Joe.
I haven't seen one example of a Namath autograph with an "e" like that...from index cards to footballs, jerseys, and pictures. They've all had the fully written "e".
I don't like anything about the way the Joe looks at all...the half closed "o" and the truncated "e" are horrible looking.
Maybe I exaggerated a bit by calling GA "the forgers best friend" but damn...they really have no idea what they're doing.
It doesn't sound like you have any piece of mind about this autograph anymore. That's when it's time to return said autograph in my opinion.
I agree with Brick. You cannot enjoy an autograph that you have doubts about.
For those of you that followed and commented on my situation, I'd like to give an update.
I ended up contacting Sportsmemorabilia.com and registered an authenticity complaint with their customer service dept. They were very nice and accomodating, they took the jersey back and gave me a gift certificate for the price of the jersey to use on another item.
I still wanted another Namath jersey and ended up purchasing one from autographpros.com. It came with a DVD and picture of Joe signing the jersey plus COA's from autographpros.com and PSA/DNA. Best of all it's signed in blue ink which is my color of choice for autographs. It was far more expensive than the other jersey but for the piece of mind, it was worth it.