After many years of speculation the proof is finally here.

I recently purchased a Matt Barkley signed USC jersey with JSA coa off of ebay. There was no clear photo of the coa, hologram or any mention of the coa number. I did however buy the jersey based on the fact that it was "authenticated" by JSA.

Please allow me to back up just a little bit. I have been collecting, selling and doing autograph signings for almost 20 years so i am in no means new to the whole autograph and "authentication" process.

At any rate I received the jersey in the mail within 4 days, once I opened the jersey I immediately realized that the signature was indeed a counterfeit. I am not by any means claiming to be an autograph expert or a Matt Barkley expert for that matter however without even comparing the signature to an "authentic" one I can tell that it was slowly signed with many stops and skips. I then was examining the coa card and being around the hobby for almost 20 years and seeing coas from JSA since they opened their business I realized that the feel of the paper that this coa was printed on was not the typical paper normally used for the JSA coa, I then decided to grab one of my own JSA coa's to compare to and this is where it all started to come together. (you will see from the photo's I post below)

I then decided to look on ebay and compare the signatures to others certed by JSA (because I am not an expert on Matt Barkley signatures). I came across a listing from another member selling a Barkley jersey so i pulled up the listing. I was surprised when I noticed that the coa number was in fact the same coa number I had on my jersey. After comparing the coa's I noticed the big mistakes made by the printers of these fake coa's. You will see this in my photo's that I post below.









(apparently I cannot upload any other photo's for some reason because I have many more but I must have uploaded too many already on the site???)


I would like to clear up that this is in no way a shot on JSA, the purpose for me posting this is to inform other buyers that there are fake coa's out there in the hobby and what to look for when buying an item already authenticated. I can assure everyone that this is most likely not the only fake coa on the market, I am sure that there was not only 1 coa and sticker made only for a Matt Barkley jersey. I have heard that PSA/DNA has had the same issue which is why they now have a hologram burned into the coa's however no one has ever pointed out what to look for with the fake PSA/DNA coa's, hopefully it's as easy as this was to figure out.

I would also like to add that I did speak to a field agent from the FBI both yesterday and today and in fact have a meeting in Manhattan on Friday with a field agent from FBI.

  • Steve Cyrkin, Admin


    Thank you for telling us about this. You should be able to post all the photos you want. Send me the ones that you can't upload and I'll check them out to find find out what's wrong and post them if you want. My email is
  • James Sonier

    Peter all i can say is wow. Good job exposing this. I guess these forgers will stop at nothing to push this phoney product around. Thanks for the post and insight.

  • Rick Meyer

    WOW. Nice work.

  • Brandon Mysinger

    This type of finding spoils the whole jug of milk. The sad part is that usually when things like this are discovered, the market is already flooded with these items.


  • Peter leone

    Steve, Thank you, I will try to upload the other photos if it still wont let me i will email them to you.

    Brandon, I think it's safe to say the milk has been spoiled for a while. People can not be left in the dark about what is out there. Everyone should also be aware that this is most likely not the first time or the first company to have their cards and stickers duplicated.

    As I stated in the original post this is in NO WAY an attack on JSA however people do need to be made aware of this and what to look for when buying this stuff. To a novice collector this looks like any other JSA coa and hologram. Also note that JSA has changed the look of their holograms and cert cards as did PSA/DNA. As I also stated in my original post it has been said that this has also happened to PSA/DNA which is why they went to "burning" their logo into the cert card to make it much harder to duplicate.

  • Peter leone

    Here is the fake hologram

    Something I forgot to mention is the texture of the cert card, the back part of the card has a waxy type feel to it the stock of paper is not what is used to make the real JSA cert cards.

    These next 2 photo's are of the back of the cert cards, when you look around the edges you will see the color bleeding through the card which is not typical on the real cards.

  • Mike Shepherd

    I said it before and I'll say it again.  I know it sounds crazy but if I ever purchase a PSA or JSA authenticated item on eBay I may just resubmit it.  With all of the technological advances out there the forgers are becoming more and more sophisticated.  It's very frustrating.  It's only a matter of time before the slight variations are no longer apparent.

  • Scott Paul

    This is a great post and very helpful I am sure to many.  What would be very helpful is to know if JSA has changed their logo's over the years to see examples of them.   I am beginning to think I may have bought a fake one.  I do not have the item yet but the sticker does not appear to be like the one on here. It does not appear to have any numbers on the sticker itself. 

  • Peter leone

    Scott, If the sticker does not have a number on it than it is called "JSA Stamp" which they usually use on ONLY 8x10 photo's and smaller (flats ONLY) with a retail value of under $20. They do that because the value of the item is so low that it may not be worth it for someon to pay a $20+ authentication fee for an item with a value of less than $20. The "stamp" cost between $2-$10 depending on the day. lol.. However I do recall a few years ago that there was a lot of items that had the "Stamp" on them that should not have had the stamp such as 11x14 photo's, Baseballs and most notably a slew of Derek Jeter photo's which would NEVER have the "stamp" affixed to them.

    Since there is no Number on the "stamp" there is no record of it logged into the JSA database and is also very easy to duplicate in mass numbers. In my opinion the "stamp" is not a good thing because of the obvious reasons but I do understand why they do it. For a novice collector that does'nt know any better all they really care about is, who authenticated an item and because they may have heard of JSA they feel comfortable with buying the item.

    Here is what that stamp looks like



    Here is also the new cert card and hologram now being used

  • Scott Paul

    Peter, thank you very much that is great information.  I just recently got back into collecting after about 25 years.  Most I  collect myself in person.  The item I bought was only $29.95 an 8x10 signed by Al Lewis. I had never gotten a chance to meet him in person.  I passed on many autographs by him but snapped at this with JSA stamp on it.   The work that you and others do on this site is invaluable.

  • Michael T

    Any comment from JSA on this?

  • Michael T

    BTW the numbers not lining up with the letter on the COA is not enough to determine a fake COA (in my opinion) as I have seen legit JSA COAs with misaligned numbers. Just an FYI.

  • Peter leone


    You are 100% correct, However I do not recall saying that the numbers and the letter not lining up was the determining factor of this being a fake coa.

    I did however state that on the real coa the numbers and letter line up and the fake one do not to clearly point out that there is in fact 2 cert cards with the same exact numbers and are not even close to looking the same .

    I understand an arguement can be made that JSA could have possibly reprinted a cert card or the machine could have printed 2 cert cards with the same number. But explain there being 2 holograms printed with the same exact number. Not likely..

    Also JSA does NOT reprint cert cards they will just re-sticker the item and issue a new card. Also if the same machine printed 2 of the same cards the font size and color would be exactly the same. Furthermore take a look at the hologram's the font size on the numbers are not the same either. Also it just so happens that 2 items with the same exact numbers just so happen to be on 2 totally different items that don't even look alike? Very doubtful.

    Trust me on this one, I did all of my homework and collected all of the facts before I put this together so that I was 100% sure before I brought this to light.

  • Michael T

    Peter, I was not stating that you are wrong just clarifying that misaligned numbers and letter are possible on a real cert as well.

  • Scott Paul

    This raises an interesting point does JSA have a system of verifying their own labels etc that is less than the $20 and up price they normally charge for a new item?  I would think it would be in their interest to do so at lets say the $10 per item range to authenticate their sticker is genuine.  Otherwise it will get to the point that their stamp of approval will be meaningless if fakes of their coa continue.  For many autographs it would really eat into the value if you have to verify or have an item stamped again.

  • Steve Zarelli

    Nice work. Thanks for sharing.
  • DB

    Peter - you might want to edit the subject as you have a title that says ... here is the fake one in my possession but underneath it you depict the $299 one.

    This seller seems to fall into the pattern that McKnight has cited on a number of sellers on ebays.  The only difference is you can get a read on the cert number magnified but the cert is very distorted as a result.

    even with trying to mitigate the printing discrepancies away there can't be two EXACT JSA Stickers selling the exact same item.  Since this seller follows the McKnight "pattern" it would appear to me a correct conclusion has been reached.  btw this would be trademark infringement and I trust someone has alerted Spence.

    However, I further muse as to would anyone have picked up on this being a fake COA if it had been clearly depicted?

  • DB

    incidently, This listing (221122905031) has been removed, or this item is not available and as such the sale has been cancelled.

  • Peter leone

    Scott, I am not a big fan of the "Stamp" only because there is no true way to verify that they actually authenticated the item because there is no upload in the database. I understand why they have a cheaper way which is the "stamp" because if something has a value of under $20 why would they copy the stickers, however to someone that does'nt know any better they would'nt think twice because they see the sticker and just assume everything is ok.

    I am not sure if anyone has seen it or is aware of the situation but a couple of years ago there was a slew of items listed on ebay with the "stamp" which had a value far above the $20 and were placed on 11x14 photo's and 16x20 photo's which JSA would not do. The most notable signature were Ichiro and Jeter which would never have a "stamp" no matter if it was a 3x5 index or 8x10 photo because the value is far more than $20.

    DB, I did notice that once I posted the title but it was too late for me to change it. I am new to posting on here so I did the best I could with posting this subject.

    I am not sure what the "McKnight pattern" is can you explain that to me?

    The Numbers were distorted in the listing which is why it was'nt until I had the actual jersey that I noticed that the other jersey with the same number was also listed on ebay at the same time. I picked up a little on the coa card once I had it in hand because the paper was not the same as the real cert card but it was'nt until I saw the other jersey listed that I noticed there was 2 jerseys with the same numbers.

    I was also notified that the listing was removed by ebay today however I contacted the seller the day after I contacted the FBI about this stating that I in fact contacted the FBI and that the jersey was being turned over to them this past Friday. The seller did refund me and had nothing to say about the jersey itself. I am assuming that the listing was removed because ebay was contacted by the FBI about this jersey which is now in the hands of the FBI as of this past Friday.

  • DB

    the Feds don't act that fast when it comes to this stuff... "unfortunately". 

    you can edit your original post by using the edit function which is in the options box which is on the top right hand side next to the Add which is right about the Title of your Post.

    here is the McKnight thread;

    Incidently, this seller also has one other that recently sold - an Archie Manning throwback.  There wasn't an exact match to the cert number as was in your case but there was a same jersey with a JSA cert only 4 numbers away.  Unfortunately, this seller's coas (lhs) are very difficult to magnify as they come up blurry but at times I see an offset (rhs) to the very clear one in the middle but it could be a result of the pixel expansion.



  • Scott Paul

    I agree with you Peter on the plain stamp being problematic.  I realize that the company has to make a profit and I suppose having a numbered stamp to low value items would cut into those profits some.  I think the whole industry of PSA and others do need to address fake coa's otherwise they risk becoming obsolete.  We all know of certain prominent  individuals in the field that if we see a stamp by them it has almost the opposite effect.  Suddenly we are suspect of the item.  I do feel that reputable companies in the field need to really wake up and smell the coffee of this increasing problem.

  • Dale Nehring

    My biggest question is why would you even consider buying a premium piece on Ebay from someone with feedback lower then 10..... I wouldn't have even looked with less then at least 50. You set yourself up since you had no way to back check this persons credibility.

  • Peter leone


    With all due respect does it really matter how many feedback a seller on any site has? Not everyone with low feedback is a scumbag. I have actually obtained alot of high ticket items from sellers with low to no feedback. You never really know how a seller obtains an item. It could have been a gift that they longer want or did'nt want so they decided to sell it. One would assume since it came with a coa from JSA that it would be good, why would it have to be second guessed? I mean it could have come down to JSA "authenticating" a fake item which has happened as well but in this case it was a fake coa and sticker on a fake item which the normal person might not have caught onto.

    Will all things being said any buyer always has the opportunity to get a full refund through ebay if there is an issue, so is there really any risk at all? I don't think anyone would disagree.

  • Dale Nehring


    I totally understand your thinking and to a point agree. Feedback doesn't always tell the tale but knowing that Ebay is notorious for fakes would tend to make me really leery of anyone selling high priced premium items right out of the box.

    Every authenticator makes mistakes and so as to avoid liability the all word their COA's " After comparing the signature it is our opinion". Opinions in this "Hobby / Business" are very expensive and in all honesty mean very little. There's no substitute for common sense. If Joe Jones in E. Pocatella Idaho is offering signed 8x10's of Ken Griffey Jr. for $24.99 buy it now I can say without a doubt they are no good and I don't need JSA or anyone else to prove it. I have dealt with Ken and know that that item would cost me legitimately $99 wholesale from him.....

  • Kristin Nicole

    Just want to thank you for bringing this issue to light. I am the seller of the real Matt Barkley Jersey on eBay (kmccoy99). It is sad that these things happen because it makes it difficult for an honest, hard working, new seller to actually sell merchandise. The item still has not sold. But like I said thank you Scott Paul!!
  • DB

    Kristin, welcome aboard.  You might also consider reporting wolfmansbruther on ebay for "theft" of you JSA COA which is a major violation on EBAY as you know or perhaps you have already done so.  Of course, this seller, could claim it wasn't stolen leaving open the possibility of he either manufactured a fake COA or used a FAKE COA.  Either way its a loose loose proposition for the seller.  Appears the account is in limbo but is still a registered user.

  • Scott Paul

    Thank you Kristin but it is really Peter leone that deserves the credit and thanks for bringing the problem of fake coa's to light. 

  • Kristin Nicole

    I'm sorry it is Peter Leone I need to thank :) and everyone else for the advice. I am in the process of trying to get ahold of an actual LIVE person at eBay. Any advice there?
  • Peter leone

    Kristin, no problem. I am glad that I was able to figure this out and to bring it to light. This seems like the new thing for these forgers to do which is why some 3rd party authentication companies have decided to change coa's and holograms.

    I was actually going to contact you through ebay once this came to light but was advised to hold off while this was being investigated. However now that you have come to light on here it is fair game.

    I do however have a couple of questions.

    Do you happen to remember when JSA authenticated the jersey that you have? Also was that the only item you gave them to authenticate? The reason I am asking is I am sure that these people did not make just 1 cert card or hologram in an effort to pass off 1 Matt Barkley Jersey. If you have more than 1 item authenticated it is more than likely that the other items may also have some bad stickers associated with them somewhere.

    I don't know how offten you use JSA but my recommendation to you would be to have them re authenticate your jersey for you and put on a new sticker or better yet have another company authenticate it for you. The number associated to your jersey and the fake one is still in the JSA database so I am sure if you brought this to their attention they will re authenticate it for you at no charge. The other option is to have them do a LOA (Letter of Authenticity) this way there is an actual photo of your jersey on the letter and then there wont be a question that they certed that particular jersey.

    This was brought to the attention of JSA who for 1 reason or another did not admit that there was a problem with the 2 coa's which is so obvious so either they did'nt want to admit it to someone outside of their company or they really don't think there is a problem. My response to that is none becuase it does'nt take an expert to see there is a problem..