Autograph Authentication Boards: Is it Time?

Authenticity is everything in autographs. Some are satisfied with certification by certain third-party authenticators, and others don't like or use any of them. Many particularly don't like them issuing opinions on autographs they've sold.

The more orderly the marketplace and the safer we make it for collectors, the more the autograph market will grow.

So here's the question:

Is it time for the autograph hobby to set up official expert authentication boards in each category of autographs? Or in some cases, individual subjects...down to a particular president or musician?

The boards could handle re-examinations, disputes, and perhaps even render original opinions.

Do you think it makes sense?

And if they were set up, how do you think they should work?

Should dealer or collectors groups set up their own boards?

How should experts be chosen?

Should dealers and auctions sign up, agreeing to be bound by the boards' official decisions? Or should the board issue  official opinions and leave it to the parties to fight it out once the decisions are rendered?

What do you see as the benefits; the drawbacks...and are they even feasible?

I think they're an idea whose time has come.

What are your thoughts?


Views: 308

Tags: authentication board, authentication boards, authenticity, autograph, experts, official

Comment by MMOA-Autographs on March 1, 2011 at 5:42pm
Big question is how should experts be picked?  Each of us knows people in our respective hobby that most people go for to get opinions.  Each sport should have their own authenticator to be able to respond in a timely manor. I believe you could find experts who would donate their time and knowledge. Many collectors don't trust paying for opinions.There are people out there willing to do this. People will respectable qualifications in their area should be encouraged to apply for positions with an internet database where collectors can easily find their experts. I also believe their should be a database of approved dealers/traders and unapproved dealers/traders where the experts can leave comments about them and keep collectors currently aware of changes. Keep collecting safe is #1 priority and a database of people to watch out for would be very important. Database for approved and unapproved authenticators would be helpful as well.  This all would take time and i would be willing to help out as well.
Comment by George Papania on March 1, 2011 at 5:44pm

I think a notarized affidavit with the person's  name who actually sells it and a signed dated receipt notarized with any history on the piece  is far better and more binding than any C.O.A.

Sorry James S. but C.O.A.'s are not my thing. 2 cents

Comment by William C. Heitsman Jr. on March 1, 2011 at 7:13pm
This is probably a move worth making but even the best system will be refuted by people who are emotionally tied to an autograph, or trying to make a quick buck.  Either way I expect the authentication board will be in court a lot or at least up to its neck in controversy now and again.  Where do you go to become a certified forensic autograph authentication expert.
Comment by Chris Klamer on March 1, 2011 at 7:25pm
If I sell something I can give them a picture of when and where I met the celebrity and the exact time of day. The thing is most of the time people that sell stuff like on eBay come and go everyday. Unlike myself that has been a steady buyer and seller since 2001. I also have never changed my name or anything else since I started. I also don't like the people that won't to make all of their transactions private that only makes me wonder. If someone buys an autograph from me I will give them an exact history of the autograph my name and my phone number.
Comment by Steve Waide on March 1, 2011 at 7:26pm
Most of the autos that I have collected over the years do not have authentication coas or stickers. I get all of my autos in person. Having a board of people to take a second look could be just as bad as these scammers out there saying that their stuff is real cause they printed it on a peice of paper and signed it. @george - getting certified to be a notary is easy and anyone that really wanted to go down and be certified with a few dollars and a few signatures you too can be a notary. Like I said before I get all of mine in person so that I know that 100% that all mine are real. There are very few companies that I trust and only 1 dealer that I trust only because I got to alll of his auto shows and he delivers as promised! I don't collect to turn a profit I do it for a hobby and the experience of meeting that person.
Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on March 1, 2011 at 7:46pm
Thanks everyone for your input so far. Just to make it clear, but board would only be there to use if needed. I'm not suggesting everyone's autographs need to be submitted.
Comment by Chad B on March 1, 2011 at 9:15pm
This would be tough to accomplish but I am all for anything to decrease the amount of junk on the market.
Comment by Truman Lewis on March 1, 2011 at 10:41pm
Good idea -- so is a balanced Budget, but all kidding aside something does need to be done. I was in the video biz for 25 years and got just a ton of autographs while in the biz, and some of the show west stuff also. the trouble I have always seen in autograph collecting and buying/sell is the rushed are while walking autographs - i have a lot of these and some are just a line with a wiggle and others are very good but the most part they don't look while being rushed and a lot of the authenticators belive them to be fakes when the person that got them know they are not. this why it is damn near impossable for a authenticator to decide on this -- but we got to try something -- don't know what, seems like everyone that don't like the results want a second, third, forth and so on opinion.
Comment by Mr. Otter Bubotter on March 2, 2011 at 4:14am

Steve, interesting way to answer my email, anyway....................

The Million dollar question. "What is real, and what is not. Who's correct and who is not".

Where do we start with this?

Let me start by telling you I've been collecting for over twenty years and I've heard it and seen it all. My collection is a passion and also an investment. I bought items from dealers that are reputable and then what I bought several years later, turned out to be no good.

Why? Because when I tried to sell it an auction I was told it was no good by the auction house. So then you contact the dealer and tell them their item that you bought several years back has been deemed not good. The dealer then will tell one of two things. If your lucky he will ask you to send it back for a refund. Or you are told to, "Prove it".  Leaving you to go and pay for a 3rd party authentication, BUT, the dealer tells you he wont accept letters from R&R, JSA, or PSA. Because he does not respect their findings.

"What the hell" It's this kind of crap that hurts this hobby. Not everything needs to be authenticated but there are some high value items that should, and need to be authenticated by a professional group of people that will be the final word. Because right now we have individual companies that offer authentication services. Notice the word "individual", until all companies come together and unite to work together, these companies will be know for their opinions only.

They each can be their own company, but when you get an LOA from the network of certified authenticators it pretty much means that that LOA is the final word!

To answer your question Steve, Yes it can and should be started here. Why not? BUT the question is we have to get people that are qualified and standards have to be set. Also not everybody is qualified to authenticate autographs.

I would stay away from in person. Not to say that in persons are not real but as Truman just stated, "they are hard as hell to authenticate". You have to trust the persons story, well stories, sometimes are just that.

PSA is not better than JSA, and JSA is not better than R&R. They all work to do the same job but the problem is they work individually.

Maybe it's time Autograph Magazine Live showed them how to work together to help us all. 


Comment by Jeffery Kite on March 2, 2011 at 5:27am
The more and more I read about all this, the more and more I want to stop collecting and being involved in this hobby I have enjoyed since the 10th grade. I get very disheartened at times reading the stories on here. However, I have had the good fortune (or luck, expert eye, etc.) to have never been burned yet, aside from getting a ghost signed item through the mail that cost me a few cents in postage. Starting a board sounds good, but all it takes is one rouge member to destroy it. I just don't know.


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