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December 10, 2007

PSA/DNA Authentication Disaster

Who are the persons at PSA/DNA who were hired to be called authenticators?

PSA/DNA is long known to have authenticated many stamped signatures, machine signed signatures, printed signatures and forgeries as “genuine.” This company has outdone itself by authenticating a signature of a baseball player who doesn’t exist.

One has to ask themselves, how does a person who is hired to authenticate autographs, authenticate a signature of a person who doesn’t exist? They go one step farther and even grade the signature and baseball. According to the ebay seller located in California, the baseball in question was graded and encapsulated by PSA/DNA. The ball cube comes with its own certificate of authenticity. The seller claims this ensures the ball is authentic.

PSA/DNA Certificate of Authenticity states the item is Examined (by who?) And Certified (by who?). Grade Certification # 81941338 and Autograph Certification G58519.

PSA/DNA identification tag on the case identifies this ball was signed by Ernie Davis and that the ball is signed on the sweetspot.

Has anyone ever heard of a baseball player named Ernie Davis?

A check with does not list any professional baseball player named Ernie Davis.

A quick check of the actual signature on this ball by most who are novices in collecting autographs will tell you that Clem Labine actually signed the ball, the all-star relief pitcher for the Dodgers in the 1950s.

Bottom line, the quality of PSA/DNA’s authentication service of this item is inexcusable.

How can the “authenticators” at PSA/DNA authenticate a signature of a person who doesn’t exist? How come the “authenticators” at PSA/DNA did not recognize the fairly common signature of Clem Labine? How many authenticators at PSA/DNA examined this signatures and discussed it

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with the answer to the above two questions.

Some people in the autograph industry would like to make the authenticating of autographs a controversy. Yet, not one of these people will get in a public arena and openly discuss the subject of autograph authentication.

For those new to the autograph industry, it’s fairly easy to determine the qualifications of an autograph authenticator.

When you talk to the authenticating company to submit your item, ask who will personally examine the autograph?

If they will give you a name, ask for the authenticators’ documented qualifications. The key word here is documented. Answers like my mother collected autographs or I took a one week mail order correspondence course are not acceptable. If they refuse to give you a name, it's time to call someone else! Ask what professional autograph organizations does the authenticator belong and for how long? Ask who was their autograph mentor and for how long did they study under them? Of the 14 autograph educational courses taught around the United States, ask them how many have they taken and do they have a signed certification of completion.

Before spending your money with any autograph authenticator, check with other collectors, not autograph sellers or auction houses, on the reputation of the individual authenticator.

Another eye opener: you may want to check with the local Better Business Bureau of the authenticating service. Save that for last! Maybe skip the last thought, we don’t want to scare you from collecting autographs altogether.