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View Full Version : Trusted names in the biz



cluskillz
08-20-2011, 02:55 PM
I've mostly stuck to cards over the years, but I figured it's time to move into the memorabilia arena. All I have currently are an autographed 8x10 and a minihelmet, both purchased from the player's respective charity foundation.

Obviously I can't buy straight from the player in the vast majority of cases so I need to go into third party authentication or signing agencies. I was wondering, out of your guys' experience, what the most trusted LOAs/COAs out there are.

Authentication companies:
I've heard of the...scandals of some of the big names. JSA, PSA/DNA, and GAI/GA have all seemed to have been involved with major stories lately. Is it really that bad, or was it just a few screw ups? I figure that an LOA'd item is still better than no LOA/COA'd item. I've also heard of UDA which people seem to like better, but I haven't seen a lot of items through them so far.

Signing agencies:
Palm Beach Autographs COA <~~~looking to buy items with their COA fairly soon so I would like an opinion on their trustworthiness.
Great Moments Inc <~~~same as above. It was linked to by the player's own website so I figured it should be good.
GTSM <~~~will be headed to their SJ show just to look around, just want to know what to expect at those shows
Steiner
TriStar
Field of Dreams/Mounted Memories
Others?

Thanks!

Postal
08-20-2011, 04:22 PM
The only one of your list that I have expierence with on your list is Steiner. They are good and have very fast shipping, but they are expensive. I wait for there stuff to go on sale. Every once in a while there gift cards go on sale for 25% or 30% off and I hop on that. If you are patient you can find a good deal or two there. I recentlyl purchased a 16x20 auto (framed) of Mariano Rivera for under $300.

Vegas
08-22-2011, 03:48 PM
IMO, the most trusted names in autographed memorabilia are: Steiner, Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA), Tristar, GTSM, MLB, and Mounted Memories. All of these companies witness the items being signed and have contracts with players or the leagues or both. Note that Schwartz Sports was also one of the top memorabilia companies but they merged with Mounted Memories. There is still a fair amount of Schwartz stuff still in the marketplace and it's legit. You will pay more for autographed items with these COAs, but it's worth it to know you are buying a legitimate item. Also, items with these COAs will also bring the highest price if you decide to resell.

PSA/DNA and JSA primarily do what is called "3rd party authentication" in which they give their opinion on an autograph that they didn't witness. (They also witness autograph signings and have a specific COA for those cases, but that is only a minor part of their business.) Personally, I think they provide a great service in the autograph industry and I would not hesitate to purchase something with their COAs. All other 3rd party authenticators are complete garbage and I would stay far away from them. Of course there are differing opinions on 3rd party authenticators, so you will have to come to your own conclusions.

Radtke Sports is another autograph company, based in Atlanta, that is legit but not as well known as those I listed above. They include a picture from the signing with their COAs and their COAs also list the date and location of the signing. They have contracts with a lot of the Atlanta area athletes, so they are a good source if you are looking for Braves, Hawks, Falcons, etc autos.

If you are looking to buy a Kobe or Jordan signed item, I would only buy an Upper Deck Authenticated item as they both had exclusive contracts with UDA. I would also recommend UDA if you are looking to buy a Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle signed item as those are some of the most forged signatures in the business.

I would advise you to stay away from anything authenticated by Coach's Corner, Ted Taylor (including STAT and TTA), or Christopher Morales. These are most likely forged items and you will be wasting your money.

Lastly, many athletes are moving towards putting their own personal hologram on autographed items. Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, Steve Young, and Peyton Manning all have their own holograms, and I believe that Albert Pujols has started doing this as well. I would not hesitate to buy items with these holograms.

Good luck and please share cool autographs with the forum.

NY Sports Teams
08-22-2011, 06:10 PM
I would also trust Steiner, Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA), Tristar, GTSM and MLB. I've also heard good things about Swartz Sports and Mounted Memories.

Two other "Signing Agencies" that come to mind are Ironclad and MAB. Ironclad has an exclusive contract with Cal Ripken Jr. and Joe Mauer and I know their items are legit. I know MAB items are also legit but I've heard of problems people have had with sending their items in to be signed. Items were signed in the wrong place or with the wrong pen, ect, even after receiving explicit instructions.

All of my auto's are IP with the exception of a couple. My Nolan Ryan baseball came from his foundation and a Brett Favre 16x20 came from his foundation/web site. I've heard from time to time when someone sends something in to Mr Ryan's foundation it can take some time to get back. I believe that is do to the fact that he only signs items a couple of times a year.

Third party authenticators are a sore subject with me. I really trust NONE of them. I have seen many IP graphs come back as no good and known forgeries come back as legit. With that said, the ONLY third party authenticator I would have any trust in is PSA/DNA.

One word of advice. Be knowledgeable. Know what players have specific contracts to what agency. I would NEVER buy from a company who not only sells graphs but also buys them.

JMHO...BOL...Rick

Postal
08-22-2011, 06:59 PM
IMO, the most trusted names in autographed memorabilia are: Steiner, Upper Deck Authenticated (UDA), Tristar, GTSM, MLB, and Mounted Memories. All of these companies witness the items being signed and have contracts with players or the leagues or both. Note that Schwartz Sports was also one of the top memorabilia companies but they merged with Mounted Memories. There is still a fair amount of Schwartz stuff still in the marketplace and it's legit. You will pay more for autographed items with these COAs, but it's worth it to know you are buying a legitimate item. Also, items with these COAs will also bring the highest price if you decide to resell.

PSA/DNA and JSA primarily do what is called "3rd party authentication" in which they give their opinion on an autograph that they didn't witness. (They also witness autograph signings and have a specific COA for those cases, but that is only a minor part of their business.) Personally, I think they provide a great service in the autograph industry and I would not hesitate to purchase something with their COAs. All other 3rd party authenticators are complete garbage and I would stay far away from them. Of course there are differing opinions on 3rd party authenticators, so you will have to come to your own conclusions.

Radtke Sports is another autograph company, based in Atlanta, that is legit but not as well known as those I listed above. They include a picture from the signing with their COAs and their COAs also list the date and location of the signing. They have contracts with a lot of the Atlanta area athletes, so they are a good source if you are looking for Braves, Hawks, Falcons, etc autos.

If you are looking to buy a Kobe or Jordan signed item, I would only buy an Upper Deck Authenticated item as they both had exclusive contracts with UDA. I would also recommend UDA if you are looking to buy a Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle signed item as those are some of the most forged signatures in the business.

I would advise you to stay away from anything authenticated by Coach's Corner, Ted Taylor (including STAT and TTA), or Christopher Morales. These are most likely forged items and you will be wasting your money.

Lastly, many athletes are moving towards putting their own personal hologram on autographed items. Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, Steve Young, and Peyton Manning all have their own holograms, and I believe that Albert Pujols has started doing this as well. I would not hesitate to buy items with these holograms.

Good luck and please share cool autographs with the forum.



I actually just ordered a Eli Manning Auto Helmet from Radtke. It comes with a Steiner COA and a Radtke COA. It should be here on Wed, I cant wait. I heard good things about them

blackmamba_24
08-22-2011, 08:11 PM
Trusted companies:

Upper Deck
Panini
Tri-star
Steiner

That is in order. Every once in a while I will see a fake steiner item with someone taking the sticker off and put it on another item. I mainly collect Upper Deck, Panini and Steiner.

cluskillz
08-23-2011, 01:56 PM
Wow, thanks for all the advice, guys. I guess I have another question. How do I know what athletes have contracts with what companies (aside from looking on the company's websites)?

I'm not focusing on the huge names...just the guys that went to the University of Oregon. So most of the names I'm looking at will be far down the ladder as far as star power, compared to some of the names here. I doubt a lot of these guys have signed exclusive contracts. So I may have to deal a lot with the smaller(?) companies like Palm Beach (for Casey Matthews) and Great Moments (for Haloti Ngata).

Thanks again, you guys have helped a lot.

RedHottG2
08-23-2011, 05:08 PM
Don't be afraid of Topps certified auto cards either.

NY Sports Teams
08-24-2011, 07:41 AM
I believe you are right in thinking most of those guys do not have exclusive contracts. I do not know of a certain site that lists which companies have exclusive contracts with which players. I would believe it would be higher profile guys. I did a quick search and only found a site that listed players back in 2004 with exclusive contracts. Since I really only deal with IP graphs I've never had to worry about that.

I would also believe you can trust any of the major card companies with their cert cards as being authentic.

...Rick