View Full Version : Sports Autographs on E-bay

11-15-2008, 05:31 PM
What are people's opinion of buying autographed sports memorabilia on E-bay? Is it possible to find authentic items or is E-bay full of fakes?

11-15-2008, 06:53 PM
It all depends on which COA or company is representing the autographed item. A little extra research of the company by using Google is always a good idea.

11-15-2008, 11:59 PM
Only buy memorabilia with reputable coa's. the biggest names are going to be the card companies with UDA the leader. Other big name's are Steiner, Mounted Memories, Schwartz. The only 3rd party authenticator I really trust would be PSA/DNA although Beckett just picked up JSA and I know that GAI is trusted by ebay, but they are a distant third to the other two I just mentioned.

11-16-2008, 02:18 AM
You really need to be careful on Ebay. You can find some great deals but make sure you look for a trusted COA. Steiner and PSA/DNA tend to be the ones I trust the most. I also like the signed jerseys from Just Minors. You just need to look into the company before you buy.


12-08-2008, 02:47 AM
does anyone know anything about Absolute Authentic Autographs Authentication?

12-08-2008, 03:45 AM
if they are referred to as AAA, they are the same people who had GAI. They are not highly respected. 3rd party authenticators, without much respect.

12-08-2008, 03:47 AM
if they are referred to as AAA, they are the same people who had GAI. They are not highly respected. 3rd party authenticators, without much respect.

oh ok. Well if they are on the same level as GAI, it might be best to stay away.

12-09-2008, 08:18 PM
Just my .02 here...

(YES, you can get some real nice AUTOS CHEAP on the 'Bay - but EDUCATE yourself first - don't just blindly accept someone else's opinion.)

First rule of AUTO collecting is to educate yourself and trust your instincts.

2nd - EVERY Authenticator - and I mean EVERY one has had their issues with fake autos getting past their authenticators as well as their authenticators passing on legitimate examples. This is NOT a pure science regardless of what UDA, PSA/DNA. JSA, GAI, Absolute, etc may want you to believe.

I have been collecting for almost 30 years now and the ONLY absolute way to know your auto is authentic is to GET IT YOURSELF in Person. This doesn't always work so well if you are just looking to turn it and you're not part of one of the 'big boys'.

UD probably had the biggest case against them with a 'Cut' Babe Ruth auto that hit the market a few years ago on a card. It was a 1/1 supposedly from a check and considered one of his RAREST Cut Autos. Card SOLD on the 'Bay for around $80,000 - while the transaction was being done, one of the world's pre immanent Ruth collector's came forward and called UD on the authenticity of the Auto. UD admitted they had not done the fact verification and ended up paying a hefty sum to all parties involved as well as ending up with a huge public embarassment.

Sticker AUTO's - all marked on card as Authentic - but not all companies have a company rep watching the player sign - they take the player at his word - just like TTM (Through the Mail) Autos... you don't know if the actual player you wrote signed the item or if they hired someone to sign their autos.
Case in point (and YES, he may have presigned them, but who knows) - my friend sent an inexpensive Vinyl ball to Bob Uecker and within a week rcvd an Official MLB ball signed on the sweet spot back from Uke - during the season when he is busy announcing Brewers games no less!

PSA/DNA, GAI, JSA and such are no better - I've been collecting Nolan Ryan for around 30 years as well and have gotten no less than 20 IN PERSON autos from him over the years, so I would say I am pretty familiar with his signature. I have seen some JSA certified Ryan's on eBay that look nothing like his sig!

PSA/DNA - two stories here - 1st involves me. I use to work for Nike and in 2002 got to hang with Albert Pujols for about 2 hours... he signed a ball for me on the sweet spot with a VERY RARE inscription - ROY '01. I've never seen another with it. Sent it along with a ball my friend got for me at Spring Training of A-Rod both to PSA/DNA (mind you - I got the Pujols myself - I KNOW it's real)... both came back as 'unable to cerify' for the EXACT SAME REASONS - except that the Pujols had a small note since PSA had NEVER seen a Pujols ROY inscription. I'm sorry, but two autos of two different players should not FAIL to Pass for the EXACT SAME REASONS! I have heard too many times that unless you are a big time client (multiple submissions monthly) with PSA, they will deny your submission the 1st time, but if you send it right back it will usually pass - in other words you pay DOUBLE for the Authenticity.

2nd PSA story involves a local Sports shop that sponsors the card shows and has many Auto guests... two years ago they had John Elway in for a signing and one of the owners took 20 of the 8x10's they had signed (in his presence) to the National and went to PSAs Table. He filed in 5 of the same 8x10 that he ahd an employee forge Elway's auto on (he marked them so he knew what was what) and took all 25 specimens for a 'quick opinion' ... PSAs guy picked all 5 FAKES as Authentic and only 3 of the 20 REAL ones... on the others his reason was that there was too much variance in the Auto. Well hell, If you just sat and signed 200+ AUs, I'm sure your signature would vary a little too!

So, in summary, all I'm saying is that ultimately, the only way you really know your auto is real is by getting it yourself.

Again, just my .02 worth - just don't want people blindly following any company that 'claims' to be able to authenticate any auto.

All the best -


12-10-2008, 05:58 PM
Good post....

12-10-2008, 06:42 PM
MikPaq -

Thanks!!! I just get tired of hearing people slam one 'authenticator' but then turning right around and accepting without question the word of another 'authenticator' just because they have either:

a) been around longer


b) spent the money for advertising to get their name out there

I mean think about it. In THIS industry... spend the money for advertising touting your 'expertise' in every major publication and set up at the National and a few Regional shows... what would it cost you? $10k, $100k, $1m?

But, once your name is plastered everywhere and people are now 'familiar' with you and your name, you can make every cent of that advertising back 10 fold inside a year in Revenue from people coming to you.

I mean look who people are bashing - GAI? They are one of the oldest and most reputable Auto authenticators in the country - they were doing star autos way before players like PSA came into the fold 'specializing' in sports autos. But, GAI doesn't advertise like PSA does... Absolute - I just heard of them - I guess they are a spin off of GAI - but because they are new and unknown, everyone bashes them as well.

Again, just my .02 worth...

- Chris

12-11-2008, 04:36 PM
I don't trust GAI because of the program I saw where the reporter got a whole bunch of fakes authenticated. I will try and find the link

you do provide good points though. I typically judge a company by the single player I am looking to get. 9/10 times it is DeAngelo Williams. I know his auto REALLY well and know who and what companies he has signed with.

12-15-2008, 02:03 AM
If you do your research, you will buy the right product.

If it's from a real store, and they have verifying pictures of the athlete sitting down for a private signing, then it will be authentic.

Beware of people who use other people's "proof" pics!!

12-29-2008, 11:02 PM
Just wanted to tag this thread. Some very good info in here.

On a side note, What if a store gives you their COA ? You think you can trust that? (It was a very nice store.)

12-30-2008, 01:00 AM
Just wanted to tag this thread. Some very good info in here.

On a side note, What if a store gives you their COA ? You think you can trust that? (It was a very nice store.)

It really depends on the store and if you trust them. Some stores I know I would trust for sure and others there is not a chance I would trust them.

12-30-2008, 01:07 PM
the title says it all please let me know

01-03-2009, 06:58 PM
Around 2004, The FBI did a press release on this very topic. They estimated that over 70% of autographed memorabilia is forged/counterfiet. As a result I don't buy anything unless it's directly from one of the major companies. Those COA's from those ocscure Ebay stores aren't worth the paper their printed on in my opinion. I also stay away from PSA, GAI, etc. authentication. I'm sure that the folks there are very good at their jobs, but it's still the authenticator's opinion as to the legitimacy of the signature. As always, BUYER BEWARE.

01-03-2009, 10:36 PM
I sent a card into PSA/DNA that was autographed by David Robinson to be authenticated. I was about 99% sure it was authentic and was doing a friend a favor. PSA sent it back to me saying it was of questionable authenticity. So here I was, 40 dollars poorer and no definitive proof that the autograph was real or not.

I told my friend that just because they couldn't authenticate the auto did not mean conclusively that it was not a good auto. I felt bad about the whole experience for my friend and for myself.

I have a Michael Jordan signed American League Baseball that I know is authentic, but because Jordans pen hit the hole in the threads of the baseball when he signed it it may not appear authentic. There is no way I will send it into PSA for authentication.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you are not planning on reselling the autographed product then do research on the auto and if it looks good to you then buy and enjoy.

Just my 2 cents :)

01-16-2009, 04:40 PM
yeah, just hurts when PSA says things aren't real but you know they are 100%

01-16-2009, 05:03 PM
I buy a good amount of memorabilia off the Bay and my theory is COA's(other than PSA UD) and photos of an athelete signing are junk. \
For example I have a picture of Dominik Hasek signing a photo for me. Whats to say I can't forge 10 of the same pics he signed and have 10 copies made up of him signing that picture???
C.O.A. is just a piece of paper in my eyes.
In my opinion you have the best tool sitting right in front of you. The internet. For example again I saw a Martin Brodeur 16x20 autographed and framed/matted photo which was horribly titled a little while ago. There was no "COA" with it and the seller told me "my customer says it was signed at a show in New Jersey" and the seller was from New Jersey so I figured to take the research a step further. I went to photobucket, google, yahoo, and ebay and looked at as many Brodeur certified autographs as possible and compared them to the sig on the picture. I then came on this board and got advice from a couple Brodeur super collectors. Ended up getting it for $45 dlvd no cert but I am 101% confident that the item is authentic. Here is the photo:

I trust all that research mre than some guy at PSA saying "this is real". Sorry for rambling but I wanted to give my view on this. Thanks FF75

01-16-2009, 09:00 PM
Here are two different Clark Griffith Auto's - BOTH 'Certifid by PSA/DNA
(for those of you who don't know, Clark Griffith was a Player and then Owner of the Washington Senators - Griffith Stadium was named for him - and a HOFer)

Anyway - 1st is a CUT AU:


2nd is a CONTRACT w AU:


3rd is a Ball from eBay w/ NO COA listed as a 'Secretarial' signature:


If you notice, the 'large' K and the 'open' G from the ball and the contract match up, but not the Cut AU - smaller K and closed G

Those are the first two noticable similarities and differences... but PSA DNA certified both the Cut and the Contract - and I can't tell you how many stories I have heard of them 'disallowing' or 'denying' verification because (their words) "No ones signature varies that much."

Well, based on the contract (NOT the Cut AU) - why?, because Griffith HAD to be there to sign the contract, so it is a much purer AU with some providence behind it - I bought the ball for $19.38 + $6.95 S/H. I have no doubt that it is an authentic Griffith AU and it will be worth the $75 to $100 to have it certified by PSA/DNA, GAI, whomever...

Does anyone here know what a Griffith AU ball books at? About $2,200 - $2,500. Well worth a $26 and some change investment and another $100 to get Cert.

It just goes to show that:


B) Even the 'Big Guys' like PSA/DNA will Cert Autos of the same person that have obvious differences to the naked eye.

C) If you search and research, you can find some real gems out there on the cheap... another example is a Stan Musial PSA/DNA Cert Ball I picked up for $86.00.

What makes this ball unbelievable is that it is on a 'period' (during his playing time) Official Ford Frick Ball. The Ball alone is worth around $500 - $600 in the condition it's in. This being a 'VINTAGE' Musial AU on a VINTAGE ball puts it in the $700 - $1,000 range.

Take the time and most of all, have fun!!! Good luck in your searches!!!

- Chris

01-16-2009, 09:16 PM
I've always thought about doing this....
taking some of my IP autos to a reputable authenticator and put them up for review hesitantly, saying I bought them for an absurdly low price and seeing if they come back fake (when really I know damn well there real)! Sounds like it could be some fun!

01-29-2009, 12:45 AM
Just got this link from GUU (Game Used Universe) and if you are all 'into' certain 3rd party authenticators, you NEED to read this and get educated:


It is an AMAZING source of information about the dealings of the 3rd Party Authenticators and their lack of response to questions - and it includes EVERYONE - GAI, PSA/DNA, JSA....


All the best -


02-03-2009, 12:10 AM
i am also worried about fakes on ebay, one time i bought a pair of jordans on ebay......what a mistake that was

03-28-2009, 02:14 AM
Only buy memorabilia with reputable coa's. the biggest names are going to be the card companies with UDA the leader. Other big name's are Steiner, Mounted Memories, Schwartz. The only 3rd party authenticator I really trust would be PSA/DNA although Beckett just picked up JSA and I know that GAI is trusted by ebay, but they are a distant third to the other two I just mentioned.

I buy most of my autographed memorabilia off of Ebay, you only stuff from the companies mentioned above. I would add GT Sports Marketing (GTSM) to that list as they have exclusive deals with guys like Steve Young, LT, Reggie Bush, etc as well as Tri-Star (Bo Jackson, etc).