View Full Version : Memorabilia Forging

12-19-2009, 10:28 AM
Saw this video posted on the site thought I'd put a copy of it here as well.

Very good video to watch on all of the risks of memorabilia collecting.


Discuss how this whole thing makes you feel that some of our more "reputable" companies allowed things to slip by them, especially the card at the end, you'll see when you watch it.

12-19-2009, 12:07 PM
well it seems GAI is doing a good job bc they rejected all the fakes especially the card at the end

12-19-2009, 01:03 PM
Wow that video blew my mind. Thanks for the post! Everyone who collects memorabilia needs to watch this.

12-19-2009, 01:44 PM
Very interesting video. People have to know what a reputable authenticator is. I would never buy if it wasn't PSA or GAI authenticated.

12-20-2009, 10:35 AM
I know I'm not immune to these types of things but I'm glad that I have alot of items that are the "no-namers" on the teams, not the ones someone can make a quick buck off of and run.

It's sad but it's almost hard to trust anyone anymore unless you know them personally.

I'm also a bit shocked with the UD card that sold for $85,000 and three of the other companies came back and said it was fake but UD "stands" by it. I'm sorry if there were even the SLIGHTEST chance that it was fake and I dropped that kind of money on it, I would be irate and would be speaking with someone immediately.

I know it's sometimes hard to determine a fake or not because some athletes change their signatures over time, but make sure you do your research thoroughly before dropping a lot of money on an item, especially on EBAY.

Check feedback, items the seller has sold in the past, the legitimacy of the company that the COA is from and if there is any other doubt check out their PSA/DNA option, it might help settle the deal.

With so many of that guys fakes on the market even going to a memorabilia store to purchase an item has it's drawbacks. If an "expert" has a problem identifying, how are us "average joes"?

12-20-2009, 11:28 AM
Chuck -

Just a follow up on the UD Quad card in the story... the video is at least a few years old now because UD wasn't able to just 'stand by' their card. In fact, they lost a chunk of change over it, as the buyer asked for his money back and the seller pointed the finger at UD, so the seller named BOTH parties in a lawsuit. Then, the seller named UD in a lawsuit to cover his @$$.

Originally, UD offered simply to make all parties whole by offering to cover the guys bid and giving the seller some sort of 'replacement', but the damage had been done by their arrogance and it did end up in court. If memory serves, UD ended up paying out OVER a million to these two guys because the lawyers hit them with TORT laws etc which only require the plaintiffs prove negligence on the part of the defendant. I believe the jury found UD GROSSLY Negligent in that it did NOT do it's due diligence in regards to verifying the autos before it put the card together.

NONE of the so called 'Industry Leaders' in Auto Authenticating are any better than most of us on the board - that's why if you read their fine print (JSA, PSA/DNA. GAI, etc) they do not GUARANTEE any auto they authenticate and because of the fine print, they have a legal loophole to stand behind - they simply render an OPINION... which as you and I both know, like @-holes, everybody has one.

I've siad it before, and I'll say it again - DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! And for the sake of argument, I will post here AGAIN my own story of doing my homework...

About a year ago, I saw a Clark Griffith AU ball on eBay. Listed as a Secretarial Signature. For those of you who are going 'Huh?', I'll explain...

1st, Clark Griffith was a player in the 1800's who ended up owning the Washington Senators (Griffith Stadium ring a bell?). He made the HOF as an owner and is a fairly rare and scarce HOF auto.

2nd, a Secretarial Signature (which MANY Ruth autos are) is kind of liek a 'clubhouse' sig, where a player use to pay someone to sign all of their stuff (letters, cards, balls, etc) in the clubhouse. Well, many players had secretaries who handle their mail and correspondence and sign everything.

So, the price is VERY right - $12.99 and $12.00 S/H - so I start checking. EVERY Griffith Auto exemplar I can find is a cut or index card - ALL 'authenticated' by PSA or JSA and NONE match the auto on the ball, but they all match each other. I'm now pretty convinced that it's a secretarial sig on the ball, then I find the one piece that changed everything... a 1920's Contract for a Washington Senator's Player - signed by the OWNER, Clark Griffith. Well, common sense should tell you that Griffith had to be there to sign his player's contract, so this sig was legit - and it matched the ball!

Which also tells me all of the cuts and index cards are probably truly the 'secretarial' sigs that came through the mail.

I bought the ball (shipped) for UNDER $25... check out Clark Griffith signed ball sometime in Tuff Stuff or SCD... it is a $2,000 to $3,200 HOF auto!

So, as I said before, DO YOUR HOMEWORK and don't just 'Follow the Leader' as UD and PSA say - become a leader yourself and trust your instincts!

Happy Holidays!!!

- Chris

12-20-2009, 12:13 PM
i had a gai authenticated signed lebron james,kobe bryant dual signed photo-i took it to the nationals and tried to get it authenticated from jsa-they told me that it was fake-that a lot of stuff that is gai authenticated -comes from the philliapiens.so i would watch out with buying gai stuff-also go look on ebay, just at kobe stuff that is gai-look at some of the graphs-it looks like a 4 year old signed them-but gai still passed them.

12-27-2009, 10:07 AM
what a way to ruin the hobby of collecting

12-27-2009, 06:01 PM
I agree with Chris for the most part. Do your own research. Trust your instincts as well. But I do trust PSA. Yes, PSA does have clauses in their contracts that precent them from being sued, but they also are staking their entire business, so they don't take their decisions lightly.

I collect mini helmets and for most of the lower end stuff, I feel fairly confident. I mean, who shells out $15 or more for a helmet to sell a fake for $25? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense financially. Now for the big guys, you need some sort of verification, so PSA and your own eyes - comparing it with known legit autos is your best bet.

12-28-2009, 12:38 AM
I agree with Chris for the most part. Do your own research. Trust your instincts as well. But I do trust PSA. Yes, PSA does have clauses in their contracts that precent them from being sued, but they also are staking their entire business, so they don't take their decisions lightly.

I collect mini helmets and for most of the lower end stuff, I feel fairly confident. I mean, who shells out $15 or more for a helmet to sell a fake for $25? It doesn't make a whole lot of sense financially. Now for the big guys, you need some sort of verification, so PSA and your own eyes - comparing it with known legit autos is your best bet.

Chajones -

What you are saying is a rule of thumb I advise everyone to consider... unless you're dealing in MAJOR bulk, making $5 to $10 per item is no way to get rich and forgers are ususally looking for the BIG score.

- Chris

12-28-2009, 12:58 PM
this video is the reason i'm only sticking to IP and buying stuff from people i've met in person before.

12-28-2009, 02:12 PM
I wish I could find this other video that was floating around about a year and a half or so ago...

There was an interview with GAI, JSA and PSA/DNA and I almost cried I was laughing so hard - I'm pretty sure it was one of PSA's Authenticators - when he looked at the camera and actually said:

"Without even looking at our Autograph Exemplar Library, I can determine that this ball is NOT authentic because it was 'machine' stitched, not 'hand' stitched which indicates it was made after the person who supposedly autographed it had died."

Why did I laugh so hard you ask? Some of you know that I use to work for Nike and then for Rawlings. Well, if you don't know, ALL baseballs are stitched by hand - same with softballs. The reason being is that the cover is not attached to the inner core with the thread - only a light coating of rubber glue - and the stitching only goes through the core of the ball twice... once to anchor the thread for stitching and once at the finish to anchor the final stitch. When the ball is stitched, the leather is wet and pliable - after the final stitch, as the leather dries, it tightens around the core and locks down the final stitch.

There is not a machine made that can stitch a sphere in a 'figure 8' pattern such as a baseball without anchoring every stitch to the core of the ball.

The only general true determining factors for a balls age are:

Thread color - up until 1934, the OFFICIAL National League Balls were stitched with Red and Black thread and the OFFICIAL American league Balls were stitched with Red and Blue thread. Starting in 1934, all balls in both Leagues went to solid Red Stitching.

Maker - up until 1976, Spalding was the maker of the OFFICIAL National League Ball and Reach was the maker of the OFFICIAL American League Ball. In 1976 Rawlings became the exclusive maker of both the National League and American League OFFICIAL Balls. Rawlings had actually been making the balls since about 1968 and doing 'Private Labeling' for Spalding and Reach.

League Commissioner - The League Commissioner on a ball can help date it as well. Be advised that during the change from Reach/Spalding to Rawlings in 1976, Charles Feeney was the National league Commissioner and Lee Mac Phail was the American League Commissioner so you might find both Spalding and Rawlings Feeney Balls and both Reach and Rawlings Mac Phail Balls.

Pre 1900 baseballs and 'other manufacturers - there are many guides listing various balls and makers prior to the OFFICIAL League Balls and they have pretty acurate dates on various makers such as DeBeers, MacGregor/Goldsmith, Draper Maynard, Victor, etc.

Hope this tutorial helps some of you in your future purchases.

- Chris

12-28-2009, 03:13 PM
Pretty interesting video...I also saw a picture once of a Mark McGwire card that was stamped with his autograph (a blantant stamp) that PSA/DNA had passed as authentic, among some other stuff. Really makes you think when it comes to authenticators

12-28-2009, 03:39 PM
I tell you what...the hobby is tanking and I'm not sure it will ever go back to how it was when I was growing up. I grew up collecting cards, which as we all know if damn near impossible for anyone without a six figure salary these day, and I now enjoy signed memorabilia. My son will never have the enjoyment that I had growing up busting open wax packs, and being thrilled by pulling a simple rookie card of a favorite player.

As for the fraud, I just never could fathom how grown men could cheat potentially kids out of money...it's just wrong, and will never be fixed.

12-30-2009, 09:01 PM
Great video. Im not sure who to trust.. I have seen GAI stuff that they said what legit turn into fakes, & once seen a PSA item come back authentic when it wasnt even signed?!?!?

Blows my mind...

wish they would do a story on TTM autos. i wonder a lot about those. I do a lot of TTM autos for nascar & cant help but wonder sometimes. I have heard storys of Shaq & his buddies sitting at the table & shaq has all his buddies sign his " AUTHENTIC " cards for some company. its getting ridiculous..

01-07-2010, 12:38 PM
GAI seems to have more problems than PSA or JSA, they went through bankruptcy and are still in business, but their reputation has taken a hit, IMO. PSA and JSA are still the best 3rd party authenticators out there, but they will occasionally make a mistake. However, I still trust their expertise and they provide a very important service for the hobby.

Your best bet though when collecting autographs is to either get them in person, buy from companies that witness the signatures first hand (Upper Deck, Steiner, Mounted Memories, GTSM, Tri-Star, etc), or buy from dealers that you trust. I love collecting sports memorabilia, but there is a lot of fraud in the hobby and it really pisses me off.

01-12-2010, 02:45 AM
Watch this video on fake autographed memorabilia, especially the end of the video where upperdeck used fake cut autos of ruth and walter johnson.

01-12-2010, 04:24 AM
Matt-long time buddy

i wonder if the two fakes were replaced on that quad or what was givin as a replacement

01-12-2010, 08:21 AM
Matt, thanks for posting.

I have this same video posted here : http://www.sportscardforum.com/showthread.php?t=980594

So I went ahead and merged the threads for discussion.

01-12-2010, 10:44 AM
yeah its been a long time, just trying to keep myself busy and this is what i came up with starting trading again :) hahaha

iowa49erfan, yeah I just saw the video on youtube, didn't see that you had it up.

It blows my mind that even card companies like upperdeck can certify fake autographs and everytime I pick up a cut autograph or even a normal autograph I have to worry about it being genuine.

I feel if you collect autographed memorabilia, the best is to find local retailers that have professional athletes come in to the store and sign. It can actually be cheaper as well if you bring in your own things to get signed. Also bigger card shows bring in athletes to sign and its a pretty cheap price.

01-12-2010, 12:05 PM
This is why I usually do IP autos only, and keep every single one for my PC