Stephen Koschal ~ Autograph Services
Serving Collectors, Libraries, Institutions, Autograph Galleries and Dealers Since 1967

7155 Sand Crest View, Colorado Springs, CO 80923 USA ~ Phone (561) 315-3622 ~

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Atrocious Authentications

The Purpose of This Site

Atrocious Authentications has been created for the sole purpose of educating autograph collectors of the dangers of those who claim they are able to authenticate autographs. Some will tell you that the business of authenticating autographs is the biggest scam in the hobby. When someone who has been burnt with a mis-authenticated autograph and takes the matter to court, a judge has said “everyone has a right to an opinion, there’s no law against being stupid!”

No one or company has been singled out! This site does not take advertisements so there is no one being protected because they are a supporter.

Printed below are the results of those that claim they are experts yet make atrocious errors in their assessment of whether an autograph is genuine or not.

The cost of these errors many times can reach a fee of $300 for their “opinion.”

As a matter of fact, if you try to find out who at a company made the “opinion” you have little or no chance of ever finding this out.

The PADAH Reference Library has the largest collection of Certificates of Authenticity in the hobby. Those who have seen the files are shocked at how many unscrupulous sellers of autographs have produced useless COA’s for non-genuine autographs Same goes for the high-profile companies who have glutted the market with mistakes yet claim to authenticate autographs.

It is amazing to see how many genuine autographs have been deemed to be un-authentic and visa-versa how many non-genuine autographs certified as genuine.

Before any story on this site is printed, usually at a minimum, three genuine experts have ruled on the facts. Should anyone have a comment on a story and can prove a story is not accurate, please email

We would love to hear comments from our readers.

Beckett Authentication, Steve Grad

and JSA, James Spence

Opportunity to Meet Autograph Collectors

and Praise Your Companies

For five years in a row, both Steve Grad and James Spence have been invited to an autograph authentication seminar. Not one of the two has ever responded! With all the negative talk in the press, and with the collecting public about autograph authentication, slabbing and placing foreign stickers on genuine items and in many cases on non-genuine items, once again here is the opportunity for these two who claim to be “experts” on authenticating autographs, to face the collecting public and tell their side of the story.

For the fifth year in a row, and having no responses, illustrated are copies of letters mailed a few months ago for 2024.



So you just purchased an autographed item and feel in order to try and resell it some collectors think they want to have it authenticated.

May times collectors fall into the following trap. This following item, a John Stockton basketball card was sent to JSA Authentication. What the collector paid for a JSA “opinion” is unknown but happily the item came back with a full Letter of Authenticity claiming the company’s considered “opinion” is that the signature is genuine. Whose considered “opinion” is not posted on the Letter of Authenticity.

Now, the collector is willing to spend more of his money to have the basketball card put in a plastic slab, some refer to a coffin.

On the way it goes to PSA/DNA with a check. Shocked, the item comes back as not authentic and refused to be placed in one of their plastic holders.

The collector, quite upset as he paid to purchase the card and now has paid for two “opinions.” An email from the collector says: “...Well their mistake cost me on the conflicting “opinions”....” and is looking for guidance.

Would spending more money for a third opinion be wise? After all the collector could settle for two out of three....

Herman Darvick

Another So-called Authenticator Worth Mentioning

This is a name worth watching. Readers may remember Darvick putting out a children’s book on autographs. In one copy he wrote the following.

He thinks he’s so good at forging autographs he underlines “never.”

For years he denied forging the signatures of presidents of the United States. It took many years of pressure to finally get him to agree, in writing, that he did forge. He even listed the names of the presidents he forges. In his mind, thinking he is so good he began writing notes to Lee Harvey Oswald from Lyndon B. Johnson stating about their deal in Dallas. Darvick commented to one dealer, someday these will be worth a lot of money.

Two Different Forgeries by Darvick of Lyndon Johnson to Oswald

The old UACC expelled Darvick for serious reasons.

Expelled, Printed from the UACC Web-site

Look at a Darvick COA below. Read his qualifacations. IMPRESSED? Consultant for this, consultant for that....PSA/DNA Expert, JSA Expert, SGC Expert, CAS Authenticator......

Darvick’s Qualification & COA

The autograph illustrated on the COA above was sold by Darvick. We have the original document and file that goes with it in the IACC/DA library. A recent letter from a collector states the signature on this document is not original but printed. So much for the impressive qualifications of Herman Darvick.

Recent Letter FROM A COLLECTOR About Darvick’s Henry Clay

Should collectors have something sold by Darvick in the past, double check your autographs. He may be best known for making the signatures of Shoeless Joe Jackson common.


Normally we try to focus on the high-porfile authenticators but there are so many certificates coming out from PAAS that this one person outfit is turning out so many mis-authenticated autographs, they are worth mentioning. Many of the non-genuine autographs certified as genuine can be found on the internet in places most collectors would not see.

The person running this outfit goes by the name of Mike Frost and Dr. Mike Frost.  From law suit records filed against him we find his real name is Michael Feigenbaum. It is difficult to track him down as his address seems to change every few years.

He is well known in the sports industry for producing and selling all those Mickey Mantle baseballs with the foul language inscribed on them.  I have personally seen shelves of these baseballs in his office. Frost said he won't selll them till after Mantle's passing.

The following two illustrations are a sample of his poor judgement or simply lack of expertise.

Two items he claims are genuine and certified by PAAS.  Add insult to injury, he attaches a sticker to the front of each item which devaluates the item even if it was genuine.  The signatures on these two color prints are signed by the same hand, but certanily not by the hand of Stan Lee. Priced on the verso is stickers stating the sale price is $795.00 each.

It is highly recommended to pay close attention to items that comes with a PAAS Certificate of Authenticity


With a Remarkable Resume

Means little and sometimes a huge smokescreen.  Here’s one example to keep an eye on.

Take a look at these qualifications.  Impressive?  Not if you saw the large collection of COA’s for non-genuine items  held in the IACC/DA  Reference Library.


This seller of autographs deals in most everything everything from signed oversized photographs, album pages, a hearty supply of signed record albums, signed sketches and more. Specializing but not limited to modern celebrities and music. The following two illustrations are a sample of the type items certified as genuine by this seller of autographs.
Here is an item that is trying to be sold authenticated by Kevin Martin of Piece of the Past.

A Sidney Poitier 8”x10” signed photograph with a sentiment with a Kevin Martin, Piece of the Past COA.

Actually a Common preprint

Those in the know say PREPRINT.   Occasionally some sellers are fooled by a preprint, but this seller has the largest collection of non-genuine items on file with the  COA Reference Library.

We have questioned Kevin Martin numerous times about forged autographs that comes with his COA. Same answer, it’s a fake COA...much more on this later.

High Profile Autograph Authenticators,

How Much/Little Do They Know

Here’s a fine example to study.  Examine this Letter OF Authenticity. First paragraph:  “This letter will serve as a certificate of authenticity for a/an Franklin Pierce signed cut, which we thoroughly examined.”

Let’s see who examined this “CUT.”

First signature on behalf of the Autograph Authentication Team makes it appear they don’t want you to know who it is.

Second signature Brian Sobrero, never heard of him before being on these COA’s

Third Signature Zach Rullo..same as above

Fourth Signature Steve Grad…Known for being removed from the Chicago Sports Convention

Fifth Signature John Reznikoff..was this before or after the hobby shocker Marilyn Monroe/John F. Kennedy fiasco

Sixth Signature. Bob many mistakes would fill a few volumes of books

Seventh Signature Bob Zafian..same as second and third signature

James Camner...only deals in opera

Rich Consola.same as 3, 4 and 7th signatures

Kevin Keating..still tring to convince him of his mistakes on the Christy Mathewson signed books

All these experts and not one knew or understand this is not a “cut” of a Franklin Pierce signature.  Actually this is a wonderful what appears to be a black bordered envelope that bears a “Free Franking Signature” of Frankin Pierce.

This is a horrific example of mis-identification which there is simply no excuse.

The difference in value between a “cut” signature and a Free Franking signature on an envelope is significant.

Autographs has been a serious problem since the early 90’s.  This is about when non autograph experts began authenticating.  As of today, the problem has gone from serious to a disaster. There are thousands of autographs that have been authenticated by the high-profile authenticators that have been mis-authenticated.  It goes both ways. GENUINE AUTOGRAPHS ARE CERTIFED AS NOT AUTHENTIC,  and forged, preprinted, secretarial and machine signed signatures are certified as genuine.

Whose to blame, the so-called authenticators found out with little knowledge of the subject how to make a quick buck.  One so called authenticator once told me all you need to become an authenticator is to have pen and paper and an opinion.  This fellow is now active and is a favorite amongst forgers.  He once said, why turn down anything, if I did, I would usually lose that customer.

Another very high-profile authenticator (James Spence) at a Virginia Sports Show once failed my dozen signed Mickey Mantle baseballs that a customer of mine was interested in purchasing. Truth is, I stood in line years before at a Philadelphia show and paid Mickey $25 per autograph ticket.  After many years passing, the balls were stored in a dark closet, some started to discolor in places while a few signatures started to bleed. It was time to sell them.

Another high-profile so called authenticator, was removed by police at a Chicago National Sports Convention for selling forged autographs to dealers. Years later when asked in Court if he was the person that did this his answer was “I don’t recall.”

Paying these incompetent authenticators $300 to give an opinion on a Babe Ruth signature is insanity. Many collectors will spend this in a heartbeat yet will spend hours debating which dryer they should purchase for about the same amount of money at Home Depot. There is somewhat of a solution.

There is 70+ professional autograph dealers that collectors can purchase from. The group is PADAH.  These dealers are the best in the business and everything they sell is guaranteed genuine!  Most importantly, not one of them is obliged to give a refund based on an opinion from the high-profile companies who claim to authenticate signatures.  Always ask the dealer if they are a member of PADAH.

A judge said in court “...that everyone has a right to an opinion.... there’s no law against being stupid.”

On this site will be posted some of the outrageous sophomoric mistakes that were made by high profile authenticators.  This site was not created to embarrass anyone. It is here to educate the international autograph community and with the hopes that someone will notice their autographs on this site and return it to the so-called expert (company) who made such a mistake and attempt to get a refund.

I clearly remember a major sports autograph dealer in Florida named Rick Kohl of Strike Zone. He always said, “I don’t care if an autograph is good or bad.” As long as one of the authenticators says it’s good, I’ll sell it.” Rick being a big supporter of the authenticating companies made sure they knew if they failed something of his, he would not use them again.

For years I have attempted to give the big three a chance in public to speak to collectors and defend their authenticating skills.  All this at a hotel convenient to them at no cost to them. For over 5 years not one of them has taken me upon this project.

One of the three high profile authenticating companies has removed the names of their so-called experts and now just has a signature that cannot be identified, who is representing the authenticating team.  It is impossible to find out who the person is that turned down the autograph you may have received in person.

I have said this for years: “Companies do not authenticate autographs, people do!” A person who signs a COA, is usually not the so-called expert who actually made the final decision on your submission.

Let’s Get this Party Started!

Woody Allen certified authentic by Beckett (Steve Grad, lead authenticator).

ACTUALLY, this is a genuine signature of Willie Nelson.

Jimmy Buffett


When a celebrity passes the craziness begins with their autograph.The insanity usuallly doesn't last long. The autograph of Jimmy Buffett should be no exception.

The following autographs of Jimmy Buffett are considered genuine by experts.  Study them carefully. Best way to find a genuine signature of Buffett is in one of his books. But even this is not gospel!


Average eBay seller stating this is a reproduction, is he right?

PSA/DNA disagrees. WHAT SAY YOU!

Let’s give PSA/DNA a second try….

Check above with the 5 known genuine signatures, and let’s move on.

Let’s give JSA (Jimmy Spence) a shot at it......

These are 3 of the many we had to choose from...

do any come close to the 5 originals?

Let’s see what kind of luck we have with Steve Grad of Beckett

Remember the three following below are just a sample of what we had to choose from

Who was more accurate, PSA/DNA, JSA, Beckett or? You decide...

Charges for Authenticting Jimmy Buffett




Stephen Koschal ~ Autograph Services
Serving Collectors, Libraries, Institutions, Autograph Galleries and Dealers Since 1967

7155 Sand Crest View, Colorado Springs, CO 80923 USA ~ Phone (561) 315-3622 ~