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.

Autograph Authentication

Who Is The Best

There’s so much negative talk amongst collectors about how poorly is the accuracy of the so called autograph authenticating companies.
At a recent sports show a group of collectors were discussing how they all agree that COA’s from the more active high profile companies on eBay are basically a joke and useless. More and more collectors are no longer submitting items for their autographs to be authenticated.

They are now depending on an accurate bill of sale from an autograph dealer that has credentials. After all it’s your only legal document.

Since popular areas of collecting seem to be sports and Presidents of the United States that was the area to do a short study on the accuracy of some of the authenticating companies.

A team of autograph experts from PADAH (Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses) was chosen to do a survey and President Bill Clinton’s signature on a baseball was their choice.

The following two signed baseballs were chosen from eBay as good exemplars to start the investigation.  Both baseballs were authenticated by PSA/DNA. It is recommended that one uses these two illustrations as a guide.

On eBay it seems that JSA has authenticated the most baseballs believed by their “experts” to be genuinely signed by Bill Clinton.

We have chosen four illustrations from eBay. How can someone (an expert at JSA) state that the following baseball is genuinely signed by Bill Clinton?
Compare the following signature with the two certified by PSA/DNA.

Now if JSA states the above ball is signed by Clinton, then how can the next one also be genuine.

The “experts” at JSA have stated the following ball is genuinely signed by Clinton. How could this possibly be if the one’s illustrated above are genuine.

Based on JSA believing the above three Bill Clinton signed balls are genuine, who at JSA has determined this this fourth one below is real?

Which of the four balls above would you purchase? CAN THIS TYPE OF AUTHENTICATING, CAN EVEN THOUGHT TO BE CALLED LEGITIMATE?

If this little study thus far hasn’t convinced you that COA’s are basically worthless, then you will most likely add a forged signature with a COA to your collection in the future

Let’s try another one of the high-profile companies. The signature on the ball above is so bad that only one example will be illustrated from this company. This should convince anyone not to spend more time with this authentication company.
The ball illustrated above has been authenticated by Beckett Authentication, Steve Grad as the lead authenticator. No more to be said.
Trying one more time with a little unknown outfit is a ball authenticated by PAAS. The lead authenticator is listed as Mike Frost. However from several court records his name is Michael Fiegenbaum. Why hide your real name?
Maybe you hide your real name when you put out a horrific COA  for a ball like the one below.

One more thing, his “experts” listed are his wife and brother and son. Two others have asked Feigenbaum to remove their names, Neil Lanigan and Roger Gilchrist. They have done so in writing, as they have never been associated with this PAAS.

Most interesting, that this item, authenticated as genuine, is so bad, in the sellers description is written “PAAS Authenticated full letter of authentication. Please also make the determination of authenticating for yourself by examining the photo/signature.

PAAS has a history of being the choice of forgers. Based on the above example, it is understandable.

The autograph experts at PADAH have determined that:

PSA/DNA is the obvious winner of being the most accurate when authenticating signatures of Bill Clinton on a baseball.

As for the other three, apparently they don’t even appear to be in the game.  Collecting serious money for receiving a worthless opinion seems to be the it what you want!

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

A Short Ride Through Autograph Silly Land

There seems to be a pattern, when we write an article about authenticating  forged autographs, the name of Beckett Authentication comes up and not in a good way. You can see their lead authenticator, Steve Grad who appears occasionally as the “autograph expert” on the TV series Pawn Stars.

There’s basically little to argue about which President of the United States and his First Lady  are  the most prolific signers of autographs.  One might say Gerald R. Ford signed the most.

I think differently however Ford did sign many items and probably signed the most since Harry Truman, yet there is no question that Carter wins the autograph troIt might even be true that Jimmy Carter signed more books than Ford signed in total.

With so many items that Jimmy and Rosalynn signed through the years, especially after leaving The White House, why would some imbecile forge their autographs?

Someone or a few are attempting to do so but the result of their work and placing items up for sale leads me to believe calling them what I did is flattering.

First let’s look at what some of the sellers of autographs are peddling on eBay.

Here’s a seller with 83 positive feedbacks, offering a Jimmy and Rosalynn signed photograph. Not surprisingly, for those who are hooked on COA’s, you get one with this photograph for only $239.99. Not too bad for a color dual signed photograph.

Around the same time, the same seller on eBay with 83 feedbacks lists the same photo at a reduced price for only $29.99.  They now list it as a reprint. Lucky it didn’t sell the first time. Some collectors who loves those COA’s would have been burnt.

Here’s another bargain on eBay.  A vintage, hand  written letter by Jimmy Carter and also signed by Rosalynn Carter.  In excellent condition, This super seller on eBay has 2,930 feedbacks. That’ quite a bit of selling on eBay.  Buy it now price only $649.99.

Illustrated below, another super seller with a whopping 7,859 feedbacks manages to have a ‘similar’ letter for only $250.00

The first seller panics and relists his handwritten/signed letter with a starting bid of only $199.99.

These  two  geniuses are battling it out and I bet you know more than they do.  These two are selling a printed letter. There has to be hundreds of the same letter out there. There’s one original somewhere but not one of these two have it.

Readers, the following illustration are genuine signatures of Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

Some ‘expert’ on eBay from California with 3,836 feedbacks is offering the following signature at a price of $49.00

For only $60.00 more you can get an item signed by both Jimmy and Rosalynn  Carter from a seller with 2,812 feedbacks.

Now you just may want to try someone else that has more experience. Here’s a seller with an amazing 9,312 feedbacks.   This one may be a little more pricy but it comes with a COA from the high profile company who claims to authenticate autographs.

You just finished looking at three items and all of them garbage.   The one above, certified as genuine by Beckett Authentication is just one of a plethora of mistakes made by them and their lead authenticator,  Steve Grad. This is what Beckett has to say about themselves... "Our experts have unmatched years of experience….and are the most trusted and knowledgeable in the industry...” If this was even close to being true, the whole autograph authenticating business is in shambles.  How about this....Steve Grad is giving courses on autograph authentication and here’s a piece from Beckett’s website...”Thanks for checking out the latest edition of Grad Scholl and don't miss the next episode on February 23rd as continue to celebrate...”   Should anyone be able to locate the Grad Scholl, please contact
Maybe you could have better luck dealing with a book dealer who has 702 feedbacks.

What a mess!

Let’s give it a try on eBay with a signature of Rosalynn Carter on a Federal Reserve note.

Maybe, what you have learned, unless you are truly an autograph expert, it may be best to just stay away from eBay when purchasing any autograph.

One more thing, many collectors are very active purchasing Executive Mansion, White House and The White House cards signed by Presidents of the United States and First Ladies.  If you are looking at one like this, it is not hand signed but signed by a machine.

Should you want to collect autographs, it might be wise to choose a professional autograph dealer who is a member of ‘PADAH’  Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses.

BECKETT Authentication....Very Strange

The Value of a Beckett Authentication

Recently we came across a vey poor looking forgery of Babe Ruth. Being offered in an auction. This signature was authenticated “as genuine” by Beckett and placed in a Beckett plastic coffin.  Beckett Authentication # 083241973425171.

Almost impossible to believe the above Babe Ruth signature could be seen as genuine by anyone

We reached out to Beckett and requested information about “who” at Beckett authenticated this signature.  Give us the name of the “expert” at Beckett who passed this signature. To our surprise we got a rare response from Beckett.

Wasn’t our email self explanatory?

Our response.......

See below...Beckett responded once again requesting a clear picture. Why, we gave them their own  certification number...

Our response for clear pictures.

Beckett’s unbelievable response for their autograph expert to comment on their once guaranteed genuine Babe Ruth signature, they come up with the following....

They don’t recognize their own certification number.  THE ITEM CERTIFIED BY BECKETT  is illustrated at the top of this story. What is their not to recognize?????

In closing is my last email to Beckett, which there was NO response.

When a company makes a mistake, as they have done with this horrific Babe Ruth signature, why can’t they just own up to it.

Beckett charges a whopping $400.00 to authenticate a Babe Ruth signature, not to mention the additional cost of placing it in one of their coffins.

The ole saying is “You get what you paid for.”

                 However, the following  is what Beckett has to say....

“Beckett has been the industry standard....”

They claim to have 4  experts authenticating...”Beckett has a combined 25 years of experience authenticating autographs...”  and this is an incredible statement that is so very wrong  “doing this longer than anyone else...”

The icing on the cake “They use cutting edge technology.....”.

AUTOGRAPH Authentication

Real Deal or Scam

You Decide

In the next three stories, you will decide whether the autograph hobby is in need of a third-party authenticator.

Who at these companies is looking at an autograph that was submitted to the company?  Who???

You may even decide that “opinions” from these companies are not worth the paper they are written on.  Just because a signature is on the bottom of a companies “COA” doesn’t mean that person looked at the signature being “authenticated.”

We are all going to follow this educational course and at the end determine which of the three high profile authenticating companies, who, if any, is the most reliable.

There is a great autograph reference book Autograph Hell, It Doesn’t Have To Be Real, It Just Has To Be Authentic.” The author is Charles G. Irion and I like one of his statements. “Change the name from authenticators” to the “opinionators” because, basically it’s somebody’s opinion that it’s real.”

A judge once said in a courtroom “everyone has a right to an opinion, there’s no law against being stupid.”  This is one reason why it is almost impossible to find out from a company who claims to authenticate, who examined your autograph.  In most cases it is someone in their late teens making $15 an hour matching your autograph with exemplars from similar items posted on eBay.  These “opinionators” have no clue whether the one on eBay is genuine.

This course will give you some insight as to how accurate autograph authenticating companies really are.

Take this course and discover how many collectors who paid for an authentication, got an “opinion” from companies who all claim to be the   best in the industry.

The following are some comments from the three high profile authentication companies.

“the world’s largest autograph authentication company.”  DON’T YOU WISH THEY WOULD SAY THEY ARE THE MOST ACCURATE?

“...the largest and most trusted autograph authentication service in the world.”


“cutting edge authentication technics.”


“Peace of mind from the leaders in autograph authentication.”


“Our trusted certificates enhances the value of your item.”


“...has been the industry standard.”


“The only autograph authentication company you will ever need.”

FOR WHAT.  Maybe if you are trying to get a forged autograph passed as genuine.

“More than our experts just being the best.”


The autograph chosen for this course is a signature of Hank Aaron on a baseball. Readers here do not have to know a thing about Aaron’s signature. You will learn a lot by the end of these three courses.

The first company who claims to authenticate autographs will be PSA/DNA.  We had many to choose from and have taken 6 of the clearest examples.

PSA/DNA “experts” decided this is a genuine signature 

Did Aaron forget how to spell his name?

Now if the first example is genuine, how did this one pass?

Can you find any similarities from this one to the two above.

Here’s another example where supposedly Aaron leaves out  the “”n” in Hank  and part of his last name.

Here’s a strange one, just look at the “Hank” Arron any better

Illustrated is the last one.

Does it appear to you that all six were signed by the same hand?  Which one, IF ANY do you feel comfortable and would like in your collection?

PSA/DNA charges $30 to authenticate a Hank Aaron signed ball.

Next course is Hank Aaron signed balls

AUTOGRAPH Authentication

Real Deal or Scam

You Decide

Part Two * JSA  Authentication

To be fair we have chosen 6 examples of baseballs said to be signed by Hank Aaron and certified as genuine by JSA.  See if you agree with JSA’s opinion or just wonder

what is going on with autograph authentications.  Do they have any clue about authenticating or is it just about making money?  Could it be if something is turned down for a good customer,  will they lose the account. What makes sense, accuracy or just collect another authentication fee and make the customer happy?

Let’s give JSA the benefit of the doubt, looks weird but maybe real?

You decide, you may be more accurate.

If this one above is genuine how can the first one be possibly real.   

More troublesome is how can the same company say they are both genuine?

Someone at JSA decided the above two are genuine, where does the above fit in?

Doesn’t the bottom of the “H” in Hank look like an anchor of a small boat?

How about the “l” in Hank? Looks just like the “K’s” in all the other Hanks?

Put on different glasses…the “A” in Aaron is right on!  Yes, let’s pass this gem as genuine.

Wow! This is very convincing. The “H” in Hank looks spot on.  

One can easily see Hank took his time penning the “H.”   The unsureness at the end of the “H” and that long tail at the end is convincing.  This one must be the best as you can read the “ank” in Hank.  Just a little troubling is the “A” in Aaron.  That umbrella on top of the “A” in Aaron is a little different than all the ones we have seen thus far.  Leaning toward this one has a chance at being genuine. Let’s move on.

This is getting more and more difficult. This is why we are not expert authenticators. 

Nice flow with this example. Maybe he started to inscribe this baseball to “Stan.”

OOPS, Hank, you did it again, you spelt your name wrong. 

But close enough to get $45.00  from the collector for an expert authentication and keep the customer happy.

AUTOGRAPH Authentication

Real Deal or Scam

You Decide

Part Three * Beckett  Authentication

We are coming to the end of the Hank Aaron educational course. With all the experience behind you regarding the signatures of Hank Aaron we can go forward. Let’s just go though 6 more examples just to confirm that you and the best “experts’ in the hobby agree on a genuine signature of Hank Aaron.

Are we happy with the bowling pin looking “H” in Hank is convincing?

The “a” in Hank and the attached swirl and oversized looking small “e” has a nice flow. The small “a” in Aaron and the “euu” is just the way you want to see it.  If they say it’s genuine, that’s gospel.  Pay them the  50 bucks they charge. Now try to sell the ball…you may need to  get a second opinion from another expert. After all there’s two more professional autograph authenticating companies to choose from and both say they are  the  greatest.

Let’s get by this one quickly as we can call it the  Hank “Adios” signature.  

Now here’s the bargain of the course.  $1500. No comment on this one.

Do we believe it is self-explanatory?  Another $50 in the company’s coffers.

It doesn’t have to be real just COA’D TO BE AUTHENTIC.

This is an interesting example. Wonder how long it took the experts to
  authenticate  this as  genuine. Do you think the “expert” at Beckett called another for a second opinion.  What stands out is  the “g” in “Aaron.” The  rest looks like ”ausn” or “ai”  can’t decipher the next letter and then  possibly an “n.”

Let’s just move along and call this the “Hail” and runaway  signature. 

Ca Ching! Another $50. How long did you have to wait to  get the certificate for this ball?

And the last one has a chance…    

The last top of the “H” looks like a “6.” Impressed is that little tail or flag added to the “6.”  convincing is the lack of the “n” in Hank and whatever is that “c” for a “K.”  Impressive the “A”in Aaron appears to be “Al.”  And the rest of “aron” you go figure. That’s why you are paying an “expert” for an opinion.

Since all 18 illustrations in the three courses were all determined to be authentic by these companies.....can you even image what they may have turned down?

In conclusion you most likely have figured out that most who call themselves “experts” really have no clue how to authenticate.  Why should they? Find one so-called expert who has a legitimate background in the business of autographs.

Try to find one “expert” who will discuss autograph authentication. We have tried “in writing” for several years and not a single request was responded to.

Ask yourself, why are they in hiding.   The results of this course maybe the answer.

Most agree, since the creation of the so-called companies who claim to authenticate autographs, the hobby is not in a better place.  Forgers have found a way to get their creations passed as genuine. Auction houses can now say, “we don’t care if its good or bad, it just needs to come with a COA.”  We are off the hook!

The amount of non-genuine autographs with a COA stating the item is genuine is not to be believed.  The high number of “genuine” autographs failed by the so-called experts is just as amazing.

Just to mention for the record, most so-called authenticating companies have a blacklist.  If they don’t like the submitter, the item usually fails.

If they don’t like collectors or dealers who write similar articles such as this, you have no chance of getting something passed as genuine.

The only way to avoid this is don’t pay for an uneducated “guess” or “opinion.”  Support the professional autograph dealers who are members of “PADAH.”  Ther are over 70 of them who are not required to give a refund based on an “opinion” or  “guess” from a third party company who claims to authenticate autographs.  In addition to their own reference, each member has access to the largest library of exemplars in the business should they need it.

Beckett Authentication Service and PSA in the same sinking boat

There seems to be no end in autograph authenticating screw-ups. The following is so sad as someone is playing a sick trick to a father who lost his famous daughter.

In addition, some auction house was fooled into believing a letter certified as genuine by two companies who “claim” to authenticate autographs.

 The auction was held by SCP Auction in Laguana Niguel, California.  Autograph letter signed double signature, Muhammad Ali/Cassius Clay to the father of Mary Joe Kopechne shortly after the Chappaquiddick tragedy. The letter sold for over $3,000 probably because some uneducated collector trusted the opinions/guesses of so-called experts from two different companies who claim to authenticate autographs.

In my opinion, this letter would have sold for much more however collectors who do not depend on third party “experts” and do their own research did not bid on this item.

What’s inexcusable, the shoddy work by Beckett and PSA was not only authenticating a simple signature, but an entire letter supposedly written and signed by Muhammad Ali.  Any professional autograph authenticator should easily have at a minimum 100 examples of Muhammad Ali’s signature and copies of his handwriting.  There’s an entire book written on Muhammad Ali’s signature.  Eighty-eight pages, heavily illustrated with Ali’s signatures.

Reference Book On Muhammad Ali’s signature

The following illustration is taken from the catalog of the auction house.

“Experts” at Beckett and PSA authenticated this letter to be handwritten and signed Muhammad Ali/Cassius Clay

In this letter there are over 100 words said to be written by Muhammad Ali.  Can anyone find just one word that resembles Muhammad Ali’s handwriting?  There is no reason to read down to the signatures because they are in the same handwriting.

The individual who wrote this letter did not even try to imitate the handwriting of Muhammad Ali.

Some wonder how much was paid to Beckett and PSA to authenticate this item.  Everyone wonders if the winning bidder, even today, knows they have a worthless letter that they paid over $3,000 plus buyer’s premium.

Eventually, they will find out after they try to sell this letter to a professional autograph dealer.

Beckett Authentication, Steve Grad, lead authenticator. 70+ Dealers Don't have to Accept Beckett's GUESS, for a refund.

All too often atrocities in the field of autograph authentication arise.  The problems with authenticating autographs by persons with little and even no background authenticating is advertised by companies as being “experts.”  This following is sad and  just one example of an individual at  “Beckett” that has no clue what they are doing. The illustration of a boxing magazine cover, see below, has a Beckett authenticated sticker affixed to the bottom right corner.  Sticker ID# G69563.

Fight Game Magazine, July 1999

First things first, it is well known in the autograph industry never to affix a sticker or otherwise deface an original item of any kind.   It devalues the autograph item but in this particular case, it really doesn’t matter.

According to the autograph “expert” at Beckett, the cover of this magazine is signed by Evander Holyfield. We have to assume that the “expert” has gone to Beckett’s source of exemplars and after careful study authenticated this signature of  Evander Holyfield is being genuine.

According to several genuine experts, this signature on the magazine cover is that of Bert Sugar.

Thus, the magazine is ruined, the sticker hurts it more, and authenticating the wrong person makes it ready for the trash.  Some uniformed collector, bought the signed magazine and paid for a worthless authentication.

Just one more reason why over 70 members of the “PADAH” Preferred Autograph Dealers and Auction Houses are not required to issue a refund based on any opinion/guess issued by Beckett Authentication Services..


This time they messed up on a signature of Coretta Scott King.  In March of 2018 Beckett guaranteed a signature of Coretta Scott King on a letter to be Beckett Guaranteed genuine. See below.

Guaranteed Genuine by Beckett

A few years later Beckettt passed as genuine a First Day cover bearing the identical signature as the letter above. This cover was selling for $484.38. Obviously a signature signed by the Autopen. See below.

Autopen Signature of King passed authentic by Beckett

Recently, bidding over on October 26, 2023 the same cover passed once before by Beckett now being offered at a reduced price of $299.95

Cover, Autopen signature of King at reduced price.

Typed letter signed dated August 28, 1968 with same Autopen signature of Coretta Scott King.

It certainly appears that Beckett does not maintain a file on signatures where they can reference past authentications with a newly submitted signature.

Interesting, cannot find on the Beckett web site any listing of the names of their autograph authenticators.

In this case more than one person paid for a bad opinion

Third Party Authenticating

Positive or Negative

Here's a Test, You Decide

On Muhammad Ali's Autograph

The following educational study is not to embarrass any one person or company. It’s just a short course to give everyone a chance to see how these third-party authentications operate.

The one common denominator is when spending your hard-earned money, you’ll get a response from a company and not an individual.  You will never find out who made the “opinion” or “guess” on the autograph you submitted.

One individual very recently tried to find out “who” at JSA said an item he submitted was not genuine. The item he purchased was from a very well known, respected autograph dealer who sold a Muhammad Ali signed glove that came from one of Ali’s show promoters.  The promoter had Ali sign nearly 100 gloves as part of the deal including Ali’s appearance at a sports show.

As ridiculous looking as some of the Ali signatures displayed below, these are the results by what are called the leading autograph authenticators in the world.

The following baseball is authenticated “as genuine” by Beckett. Someone not only paid for an authentication but also paid for a grading.

Ali, Authenticated by Beckett,

Beckett charges $100 to Authenticate an Ali Autograph.

Let’s go to a couple of items of Ali authenticated, as genuine by PSA/DNA.

Can anyone figure out the two signatures on the gloves below? Could Ali have signed in Arabic?  PSA/DNA’s website states they are the “world’s leading third-party authentication service.”

Let’s try the next thirty party autograph authentication company who also claims to be “world’s leader in autograph authentication and foremost autograph authentication company in the world.”  Makes one feel quite comfortable there are two companies who believe they are   the world’s leader in authenticating autographs.  Let’s take a peek at their work.  They charge $75 to authenticate, a bargain versus Beckett, yet one can add an additional $50 for expedited service.  The following 6 illustrations are signatures believed to be genuine by JSA.

Should you have the slightest knowledge of Muhammad Ali’s signature which ones, if any illustrated above would you consider to be genuine.  With a little bit of knowledge, it should be easy for you to detect that some different hands signed these gloves.

Now you have spent time examining the nine signatures above.  You are either totally confused how some or any of these signatures were passed by the world’s leading third-party authentication services.

Illustrated below is a glove with a little more writing to work with.  The owner felt since it comes with the Certificate of Authenticity from Steiner Spots, there is no reason to pay for an additional COA from one of the “world’s leading autograph authentication companies.” Anyone with some knowledge of Ali’s signature will tell you this “Muhammad Ali Aka Cassius Clay” is the real deal.

Steiner Sport correctly Authenticated Ali Signatures “as genuine”

After seeing the work done by the three “world’s leading authentication companies” see the difference in the above Steiner authenticated signed glove.

The following genuine signed glove of Ali is nearly identical to the Steiner example. Look closely and notice that the signatures are very close but not the same glove.

The above signed glove was submitted to JSA Authentication Services, and they have determined the signatures of Ali and Clay are not authentic.

Besides the possibility of having little expertise authenticating Muhammad Ali signatures, the only reason this signed glove did not pass is if the submitter is on the authenticating company’s blacklist. When this happens, they will usually state the signature will likely fail or it cannot be authenticated.  This is common practice and submitters end up paying for their genuine item and having it failed.

The purchaser of the above glove is very upset that it was turned down as he is familiar with Ali’s signature, and this is why he purchased it.  The purchaser has contacted JSA on a few occasions to try and find out “who” has offered their opinion on this signed glove.  After several requests, which must have been annoying, he finally got a response. “The whole company decided it was not genuinely signed.”  However not a single person at JSA will take responsibility for not passing the signatures on this glove.

The head of the JSA company has had serious problems in the past authenticating the signature of Muhammad Ali. A well-known example was back in 2003 where a signed limited-edition lithograph thought to be at least 100 copies was authenticated, as genuine. It was later proven that the signatures on the print were signed by Ali’s wife, Khalilah Ali. The authenticator scrambled around the USA trying to recover the authenticated examples.  The PADAH library has at least 40 of the COA’s signed by the wife. There lithographs authenticated by Ali’s wife and the authenticator were selling for $750.00 after they were issued.  In 2007 they were being offered on eBay for $1,099.95 and at the National show they were asking $2,000 for one of the “signed” lithographs.

It’s common practice with these third-party companies to reverse their “guess” if you can get to someone within the company and convince them that the signatures are genuine.

Doing so is near impossible unless you know someone who knows someone in the company.

The lack of expertise authenticating Ali autographs and hundreds of other names with third party authenticators needs the attention of law enforcement.

Presently there are 75 professional autograph dealers, all members of PADAH who no longer are required to issue a refund based on the guesses of third-party authenticating companies.

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 ~