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PSA/DNA Authenticator Thinks Mail Request Autographs Are as Good as In Person Autographs?

Posted 8/21/2012 18:53 | Filed under Third Party Authentication

Ty Cobb Laser Reproduction Authenticated by PSA/DNA

Yesterday I got involved in a brief e-mail exchange with former PSA/DNA Consultant Authenticator Bob Zafian  that shocked me. He contacted me about a certain prominent former government official whose autograph I have that Bob was interested in auctioning. As we discussed the potential value, I mentioned that I had only seen this person once at an unannounced appearance. In an attempt to downplay the value, Bob replied by saying that this official responds to mail autograph requests sent to their employer and book publisher.

I was stunned. Maybe I'm old school, but I believe it's very dangerous for autograph dealers to sell autographs obtained through the mail (excluding arranged signings). I answered, "I never, ever sell an autograph obtained through the mail. Surprised that you do." Zafian said, "Why is that?" I said, "Do you have any idea how many celebrities, politicians and sports stars use autopens? And if they use autopens, they use multiple templates. Almost undetectable to the naked eye."

Zafian's response: "Well I know a little bit about autographs. I know how to tell an autopen from a legitimate signature, it's not that difficult if you know what you're looking at and I know how to investigate and research autographs." I said, "If you say so. Your buddies at PSA/DNA are largely incompetent. They have 'authenticated' numerous autopens and even laser reproductions."

Sure enough, I just checked eBay, and as of today (August 21) there are 38 Gerald Ford autographs that are PSA/DNA "authenticated." I wrote about this issue previously. I'll bet that at least 30 of the 38 were signed by an autopen. Yes, including the baseballs and golf balls. So maybe Zafian needs to be hired as Principal Authenticator if he's really that good at spotting autopens. Because obviously PSA/DNA needs all the help it can get in this area. They are utterly incompetent.