Year's "Most Dangerous Sports Autographs"
There's less than a 50-50 chance autographs of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Babe Ruth and
Lou Gehrig are genuine in the billion dollar sports collectibles and autographs marketplace,
according to the second annual survey by PSA/DNA Authentication Services, the world's largest
third-party authentication service for autographs and collectibles.
There has been a significant increase in fake autographs of former President and former
sportscaster, Ronald Reagan, in the months following his death this past June, cautions
PSA/DNA, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT) of Newport Beach, California.
The second annual PSA/DNA Authenticity Probability Index (API) tracks the percentage of
authentic autographs submitted to PSA/DNA experts for examination and authentication in 2004.
The results underscore the need for collectors and dealers to take proper precautions to avoid
"Only 33 percent of the Michael Jordan signatures and only 42 percent of the Ronald Reagan
signatures sent to us this year were judged genuine. However, the situation in the marketplace
is actually worse because collectors and dealers generally do not send us obvious forgeries,"
said Joe Orlando, PSA/DNA President.
Here are the "Ten Most Dangerous Sports Autographs" of 2004, according to PSA/DNA:
- Lou Gehrig, only 20 percent of submitted autographs were genuine
- Michael Jordan, 33 percent
- Tiger Woods, 33 percent
- Roberto Clemente, 41 percent
- LeBron James, 43 percent
- Shaquille O'Neal, 45 percent
- Babe Ruth, 48 percent
- Derek Jeter, 52 percent
- Roger Maris, 52 percent
- Roger Clemens, 52 percent
PSA/DNA began authenticating non-sports autographs during 2004, and here are initial findings on some of those forgeries:
- The Beatles, 6 percent of submitted autographs were genuine
- John F. Kennedy, 14 percent
- Elvis Presley, 24 percent
- Marilyn Monroe, 24 percent
- Ronald Reagan, 42 percent
For the second consecutive year, the most frequently submitted signature to PSA/DNA
for authentication in 2004 was Mickey Mantle's, and only 59 percent of the Mantle
autographs submitted were deemed genuine.
"There is tremendous demand for Lou Gehrig's autograph, but forgeries are prevalent
in the marketplace. Gehrig was a very private person whose life was cut short by the
disease that now bears his name, and he signed far less frequently than his legendary
teammate, Babe Ruth," said Orlando.
"Autograph sales are responsible for a significant portion of the billion dollar
sports collectibles business. With all the money being spent by collectors, it is
imperative that they are informed about the dangers of forgeries in the marketplace
and they insist on credible, third-party authentication."
"The market for autographs of entertainment and historical figures from Marlon
Brando to Abraham Lincoln also is plagued with the same problems as the sports
autograph market. Some experts believe the percentage of these forgeries is even
worse than the sports autograph market," Orlando stated.
Since its founding in 1991, PSA/DNA experts have examined over 8 million collectibles
including autographs, sports cards and other sports memorabilia. PSA/DNA certified the
bat used by Babe Ruth to hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium in 1923 and that
recently sold for nearly $1.3 million and Mark McGwire's 70th home run baseball that
sold for $3 million.
PSA/DNA services are used by the NFL to authenticate game-used Super Bowl footballs and
Pro Bowl equipment.
For additional information, contact PSA/DNA, PO Box 6180, Newport Beach, CA 92658.
Phone: (800) 325-1121 or (949) 833-8824. Fax: (949) 833-7955. Web: www.psadna.com.
Source: Collectors Universe, Inc.
Date: January 19, 2005
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