30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Win Some... Lose Some

Over the past few years, I've slowly been picking up autographs at the flea market without any idea of whether or not they're real or forged.  I did the basic research and compared the signatures to certified signatures online, but since I wasn't there to witness the signing... I had to have a little faith and hope that one day they'd pass PSA's standards.

Now I realize that PSA isn't the lord commander of autograph authenticity.  They're just a company that hires people who analyze autographs.  Those people then give their professional opinion on whether or not your signatures are authentic or not.

We've all read and heard the numerous stories where PSA has screwed up and authenticated signatures that weren't real.  They've also shot down some of my buddy's submissions even though he acquired the signatures in person.  The bottom line is they're human, so they aren't perfect.

However... they have a fairly decent reputation and items that have been certified by them tend to have a higher resale value, so that's enough to sell me on their services.

Last month, they set up at the annual TriStar show at the Cow Palace.  One of my buddies has a friend who works for them, so I was able to get my items authenticated at a discounted rate.

Today's post reveals the hits and misses from my autograph submission.

Flea Market Item #1:  Willie Mays Baseball

Last August, I found this autographed baseball at the Branham Flea Market and paid $8.  It looked good and the price was right, so I snatched it up.

What did the people over at PSA think?  Ding.  Ding.  Ding.  We have a winner.  It passed.

Flea Market Item #2:  Charlton Heston and Colin Powell Photos

Back in November, one of my friends picked up a binder filled with autographed photos.  I grabbed the Carlton Heston and Colin Powell for $20 and was offered a money back guarantee if they didn't pass.

Well... as you can see from the image... the Four Star General passed.  But Moses didn't.  I'm a little surprised, because I compared it to this photo that PSA did certify and they're pretty similar:

Oh well.  Can't win them all.

Flea Market Item #3:  Mike Eruzione Puck

Before I get into the purchase, watch this:

Last week, Leicester City defied the odds when they were crowned Premier League Champions.  It is considered one of the greatest upsets in the history of sports.  Thirty-six years ago another sports juggernaut was unexpectedly taken down during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, when U.S. hockey team defeated the Soviet Union national team.

I found this signed puck at the Capitol Flea Market back in 2013 sitting on the ground.  The lady's asking price?  Five dollars.  No need for negotiations... this puck was worth the $5 risk.

And the risk paid off... at least according to PSA.  The puck was signed by Mike Eruzione, who was the team captain for Team USA and the guy who scored the game winning goal in the game leading up to the gold medal game against Finland.*  That play instantly made him an American icon and this purchase instantly made me a very happy collector.  *Thank you Marc!

Flea Market Item #4:  Jerry Rice Mini Helmet

Jerry Rice is hands down the greatest wide receiver I've ever seen play... and this is coming from a Steve Largent and Seattle Seahawks fan who isn't too fond of the San Francisco 49ers or the Oakland Raiders.

One of the regular vendors at the Capitol Flea Market also works at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  That's where they used to hold the annual GTSM Sports Memorabilia shows.  Anyways... the guy had his nephew grab this autograph a few years ago and I bought it off of him for $25.

After comparing this signature to other certified Rice autographs, I was pretty confident that this helmet would pass.  I was wrong.

eBay Item #1:  George R. R. Martin Hat

I've already shared this story with you a few weeks ago.  If you missed it and wanna check it out... click here.

Quick summary:  Bought this hat signed by the Game of Thrones creator for $35 and a few months later... PSA certified it.

eBay Item #2:  Mr. Fuji Photo

I've written about this signed photo already too.  Interested?  Click here.

Quick summary:  I picked up this signed photo off of eBay last year for just under $16 and was waiting around to have PSA take a look at it.  Thankfully it passed.

I actually submitted a few other items that were actually in-person autographs.  All of them passed as well.

At the end of the day, I submitted thirteen items and eleven of them passed.  Like the title of the post says, "win some... lose some".

Have a great week everyone.  Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Great luck indeed. That puck is magnificent.

  2. My old boss gave me a Mays signed ball that he bought in a pawn shop for $10. I've always wondered if it would pass PSA. It looks nearly identical to yours, but I guess that doesn't mean its real. Thanks for the post!

  3. 11 out of 13 is very good. Too bad about the Rice, but you really hit homeruns on everything else.

  4. Is it possible to contest their assessment on an item? If so, I would do it on your Charlton Heston photo. The signature on yours and the already authenticated version appear to be identical, so it seems a bit odd that they would give it the thumbs down. Maybe the person that looked at yours wasn't the most qualified in that are of autographs.

    That Mr. Fuji photo was already cool before authentication, so it's nice to see that it came back legit.

  5. I always heard to flip an autograph over to get a better look at it and to tell if it might be forged. If you flip those two Hestons, there are a couple parts that really stand out. The little loop when he goes from the "n" in Charlton to cross the "t", his last name looks like an after thought, and even how he starts the C. Straight line on the authentic while your's has a curve.

    I would compare to a few others that are authenticated.

  6. As always you have found some amazing treasures. Thanks for sharing them. Now, I hate to be one of "those guys" but, you erroneously have Mike Eruzione as the guy who scored the game winning goal during the gold medal game. He scored the game winning goal against the Soviet Union allowing the United States to advance to the gold medal game against Finland. USA won that game by a score of 4-2. Eruzione was held scoreless against Finland.

  7. Amazing Mays, sorry about the rice.

  8. Awesome!! Especially the Mays and the Eruzione!

  9. Score some for Fuji. You know you are a dedicated reader when you remember most of the posts referenced above.. I have a multi-Sig A's ball-with my man Willie Magee. But I am 99% sure the ball is fake-but who knows. I guess I fear rejection.

  10. that mays ball is fantastic. and maybe the guy was a niners fan who didn't like jerry rice going to the raiders.

  11. p@tp - thanks. i'm glad the puck passed, b/c i probably would have bit the bullet and purchased one if it hadn't.

    j.meeks - yeah... psa or not... we'll truly never know if our autos are real. heck even the ones we pull from packs have a chance of being forged.

    mr. scott - bummed about the rice. could have flipped it and had more spending money ;)

    jon - i'll have to ask my buddy about that. that might be a possibility. as for the fuji auto, i sat around for a photo and signature i really liked... so it was a sigh of relief to have it pass

    jedi - you should work for psa ;)

    marc - i stand corrected. thanks... i'll update it immediately

    john - thanks. guess i should be happy one of them passed.

    need more cardboard - thanks

    bman - i have a steve young ball my brother gave me that i didn't get assessed for the exact same reason. since i'll never flip it, there isn't a reason for me to get it certified

    gcrl - thanks. great conspiracy theory. let's go with that.