Im sure that many of you are also autograph collectors as well as card collectors. File me under that heading too, as my allegiance has always been more to the autograph collectors than the card collectors. Its rare that I buy a non-autographed card, and that leaves me in quite a predicament when I want to buy a certified auto on eBay.
Lately I have noticed a lot of autographs popping up that not only arent real, but have a GAI certificate with the item. GAI used to be a company that at least had some loose standards in authenticating autographs, but that has changed recently according to a number of connected people in the hobby. Therefore, like me, you may start to see a lot of GAI certified autos that arent at all close to being legit. Although some GAI certs may actually be for real autos, Im not sure if I would risk my hard earned money if I didn’t know the autograph as well as I know some. The company just has way too many red flags and it is the reason that people like Kevin Burge use them almost exclusively. Due to company revenues issues they have been known to issue a cert on any order that is submitted, and that leaves a lot of fake autographs out there that look real to the average collector.
Again, im not saying that you should disregard buying an auto just because it has a GAI cert, but I would exhaust all options before you head in that direction. If there is another option, why risk it, right? Use your head and think, if a company is out there that can generate revenue any way they can, this seems like it would be the first course of action to get more people to utilize your service.
We already know that non-money starved companies like PSA are just as willing to authenticate fake topps rookie premiere autos, so who is to say that they don’t employ the same practice here. Autograph authentication has always been a third party opinion, not a third party FACT, and that leads to a lot of stuff happening that normally wouldn’t be an issue. Its tough to say that most of the autos they certify are fake, but it isnt out of the realm of possibility to think that it is just another tool to generate revenue through the normal conflict of interest it presents. Let’s not forget the video of Beckett partner JSA certifying a baseball signed in the parking lot of a show.
A lot of people may criticize my site for being overly negative when it comes to the tendencies of people operating in the hobby, yet time after time, issues like this come up. When they do come up, everyone has such a peachy keen outlook on things that they refuse to think they could be on the wrong side of a scammer transaction. Watch your ass people, as this hobby tends to eat people alive when they don’t think anything bad can happen to them. Any time money is involved in anything, people will find ways to exploit other people to get ahead. Don’t think for a moment that respected hobby sources may be on the take as well. I have never forgotten that, and I attribute a lot of my own success as a result of that personal mantra.