Authentication stickers and other autograph alterations/atrocities
I may be in the minority here but I was never a fan of authentication stickers on the actual signed item even if placed on the back. I consider a sticker added to a signed item an alternation as it is not original to the item and the sticker could also have adverse affects on the paper/item long term. When shopping for autographs I avoid those were the sticker is on the item as I do not know of any safe and clean way to fully remove a sticker from a signed item.
I have also noticed people will alter signed items and make them appear to be something different than what they were originally. Many examples are when one will remove a signed page from a book and then print a historic or other type of desirable photo over the signature and make it appear a photo was signed instead of just a piece of paper from a book. They also may print a famous letter (Nixon registration letter), birth certificate (Obama), or other things to embellish a signed page. Sadly many times when these altered items get slabbed, they get designated as “photograph” but occasionally it will say “mock letter” or “signed cut.” The worst thing about these altered items is they sell, and quite often sell for far more than the original autograph format.
How do you feel about the authentication stickers? How do you feel about altered signed items?
I agree 100% with you. I hate those things.
I see it as extreme arrogance for an authenticator to put a sticker right next to an autograph, which I have seen one particular person do.
There is no way to know what long-term damage the adhesive on those things will do to vintage paper. Plus, paper or vellum may expand or contract differently on the area of the sticker, causing further damage.
If an item was originally issued with a sticker, such as limited edition sports memorabilia, I might excuse that. But on historical documents, etc., forget it.
Plus, some people adding stickers to items aren't even highly respected so the items then go to major authenticators for another sticker. Where does it end?
Just a little update regarding the authentication stickers I hate so much.
Beckett has recently made their sticker not only bigger, but added what will likely be a completely useless/non-working (due to being obsolete) QR code in a couple decades.
Thankfully you can still opt to have this ugly thing placed on the letter of authentication and away from the precious historical item.
Ridiculous! I hate those things on autographed items, in any form. Now that they're bigger, I hate them even more!
I can NOT stand them!
If I see an autographed item, and there is an authentication sticker on the front of the item, it is an immediate and automatic deal killer.
On a baseball, sure.....I don't mind an authentication sticker, but it MUST be on the side AWAY from the signature. If it's a flat item, I don't mind a sticker on the back of the item.
One problem I have right now, is on a Tony Gwynn signed game-used bat. It had a PSA/DNA sticker on the end of the barrel. Problem is, the sticker came off, and is now firmly stuck to the display case the bat is in, and it will not come off.
So, I'm going to have to resubmit it to PSA to get the sticker replaced.
It looks like one of my favorite sellers on eBay decided to start having most of their autographs (many old and historical) authenticated by JSA and having the nasty sticker placed on the items themselves. Looks like I won’t be buying from them anymore since I am very picky and cannot tolerate the sticker even if on the back of the item. I just don’t like it since it was not part of the item originally.
You could write and them know.
That's tragic for those autographs.
Here is what would had been a very nice combination of autographs on this FDC
However when I saw the back of the FDC this made it a deal breaker for me:
Here is an example of how it SHOULD BE DONE when authenticating with the major third parties.
Beautiful Chambers card signed by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Thankfully it did NOT get stickered on the item itself.
The sticker instead went on the LOA:
Atleast it is on the back - lots of times those atrocities are on the front.
It's all so unnecessary, though.
BTW, that is a combination I wanted to get way back when. I think I was planning to use a SDO'C chambers card. I had one all picked out but never sent it. I probably had sent other stuff and needed to allow a cooling off period.
Is this JG? I just looked through most of his current auctions and they all have those stupid JSA stickers, on the front, no less.
I wrote to them (via ebay) to let them know I don't buy this stuff. I've been a big customer of theirs for several years.
Look at this small Sandra Day O'Connor photo. The sticker is so obtrusive it's ridiculous.
I can't decide if this is a stickered autographed photo, or an autographed stickered photo. 🤔
I already heard back from JG. They agree on the stickers and call themselves a "purist company" and are against these things.
In the case of the current listings, they are from a collection they bought where the prior owner already had them all stickered.
That's one bit of good news.
This is somewhat related so I will post it here since it does with people sending in autographs for encapsulation.
I found this while browsing eBay. Most of the Obama and Springsteen signatures that were removed from the Renegades books were trimmed to a good size with nice margins. However knowing that PSA/DNA has various slab sizes and the smaller slabs costs less, whoever sent this in thought “I’ll save a buck by trimming this Obama autograph to 3x5 to fit their cheapest holder” and so the result is this abomination:
Someone decided to make a trading card using an Obama signature obtained likely from his A Promised Land book. The signature is cut off on the right and left. Ugly!
This hobby has gone off the deep end.
I have many autograph cards. Mainly WWE Wrestlers & some B Level modern celebrities, but these "cut" autographs I see frequently are much worse than the "sticker on the object". I agree, stickers on the object sucks, especially if its something really old. But these cut autographs are something I refuse to own. Plus, they look janky.
What’s even worse is sticker on object AND badly cut autograph! Will have to find an example of that atrocity.
I just found another autograph atrocity. Kind of clever but I figured out what they did.
It looks like Rosa Parks signed this historic photo but upon closer look and because seller showed the back of the slab I can confirm my suspicions of how it was altered.
I have seen several signed books of Rosa Parks for sale and they are signed with date first then signature. There is plenty of blank white space after the signature. On the back of the page is a black and white photo of Rosa Parks.
The person that submitted this for slabbing removed the signed page from the book, cut the page in half (to get rid of title towards the middle) then they printed the historic photo over the signature and date. It didn’t come out that great as you can see the signature blend in a little to dark spots of photo. The placement would had been better if Parks actually signed the photo.
The back of slab. Awkward cut picture from back of book page. If one weren’t smart enough to figure it out, they might think this was all cut (including added printed picture) from a magazine and that Parks signed the magazine picture with this other picture on the back, but the front picture was printed and added AFTER she signed the page. And probably MUCH after, and probably this year.
Nice catch! It's quite obvious that the same thing is going on with these Obama Ebay offerings from presspasscollectibles. They currently have at least TEN similarly produced items listed. Why wouldn't Beckett make a note of this??
Wow! It actually says “photograph” on the slabs instead of “cut” which is what I had been seeing previously. Scary that some are getting through as photographs. Although not a fake autograph it is very misleading because the piece originally signed was vastly different. This is what I would called an altered autograph.
Very controversial in my opinion. And to not note it is downright misleading.
At least those Nixon mock registration letters were kind of obvious but technology today makes it much easier to alter things to make it seem like that item was signed.
I was getting ready to purchase a nice autographed letter when seller remembered he couldn’t find it because he sent it off to JSA to get stickered. Deal breaker for me. Too bad because it was a very nice letter and now, in my opinion, it’s ruined. I asked seller to contact JSA and see if they could avoid stickering that letter in the event it was not already too late. Seller refused to get back to me. They will probably just sell it to another collector that isn’t bothered by stickers.
Here is an autograph that not only has the ugly sticker on the front but right near the signature so if one wanted to framed it, the stickered area could NOT even be cropped out.
That is truly disgusting and deeply disturbing.
The fact that an authentication company was willing to do that destroys their credibility, in my opinion.
That's too bad. I could see if it was on the other side, but that is an eyesore.
I know it was asked on another forum but is there anyway to cleanly remove the stickers? It doesn’t appear so but perhaps someone tried a new method and it worked. I really want to buy this Sotomayor signed letter and if does get stickered I can maybe still buy it and remove the sticker.
Too bad the seller didn’t want to be helpful in stopping the process. The sadder thing is I will probably have to pay MORE money for something made LESS desirable to me. Maybe not worth it but it did have great content and I am not sure I can find another like it. Also very upset Sotomayor appears to have completely stopped signing ttm since 2018. So no luck getting a letter myself. Sorry for the vent - just very upset about the whole situation.
EDIT: The only Sotomayor letters currently for sale ALL have JSA stickers on them. So even if I wanted ANY letter, let alone one with good content, I would still be out of luck.
I read that using a hair dryer on the low setting and gently trying to remove it works. But the residue may still be attached from the sticker itself.
This atrocity sadly sold:
I saw another one where instead of printing the historic photo over the signature they printed it below (did not work well on the original example as the signature goes right through the man sitting in the seat behind Parks).
I saw a different Rosa Parks signed book and can clearly see PLENTY of room below signature so one could easily print historic picture below or over once page is removed.
The good news is you can easily verify if signature was removed from book and printed over with photo by looking at the back. You will see part of this book page photo (left page is back of usual signed page) in Rosa Parks book My Story. Parks also had a book called Quiet Strength and the back of that page is all black with the words “Quiet Strength.” As can be seen with one altered example above.
Nice investigating. Sad to see though too.
Fairly glad I don't collect this area of autographs. Less of a target & not worth the effort.
Hypothetical question: Say you are seeking a signature (let’s say it’s rare and valuable) and all that is available are signed books and one signed cut which was originally removed from a book and also unfortunately stickered and more expensive (say $4000) and the signed books are not stickered and you know are authentic (say $2000) and your purpose for wanting a signed cut is to display it - would you:
A. Buy a $2000 book, remove signature and display it as you wanted
B. Buy the book for $2000 and change plan to cut it for display and keep book intact since it’s historical.
C. Buy neither and just decide not to have this person’s autograph since you can’t display it
D. Buy the cut for $4000 and live with the fact it is stickered
I think I would go with B and just keep the book intact since I understand its historical significance and not wanting to alter it. However if the signer in question was a modern living figure I would cut the signature especially if signed on a tipped in page or bookplate. I also may cut it if the book is super common signed or damaged to the point it is no longer collectible as a book.
How about "E", buy the book for $2,000, don't cut it & keep it intact, but stand the book up, with the signed area open for display.
Plus, you can buy a glass dome to put over it, thus protecting the book from falling, dust, and general protection.
Good answer but you can still consider that answer B in a way. You still changed your original plan on HOW you would display it. But good answer.
So the answer is "BE"
I will admit, if it's common book that's fallen apart, full of mold or something else, then "A" all the way.
I am pretty much on the same page with your answer.
I am becoming a very discouraged with the approach of some dealers/opportunists when I see their handiwork on ebay. They clearly have no respect for the autographs or the history. For example, cut up letters or other documents, chopped up to fit into slabs (at least not a sticker, I suppose), sometimes losing part of the signature.
I am all in favor of salvaging autographs from damaged books or letters, but I have come to realize that's not what is going on most of the time.
I am less concerned now about mass-produced signed books that are used as sources of autographs, especially if there are few other options for obtaining those signatures (the Obama/Springsteen book is a perfect example).
Trading card industry is just as bad. Now, I am not talking about some companies that include an autograph card, I have tons of those kinds.
I am referring to the cut up ones I often see with sports, historical and occasional celebrity. It's just as bad as the cut up books and other documents, but done by legitimate companies.
Yes, I've seen those. I still can't
really figure out the purpose of those. Some concocted rare 1/1 butchered autograph.
I never understood the desire for those cut up signatures or handwritten words in cards. Seems silly to me and also sad as the makers of them usually destroy actual fine historical letters and documents. It’s one thing if the document was already partly ruined by water damage/mold or something else but I doubt all these cards are being created from damaged documents/letters. So it’s a very sad situation.
On another note, there is another atrocity that happens to autographs. Fading. Sometimes people are uneducated about how to properly display things without them getting ruined by sunlight. I know some people display autographs in direct sunlight without any concern about fading from sun. I have seen signatures completely disappear and some just very light and faded. Often times they will sell these sadly already faded signatures still in their frames where the next buyer may very well purchase it and also display it in direct sunlight further fading and damaging the autographed item so much it completely disappears.
Here are a few examples I just found:
Almost completely faded Claude Monet letter:
This Neil Armstrong signed photo not only had a faded signature but the photo itself is fading. Hopefully it’s new owner is wise and doesn’t display this in direct sunlight to further or completely fade it away.
Here is just one example of a card with a chopped up piece of history destroyed to make it:
The back mentions the types of historical items that are being destroyed to make these “collectors” cards.
All for the low price of just $50 Sad thing is these things actually sell, thus causes more historical artifacts to be destroyed to make even more of these cards.
If you consider the text on the back of the card I'm not even sure they are guaranteeing that it is even his handwriting. It could be another one.if those related items.
In any case, it is deeply disturbing.
I looked at other cards and most of them are pieces of letters, words clipped from period newspapers, words clipped from what was a signed book, and even a Joe Biden signature clipped from a signed photo. Other cards have the other pieces of what was once signed book, letter (sometimes in hand of personality but most often typed written or handwritten by secretary), document or newspaper and then the rarer cards have the signature itself. I even saw a chopped up stock certificate - the famous signature probably had its own card and then the rest of certificate cut up into small pieces to make 100 other cards.
Very sad, but regular autograph cards from modern celebs or wrestlers, I don't mind. I have many of them. But this clip stuff, I won't waste my time on.
Actual cards directly signed are fine but not big on the cut stuff as it encourages destruction of historical items.
I saw a “rare 1/1” cut signature card selling in the thousands of dollars when signature on original document (check) by itself would sell for about $300. So obviously they do it for the money. Sad people will spend $7000 for a fancy card instead of $300 for complete unaltered letter/document/photo before destruction.
Found this atrocity - not only did they remove the signatures from whatever was originally signed but they cut the signatures themselves to fit their lousy card.
How much did it sell for?
Still for sale for $75 opening bid or $125 Buy It Now.
Wow! Looking through the other auctions of these cards I see some like this one where they cut off almost the entire last name of the signature.
There’s also a George W. Bush where only the B is visual of the signed last name (and the typed name). They are asking $200 opening or $400! Ouch. In comparison, a George W. Bush full signature can be found one a bookplate for around $100.
That's just nuts.
Just found the book for Quiet Strength (seen on back of slabbed altered Rosa Parks autograph). This was not the exact book used, but a similar signed edition and it can be clearly seen how a photo was printed below signature and explains the back of signature being all black and saying Quiet Strength. See above post.
Saw this and it upsets me because they cut down a perfectly fine Chambers Card. I would 100% rather have the signed Chambers Card unaltered than this “limited edition” collector’s card.
That is a crime against humanity!