Hobby Musings: Beckett’s Grad Weighs In On Fake Autographs

Hobby Musings: Beckett’s Grad Weighs In On Fake Autographs – The hobby of getting autographs has been a practice for decades now.  Whether it’s a picture of Babe Ruth signing for a crowd or Mike Trout getting mobbed at the stadium, people have always flocked to their favorite athletes.  Unfortunately as autographs have become more of a lucrative business, the practice of selling fakes has become more and more of a problem.  While this issue affects everyone, it tends to prey even more on those aren’t as familiar with what they’re buying.  One of the people trying to stem the side is Beckett authenticator Steve GradMr. Grad was kind enough to take some time out to talk about the current state of autograph forgeries.  The following email was conducted via email.

KS: Steve you’ve been very active on social media lately about fake autographs being offered for sale, especially on eBay.  How much of a problem would you say it is currently?

SG: It’s a huge problem, and it’s growing and increasing.  I think I’m more disappointed in eBay as a whole.  At the National, two reps from their trust and safety group specifically sought me out and met with me to discuss how to clean up the site and improve safety.  That was in August.  It’s now February.  I’ve never heard back from then.  Not one word.  eBay knows it’s a problem.  Right now, the only avenue is calling them out on social media.  I see more fake stuff on eBay than I see real.  It’s a growing problem.

KS: Besides eBay, have you been noticing any other groups or marketplaces where forged autographs seemed to be rampant?

SG: Yes.  Las Vegas.  Walk into any high end gallery at the casino malls and it’s almost guaranteed that everything will be bad.  One of the lone exceptions is the stores run by Tri Star Sports.  Otherwise it’s a real messI would be very cautious buying anything from anywhere in Vegas.  Be careful buying on the streets at any store.  The ones that go through the trouble to have their items authenticated are the ones to deal with.

KS: One name that has often come up recently for signatures is actress Carrie Fisher. For anyone looking to buy, what are some tips on how to spot a fake autograph of hers?

SG: I always look at undersizing as a principle first.  Her signature is heavily forged and her signature was signed for by someone close to her.  Her mother used to sign her mail pretty consistently until she couldn’t keep up with it.  Then someone else signed it.  She specialized in a large, flowing bigger than life signature.  Spontaneity and flow were trademarks.  Look for that.

KS: Which autograph, both celebrity and athlete, are you seeing forged the most?

SG: Right now, it’s players like Mike Trout, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and still Mickey Mantle.  I do see celebrity fakes all the time.  If something is hot, it’s going to be faked.

KS: Is there a name that comes up frequently for forged autographs that is surprising at all?

SG: Good question!  I’m always surprised when I see bad Pete Rose, Bob Feller, and Mike Tyson.  They are all easily and readily available.  I’ve seen Mike Tysons lately.  They are coming from a SoCal forger who also is targeting other easy to find autographs. Stan Lee, Justin Turner and Magic Johnson.

KS: Looking ahead in 2018, which athlete or celebrity do you think could be most at risk in seeing an uptick in forged signatures?

SG: Anyone who wins the Super Bowl.  Obviously Tom Brady is a guy on top of that list every year.

KS: What would you say is the most shocking forged item you’ve had come in for submission recently?

SG: Mike Tyson.  His market has basically been wrecked by him signing his name more than he walks.  His signature can be found from signings for around $25-30.  Crazy!  I’ve attached a few that I saw this past week in a submission.  They come from the SoCal forger i mentioned.

KS: It’s a big problem that has been an issue for a while now.  Do you think there is any feasible solution to try and combat it?

SG: Yes, trust third party authentication and especially Beckett Authentication.  Our team knows what to look for.

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Kelsey Schroyer