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Our associate brought this piece to JSA. It’s a 2008 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball jersey signed by Kobe Bryant. Maybe the problem with the laser prints and the witnessed photo was that JSA is not familiar with Presidents, baseball players or football players. Could that be it? Would they do better with a basketball player?
t seems that the Kobe Bryant jersey is a fake. Or at least JSA has reported it to be a fake. How did JSA come to this conclusion?
Okay. Now we understand.
What’s wrong with the Kobe Bryant signature? Many things, including:
The signature may not be the prettiest signature out there, but the hesitation,
tremors and patching do not seem to be anywhere to be found.
Surely, there must be more.
The signature appears on the number on the jersey. We cannot find this base
line that JSA keeps mentioning, but the signature does seem reasonably well
positioned between the borders of the jersey number. We’re not sure why
a signature is not supposed to undulate.
With JSA’s stated “expertise” and “professional experience”, shouldn’t we assume the piece must
be a fake? How could this be? According to the paperwork that came in the box with the jersey, it’s an Upper Deck limited edition piece. There were 100 jerseys signed. In fact, this one is numbered 14/100.
Like Fan4Ever, Upper Deck sells not only the autograph, but also the signing process.
All of the Upper Deck pieces are signed in front of witnesses. Surely the witnesses know what the
signer should look like, and would not be fooled by a substitute. With that in mind, what about JSA’s findings? Where was the
Since the Upper Deck certificate indicates that the piece was signed by Kobe Bryant in front of witnesses, shouldn’t the letter slant, angle and/or pitch be considered typical of Kobe Bryant’s signature? Shouldn’t the characteristics of Kobe Bryant signing his own signature – in front of witnesses – be considered typical every time? The 14th time out of 100?
Irregular for whom? Since Kobe Bryant signed the piece in front of Upper Deck witnesses, shouldn’t
this signature be considered to possess letter shape and/or formation that would be considered regular for his own signature?
What did JSA compare it to? Someone else’s samples?
If JSA compared it to known samples from Shaquille O’Neal, this signature would look irregular.
Is that what they did? Is there any explanation for any of this? Once again, we hate to leave
questions unanswered. When our unsuspecting dealer visited with PSA/DNA, he had the Kobe
Bryant jersey. What did PSA/DNA do? Is anyone else getting tired of asking the same questions
over and over again?
Once again, PSA/DNA followed the leader. PSA/DNA failed yet another witnessed piece. After
passing all of those laser copies. Like JSA, PSA/DNA had all sorts of issues with the signature,
among them: Excessive pen pressure. With a Sharpie. On the stiff surface of the jersey number.
Since the jersey number’s surface is harder than the tip of the pen, how could any pen pressure
with a felt-tip pen be deemed excessive?
Once again, Kobe Bryant signed the jersey in front of Upper Deck witnesses. Shouldn’t any characteristics of his own signature – when signed in front of witnesses – be considered regular?
What did PSA/DNA compare the witnessed signature to? Larry Byrd samples? Michael Jordan
samples? Is this signature irregular for an NBA star? What exactly is irregular about this witnessed signature? Does it have characteristics that are different from Kobe Bryant signatures that have not been witnessed?
Let’s sum up what we know so far.
JSA seems to love laser prints.
PSA/DNA likes to “follow the leader” and passes the same laser prints.
JSA does not seem to like witnessed signatures. Apparently, they lack the natural quality of
PSA/DNA also does not seem to like witnessed signatures. Apparently, PSA/DNA also feels
they lack the natural quality of laser prints.
By this time, as you can probably guess, we have spent a lot of money for authentication.
A LOT of money. We certainly do not feel like we have gotten much of a bang for our buck.
Have you seen what JSA and PSA/DNA charge for work of this caliber? Yipes. At the point of
being repetitive, we spent a lot of money. We do not think we got much for it. At least not much
So far, our results indicate that we have both JSA’s and PSA/DNA’s blessings to sell lovely laser prints. Unfortunately, neither JSA nor PSA/DNA gave us the same blessings to sell witnessed pieces. Who wouldn’t prefer a nice laser print, anyway?
We decided to conduct one last test. We decided to see if JSA had any chance of identifying a real piece from a fake. Were the previous results just the effects of quite a few bad days?
In the interest of cost savings, we decided to limit the last test to JSA. After all, we think we already can guess what would happen with PSA/DNA, since they matched JSA 100% in passing laser prints and 100% in failing witnessed signatures. Did we really need to spend even more money? If you want to give PSA/DNA the benefit of assuming they would differ in any way from JSA on this one last piece, in spite of all the results, feel free. We’ll leave that up to you.
We took this piece to JSA.
Finally, after all of those passed laser prints, JSA’s failure ratio improves. Their reasons?
They had one main reason, which they supported with some side issues.
According to JSA,
We do not know what is or is not in JSA’s files. Apparently, a lot of things with similar pen pressure. However, if one considers the very nature of an autopen signature, it is a replica of an original signature. If it were ink instead of a facsimile, it would likely be an original. JSA is stating that this signature looks like genuine Ronald Reagan signatures because it is a replica of an original signature. That’s really interesting, considering their other reasons, which follow.
What are their other supporting reasons?
Once again, here is the Ronald Reagan signature. There is a slight overlap in the start of
the second capital “R”. Other than that, there were never any overlapping strokes in
Ronald Reagan’s signature. Does that mean that this signature is a forgery because it lacks
features that never appeared in Ronald Reagan’s signature? Is JSA kidding?
We’ll get to that one in a bit. But first, the other issues.
The signature appears to have been executed with a Sharpie. The paper is a stiff, thick paper.
Sharpies don’t normally leave a lot of indentation, especially on thick paper. Nevertheless,
if you run your finger over the signature – hardly hi-tech science – you can actually feel the
signature’s indentations on the paper. When did the indentations get there? After JSA’s
“inclusive analysis”, or did they miss this, too, like they missed the little laser print thing on
the other pieces?
Take another look at the signature. Even with the naked eye, it certainly looks like the ink has spread out or bled. How can ink spread without flow or movement?
Even more significantly, look at the back of the document.
What do you see? An autopen signature is like a printed signature and is the same as printed
text. Autopens don’t bleed through the paper, especially through thick paper.
How can a document have ink bleeding through the paper without ink flow or movement?
Try writing on paper with a Sharpie. It bleeds through most papers. Try printing with your
printer, which is like the autopen process. Things don’t bleed through. Anyone see the
bleeding that went through the paper in the above picture? We do. Do you? Why didn’t
If the bleeding through the paper can be seen with
the naked eye, how was it missed in JSA’s “inclusive
Is JSA referring to the parts of the signature
that clearly show bleeding and spreading out
of the ink? Is JSA referring to the indentations that can be felt when one runs a finger over the signature? If it were not for the photo on the JSA certificate, we’d probably assume they must have been looking at and talking about a different piece. Sadly, JSA was not.
Unfortunately for collectors, JSA’s certificates and PSA/DNA’s certificates are accepted literally everywhere. As a result, their work can be found, among other places, at:
ABC Autographs - Jim Pavlish Alan Gutterman -Andy Madec Sports Cards -B & E Collectibles -Bricol Auctions -Broadway Rick's Strike Zone -Cardboard Memories -Clean Sweep AuctionsEAC Gallery -eBay -Everything Baseball -Fusco Auctions -Geppi's Memorabilia Roadshow Auction -Gotta Have It -Grey Flannel Auction -Harrisburg Area IUP Alumni Chapter -Heritage Auctions Historic Auctions -Hollywood Collectibles -Huggins & Scott Auctions -Hunt Auctions -Legendary Auctions -Premier Auctions Online
Reeni's Sports Collectibles -Rob Rosen -Robert Edward Auctions =R&R Auction -Sports Lot -Steiner Sports -Sotheby's - SCP Auctions -Upper Deck
The results that we have gotten when we have employed JSA’s and PSA/DNA’s services certainly question why the auction houses and any of the above-listed companies would use their services. It certainly seems to defy logic.
Neither JSA nor PSA/DNA seems to be able to tell real signatures from laser prints.
JSA and PSA/DNA do the vast majority of eBay’s quick opinions. All of the pieces in this article were seen in person. All of the eBay pieces are viewed off of scans for the quick opinions. Are we supposed to believe that they do reasonably well on their eBay quick opinions when our little study indicates they cannot get it right in person?
Can we assume that there are laser prints with JSA and PSA/DNA certificates on the market? All of the pieces in this story were on the market. Several of them sold at R&R Auctions.
Even worse, all of the pieces in this story could be sold today with JSA and PSA/DNA certificates.
Does that make them real?
JSA’s own website and submission form make it clear through the use of a disclaimer what the company intends to do, or not do, concerning the opinions in their reports. “Certification and authentication involves an individual judgment that is subjective and requires the exercise of professional opinion, which can change from time to time. Therefore, JSA makes no warranty or representation and shall have no liability whatsoever to the customer for the opinion rendered by JSA on any submission.”
Think that’s bad?Why would anyone want to hire a company that tells them up front that the company will not stand behind its own work? Would we accept this from any other profession? A doctor? A plumber? A mechanic? Not likely. Why is this the acceptable standard for memorabilia?
PSA/DNA’s own website and submission form also make it clear through the use of the same disclaimer that the company intends to run away from the opinions in their reports as quickly as JSA. “Certification and authentication involves an individual judgment that is subjective and requires the exercise of professional opinion, which can change from time to time. Therefore, PSADNA makes no warranty or representation and shall have no liability whatsoever to the customer for the opinion rendered by PSADNA on any submission.”
Considering their results, it’s easy to understand why JSA and PSA/DNA do not want to stand behind their own reports. They’re just two peas in a pod.