Recently, Beckett Media, launched a new branch of their business, autograph authentication, by hiring one of PSA/DNA’s former star authenticators Steve Grad. Now that Beckett Media is the 3rd major player in the autograph authentication business along with PSA/DNA and JSA, who is the best one? To be up front and transparent, I have used JSA extensively, PSA occasionally, and have not used Beckett. However, I have received a good amount of feedback regarding Beckett from contacts within the industry who have used their services. For the sake of this post, we will just talk about sports autographs, not celebrity.
1st, lets define what I mean by “best.” That can mean really anything. But let’s define best as: increasing the value of your autograph once authenticated, highly respected among autograph collectors, cheapest pricing, quickest turnaround, and great customer service. Let’s take a look at each of those 5 categories for each authenticator.
INCREASING VALUE OF YOUR AUTOGRAPH:
When adding any of these 3 authenticators to your sports autographs, you are already increasing the value of your item by anywhere from 100-1,000% depending on who the athlete is. PSA and JSA are quite similiar, although you do see PSA autographs sell for just a bit higher when comparing apples to apples. PSA has been around the longest out of the 3 and is held in high regard among collectors. Beckett is just starting out, so hard to say exactly how their value will hold. But Beckett Media has been around for a long time and having Grad behind the brand will increase their value in the eyes of collectors. I would rank these as PSA, JSA, and then Beckett for right now.
RESPECTED AMONG COLLECTORS:
Most auction houses currently use either PSA or JSA to authenticate their items for sale. They use either one of those companies because their COA’s (certificate of authenticity) are well respected by autograph collectors. PSA also specializes in authenticating game used bats. Due to their extensive knowledge in these areas, they are generally held in high regard than JSA. What is interesting about Beckett is that Steve Grad was one of their principal autograph authenticators. Will be a big advantage for them in the near future as his experience is at the top of the autograph authentication business. I would rank these PSA, JSA, and then Beckett.
Autograph authentication pricing comes down to what player is being authenticated and how many pieces you are having authenticated at one time. In my experience, I have found that JSA has the most competitive pricing, generally slightly less than PSA. Of course, each company can see what others are charging on their website’s, so that does keep the pricing very close across the board. I would rank these JSA, Beckett, and then PSA.
If mailing in your collectibles to get them authenticated, then you are always worried about turnaround time. How quickly can I get them back? You can always wait for each company to do a show in your area and get them done the same day. If that isn’t an option, shipping them out is the only way. My experience in this area has been phenomenal with JSA. They usually get them done in a few days to one week and ship them out right away. PSA recently has been very fast as well. Not sure what Beckett’s turnaround time is since I have not used them. But I am guessing it may be a bit slow to start simply because they only have 2 authenticators right now and are traveling the country promoting their brand. I would rank these JSA, PSA, and then Beckett.
Very important to have a point of contact at the company you choose to send your collectibles to. Imaging sending in a Babe Ruth signed baseball and not knowing anyone on the other end? JSA has been very personable with me, having one point of contact to send in to. Plus, when I call JSA I immediately get a person on the phone. Always a big plus. PSA does a lot more volume than JSA. My experience with PSA in that regard has customer service has been somewhat slow at times, but not terrible by any means. Just slow due to having a ton of work to do. Beckett I think will do extremely well in this category with Grad as a point of contact. People know him very well and his partner Brian Sobrero. I would rank these as JSA, Beckett, and then PSA.
Given all this information, my personal preference for sports autographs is JSA. I do see Beckett making huge strides in this area in the coming years as more dealers start bringing them in to authenticate their signings and their customer’s items at their stores, thus growing the Beckett brand. Right now, PSA is the gold standard due to their experience and variety of sports authenticating services.
Powers Autographs was started by me, Matt Powers as a way for sports autograph and celebrity memorabilia enthusiasts and collectors to have a high-quality product available at affordable pricing. You deal directly with me when ordering anything from my company, so I ensure you get the best quality service and personal care you deserve. Let me be YOUR sports memorabilia guy!