Trouble on the Sports Collectible Front: PSA/DNA and More

THE HAUSER REPORT: Misrepresentations and forgeries are common in the sports collectibles market. Within that environment, many buyers rely on PSA and PSA/DNA for authentication.

PSA focuses on authenticating and grading sports cards and other trading cards. PSA/DNA focuses on authenticating autographs and the overall memorabilia market. According to the PSA website, the two companies “have processed over 20 million cards and collectibles with a cumulative declared value of over a billion dollars.”

The PSA/DNA website states that PSA/DNA was founded by PSA in 1998 “in response to widespread counterfeiting, forgery, and piracy of autographed collectibles.” The website further states, “PSA/DNA is the world’s leading third-party authentication service for autographs and memorabilia,” and adds, “PSA/DNA experts conduct ink analysis, structure analysis, object evaluation, and side-by-side comparisons. Experts may also use a video spectral comparator to further evaluate the autograph.”

Impressive. Right?


A photograph currently listed for sale on Ebay is described as follows:

“Michael Dokes Authentic Autographed Signed 16×20 Photo . . . This is a 16×20 Photo that has been hand signed by Michael Dokes. It has been authenticated by PSA/DNA and comes with their sticker and matching certificate of authenticity.”

The eBay page screen capture appears below:

collectibles market


Confirming the authenticity of Michael Dokes’s signature, the PSA/DNA website reads as follows:
PSA/DNA Certification Verification #T14814
It is the opinion of PSA/DNA Authentication Services that the signature(s) listed below is/are genuine. According to the Certification Database, this item is defined as follows:
Item:    Photograph

Primary subject: Michael Dokes

Result/Grade: Authentic

The PSA/DNA website link is:

Now we come to the problem.

The “authentic autographed photo that has been hand signed by Michael Dokes” and “authenticated by PSA/DNA and comes with their sticker and matching certificate of authenticity” isn’t a photo of Michael Dokes signed by Michael Dokes. It’s a photograph of Michael Grant signed by Michael Grant.


*     *     *



Art Aragon (boxing’s original “Golden Boy”): When you quit the ring, if you’re a big success, you’re only a few thousand dollars in debt and only a little bit brain-damaged.

Jorge Arce: People want to see fighters fighting, not dancing. They want to see blood. I give them blood. I love that. If it gets on me, I get more motivated and excited.

Earnie Shavers: Thank God, I was a puncher. I had no fear. I believed in myself and thought I could knock out the world. The only time I remember a little fear was when I fought Roy “Tiger” Williams. I’d been promised a shot at Ali if I beat him, so I took the fight. But I knew it would be tough. Right before I went to the ring, I looked at some pictures of my little girls and said to myself, “This is what you’re fighting for.” I wore Williams down and knocked him out in the tenth round. After that, I feared no man.”

Alexis Arguello (on being counted out in his second fight against Aaron Pryor): It’s hard to accept, but it’s good to accept. I did it with grace and just accepted that the guy beat me. Even though I did my best, in the tenth round I accepted it right there. I said, “This is too much. I won’t take it. I‘ll just sit down and watch Richard Steele count to ten.”

Seanie Monaghan: You need a mean streak to be a fighter. But it’s not just fighters. There are rich people who’ve never thrown a punch in their life who are just as mean and cruel as any fighter. Sometimes they’re worse. It just comes out in different ways.

Johnny Nelson: In boxing, if you’re a fighter, it’s all about you. It’s the chance to be completely selfish and not have to explain why you’re being completely selfish.

Roger Mayweather: Do I have injuries from boxing? To be honest, I don’t know. If you’ve had that many fights, somewhere along the line, something happens. I just don’t know what the f— it was. But that’s the risk of doing it. I took my chances.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at His most recent book – A Hard World: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing – was published recently by the University of Arkansas Press. In 2004, the Boxing Writers Association of America honored Hauser with the Nat Fleischer Award for career excellence in boxing journalism.