What do Angels MVP Mike Trout and cast members of The Walking Dead have in common? Their respective signatures are among the most-often forged on fan photos and memorabilia, according to a Newport Beach authenticator of John Hancocks.
PSA/DNA Authentication Services, a division of Collectors Universe Inc. and "the world's largest third-party autograph and memorabilia authentication service," on Tuesday released its annual report, "Most Dangerous Autographs of 2014."
PSA/DNA, which estimates that overall less than half of the autographs of notables in the marketplace are genuine, includes in its report lists of the top 10 athletes and celebrities/historical figures who are most often the subjects of phony signatures.
Despite their relative youth–Trout in age (23) and The Walking Dead cast in years on AMC (Season 5 resumes Feb. 8)–each find themselves in impressive company on their respective lists.
10 "Most Dangerous" Autographs of Entertainment and Historical Figures of 2014
1) The Beatles
2) Elvis Presley
3) Neil Armstrong
4) John F. Kennedy
5) Michael Jackson
6) Marilyn Monroe
7) Jim Morrison
8) Jimi Hendrix
9) The Rolling Stones
10) The Walking Dead cast
"One of the interesting aspects to The Walking Dead show is that you never know who will meet their fate week to week, which makes it even more interesting for autograph collectors," observes Joe Orlando, president of PSA/DNA, in a release that accompanies the lists. "Actors such as Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Danai Gurira (Michonne) and Norman Reedus (Daryl) are among the regulars. Most of the cast has a reputation for being accommodating signers for fans and that fan base has been growing in size with each passing season."
But not only are they relatively easy to get, the signatures of cast members earn green, selling for $50 to $250 each, while cast-signed Walking Dead photos can fetch $500 or more, according to Orlando. Naturally, this has led fakes to pop up like walkers in a lima bean field.
"There are a lot of so-called 'deals' for autographs that can be found online, at local flea markets and even at some collectibles conventions, but most of those 'deals' are simply too good to be true," warns Orlando. "Genuine autographs do not often sell for a huge discount."
"Dangerous" athletes follow on the next page …
10 "Most Dangerous" Sports Stars' Autographs of 2014
1) Babe Ruth
2) Lou Gehrig
3) Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio
4) Michael Jordan
5) Muhammad Ali
6) Mike Trout
7) Derek Jeter
8) Tiger Woods
9) LeBron James
10) Wayne Gretzky
It shouldn't surprise anyone reading this how PSA/DNA Authentication Services suggests you ensure the signature you're buying is real: make sure a company like PSA/DNA Authentication Services has authenticated it.
"Whether it's the signature of a famous sports hero, an entertainment star or an important historical figure, it's important that consumers buy from reputable sellers who use credible, expert third-party authentication," Orlando says.
His company's experts evaluated more than 400,000 autographs submitted by collectors and dealers worldwide last year, he claims.
"Unfortunately, just as in past years, a large portion of them were forgeries," notes PSA/DNA Principal Authenticator Steve Grad (who you may know from TV's Pawn Stars). "In fact, it's not uncommon for us to reject 50 percent or more of the signatures submitted to our company, especially when it comes to the more prominent names."
Click here to read the complete "Most Dangerous Autographs of 2014" report.
See and compare hundreds of genuine sports, historical and entertainment autographs (for free!) at PSAautographFacts.com.