17 comments

I purchased four autographs from a well established auction house. All four items came with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Steven Zarelli of Zarelli Space Authentication.

I sent all four to PSA for REAL Certificates of Authenticity and three came back as fake, one did come back with a PSA COA.

I contacted the Auction house and they assured me that Zarelli was good, but in light of new evidence; the Rejection Letters from PSA, the Auction House offered a 100% satisfaction refund because they stand by what they sell.

Does Zarelli sit at the kitchen table for hours daydreaming with a handful of autographs around him ? Is this his eight hour work day ? I realize that COA's are based upon opinions but where does Zarelli get his opinions from ? Why did PSA reject three items that Zarelli looked at ? Did he look at the autographs or daydream about them ?

Merrily Merrily Life's about a dream !

Monetary Loss: $3200.

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Anonymous
#1428153

After reading this I will voice my opinion and say that third party authenticators are a joke. Third party authenticators make money off people by giving opinions and they have no formal training at all in handwriting forensics.

Some of the so-called authenticators claim to have helped with court cases and this may be true but usually in either civil cases that require less concrete evidence or sometimes hearsay evidence might be used in a criminal case in certain instances.

I personally find it ludicrous and insulting to think that a civilian can do a proper investigation into a sample of handwriting when law enforcement investigators spend many classroom hours studying handwriting forensics.

This is like a civilian doing fingerprinting or DNA examinations because this is just not realistic. This is insulting to law enforcement and unfair to collectors like this one.

Anonymous
Queens, New York, United States #923928

The OP should be grateful that the monies were refunded by the auction.

Anonymous
Queens, New York, United States #906937

At least the auction house made it right.

Anonymous
Guilford, Connecticut, United States #897110

>>>I purchased four autographs from a well established auction house. All four items came with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Steven Zarelli of Zarelli Space Authentication.<<<

Is this the same Well Established Auction House that is currently being pursued by a team of attorneys in regard to a class action suit for allegedly selling forgeries ?

>>>I sent all four to PSA for REAL Certificates of Authenticity and three came back as fake, one did come back with a PSA COA.<<<

You are lucky that only three came back as fake.

Anonymous
#836141

Zarelli might not be very good at authenticating and to this I can agree, but PSA has it's issues as well.

Steve Grad is lead authenticator for PSA.Grad actually started his career in radio as a sidekick known as “Psycho Steve the Slob” on “Mancow’s Morning Madhouse” show on WRCX 103.5 FM in Chicago.

After quitting Mancow’s show in 1996, Grad had another short stint on the One-On-One Radio Network but left the broadcasting business to establish his own autograph and sportscard business.

Grad’s career as a dealer, however, was also short-lived and highlighted by his removal from the floor of the 1998 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago.

Grad was accused of attempting to sell forgeries from a push-cart and according to an eyewitness account was escorted from the Rosemont Exhibition Center by convention security. When asked about the incident in a court ordered deposition related to a 2006 lawsuit filed against Bill Mastro’s auction house, Grad did not deny the incident happened but instead stated he did not recall being ejected from the show.

So while Zarelli makes errors and pretends to know a lot more than he really does know, the lead authenticator, Steve Grad has some odd skeletons in his closet, so don't assume PSA is going to be 100% either

Anonymous
#831613

"I contacted the Auction house and they assured me that Zarelli was good, but in light of new evidence; the Rejection Letters from PSA, the Auction House offered a 100% satisfaction refund because they stand by what they sell."

That is such a great point. Who knows why they really returned your money, but it certainly doesn't make Steve Zarelli look good , it could bethat they

want to avoid negative publicity, or maybe the auction house knew the items were questionable.

And Zarelli's inability to provide an accurate assessment of these signatures despite being "An Expert" is hilarious.

Or at least it is to those of us who didn't actually

have to suffer through his nonsense. Great post !!!!!

Anonymous
Washington, District Of Columbia, United States #827500

Beware of autograph sellers offering a "Certificate of Authenticity". They are absolutely worthless.

If you will fake and autograph you will fake a COA.

Most reputable autograph dealers will not offer COA's but instead offer a lifetime unconditional guarantee. If you are unhappy, simply return the item is the condition it was sold to you.

You will see sellers offering guarantees that run out in 7 days, 10 days, 30 days, etc. That should be unacceptable to you as a buyer.

Some sellers will state that a questionable signature cannot be returned without it being authenticated by an expert. They know that this is VERY expensive to do.

To get a signature authenticated will often run in to hundreds of dollars. These sellers know that no one will go to that trouble for an autograph that was bought for under that amount.

The Universal Autograph Collector's Club (UACC), one of the most - if not THE most respected autograph organizations in the world, have long renounced the use of COA's. Here are a few FAQ's straight from their web site:

Q: Are Certificates of Authenticity endorsed by the UACC? A: The UACC has been very vocal about the fact that Certificates of Authenticity (COA's for short) are totally worthless.

The UACC does not issue COA's and always encourgae collectors to get a signed receipt for merchandise, instead of a COA. Frankly, they aren't worth the paper they are printed on. A COA is only as good as the dealer that has issued it. If you buy from a UACC Registered Dealer and get a receipt, you are following the correct procedure.

Q: I was looking at some items on Ebay, and I saw that an item came with a UACC Certificate of Authenticity. Is that possible? A: No it is not. The UACC does not issue "Certificates of Authenticity" The person selling that item should immediately be reported to Ebay.

Just use common sense when you purchase autographs. Ask the seller questions.

Ask about their return policy. Learn these things up front so you will not be disappointed when your signed item arrives to your doors.

Anonymous
#825535

PSA is not always correct either.

Anonymous
#822545

Duh I'm incredibly dumb so I think I will buy a very expensive autograph and then I pay pay some money to a complete stranger to tell me if if it is real.

Anonymous
#815957

The Steve (Steven) Zarelli Certificate of Authenticity (COA) oe (C.O.A.) ie Zarelli Space Authentication certificate comes with very fine print which states that ; There is NO Guarantee of Authenticity ; You have no legal recourse against Steve (Steven) Zarelli; and it goes on to state, in clear legal terms that the certificate only represents an opinion. An opinion, by legal definition is not, by itself, a Fact.

The four signed photographs may very well have Zarelli COA's, but the fine print states that it is basically an opinion. PSA gives a bit more than a glance and a wink.

PSA keeps items a little longer and they have experts, who really do not care what Zarelli's opinion is, because they form their own conclusions based on certain criteria. In this case, Zarelli was of the correct "opinion" on one autograph.

Anonymous
to Jaqueline #833012

Great Points made here ! I always trusted PSA but not a stickman like zarelli and all his pis poor mistakes.

Anonymous
Mansfield, Ohio, United States #802167

The Key issue is OPINION. That COA merely states Zarelli's opinion.

It is anyone's guess how he arrived at an opinion. PSA is more of a business with a solid reputation and they had a bit more information available to them, so they formed a very different opinion.

Anonymous
Kent, Ohio, United States #801370

I make $ 3000 a week and I get dirty to do it. I crawl under homes into crawl spaces with rats.

I get sewage all over me at times. I even got cut on some copper pipe and had stitches and a bad infection. I buy two autographs a year for my collection. I spend about $ 4500-7000.

I consider myself an expert on signatures because I have been collecting them for close to 40 years. I started out writing to celebrities but then I started buying them. I now limit myself to two decent pieces a year. I never thought that I could sit at my kitchen table and be safe and warm just decide if other people's collections are real.

I guess I have been doing it all wrong for all these years. I make sure rich people can take a dump and take a shower and I made a good living by not being a lazy pansy.

Anonymous
to Roy M #826146

Roy some folks just chose not to go to work so they form schemes . case in point, by word of mouth there was a local house inspector (working from home) this is a guy that everyone recommends,he writes a column in our local paper, so everyone has the utmost respect and admiration for him.

The truth is, he has everyone fooled. His house inspection that he did for me was a disaster. After I moved, I found out that we had carpenter ants,leaking roof,plumbing issues,electrical problems,the foundation was deteriorating. I stand to lose $ 250K !

I have an attorney that is working on my case, but I still lose even if I win in court. Lazy people often cause hardworking people headaches !

Anonymous
Lubbock, Texas, United States #800314

The Steve Zarelli COA clearly states (in the fine print) that it only presents an "OPINION" . It goes on to to state that Zarelli makes no WARRANTY.

Zarelli's "Credentials" are listed as being a member of the UACC and being a CONSULTANT to an auction. My personal opinion is that AUTHENTICATORS should be Licensed . Zarelli covers himself well with his OPINION and NO WARRANTY disclaimer.

Having stating my opinion on Authentication, I am also very concerned.

I travel to Florida every winter. I visit events at Kennedy Space Center and I have received books and sometimes other items, signed IN PERSON. I sell some of these on eBay and this helps pay for my winter trips. Recently, some of these items have been returned for refund, or in some cases SNAD claims filed.

All of these incidents have been connected to a Zarelli Opinion. Steve Zarelli , in my humble opinion , is ignorant about autographs. I have photographs of my family with John Blaha and yet every item John signed was nixed by a Zarelli Opinion.

I was there and I saw these fine astronauts. This is most frustrating.

As I stated, in my opinion, people like this Zarelli character, should be licensed!

Anonymous
Orlando, Florida, United States #796538

"I contacted the Auction house and they assured me that Zarelli was good,"

Zarelli is good but PSA is better.

" the Auction House offered a 100% satisfaction refund because they stand by what they sell."

I think I know the auction house you bought from. They refunded you and this shows honesty on their part.

"Why did PSA reject three items that Zarelli looked at ?"

PSA is very good and they have many years of experience, that's why.

Anonymous
Fresno, California, United States #796281

"Did he look at the autographs or daydream about them ?"

Neither one, He just tossed his ____________ off on 'em .

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