How JSA authenticates autographs submitted.

JSA’s Methodical Authentication Process

Each item submitted to JSA for autograph authentication is examined individually by a group of authenticators, who then compare their evaluations and come to a conclusion on the validity of the autograph(s). JSA experts are extremely familiar with the many different variations and evolution of an individual's signature and can quickly identify forgeries, secretarials, autopens, stamped and facsimile versions. All decisions are supported by our second to none, extensive exemplar database and the use of state-of-the-art fraud detection equipment.


How the process works


Step 1 – Compare and analyze the item against valid examples, drawn from the nearly 1,000,000 files in our autograph exemplar database.


Step 2 – Equipped with forensic science devices, and using a comparitive analysis method, our experts closely examine each and every component and letter of an autograph, paying close attention to specific characteristics such as signature flow, style, spontaneity, letter angles, sizing and spacing between the letters.


Step 3 - The authenticators collaborate and employ a scoring system for the final determination of an item's authenticity. Certified items are then given an alpha-numeric registration number and a tamper-evident JSA label is applied to the item itself or to the letter of authenticity (customer preference). Items that fail our strict examination standards for certification are returned with a failure letter, known as a letter of opinion, detailing the inconsistencies on why the item failed our authentication process.




In cases where closer examination is required, JSA employs the Video Spectral Comparator (VSC) to reinforce the expert's findings. This state-of-the-art authentication tool is a powerful workstation that uses sophisticated color and infrared imaging, magnification, coaxial lighting, side lighting, and on-screen, side-by-side or overlaid autograph comparisons. In doing so, the VSC can detect erasures, reveal masked and obliterated signatures, differences in ink types, and several other signs common in autograph forgeries which cannot be detected by the naked eye.