I cannot praise JSA enough for the authentication services provided me over the past four years by both Jim Spence and his son Jimmy, usually at the former Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in NYC. It is only as a result of their invaluable guidance and assistance that I have accumulated and continue to grow my proud and significant collection of New York and San Francisco team and single-signed baseballs.
JSA has saved me thousands of dollars over the years and I will not purchase any item not authenticated by it. During my association with JSA, both Jim and Jimmy have been incredibly patient in answering my many questions, taking a great deal of time with me when I have met them and taught me a great deal about the veracity of signatures. When Mickey Mantle's Restaurant closed, Jimmy went out of his way to meet me several times on my schedule both at my home and at a nearby establishment.
I therefore wholeheartedly recommend JSA authentication's services.
New York City
I have had the pleasure of knowing Mr. James Spence for many years. He has proven to be a highly ethical, dedicated, and extremely talented individual. His autograph knowledge and expertise is second to none. In my opinion, he definitively corrected the NY Yankee & Brooklyn Dodger clubhouse autograph problem. He has literally saved me many thousands of dollars over the years. I personally will not purchase any autographed item unless it was approved by Mr. Spence. In my opinion, James Spence is the ultimate, definitive autograph authenticator in the hobby.
- Dr. Richard Angrist, M.D.
To Whom It May Concern:
I consider writing this letter of recommendation for Mr. James Spence III and the JSA organization an honor.
I met Mr. Spence over 10 years ago while attending my first memorabilia show in Richmond, Virginia. I purchased one of his theme art pieces, and our professional relationship "took off" from there.
Over the years, I have accumulated a significant collection of autographed items, and I have had Mr. Spence authenticate every item. His insightful and straightforward approach to his profession leaves other authenticators in the dust. When he decided to leave PSA/DNA to start JSA, my loyalty and business followed. It was my opinion that PSA/DNA was, in essence, Mr. Spence. Without him, they were no better than the majority of second rate "authenticators" that our hobby is saturated with.
JSA is the leader in the sports collecting "industry" Mr. Spence's level of integrity permeates his entire organization. In short, we need more people like Mr. Spence in our industry. Should you wish to contact me, my street and email addresses are shown below.
Dear Mr. Spence et al,
I would just like to express my complete satisfaction with the service I received on my autograph authentication and SGC encapsulation order. Just a 21 day turnaround time was great. I had purchased most of the autographed cards via mail order at autograph shows. I was pretty confident the signatures were authentic but a James Spence opinion gives me real peace of mind. I'll be ordering again, and will readily recommend your services. So glad I decided to "follow the leader".
Sincerely, Dave Bancroft
I have been an autograph collector for many years and have known Jimmy Spence, as many have, through both the show circuit as well as through his reputation in the hobby. I would not, as any savvy collector, buy any item without Mr. Spence's name attached to it. It breeds consumer confidence and assurance that the item you are purchasing has been deemed authentic by the most experienced autograph expert in our hobby. Now that I have started my own memorabilia company, baberuthautographs.com, I have had the even greater pleasure of dealing with Mr. Spence and his staff on a more professional level , and could not be more pleased with those dealings. As if his knowledge of autographs wasn't enough, he has helped educate and explain to me how to better understand when and where an item originated, through his knowledge of markings and stampings on baseballs as well as photographs. Mr. Spence and his staff go beyond the call of duty. Recently, they arranged to meet with me around my schedule, spent as much time as I needed, and I left with the LOA's signed by Mr. Spence that day, a huge advantage to any dealer who wants to do efficient business. As a dealer, I would not buy or sell an item without the most reputable name in the hobby attached to it. Thanks Jimmy, Jeremy and Ashley. Keep up the great work, as our hobby is better off because of it.
I want to thank you for the certification you handled for me on several items signed by Mickey Mantle. As you know I worked with Mickey on many, many projects marketing his signature and product.
Unfortunately, our autograph business has evolved to where no one is immune to providing proof of product. Although my company and myself bear a spotless reputation in our industry, your authentication services are still a must in certain instances. I have the good fortune to know you and your company and would entrust none other than you to provide the authentication services for these special circumstances.
I want to thank you for the services rendered. The beautiful and professional certificates you furnished would move me to suggest to any one considering using the service you offer to use you and your company for a level of complete confidence and reliability not found else where.
Jerry Romolt, Owner
Pro Sports Services
Cave Creek, AZ
The following is a letter the editor of the Sports Collector's Digest (SCD)
To the editor:
I just finished reading Operation Bullpen, Kevin Nelson's well-written book about the FBI's investigation into the Marino-Bray autograph ring. It was certainly eye-opening to read about how such an incredible number of forgeries--estimated at one million--infiltrated the hobby during the mid to late 1990s.
At the same time, though, what's always neglected in books and articles on the topic of authenticity is that the autograph hobby--or business, to many--is very much a high-road, low-road situation. An autograph collector has the option of looking for the cheapest piece available or the one most likely to be authentic. These are two very different objectives. The Marino forgeries from Operation Bullpen allowed collectors to buy Ruth cuts, Mantle balls, McGwire photos, and whatever else for a fraction of the price that reputable dealers were charging. If people thought they were truly pursuing authentic examples of these items by buying them from dealers who had massive quantities for bargain basement prices, they were simply in denial.
On the other hand, there are plenty of opportunities to get real signatures of these superstars. Collectors just need to be willing to expend the money and effort to assure they are getting the real thing. For example, if you want to learn how to identify real Mickey Mantle signatures, you can look at past auction catalogs and eBay auctions to see hundreds of Upper Deck Authenticated examples, Mantle signatures on the original 500 HR Club lithos. By reading up, you can learn about other signings that Mantle did with reputable sources and see examples of those items. Then, as you look at ones on eBay or at shows, you will notice a pattern: the ones authenticated by James Spence Authentication or PSA/DNA look remarkably like the UDA ones or other ones with good provenance, whereas the $150 Mantle balls just don't look right. You might do the same thing with Ted Williams, or Joe DiMaggio, or Babe Ruth. As signatures get more expensive, the forgeries will tend to be better because there's more incentive for forgers to offer that type of material. But as you see more and more of them and keep track of who has vouched for them, you will notice a clear divide between which ones are real and which ones aren't. You will also see that perhaps there's a good reason why a PSA/DNA or JSA Babe Ruth ball might go for $20,000 or $30,000, whereas a similar one from another authenticator might not exceed $5,000.
This is not to say that every expensive one is real, or that there aren't any real ones that aren't authenticated by JSA or PSA/DNA. But it is to say that if you do not have the time, resources, or frankly, the aptitude--it is not for everyone--to learn for yourself about a particular autograph, it just makes sense to buy one approved by someone who does. As we learned from SCAA and J. DiMaggio Co. and the rest of the bogus authenticators uncovered by Operation Bullpen, there are legitimate authenticators and illegitimate authenticators. Do your homework and look at prices realized, and you'll see that this is not behind us. It never will be.
So while I thought the book was a great read and also have enjoyed reading about it in SCD, I just think we're not spending enough time focusing on the fact that there is plenty of fantastic, authentic material in the hobby. Furthermore, there is a handful of incredibly qualified people who are able to identify it. The market is efficient, in the sense that the top-notch, real material authenticated by PSA/DNA and JSA commands the highest dollars. It may require time to educate yourself, and it may require significantly more money to get these items, but in the end, that's how to get the item you truly want.
New York, NY.
Dear Mr Spence and all of J.S.A.,
Today I received my letter of authenticity for my Ted Williams / Carl Yastrzemski autograghed baseball, which was examined by you at the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington Massachusetts. I must say, not only was it a total pleasure talking with you at the show about the process of examination and my baseball, but the Letter of Authenticity I received as the result of this examination, is very nicely done, to say the least. I could not be more happier or satisfied, very impressive! I cannot say enough, your Authentication Service is an asset to the Sports Collectible world and to small collectors like myself.
Thank You all so much, the Letter of Authenticity is absolutely beautiful.
Dear James Spence Employees,
I recently had several items authenticated and 1 item that didn't pass at the CSA show in Chantilly. I just wanted to thank your employees at the show and Jeremy Kraft in particular. Needless to say was disappointed when my autographed helmet was deemed non-authentic, but that is why I brought it to your services because in the back of my mind I was uncertain about the item. Your employees were very courteous, helpful, and answered my questions with professionalism. I hope to see you at future shows down in Chantilly and I will definitely utilize your services and recommend you to others!!!! I just wanted to say thank you again!!!!
JSA recently authenticated two items for me at a card show in mid October. I had never taken any items for authentication, but I must say my first experience was an extremely pleasant one. I met Mr. Spence along with some of the other JSA staff, and I was impressed with their gratitude, personality, and professionalism which I encountered when submitting my items. The company was very responsive to emails and telephone calls, and I always felt like I was being taken care of. Additionally, I was equally impressed with ease and professionalism provided by SGC when calling about the status of submitted items. Best of all, the items were not only authenticated, but authenticated by JSA.
I definitely plan to have more items authenticated in the future, and I will "follow the leader" and seek the services of James Spence and his staff.
Troy Biggs, P.E.
Dear Mr. Kraft & Mr. Studebaker,
First and foremost, I would like thank you for taking the time to meet with me this morning on such short notice. It is always a pleasure meeting young & dedicated professionals as your selves in the memorabilia service industry.
For the past 6-7 years I have attended various shows & sporting events nationally and have dealt with a couple of JSA's competitors, in my opinion your company's customer service, professionalism, and dedication to excellence stands above and beyond all others.
Please extend my personal gratitude to Mr. James Spence for putting me in contact with you during your visit to South Florida. As a customer, when you call a service provider and the owner himself answers the phone, it demonstrates what is most important to that organization – the customer.
Thanks again and please let me know when you will visit the South Florida area again. I have a few events lined up in the next few months and I will call upon JSA's services again.
Jose A. Rodriguez, FL
Sports Memorabilia Collector & Autograph Aficionado
I recently spoke with Mr. Spence at an on-site authentication in Centralia, IL on 2/10/07. After having spoken with Mr. Spence at length, I was very and impressed and put all my confidence in JSA over any other company.
Matt in St. Louis
Testimonial October 14, 2007
I want to take this time to thank you wholeheartedly for authenticating the signed photo and letter to me from President Jimmy Carter, the signed photo of General Colin L. Powell and the signed baseball card of Lou Brock.
I do not have many things that are of much sentimental, material value to me; however, by having these personal momentums authenticated by you, for me, means a great deal to me.
Thank you for all the items that you have authenticated for me in the past and present; as well as, your personal friendship. Your friendship means the most to me.
Thank you for everything and all you have done for me. Good luck with your professional business and your life from this day forward.
Your friend always,
CPT Frank S. Stramara, USA, (Ret)
On behalf of the Steubenville DARE program, I thank you again for your quick & generous support with this year's Steubenville DARE Sports Memorabilia Auction! I Greatly appreciated your donation of time and effort in authenticating the seven items sent to you. Though it was a disappointment that only the Ben Roethlisberger autographed Miami of Ohio mini helmet was able to be authenticated, your efforts in reviewing all seven of our items in such a short timeline helped us feel confident in what we did have at the auction. Roethlisberger's autographed mini-helmet was auctioned with other sports memorabilia at our June 19, 2009 event and helped us in raising over $3,200 for our DARE program. All the funds from these donated items will go to the D.A.R.E. account to service the children's school programs and local activities. Again, I am grateful to you and your staff for your willingness to help us in our time of need.
Keep keeping on.
D.A.R.E. Officer Jean-Philippe Rigaud
In the past two months I have shipped over 150 items to you to be certified in 4 different shipments. Not only have all four transactions been executed perfectly, but they were also returned promptly - just as you had assured me. I have only had a chance to upload about 1/4 of the items you certified into my Ebay store so far, but I have already had some impressive sales which I would like to share with you.
Elston Howard, Mickey Mantle, Catfish Hunter Spalding baseball-Sold for $1249.99 - JSA full LOA# B97247-Ebay item #380219680010
Derek Jeter 1998 World Series baseball-Sold for $259.99-JSA full LOA# B88888 - Ebay item #360245605512
Derek Jeter 1996 World Series mini-bat-Sold for $199.99-JSA full LOA # B88885 - Ebay item #360245663402
Alex Rodriguez baseball-Sold for $124.99-JSA full LOA #B88890 - Ebay item #360245675284
Carl Yastrzemski baseball-Sold for $89.99-JSA basic cert #E75994 - Ebay item #380224383936
I have sold only 5 JSA certified items this month but have recouped all of my certification costs quickly and any future sales of certified items sold above the non-certified price will be 100% profit. Thank you for running a very professional business.
I look forward to dealing with your company again in the future.
Jim and Associates . . .
Allow me to pass along our high level of satisfaction regarding the service provided last Saturday in Baltimore. At the end of that day, Mike and staff provided expert and professional service in the authentication of a very rare NFL HOFer, Walt Kiesling signature piece.
It took my son and I three years to acquire this piece which completes a collection started many years ago.
The role of JSA in confirming the authenticity was an expected objective once we were able to acquire the item. My son and I selected JSA over any other to give us the critical authentication. The care and understanding provided by JSA demonstrated that you share our passion. You treated these two private collectors with sincere respect.
We have been and will continue to be active customers of JSA, the most professional authentication service within the industry.
From one professional to another, you have my gratitude.
Just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for looking over the Ted Williams autographed pic I had doubts concerning earlier this afternoon at Mickey Mantle's, and for volunteering to amend the LOA for this pic without the slightest hesitation.
Your professionalism, courtesy and ease of availability, especially in the fast paced and often complex world of autograph authentication, definitely puts JSA in a class by itself. I'm really grateful that I could sit down and get personalized service at the drop of a hat, and the fact that you and your company are routinely available by telephone or in person to handle all authentication matters for the common man makes an amateur collector like me feel extremely comfortable in a hobby where the majority of existing autographs are unfortunately fraudulent. You, your father and your associates have built a great company and I agree that there is probably not a business like yours with the absolute highest of reputations and which also makes itself so available for day-to-day collectors' concerns.
I look forward with the greatest confidence to using JSA for my future collecting / authentication needs, and I will definitely pass this recommendation on to my friends who are fellow collectors. Sincerely appreciative for your time, effort and consideration.