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Beckett vs. PSA: Quick Review Signature Authentication Compared

Collectors looking for a quick opinion on a signature’s authenticity should consider these affordable services.

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Card grading has come a long way since its start in the early 1980s. Many upstart card graders have come and gone, leaving the incumbents (PSA, SGC, and Beckett) as the dominant forces in the sports card industry.

Signature authentication in the card world has been a significant growth area for card graders, helping to legitimize any signed collectibles or sports cards.

One area of autograph authentication still somewhat unknown to many hobbyists involves ‘quick signature authentication.’ These services help collectors to get a ‘quick’ opinion on signature authentication.

Many collectors don’t want to spend the money on full authentication and want peace of mind before buying autographed collectibles.

I’ve recommended both PSA’s Quick Opinion and Beckett’s Signature Review service to readers as cheap and invaluable ways to get a grader’s opinion on authenticity without submitting a card for grading.

I review both services to help collectors decide the right choice for a quick authentication service.

Beckett’s Signature Review Service

Following the success of their ever-popular Beckett magazine in the 1980s, Beckett launched its card grading service in 1999. While Beckett remains a far distant third fiddle to PSA and SGC, the company remains relevant as a legitimate card grader in the hobby.

Beckett’s Signature Review is a hidden gem of its card grading services.

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Beckett’s Signature Review Process – Step By Step

Launched in 2019, Beckett Signature Review extends Beckett’s Authentication Services (BAS) group.

For only $10, collectors can submit photos of their autographs (note that this doesn’t have to be on a card; it can be a photo or any other type of collectible, even on a piece of paper).

Beckett promises that within 24-48 hours of submission, their BA graders will provide an opinion on the signature’s authenticity.

Beckett provides only a Pass or Fail answer, with the terminology being either ‘Likely’ or ‘Unlikely’ to Pass Authentication. Reminder: this is only a quick opinion, but if they provide a ‘Likely to Pass Authentication’ opinion, you can submit to BAS for full authentication with a letter of authenticity – or graded encapsulation (for an additional fee, of course).

Here’s a Britney Spears autographed photo I obtained back in the mid-1990s. It came from a mall appearance, but I wasn’t there—someone obtained it for me. I always assumed it was authentic, but after speaking to a few Britney auto experts, they were dead set that the signature was from a former assistant to Britney.

Thus, I already sort of knew it was a fake, but I figured, for $10, it would be worth a shot at a quick review. I chose Beckett to examine the Britney autograph.

britney-auto

And I was not surprised when I received the following email a few days following my submission:

Overall, my experience with Beckett’s Signature Review has been good. The turnaround time has been consistent with promised expectations (24-48 hours), and I’ve never received an opinion that I disagreed with. It was easy–just needed to send in a few photos, and it didn’t require me to mail anything to Beckett.

PSA’s Quick Opinion Service

Similar to Beckett, PSA has its own quick signature service, ‘Quick Opinion.’ For $10, a user can submit a link to an eBay auction listing ($15 for any other auction site) and receive either a ‘Likely Genuine’ or ‘Likely Not Genuine’ opinion.

Note: Customers will get a refund if PSA can not give them an opinion.

PSA also offers customers a credit ($10/$15) for full PSA authentication after the Quick Opinion (if the item is determined to be ‘likely genuine’).

Like Beckett, PSA estimates a 24-48 Hour turnaround on the Quick Opinion results.

Comparison Of The Two Services

PSA Quick OpinionBeckett Signature Review
Cost $10 (eBay auction), $15 other auction site$10
User Submits?Link To Auction Website Item For SaleCustomer Photos Of Signature
Turnaround Time24-48 Hours24-48 Hours
Credit For Full Authentication?YesNo
Refund If Can’t Render Opinion?YesYes

User Experience – PSA vs Beckett

As noted previously, I’ve used Beckett’s Signature Review with no complaints, although some folks claim it has made some errors on in-person signatures with witnesses.

I’m not surprised. First, many authenticators make mistakes on autographs, especially in-person autos that were done quickly and are hard to authenticate.

ryan-seaver
I used Beckett’s Signature Review for this Seaver, and Ryan signed card. It passed authentication, and I later submitted to Beckett for Full Authentication

However, some of the points (from the above-linked Reddit post) are valid in that Beckett isn’t putting much time and effort into authenticating and is likely relying on its signatures database for a quick comparison.

I have not used PSA’s Quick Opinion service, but some claim they are accurate but may be quite conservative.

Pros & Cons Of Using A Quick Opinion Service

Quick opinion signature authentication services, such as those offered by PSA and Beckett, offer collectors a cheap resource to get peace of mind when purchasing autographed collectibles. Although PSA and Beckett are two of the leaders in signature authentication, collectors should not assume that these opinions will always be 100% accurate. However, based on my experience, a quick opinion is an excellent option to get comfort before making any big purchase.

I recommend that collectors first compare legitimate autographs to your signature in question. PSA has a database of signatures for the most famous sports figures on its website. In addition, you can search for an already authenticated example on eBay. If you have a good level of comfort that the signature is authentic, spending an extra $10 for a quick opinion is an excellent choice to help confirm your opinion.

What Are Your Thoughts On PSA or Beckett’s quick opinion authentication services?

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