“How can this be? Can an authenticator be that bad?”

Published by Robert Lifson on Tagged Uncategorized

“There are autograph authenticators for whom I have seen a thousand items authenticated by them and all of the items had one thing in common - they weren’t real. I’ve been asked “How can this be? Can an authenticator be that bad?” When people ask this I am always reminded of when I took my SATs in high school. Everyone naturally wanted to get every question right and get a perfect score of course, but there was always an old urban myth that if you got every single question wrong, they would automatically give you a perfect score anyway, because no one could get them all wrong without being absolutely brilliant and actually knowing all the correct answers; it was statistically impossible. Well, these authenticators that always get everything wrong, I always tell customers that maybe they’re actually great authenticators because, really, no one could possibly be that bad. Maybe they’re the best darn authenticators in the entire world. We use the authenticators that we have the most confidence in. The most problematic authenticators are in the field of autographs. There are some authenticators that when a potential consignor says they have an item with their letter, we just won’t even allow them to send the item in. We have no interest. We just don’t want to waste our time or pay the postage sending these fake items back.”

- Robert Lifson, April 2007, partial response to MEARS’ Dave Grob’s interview question about what we would like to see change in the industry/hobby.


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