Taking My Hacks

"Check" This Out

Joe Orlando

Over the past two or three years, more and more hobbyists have chosen not only to have their autographed items authenticated, they have also opted to have these items encapsulated by PSA. As they say, there's just something about the PSA holder that attracts buyers and sellers alike.

Whether they select this service for the protection and preservation benefits or for the increased liquidity the PSA holder offers, there's no question that the slabbing of signatures is on the rise. In response to the rise, we have decided to create a distinct blue PSA/DNA label for all items sent to us for autograph encapsulation and/or grading – to distinguish that product line from our existing trading card and ticket grading service at PSA (red label).

Of course, since there are limits to autograph encapsulation, due to the available holder sizes, not all autographed items are eligible for the service. Until recently, only such items as signed index cards, postcards, small album pages and cuts have met the size restrictions. Slabbed autographs such as these have made their way onto the Internet and into major auction houses around the country, selling for strong prices.

As a result of the demand for autograph encapsulation, PSA has decided to unveil a brand new holder. This new holder was specifically designed for two collectibles – large-sized tickets that could not fit into our existing Super Bowl ticket holders and signed checks. While the larger holder should generate interest for ticket enthusiasts, let's focus on checks for the moment.

If you have been following the market for signed checks, you can clearly see the dramatic increase in demand. Some checks have tripled or quadrupled in value in the last 3-5 years. Why? Checks are easy to display, offer a heightened level of authenticity and can be collected by theme. For that reason, we feel that the PSA Set Registry should provide a great venue for collectors since there is a host of potential themes for consideration.

For example, there are available checks for each member of the inaugural 1936 baseball Hall of Fame class (Ruth, Cobb, Johnson, Mathewson and Wagner) and all of the U.S. Presidents. The only noteworthy issue with check collecting has been storage. While they do look great in wall frames, you can run out of room very quickly unless you live in a mansion. Other collectors place them in sleeves and store them in albums, much like card collectors do, but the sleeves are flimsy at best.

In addition to the new holder, if the customer chooses, an autograph grade can be placed on the PSA/DNA label. While the check itself is not eligible for grading, the autograph is eligible and, as most hobbyists know, one of the driving forces behind the market value of any signed item is the strength of the autograph. The grade of the autograph is, many times, paramount.

For more information about this new service, please visit our website or call our toll-free number at (800) 325-1121.

At PSA, we will continue to press forward with new services and product ideas. As always, your input is crucial so please let us know what you would like to see from PSA in the future. In the meantime, you should definitely check this new service out.

Never get cheated,

Joe Orlando

Joe Orlando
Editor In Chief

Joe Orlando has been an advanced collector of sportscards and memorabilia for over 25 years. Orlando attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California where he studied communications and was the starting catcher for the baseball team. After a brief stint in the minor leagues, Orlando obtained a Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Southern California in the spring of 1999. During the last fourteen years, Orlando has authored several collecting guides and dozens of articles for Collectors Universe, Inc. Orlando has also authored two books for Collectors Universe. Orlando's first book, The Top 200 Sportscards in the Hobby, was released in the summer of 2002. His second book, Collecting Sports Legends, was released in the summer of 2008. Orlando has appeared on several radio and television programs as a hobby expert including ESPN's award-winning program Outside the Lines and HBO's Real Sports, as the featured guest. Currently, Orlando is the President of PSA and PSA/DNA, the largest trading card and sports memorabilia authentication services in the hobby. He is also Editor of the company's nationally distributed Sports Market Report, which under Orlando's direction has developed into a leading resource in the market. Orlando also contributed the foreword and last chapter to The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories, a 2010 release, and to The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players, a 2013 release.