(Newport Beach, California) - A contestant who admittedly was reluctant to enter the second annual PSA World Series of Autograph Authentication won the winner-take-all $2,500 cash prize during the recent National Sports Collectors Convention in Anaheim, California.
Mark Theotikos, Vice President of Auction Operations for Mastro Auctions, Burr Ridge, Illinois, won the computerized test of knowledge and skill about sports autographs in the competition conducted by Professional Sports Authenticator, a division of Collectors Universe, Inc. (NASDAQ: CLCT). He correctly identified as genuine or not genuine 27 of 30 autographs in the test.
"I didn't enter the contest last year and I wasn't going to do it this year, but some of my Mastro colleagues grabbed me by the arm and took me to the PSA booth. Based on my experience, you either knew it was genuine or not on first glance. The test wasn't as bad as I expected with the vintage autographs, but the modern signatures threw me for a little loop," said Theotikos who has been collecting autographs for nearly 30 years.
"We had 32 contestants in the competition this year. Everyone who participated received a T-shirt commemorating the PSA World Series of Autograph Authentication," said Joe Orlando, PSA President.
Each contestant had 10 minutes to examine 30 autographs on a computer screen and determine their authenticity by casting a "genuine" or "not genuine" vote. Following the initial group of 30 questions, there was a two-minute lightning round consisting of 10 questions that would be used in case a tie-breaker was required.
Theotikos admits he is humbled about winning, but happy it boosted his confidence about his knowledge of sports autographs. Does he have any plans for the $2,500 cash prize?
"I don't, but I think my wife already has eyes on it," he said.