Friday, March 6, 2009

My Phone Conversation With Brian Gray- Full Story

Proving that there truly are two sides to every story, Brian Gray contacted me directly in response to my email, asking him for a response to the aforementioned article on AutographAlert.com. First and foremost, Brian made it very clear that they “stand behind their product.” Asking him what that specifically means, he stated that all autographs are authenticated by either PSA/DNA or JSA. He freely acknowledged that mistakes can be made and especially when dealing with the “in-exact science of autograph authentication”. Knowing that this is certainly true, I proposed the idea of utilizing a panel of 3 authenticators and an autograph being excluded from future product inclusion if it was deemed suspect by any one of them. His response was, “the extraordinary cost of autograph authentication would prohibit this on anything but a high end product, but for something like Oval Office, it probably is a good idea and something they will consider if they were to do something like this in the future. The problem is the additional cost would be around $300 and have to be absorbed by the consumer”. My response to that was simply, “Any collector able to afford this product isn’t going to blink at that price increase if it aides the authenticity.” On that point he agreed.

Brian Gray also stated in our conversation that the suspected auto-pen signature of Richard Nixon was created before his tenure at Razor started and that by taking a proactive stance and getting in front of the issue he hoped that people would realize they truly do stand behind their product. The collectors in possession of the two cards in question have already resolved the issue. When asked what that specifically meant, Mr. Gray stated, “We are letting the individual owners of the card decide how they want Razor to handle this from a public relations stand point. One of the owners happens to be a celebrity and the other is a very high profile collector well know in the industry. It will be up to them to decide if they want us to publicize how we handle the issue once the cards are re-authenticated.”

To date there has been no response by Upper Deck to this issue and I commend Brian for his transparency and accessibility. Time will tell how the collecting public feels about the long-storied history of autograph authentication but suffice it to say in my research on the subject there is a tremendous amount of libel, slander, politics, back-stabbing, here-say, innuendo, and propaganda that goes on between the so-called “experts” that it’s really hard to know who to believe when it comes to autograph authenticity. There is simply too much money involved and so many people want their piece of it at any cost.

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