8 on Your Side: Collector Questions Baseball's Authenticity - 8 News NOW

8 on Your Side: Collector Questions Baseball's Authenticity

Posted: Updated:

LAS VEGAS - America's love affair with baseball legend Babe Ruth began nearly a century ago. During his lifetime, Ruth signed an estimated 9,000 baseballs. Fans will go to great lengths to get one.

Jim Clemmons spent $1,450 on a ball that appeared to be autographed by "The Babe". Clemmons bought it from AuctionZip.com.

He was certain of the item's legitimacy, because it was authenticated by Authentic Autographs Unlimited (AAU), a company featured on the hit show "Pawn Stars".

Once Clemmons acquired the ball, he thought he hit the jackpot. "People are saying this ball could be worth over fifty thousand dollars easily," he said.

Clemmons sought confirmation. He found two highly reputable companies for authenticating sports memorabilia: James Spense Authentication (JSA) and Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). He traveled to New Jersey to meet JSA founder James Spense, but received bad news.

"He came out and he said, ‘Jim, how much did you pay for this ball?' I told him, and he said, ‘You paid fifteen hundred dollars too much,'" Clemmons said.

JSA claims the autograph was a fake, citing its atypical slant, the age of the ink and more. JSA also claims the ball was made after Babe Ruth died.

8 on Your Side sought a second opinion from baseball expert Brandon Grunbaum. He wrote the book "History of the Baseball" and authenticates items for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, JSA, PSA, Heritage Auctions and many more.

He estimates the ball was made in 1952 based on the design of the logo.

With at least two experts claiming the ball Clemmons purchased is a fake, 8 on Your Side sought AAU founder and president Mark Goldman for answers. Goldman disputes the findings of Grunbaum, JSA and others – maintaining AAU's stance the autographed baseball is authentic.

Goldman claims the assessments disputing the ball's authenticity are wrong, because he says the ball's manufacturer didn't keep archival records. In his opinion, the ball's date is technically unknown.

Clemmons now believes his baseball is a fake. He asked AAU to give him another ball valued at $50,000 in return. Instead, AAU offered him $1,450 – the amount Clemmons paid for the ball. Clemmons refused the offer, and AAU rescinded it.

The lesson here is simple. Do your research before making a big purchase, especially if it is a collectible. Most authenticators are giving their best educated opinions, which may not be factual.

If you have a problem you want investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 702-650-1907.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.