It is a collection featuring all of the right names. Mostly HOFers, or at least perennial All Stars. Flannels, Knits, and Durene samples make up this collection. The players starred in the respective sports during the 1920’s to modern day. They played in World Series, Super Bowls and All Star games. Their individual feats are known by all and their legends recited around the water cooler.

Each item was handled by either major auctions houses, old time collectors, and every other imaginable source. But before you pull out your checkbooks and make room in your display cases, let me tell you what each of these 121 players had in common. Each player included in this list is a part of the MEARS “Unable to Authenticate” section of our updated Letter of Opinion section, available to MEARS members.

Included in this list are Greenberg, Murray, Palmer, Ripken Jr., Brady, Williams, Brett, Carew, Crosetti, Roush, Boggs, Hubbard, Mattingly, Foxx, DiMaggio, Clemente, Magic, Jordan, Reggie, Koufax, and many others of the hobby’s biggest stars. Unfortuneately the list does not stop here and almost no major star or sport is exempt from this problematic categorization. The value of these items, if awarded a MEARS grade, would total more than $1,000,000. But, with the problems, alterations, and contrived traits, these items have no value.

Fortunately, when these items are submitted, they are most often removed from circulation. But in far too many cases, the MEARS LOO is discarded the item is re-submitted to another buyer or auction house. To my knowledge, MEARS is the only Authentication Company that tracks these types of items. Even in instances where the letter was discarded, concerned collectors can still check their purchases against our database as the original opinion given by our staff is recorded and published along with detailed photos.

Our reasons for keeping track of these types of items are:

1. Accountability. When MEARS deems the item as unable to authenticate, we include a detailed letter of our finding with the returned item. This information should always be made available to the next interested party.

2. Identification: MEARS photographs these UTA items and provides these images to MEARS subscribers. This serves as both a record of the problems associated with the item and allows MEARS members to check non- MEARS evaluated items against the work of other authentication companies.

3. Record of our opinion: By clearly stating in our finding contained within our letter of opinion why we issued the “unable to authenticate” grade, we are laying out the specific inconsistencies our evaluators have found. This allows collectors the ability to either agree with our findings or continue additional research of their own to contest our opinions. Either way, the exact reasons for the findings are on record and allow the collecting community to see what issues we had with the item.

4. Educational Value: By chronicling the exact problems associated with items, it sharpens our evaluators skills when they must prepare a detailed report with supporting details of the problems associated with the evaluation. The archiving of this information helps educate future collectors.

5. Permanent Identification of Problematic items: In all cases, items evaluated by MEARS are given a unique serial number, a worksheet completed, and the item photographed. All of this information is then updated into our Letter of Opinion section. If you are ever offered a non-MEARS evaluated item, Members can always check to see if we have previously rendered an opinion on the item.

Many collectors have the ability to evaluate their own items and arrive at their own conclusion whether an item is authentic or not. But, in many instances, collectors rely on either the seller or the accompanying LOA. As we have stressed since our inception during 2004, do your homework, compare your item to a database, organize your thought and processes via a worksheet, conduct the basic principles of imagery analysis, and reference as many resources as possible. Many of these resources (especially the archived letters of opinion) are made available to collectors via a MEARS membership. By following these principles you should be able to minimize risk and not find your items labeled as “Unable To Authenticate”.