One of the heavy hitters in sports memorabilia authentication is fed up with "fine print and double talk" and is establishing new policies for those who wish to continue receiving the company’s services.
MEARS (Memorabilia Evaluation and Research Services) has become a household name among serious collectors of game-used uniforms and equipment over the last several years.
Collectors and auction companies use the Milwaukee-based firm to help determine if an item is authentic and possibly date it to a specific team, player or era. Using a large library of photos, books and other tools of the authentication trade, the company evaluates submitted items for a fee. A "MEARS letter" offering thumbs-up documentation of an item can often generate substantially increased profits for the consignor and/or auction house.
The company, though, has had some issues with at least one auctioneer it has worked with recently. Now, it has prepared a new set of guidelines management has promised to implement in 2008. Among the provisions: full disclosure of items owned by the auction house or employees’ families, mandatory inclusion of its grades in item descriptions whether favorable or not, full disclosure of modifications or changes to items and more specifics relating to game-used bats.
Policy Director Dave Grob outlined the plan on the company’s website this week. In a move he says is aimed at "creating standards in the industry", MEARS tells auction houses who employ the firm and then violate the terms of the new contract that they will lose his company’s services for three years.
MEARS authenticated game used memorabilia on eBay