PSA’s Principal Autograph Authenticator, Kevin Keating, has sold his collection of more than 12,000 autographed baseballs to TRISTAR, which is putting them up for sale, one by one.
Keating, a long-time collector who founded and operated Quality Autographs from 1992-2016 when he was hired by PSA, recently packed up the collection himself and drove it from his Virginia home to TRISTAR’s Houston area warehouse. TRISTAR calls it “arguably the world’s greatest collection of its kind.”
Among the autographs are Cy Young, Honus Wagner, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and Jackie Robinson. The vast majority of the baseballs, however, were acquired in person by Keating who began chasing them as a ten-year-old in 1969.
The collection includes not only Hall of Famers and well-known players but others who are difficult to obtain because of the passage of time, premature death or other reasons. Some are inscribed. For instance, former St. Louis Browns pitcher Bob Cain hand-wrote a story about Eddie Gaedel on one ball currently being offered for sale.
Both Keating and TRISTAR founder and CEO Jeff Rosenberg are long-time autograph aficionados. Rosenberg’s company has overseen the signing of more than one million autographs during his career and runs the autograph pavilion at the National Sports Collectors Convention each summer. The two men began discussing a possible sale last year and Rosenberg’s TRISTAR team made a trip to view the collection, which he called “immaculately organized.” The group spent three days reviewing and cataloging the collection. After several months of discussion, a deal was made.
Once the baseballs arrived in Houston, members of the PSA/DNA authentication team—without Keating– began a three-day process of authenticating some of the best items in the massive collection.
“I have known and trusted Jeff and his team at TRISTAR for many years and knew they would do the best job of placing my collection in the hands of collectors who would treasure each and every ball, just as I have for so many years,” Keating said of his decision to sell the collection all at once to a single buyer.
All of the high-value singed baseballs in the collection have been authenticated by PSA/DNA or JSA and in some cases both. Those that are not as high in value include TRISTAR Authentication and a letter from Keating, widely considered one of the hobby’s top experts in authenticating baseball autographs.
TRISTAR has listed some of the baseballs on its website and will continue to add more over time.
“It is an honor that such a well-respected industry veteran as Kevin Keating would allow TRISTAR to become the home of his very personal and valuable collection,” Rosenberg stated. “I am humbled by this task and know that we will make him proud by offering so many one-of-a-kind pieces of sports history to collectors.”