A group of sports memorabilia industry professionals has launched a new service for authenticating and grading game-used memorabilia.
Photo-Matching & Grading (PM&G) is touting itself as the first “panel-based authentication service.” Advanced collectors, auction company executives and others with knowledge of the game-used hobby are part of the effort.
Memorabilia submitted for photo matching and authentication through the company’s website will be examined against an archive of period photographs and video to try and locate proof of the item being used in a game.
Contributing members include John Taube of JT Sports, Josh Evans and Mike Heffner of Lelands, Marc Juteau of Classic Auctions, Kim Stigall of Ballpark Heroes, Richard and Michael Russek of Grey Flannel Auctions, Joe Esposito of B&E Collectibles, Marshall Perkins of Infinite Auctions and hobby veterans Drew Caparelli and Nick Coppola. Advanced collectors Dr. Richard Angrist and Dr. Nick DePace are among those listed as advisors on the company’s Photo-Match.com website.
“PM&G’s objective is to give an unbiased and scrupulously researched opinion,” stated Michael Russek. “Every item submitted will be looked at by a minimum of three panel experts. Depending upon the item and our team members specific areas of expertise, more than five panel members may be asked to weigh in on a single submission.”
The company’s evaluations are based on a two-tiered system: one for memorabilia they say can be photo-matched and another for items that appear authentic but for which a match has proven elusive. Grading will be based on a 10-point system with letters of authenticity and grading criteria specific to each of the four major sports.
PM&G says its photo match efforts will include research through Getty Images, Corbis, eBay, AP Images, Google Images, Bing, MLB TV, NFL Total Access, NBA League Pass and other sources.
“In addition to the obvious online resources, many of our panel members have been curating incredible off-line image archives that set us apart from the competition,” Russek promised. “For example, we have unpublished images of Michael Jordan from his rookie season with more than half of his home games being photographically documented and many other key areas of emphasis.”
A four-page booklet style authentication letter of authenticity will be included with submissions.
“We are making a concerted effort to simplify the process of authenticating game used jerseys,” Russek stated. “One of our key objectives is to offer a quick turn time on all submitted material which is currently running at just 14 days.”
The company is now lining up clients that include private collectors and auction companies. Steiner Auctions recently chose PM&G to authenticate, grade, and attempt to photo-match all game-used jerseys of significant value.
A 1984 Michael Jordan USA Olympic Basketball jersey which was photo-matched and graded 10 by PM&G broke the industry record for the highest price ever paid for a basketball jersey at auction when it sold for $273,904.