JSA FINALLY admits that Christy Mathewson's "Won in the Ninth" bookplates are ghost-signed.

After years of certifying these bookplates as being real Mathewson signatures, Mr. Spence at JSA finally comes out and admits that they are ghost-signed and NOT signed by Christy Mathewson.  For many years, both JSA and PSA have certified these 'signed' bookplates from Mathewson's book "Won in the Ninth" as being signed in Mathewson's own hand. Even after repeated experts and hobbyists have said that it is not Mathewson's signature, they stubbornly refused to look at evidence and kept certifying these bookplates for auction houses and collectors everywhere. Many of them have been certified, and many of those by JSA.

If you go to the JSA website and read the last three paragraphs of a JSA signature study on Christy Mathewson, you will see a stunning admission in Mr. Spence's own words that all of his certifications of Christy Mathewson bookplates from Won in the Ninth were in error, and wrongly certified. He admits that these bookplates were ghost-signed by someone other than Mathewson. Of course he does not admit in the article that he himself had certified many of these bookplates as genuine. He acts like he knew it all along. 

But if you look in the JSA database, there are examples of this same bookplate still showing up as GENUINE with a photo of the item and certification number? At least three of them still showing up. How can he say they are ghost-signed on one hand and still have the certifications come up in his database on the other? Will he be expecting returns and requests for refunds now? Who knows.

Meanwhile at PSA, the last anyone has heard is that they still regard these bookplates as genuine and evidently will still certify them as such, even though Mr. Spence at JSA has jumped ship and joined many others as finally figuring it out that these were not signed by Mathewson, in his not so humble opinion.

Will PSA still slab these and continue certifying these as authentic? It seems so.  And because Mr. Grad at Beckett was one of the main authenticators certifying these Mathewson bookplates when he was at PSA, it is interesting to see if he will still certify them at Beckett, although no example has been seen yet with a Beckett certification. Mr. Orlando at PSA is on record saying that it is jealousy that fuels the ghost signed opposition to what he considers a real Mathewson autograph. Well then, why did Mr. Spence at JSA change his mind?

How long will PSA hold onto their opinion that these are real when people are jumping ship all around the hobby in regards to these bookplates? Are they real or not? The last statement from PSA says YES, JSA says NO.


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  • Back in Nov of 2017, Mr. James Spence published an article on his own website stating that the Christy Mathewson signed "Won in the Ninth" bookplates were secretarial signed.  Now he had certified many of these bookplates before he wrote that article ultimately admitting he had been making a grave mistake all these years by calling them good, but now catch this.   HE HAS ISSUED A CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY FOR A MATHEWSON 'WON IN THE NINTH' BOOKPLATE ON FEB. 19, 2018,  several months after he admitted these were no good!!!!!!!  How can he do this? Can someone tell me how this in not fraud??????????  He cannot in good faith issue a cert and sign it with his own name saying this bookplate is good, when he admits it is secretarial on his own website article months before?  Why did he issue this cert?????? I don't get it. Shouldn't he be investigated for this?   There is no way in my mind it can be considered an honest mistake, since this bookplate is extremely high profile and he knows he admitted they are bad, now he certifies another one?? One for the road, Mr. Spence???  Calling feds, where are you? If a forensic document examiner does this or one of the shady auction houses everybody bashes would do this, there would be a calling for heads to roll. If JSA does it, where is the outrage?  Does our hobby deserve this nonsense? It crosses into fraud in my opinion. Why would this not be fraud?  What does Mr. Spence have to say for himself???

  • Grad, Spence, Kevin Keating were all notified these signatures were not signed by Mathewson. A study was done by Ron Keurajian and Steve Koschal and published on autographalert.com over a decade ago.  Spence/Grad ignored the study due to embarrassment that they passed these secretaial signatures as genuine and didn't want to look foolish.  As for others they sold many of these spurious signatures in the past and didn't want to make refunds. A fine group of wannabe profesionals.

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