PSA autograph authenticator appearing on ‘Pawn Stars’

LAS VEGAS — Steve Grad, principal autograph authenticator at PSA/DNA, has joined the team of experts who assist in the evaluation of customers’ items on the popular History channel show Pawn Stars.

A customer (left) watches as autograph expert Steve Grad of PSA/DNA Authentication Services, second from left, discusses an item in hand with Austin “Chumlee” Russell and Rick Harrison of the popular “Pawn Stars” television program. (Photo courtesy of Left Field Pictures.)

A customer (left) watches as autograph expert Steve Grad of PSA/DNA Authentication Services, second from left, discusses an item in hand with Austin “Chumlee” Russell and Rick Harrison of the popular “Pawn Stars” television program. (Photo courtesy of Left Field Pictures.)

“In addition to PSA’s digital archives of authentic autograph exemplars to compare with customer’s items, I use a ProScope Micro Mobile, a high-resolution handheld microscope that is connected to an iPad for enlarging the details of the signatures,” Grad said. “Everyone instantly can see the enlarged, tell-tale details of an autograph, and I explain why I think it’s either authentic or not.”

Here Grad talks about the technology he utilizes in his authentication process.

Grad made his first in a series of appearances on June 6. In some of the upcoming episodes, Grad is called in to examine and determine the authenticity and value of various entertainment, historical and sports autographs.

While people took to collecting autographs of “famous” people as far back as when Abraham Lincoln was President, it wasn’t until right after World War II that the hobby really grew in popularity. It was the requests of fans seeking the autographs of former Hollywood stars, and retired musicians and professional athletes that led to the business of autographs, writes Steve Grad, in an article entitled “The Top 100 Autographs in the Hobby.”

“It was exciting the first time I walked into their shop,” he said. “It looks just like it does on TV, and the Harrisons are great to work with. Rick’s knowledge is extensive about everything. He’s a walking encyclopedia.”

A former radio broadcaster, Grad was fascinated to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the television program is produced. “It all comes together so well because of the professional production people, the Harrisons and their staff at the shop. I recently viewed a video of one of the nearly-finished segments, and it was really cool to see how everything fit together,” he explained.

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