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Lakewood Ranch collectibles firm to buy autograph business

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 10:15 a.m. March 21, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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Certified Collectibles Group, a Lakewood Ranch-based authentication and collectible grading business, has reached a deal to acquire an autograph authentication company, James Spence Authentication. 

Financial terms of the deal for JSA, which has offices in Fort Lauderdale and northern New Jersey, weren’t disclosed. 

James Spence Jr.
Courtesy image

JSA was founded in 2005 by James Spence Jr., who CCG, in the statement, calls “a giant in the world of autograph and memorabilia collecting.” 

Over the past two decades, JSA has certified millions of autographs, the release adds, “and in the process has built the world’s largest autograph database of nearly 1 million images encompassing virtually every known person — from Thomas Jefferson to Taylor Swift, Lou Gehrig to Little League stars.”

For CCG, bringing JSA into the fold fills a need: The collectibles company, which private equity giant Blackstone acquired in 2021, says JSA and its combination of real people and state-of-the-art technology, is the “answer to the countless collectors and dealers who have asked to have their autographed collectibles authenticated and then graded and encapsulated. Although CCG pioneered witnessed authentication of autographs through its popular CGC Signature Series service, it has never offered full authentication and grading services for collectibles with unwitnessed autographs.”

James J. Spence Jr. and James J. Spence III will remain at JSA’s helm after the transaction closes, and Mark Pepitone, a JSA co-owner, will be a senior advisor to the company.

“CCG and JSA are the perfect match, with a shared passion for collectibles along with an unwavering commitment to expertise and integrity,” Certified Collectibles Group CEO Steven Eichenbaum says in the release. “I could not be more pleased with the addition of JSA and the Spences to the CCG family, and I think collectors will love the simplicity and scope of our combined services.”

JSA and CCG will operate independently for another few weeks while the companies work behind-the-scenes to integrate. 

“This is the ideal next chapter in JSA’s history. CCG’s mission and vision are aligned with our own, and we are excited to see what the company’s extensive experience and resources can do for autograph authentication and collecting,” James J. Spence Jr. and Mark Pepitone say in the release. 

The mission of CCG is to empower collectors with services that ignite passion, create value and build community. Since 1987, its brands — NGC, PMG, CGC and ASG — have certified more than 90 million coins, banknotes, comic books, magazines, trading card games, sports cards, video games, home video, stamps and related collectibles. 



Mark Gordon

Mark Gordon is the managing editor of the Business Observer. He has worked for the Business Observer since 2005. He previously worked for newspapers and magazines in upstate New York, suburban Philadelphia and Jacksonville.

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