Autograph Authentication Expert From 'Pawn Stars' Show Will Verify Signatures at Hot Springs Baseball Weekend Aug. 15 | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

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Autograph Authentication Expert From 'Pawn Stars' Show Will Verify Signatures at Hot Springs Baseball Weekend Aug. 15

Published: 8/5/2020

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Steve Grad, the autograph authentication expert who gained international fame for his appearances on the “Pawn Stars” reality TV show, will verify signatures for fans at the Third Annual Hot Springs Baseball Weekend August 15 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Grad, principal authenticator for Beckett Authentication Services, will have a booth at the Baseball Weekend card show in the grand lobby of the Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We are fortunate to have Steve Grad as part of our Baseball Weekend’s card show,” said Mike Dugan of Hot Springs, a nationally recognized baseball historian and one of the five baseball historians who have helped guide Hot Springs into prominence at The Birthplace of Major League Baseball Spring Training. “He’ll be available to give the expert opinion on autographed baseball cards and other items that fans may want to be authenticated.”

Grad does charge a fee for authenticating items. The amount varies according to the number of signatures involved and other factors. The schedule for his service can be found at

Dugan will be one of the speakers Friday, August 14, at the groundbreaking ceremonies for the new youth baseball complex at Majestic Park at the corner of Carson and Belding streets on the site of the old Boys and Girls Club. The groundbreaking will begin at 6 p.m.

If you’ve ever watched an episode of “Pawn Stars,” chances are you’ve seen Grad, authenticating the various autographs that come into Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. 

“In the world of collecting, my opinion might mean something to friends, but to the rest of the world, it means nothing. You need Beckett Authentication. That’s what you have to have if you want to sell it,”, said Rick Harrison, the main star of “Pawn Stars.”

The very first item Grad evaluated on Pawn Stars was a glass frame signed by the band KISS. He deemed the signatures to be authentic.

During the last eight years of filming Grad has seen a lot of unique items, but there are a few that really stand out for him:

• The extremely rare management agreement contract between the Beatles and manager Brian Epstein. All four members, John W. Lennon, James Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey, signed the contract in addition to Harold Harrison (George’s father) and James McCartney (John’s father) because both were under the age of 21.

• An enormous Hollywood postcard collection. According to Grad, the man who brought the items into the shop had very little idea of what he actually had. Obtained by his uncle in the 1940s and 1950s while working on TV and movie studios, the two boxes of autographs had some of the “coolest” autographs Grad has ever seen.

• The “Star Wars” items the show filmed for a show from London. Grad authenticated the only surviving Han Solo blaster used in “Star Wars,” a George Lucas handwritten script, Princess Leia’s necklace used at the closing of the first movie, Luke Skywalkers light saber from “Return of the Jedi” and a full cast signed poster.

Personal appearances by three baseball legends — Hall of Famer Lee Smith, Hall of Fame Ted Simmons and Al (The Mad Hungarian) Hrabosky — will be the highlight of Baseball Weekend.

“All the Baseball Weekend events are absolutely free, and the public is welcome for all of them,” said Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison. “We have arranged for proper social distancing during all of the events in Horner Hall at the Convention Center, and face covering will be mandatory at all our events.

Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton, previously announced as attending, will not be part of the weekend.

The schedule for the weekend:

Friday, August 14

• 6 p.m. — Groundbreaking at Majestic Park, Hot Springs’ new youth baseball facility at Carson and Belding Streets, featuring legendary Major League Baseball players Lee Smith,Ted Simmons and Al Hrabosky along with local dignitaries.

Saturday, August 15

• 10 a.m. — Picturing America’s Pastime, National Baseball Hall of Fame 

Photography exhibit, opens to the public (Exhibit Hall Concourse)

• 10 a.m. — Baseball Card Show featuring autograph authenticator Steve Grad (Plaza Lobby)

• 10 a.m. — Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Meeting (Room 208)

• 1 p.m. — Panel on Local Baseball History (Horner Hall)

• 2:15 p.m. — A Conversation with Hall of Fame Pitching Legend Lee Smith (Horner Hall) 

• 3:30 p.m. — Baseball Talk - Hall of Famer Ted Simmons and “The Mad Hungarian” Al Hrabosky (Horner Hall)

• 4:30 p.m. — Q&A - Audience members can ask their questions and get answers from Lee Smith, Ted Simmons, and Al Hrabosky

Dozens of baseball legends came to Hot Springs in the early years of the 20th Century to train on the city’s mountain trails and “boil out” the residue of the off-season in the city’s world-famous thermal waters. Hot Springs became known as The Birthplace of Major League Baseball Spring Training because of the presence of scores of future Hall of Famers up into the 1940s and early ‘50s.

For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.




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