About Us

Mike Root
Director of Authentication

Mike is a native of Parsippany NJ. Mike started off in the hobby at the age of 12 and attended his first show in 1984 at the 5th Annual National Sports Collectors Convention in Parsippany, NJ.

Since that time Mike has owned and operated multiple hobby stores buying and selling autographed memorabilia for 20 years. During those years he attended many in person signings, obtaining thousands of signatures. Mike spent over seven years from 2009-2016 working for nationally recognized third party authentication companies as The Director of Authentication / Senior Authenticator. During that time Mike traveled to locations throughout the country authenticating signatures and gaining even more experience in the hobby.

Steve Zarelli
Space & Aviation

Steve Zarelli has been collecting and closely studying space and aviation autographs for over 15 years. He has been at the forefront of identifying deceptive forgeries and his findings have been published in the definitive space collecting reference, "Relics of the Space Race," as well as the UACC’s Pen & Quill magazine. Steve was also a contributor to the UACC signature study, "Neil Armstrong: The Quest for His Autograph." Steve has been an active member of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club for 15 years; he previously served as the Ethics Chairman and currently sits on the UACC Board of Directors.

Brandon Grunbaum
Author & Baseball Expert

Brandon Grunbaum grew up in Huntington Beach, California, and spent many years after high school as an award-winning web and graphic designer in Orange County. In 2008, Brandon decided to follow a passion of his, and went back to school to earn his Commercial Pilot’s License. He has since been flying as a Contract Pilot out of John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. Growing up a California Angels fan, and competetive baseball player himself, he became a collector of baseball memorabilia from a very young age. In his twenties, Brandon began seriously collecting baseball memorabilia, starting with autographed balls. His interest turned toward collecting unsigned vintage baseballs from older eras, especially upon realizing their rarity. He sought the correct information regarding vintage baseballs, trying to build a chronological collection for his own enjoyment, but found this task more difficult than anticipated. He decided to complete his own research to find the information himself. This extensive research included reading 110-year-old Spalding Baseball guides, various baseball books, and even conducting interviews with avid collectors as well as the curators of the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, finding even these experts could not answer most of the questions he had. Through hundreds of hours of dedicated and meticulous research, dozens of phone conversations and interviews, a trip to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and a multitude of purchases, he was able to piece together details as no one else has, and created a valuable, unique, one-of-a-kind, historical source. He is considered one of the most educated and reliable sources on the subject of the baseball. Brandon now has one of the most complete chronological collections of American and National League baseballs. He currently resides in Huntington Beach, remains active in the memorabilia community, and is a reference expert for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, several premier auction houses, and the industry's prominent autograph authenticators. He is also a historical consultant for television production companies and has been credited with ESPN, CBS, and sited on MLB.

Herman Darvick
Historical & Political

Born in The Bronx, NY, Herman is a Charter Member of the Universal Autograph Collectors Club and served as its President from 1968-1987 and as Editor of the UACC’s journal, "The Pen and Quill," 1967-1969, 1975-1985, and 1986-1987. In 1984, Herman was awarded the UACC's first Lifetime Achievement Award.

From 1968-2004, Herman taught all subjects, grades 3-6, at PS 99, PS 248, and PS 188 in the Midwood, Gravesend, and Coney Island sections of Brooklyn, NY.

In 1981, Messner Books/Simon & Schuster published his book, "Collecting Autographs." Herman authored the "Autograph" entry in "World Book Encyclopedia" and its been published in every edition since 1984. He wrote the "Jimmy Carter Philographic Study" in 1978 and co-authored Chapter 1 – Authentication in Sanders Autograph Price Guide 7th edition, 2009.

A forensic expert, he was an expert witness for the United States of America on autograph authenticity and value of the Nixon papers, confiscated after Watergate, in the case of Griffin and Taylor (Executors of the Estate of Richard Nixon) v. United States (1998-2000). Items he has authenticated and sold include Jack Ruby's gun, Judy Garland's last passport, Oscars awarded to John Lennon and Harold Russell, and the first authentic signature of Shoeless Joe Jackson ever sold.

Herman was the owner of Herman M. Darvick Autographs (1968-1985), ran Herman Darvick Autograph Auctions (1985-1995), and was Chief Cataloguer & Authenticator at Gallery of History (1996-2005). Since 2006, Herman has been on the staff of two nationally recognized autograph authentication companies. Since 2008, he has been Writer & Lead Researcher at University Archives.

He has been interviewed by, among others, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Bill O'Reilly, Phil Donohue, and Joe Franklin, as well as by the Associated Press, USA Today, People, The Wall Street Journal, Yomiuri Shimbun, Der Spiegel, New York magazine, Newsday, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, CNBC, and other media.

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