Major League Baseball (MLB) Authentication


How to Authenticate

Head to the MLB Authentication Database: mlb.com/authentication to look up every Tokens and Icons gift with a MLB hologram.

MLB Authentication Program

The MLB Authentication Program was founded in 2001 so that memorabilia purchasers could have a comfort level that game used materials are in fact 100% authentic and tracked under a foolproof method.  It was the late 90's when Tony Gwynn happened to walk into the team store and noticed that there were fake signatures of his on a few items for sale.  The incident led to an FBI investigation which resulted in Major League Baseball exclusively hiring Authenticators from law enforcement of each city in which their Major League teams plays. As these individuals witness balls going into the dirt, bats breaking, etc., they are then immediately handed these balls and bats by the bat boy and hologram each game used item with tamper-proof holograms produced by OpSec, U.S.

 

ARTIFACT ACQUISITION AND CHAIN OF CUSTODY

Tokens & Icons works closely with Michael Posner, the Manager of MLB's Authentication Program, to have his same Authenticators, who authenticate at the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants games, come to Tokens & Icons' office multiple times a week to authenticate each product made from MLB's authenticated game used artifacts.

 

Baseballs
When Tokens & Icons receives a game used ball, each ball's authentication hologram information is printed out from MLB.com/authentication. The document and ball live together in a polybag through all processes.
The first step in crafting cuff links, pendants, money clip wallets, bracelets and earrings from game used baseballs occurs in Tokens & Icons' headquarters where each ball is hand-cut in a jig.
The leather is separated from the core which is made of yarn and string. The leather is then sent to the manufacturer in its polybag with its hologram document.
Eight pairs of cuff links are made from one game used baseball. The cuff links, leather remnants, and the document returns from the manufacturer. The contents of each bag is placed in its own tray in preparation for the MLB Authenticator.
The Authenticator comes to Tokens & Icon's office multiple times a week to authenticate every product made from a game used MLB artifact. He places a hologram directly on the back of each cuff link.
The Authenticator logs every hologram he adheres. Each new product hologram is linked to its artifact hologram and this information goes into MLB's Authentication Database.
Bats
When Tokens & Icons receives a game used bat, the hologram's authentication information is printed and the document is attached to it.
As each bat is individually hand-cut, the pieces of each bat are kept in their own box with the bat's original document.
Once each bat is fully cut, all pieces are hologrammed by the Authenticator.
All bat pieces are then lacquered and assembled into bottle openers by hand in Berkeley, CA. The pieces are laid out such that the pieces of one bat always stay together. Everyone in the chain of production works diligently to maintain the integrity of the artifact's authenticity.
Uniforms
The swatches for Game Used Uniform Wallets are hand-cut by Tokens & Icons. Each uniform is carefully cut such that each swatch has at least 2 colors.
Swatches are always stored with the uniform's authentication document (bottom right of photo above).

Vintage Ballpark Seats

In 2006, Tokens & Icons was approached by a New Jersey-based customer, Jennifer Madsen, who wanted to introduce the company to Bill Hartel, a dentist by day and an entrepreneur by night. Bill's father had been involved in Comiskey Parks' demolition in 1991 and had salvaged a chair, which sat in Bill's garage for a few years until his wife encouraged him do something with it (or else demanded it be tossed!). When Bill saw a pen turned from wood, he realized a use for the chair, and, after receiving positive reactions to his first pen run, he began acquiring other stadium seats, thus founding BallPark Pens.

Tokens & Icons indeed agreed with Jennifer's thought that this fit the "authentic icons" mantra, became a licensee of BallPark Pens, and began producing cuff links from the same authentic wood seats. Tokens realized Bill was becoming frustrated with life as a wholesaler and inquired if he ever wanted to sell his creation.

That day came to pass three months later around the same time that Tokens started to become acquainted with MLB's Authentication Program. In time, Tokens & Icons entered into a license with Major League Baseball. Tokens and its retailers have always and continue to be wowed by MLB's chain of custody authentication process. In 2009, cuff links, wallets and pendants made from MLB Authenticated Game Used baseballs and uniforms became official!

Supply of Seats from one of our trusted sources.

All BallPark items are made from bench wood removed before the MLB Authentication Program began. The wood we use is from authentic vintage stadium seats from two MLB-approved and trusted resources with whom we have worked since 2006. In the first year, we sensed that they were the right people and not only have we not been disappointed, we are in awe of their knowledge, integrity and their passion for authenticity. Our trust in them has only been enhanced after eight years of working together, and, as with Michael Posner at MLB, we have "caught the passion" these folks have for America's pastime!

To view an example of each stadium seat, please visit Ballpark Seats Timeline.

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