Collectors Universe, the leading collectible authentication and grading company, announces that Joe Orlando, who has spent over 20 years with the company, has made the decision to step down as CEO. Executive Chairman Nat Turner has been appointed to the role.
Orlando first joined Collectors Universe in 1999 and has been a collector of trading cards and memorabilia for over 35 years. One of the hobby’s foremost experts, Orlando has authored multiple books about collectibles and helped build Collectors Universe into the trusted leader in sports, coin and memorabilia authentication and grading.
Turner, an entrepreneur and lifelong collector and hobbyist who also founded and served as the CEO of Flatiron Health, has deep experience building and growing businesses by focusing on creating seamless customer-focused experiences. In his expanded role, he will oversee continued investment in the company focused on expanding Collector’s Universe’s capacity and capabilities, while upholding the integrity, transparency and consistent accuracy that has cemented it as the industry gold standard.
Collectors Universe, which owns Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the pioneers in sports collectibles and coins, respectively, was recently acquired by an investor group led by Turner, D1 Capital Partners L.P., and Cohen Private Ventures, LLC. The company has since made strategic acquisitions, including of software company Genamint, and moving forward it will further invest in infrastructure, technology and R&D to expand its service offerings and continue to improve and increase the scale and operational capacity of items it can grade and authenticate.
“I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved as a team at Collectors Universe over the last 20 years. I know this is the right time for me to step aside because the company is stronger than ever. Nat has already demonstrated that he knows what’s required to scale the business in order to meet customer demand while also protecting the company’s reputation that has been carefully built on trust, integrity and transparency,” said Orlando. “This was a hard decision for me but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and staying active in the hobby, my personal passion.”
“Joe has been an indispensable part of Collectors for more than two decades and under his leadership, the company has become the yardstick that all other businesses in this industry are measured against,” said Turner. “Moving forward, we’ll continue making investments in the company that will help us scale to meet our existing and future customer demand, improve customer experience and support the continued maturation of the industry overall.”
An Important Message from Joe Orlando
Without a doubt, this message was the most difficult to write in my nearly 22 years at the company. The title, “Thank You,” is about as vague as a title can get, but I wanted to keep it simple for those who chose to read it. After more than two decades at Collectors Universe, with most of that time dedicated to PSA in one form or another, I have decided to move on from something that has become such a huge part of my life. It was time for a change. In addition to spending more time with my family, I am looking forward to staying active in the hobby, my personal passion.
Long before I came to work for the company in 1999, I became a customer – one of PSA’s first – shortly after learning about the service in the early 1990s. Even though I wasn’t here at the very beginning, nor did I invent the concept, I feel like I have been with the company from the start when it wasn’t en vogue. Third party authentication and grading wasn’t perfect then, and it isn’t now, but it has been a critical component to our hobby’s growth. It will continue to be as the market moves forward, along with all the other things PSA offers, from essential content to collection management tools.
I came to PSA because I believed in the concept and what it could do for the industry, but I stayed in large part because of the people … the people I worked with on a daily basis and those whom I worked for – our customers. The relationships are the reason. I have made lifelong friendships along the way, those I will always cherish. This includes so many current, and former, coworkers. It also includes countless hobbyists and dealers, those who continue to bleed PSA’s colors and those who have sadly passed on.
While there are those who drift in and out of our hobby, so many of you have been incredibly loyal to the brand and personally supportive during my entire career. I could never thank you enough. In many respects, I have been spoiled with a dream job since finishing school. I want everyone to know that I never forgot that. I was given an opportunity to work in an industry I love and for a company I believed in. I fully understood how rare that was and appreciated it every second of the way.
It doesn’t mean every experience was pleasant. Sometimes, I was turned into a human piñata at The National or became the target of submitter frustration by default being on the front lines. It was, however, all part of the gig. Being the referee, umpire or judge isn’t always an envious position to be in. Furthermore, playing the role of messenger can be challenging when the message isn’t always pretty, but the job was so rewarding, in every way imaginable.
I loved helping people, developing new services, providing structure to the market, building the Set Registry, writing, educating, researching, innovating, constantly learning and being immersed in the endeavor I would choose aside from the paycheck. It doesn’t feel like work if you have a real passion for what you do. That passion is what keeps you motivated each day. It could be a grind at times like any other job, but I ended up loving the grind.
In the early days, I can remember going to countless conventions. From Redding, PA, to Hollywood Park, CA, there was a time when I walked table-to-table, aisle-to-aisle, in an attempt to convince others how our services could help their business or improve their collecting experience. Some of you were at these shows too. The circuit could be grueling as you well know, but I enjoyed engaging with fellow hobbyists because we spoke the same language, shared similar experiences and could relate to one another … even when we disagreed.
Effective immediately, Collectors Universe Executive Chairman and fellow collector Nat Turner will be stepping into the CEO role. Since our company was purchased several months ago, Nat has been extremely involved in decision making, especially as it relates to building our infrastructure. This will enable the company to scale and bring Collectors Universe closer to its ultimate vision. For years, Nat has been a consumer and supporter of PSA-certified products, so he is very familiar with our brands and the services we offer.
I am a collector, through and through. It’s how I’m wired and that’s not going to change. I can’t wait to see what the next two or three decades has in store for all of us. The hobby is continually expanding, maturing and improving. It’s a great time to be a collector, and more people that share our “gene” are being introduced to our way of life each day.
No matter what I decide to do from this point forward with my work life, I will be a collector for life.
President & CEO, Collectors Universe, Inc.