Real or Fake? Tips for Collectors When Browsing an Autographs Online Store

Whether you’re browsing an autographs online store or you fancy collecting old-timey stamps or coins, it is important to know whether or not the collectible item is real or a fraud. There are so many counterfeit collectible items out there, especially when it comes to autographs since an autograph can be easily duplicated.

When investing in collectible autographs, there are a few habits you can practice to differentiate the real from the fraudulent. In order to not be taken for a fool when buying the next autographed item for your collection, follow these tips on determining the legitimacy of an autograph.

Purchase Your Autographs from Authorized Dealers

There’s nothing more sketchy than buying an “authentic” autographed item from your favorite celeb, athlete, or artist from sites like Ebay or Craigslist. When you make a purchased on an unauthorized dealer, you’re basically asking for a scam. Sure, there are some legit sellers out there offering up the real deal, but it’s hard to know for sure.

To ensure that you are always purchasing an authentic autograph, only consider making a purchase through an authorized dealer. A sports memorabilia source called Game Day Connexion says this: “Don’t accept autographed items from vendors claiming to have procured items from anything other than organized events. Otherwise, you can safely assume an item’s signature is fake.”

Research the Signing Habits of the Autographer

Whether you’re on the hunt for an authentic autograph from Madonna or J. Biebs, it’s important to know exactly how the autographer typically signs his or her name. Not only should you have a good idea of the flourishing, t-crossing, and i-dotting habits of the signer, it’s important to know of any signing contracts that the autographer is involved in. For example, Michael Jordan has an exclusive deal with Upper Deck, which means all of his authentic autographs will appear with the Upper Deck logo. If an MJ autograph doesn’t come with that, it’s almost certainly a fake.

Never Walk Away Without a COA

Acquiring a COA – Certificate of Authentication – is a must whenever you purchase an autograph. A COA means that there was a witness watching the autographed item in question when it was signed. It’s kind of like having a document notarized to establish its authenticity. No matter how many times an autograph has been passed down or sold, the COA should always remain with it. Another heads up, if you invest in an autograph and fail to acquire the COA, you’ll have a lot of trouble selling that item in the future, at least not for the price you were hoping.

If the Price is Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

You should have a full understanding of an autograph’s worth before making a purchase. That way, if the price is a lot lower than market value, you know that the item is most likely not authentic. Unless the seller is doing whatever it takes to make a fire sale and earn some quick cash, an autograph price that seems too good to be true probably is.