Spotting Fake Autographs

I just purchased a Bret Favre autograph football over the internet. How do I know that it was really signed by Bret Favre?

That is the question all buyers should be asking when purchasing autograph sports memorabilia over the internet (or anywhere else for that matter.) With the proliferation of fraudulent autographs in today’s marketplace, the main factor to consider when purchasing sports memorabilia is the authenticity of the item. And unless you have personally witnessed firsthand the athlete signing the item, you cannot be 100% certain that they did.

For most collectors and fans, getting autographs in person is not a viable option. Even if you live in a major league city or attend trade shows, getting to your favorite athletes on a regular basis and snagging their autograph is a tough proposition. But if you’re an autograph collector and can’t get them in person, what do you do?

The next best thing to getting autographs in person is to buy your autographed sports memorabilia from a legitimate dealer. The dealer you buy from should have an impeccable reputation, with integrity, knowledge of the industry, and stand behind the products that they sell. The dealer should be obtaining their autographs in person where they can witness the signatures themselves, or from other reputable sources that conduct autograph signings directly  visit Р  with the athletes .(such as Mounted Memories, Upper Deck, Steiner Sports, etc.)

When purchasing autograph sports memorabilia, the item should be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). COA’s are an important aspect in the process but buyers need to be careful. Anybody can issue a COA with an autograph item but this obviously doesn’t mean that the item is real. Who issues the COA is the most significant factor. Here again, the who is more important than the what. A COA “Guarantee” that the autograph is real, and the dealer standing behind this “guarantee’ should be reputable.

Another thing to look out for with COA’s is that they match the item you are buying. Most COA’s today will have a matching company hologram affixed to the item. In fact, several athletes have personal holograms & their own COA’s that they include with their autographs. This was not true a few years ago when fraudulent autographs were sometimes were being accompanied by legitimate COA’s.

Still not sure, or perhaps you already own autograph memorabilia and are not convinced it’s real? There are third party authentication services (PSA/DNA being the best) that will examine your memorabilia and determine its’ legitimacy. There is a small fee involved but it’s definitely worth it, especially if you want to sell the item or it has substantial value.

Trust your instincts. Autograph sports memorabilia is sold all over and it is not always real. Especially be careful when buying off of EBay, charity auctions, or unknown dealers. They don’t always verify their sources. And don’t get fooled by the price. If the price of an item is too low to be true, it usually is. Stick to legitimate dealers with solid reputations and you’ll have an enjoyable buying experience!

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