Tips & Hints, Advice & Recommendations - Genuine Memorabilia
Good Guy v Bad Guy
Trying to buy an autograph from a trustworthy source can seem like a minefield, especially if you've never bought one before. Not all the autographs and signatures in the marketplace are genuine but how do you know which ones are and which ones aren't? We hope the following information goes some way towards answering any concerns you may have.
Genuine Memorabilia collects its own signatures and our main collector is Dave Sherwood. We sometimes use other trusted sources such as other members of AFTAL (Autograph Fair Trade Association Ltd) which is a UK-based association, and we also deal with those people close to us whom we trust, but we don't trade autographs with people we don't know.
We are a member of AFTAL and our membership number is 110. It's our number one priority to ensure all our signatures are genuine, after all, it’s what our reputation and credibility is built on.
Here's a few things to be mindful of when dealing with the world at large ...
Offers of Valuation - A site or shop may seem credible with claims of 'reputable sources' and 'authenticated products' but beware when, at the same time, they offer valuations and seek to buy from people other than their 'reputable sources'. These claims are in direct conflict with each other.
Prints - Prints are photos that have been signed by a celebrity and then copied through a machine. These autographed photos have no significant resale value since they are not genuine signed memorabilia items. The best way to distinguish these photos from the real ones is to hold the photo up to the light as pre-print photos are blurry and original photos are not. Duo-print photos have a separate signature printed on top so that they look original but these photos are also considered fake. Duo print photos can be identified in the same way as pre print photos.
Proxy of Secretary Signature - Some celebrities ask proxies or their secretaries to sign their photos for them. The best way to identify fake autographs is to check the signature with a real one. Real signatures of a celebrity can be found on the internet as many websites display the real signatures to distinguish them from fake signatures. At times, proxy signatures are very close to the real signature so you may need to use a magnifying glass to help you see the difference.
Rubber Stamp Signature - A photo that has a rubber stamp signature is very easy to identify. The rubber stamp signature is usually very messy and at times the signature can be faded. Although rubber stamp photographs are easy to identify, there are many such fake photos about.
Forgery - A forged autographed photo may or may not be easy to detect because some people who forge signatures are very good at what they do. The best way to try to identify this fraud is to do your best to compare the signature in the photo with the real signature on the internet but it's often extremely difficult for the average person to know one way or the other.
Protecting Your Interests - If you believe you have been sold a fake photo you should complain to the relevant authority or company, ie Trading Standards, eBay etc, however, you may find it very difficult and time-consuming to get any recourse. If you know you have a fake photo you should not sell the photo as anything other than what it is.
Our Advice - Deal with established websites or shops as you have a much better chance of addressing anything you're unhappy about. Look for information that reassures you about who you're dealing with. Browse in order to build up your confidence by looking for the company’s contact details and address, read about the people and how they go about their business, check their policies, ethics, procedures, commitments to customers, delivery and returns policy etc.
We have not included Certificates of Authenticity in the checklist because, although we issue these certificates with all our items because they're reassuring, unscrupulous traders can easily generate these certificates and they are, of course, completely worthless.
We hope this article is helpful. Your comments and feedback is welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Certificate of Authenticity