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FAQs - Genuine Memorabilia

 Frequently asked questions about buying autographs

How can people avoid buying fake autographs?

Unfortunately it is very easy for unscrupulous people to make money with autographs and signed memorabilia and there are many autographs offered for sale that aren’t genuine.

A very large percentage of all autographs for sale online are fake, and of course it’s very easy for online sellers to hide behind their online offerings; take your hard-earned money and disappear, probably only to reappear again under a new identity.

You’re best advised to buy autographs and signed memorabilia from reputable dealers. Check if the autograph dealer is recognised by AFTAL or UACC and deal with established websites or shops as you have a far better chance of addressing anything you're unhappy about.

If your autograph source isn’t an ‘Approved’ dealer, look for information about the autograph dealer 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 (check it’s a real address, a normal phone number, not premium rate for example as part of a scam), read about the people and how they go about their business, check their policies, ethics, procedures, commitments to customers, delivery and returns policy etc.

Quite often when someone has something to hide they don’t tell you very much or there’s a lot of talk about very little.

There are autograph and memorabilia websites with fake addresses and dubious phone numbers. If in doubt, don’t deal. If you are particularly uncertain please report the website to AFTAL.

If you come across a lot of hard-to-find autographs, this can be a warning sign that something’s not quite right, however, some autograph and memorabilia dealer collectors are better connected to certain celebrities than others and perhaps gain access to many autographs that others may find difficult to obtain.

Valuable autographs being sold for much less than they should be worth can also be an indication of something not right. As they say, if it seems too good it probably is.

The only autograph and memorabilia trade associations that are accepted as being of any worth are the UACC (as a Registered Dealer only, not just a member) AFTAL, or PADA.

All these autograph dealer/collector websites have a full list of their ‘approved dealers’ on their website. You could also use this link to the ACAF (Autograph Collectors against Fakes) forum.

What is an AFTAL Approved Dealer?

AFTAL stands for Autograph Fair Trade Association Ltd and is based in the UK.

AFTAL was created by acknowledged autograph dealers with the intention of eradicating the market for fake autographs and memorabilia, and providing a platform for customers to find autograph dealers they can trust.

AFTAL Approved Dealer status is proof of each autograph dealer’s commitment and professional competence. The Code of Conduct commits each AFTAL Approved Dealer to provide authentic autographs and signed items, with all the required knowledge, qualification and diligence that may demand. In AFTAL’s words, “it is the best possible proof any autograph collector could have when looking to buy authentic signed memorabilia”.

Genuine Memorabilia is AFTAL Approved Dealer 110

What is the difference between a UACC Registered Dealer and a UACC Member?

A UACC Registered Dealer is vetted and monitored by the UACC (in the USA) to ensure they’re carry out their autograph and memorabilia business ethically and in line with the UACC code of ethics and procedures.

A UACC Registered Dealer is required to submit references and details of their experience in dealing with autograph collecting as well as providing the UACC with other information about their autograph business and trading.

A UACC Member is very different to a UACC Approved/Registered Dealer and the two should not be confused. Anyone can become a UACC Member by simply applying for membership and paying an annual fee.

Depending on the level of your interest in autograph collecting, UACC Membership may be beneficial to you.

Should I buy an autograph from someone who isn’t an AFTAL Dealer?

If you want to buy an autograph from someone who isn’t AFTAL or UACC approved, satisfy yourself as to whom you think you are dealing with. Firstly, check to see if they have applied for AFTAL or UACC membership, this will go some way towards building up a picture, however, any memorabilia dealer can apply to join AFTAL or UACC, but not all applications will be successful.

Look for information about the autograph dealer that reassures you. Browse in order to build up your confidence by looking for the company’s contact details and address (check it’s a real address, a normal phone number, not premium rate for example as part of a scam), read about the people and how they go about their business, check their policies, ethics, procedures, commitments to customers, delivery and returns policy etc.

Also check if the autograph has any accompanying proof of signing in which case you would want to see your autograph being signed preferably with the collector in the picture.

Dealing with approved autograph and memorabilia dealers gives you the best possible chance of peace of mind but it doesn’t mean everyone else is operating in a less than honourable manner; don’t forget everyone has to start somewhere, but it can be very difficult for the average person to make an informed decision for those autograph dealers outside of a recognised scheme and without approved dealer status.

It’s worth asking why they’re not a member and gauge their response.

Will my autograph be worth more if I buy from an AFTAL dealer?

If you have a genuine autograph its value would normally be unaffected by whom you had bought it from. Having a Certificate of Authenticity from an AFTAL approved dealer, for example, could make it easier to sell, a bit like a new kitchen, it hasn’t necessarily increased the value of your home but it can sell quicker with a nice new kitchen!

Autograph types - what is a pre-printed autograph?

Pre-printed autographs are signatures that are part of the photograph. The celebrity in question originally signed a print and then subsequently the original print with the autograph has been mass produced.

What is a secretarial autograph?

Some celebrities use what are called ‘secretaries’ to sign autographs on their behalf which reduces the amount of time they spend signing autographs, but would of course lead to inevitable dismay and disappointment should the unwitting collector realise the nature of their purchase.

What is an autopen autograph?

Again, another device employed by some celebrities to reduce the time they spend signing autographs is the autopen. Autopens are mechanical devices that can sign identical autographs quickly and reasonably accurately. Autopens have been around for decades and are also used in office environments. The autopen signature will usually be the same signature template used over and over again.

Do you value autographs?

We don’t value or authenticate autographs or signed memorabilia but Garry King is a leading authority and his website is interesting reading.

Do you buy autographs?

We don’t buy autographs or signed memorabilia from the public and this is not negotiable under any circumstances, regardless of people’s connections.

We only trade or purchase autographs from approved or reputable dealers, or people close to us whom we trust.

Are you a member of any autograph associations?

Genuine Memorabilia is proud to be a registered UK autograph dealer with AFTAL (Autograph Fair Trade Association) - AFTAL Approved Dealer 110.

We are pleased to play our part in maintaining a code of ethics within our profession and strive to continually improve our customer experience.

We also hope that our customers will be reassured to know that our Director, Dave Sherwood, is an Award-Winning Police Community Support Officer for Surrey Police.

Are your signatures original autographs and hand signed by the person?

All our autographs are genuine - each autograph is signed by the person. They're not prints or copies. Every item is unique and original.

Do I have to buy online or can I pay by cheque?

Cheque payments are accepted. Bear in mind it will take much longer for you to receive the item as it won't be dispatched until the cheque has been received and the funds have cleared.

Your autographs seem cheap I’ve surfed through lots of memorabilia websites and have been to memorabilia shops. How come your prices are so good? I’m not complaining it’s just I’ve seen an identical Frank Lampard signed shirt in a shop for £750 and your price is only £175.

It’s a very good question and one we’re often asked. Firstly, we’re not greedy, we want our customers to feel they’re getting great value for money – that way they’ll come back for more and tell their friends about us in the meantime.

We also have lower overheads than a shop and we go out of our way to do a lot of our own collecting.

Do you specialise in any particular autographs or memorabilia? Which celebrities do you see most often?

We don’t really specialise in anyone/ anything in particular but Dave (our main collector) is a huge Chelsea FC and Paul Weller fan, so you might see a bit more of both on our website than you may find on other websites.

It really depends, for example some months we may meet someone several times and collect autographs and then it may be difficult to catch up with them for months or even years thereafter.

Autograph signatures are different I’ve noticed some people’s signatures differ, why is this?

A good example of this is Chelsea’s John Terry and Michael Essien. If they have time they will sign their names in full (like signing a cheque) but if they’re rushed or being hounded by a crowd they may only initial or tail-off with a squiggle.

Do you supply a Certificate of Authenticity with your autographs?

All our autographs come with our AFTAL approved dealer Certificate of Authenticity.

Increasing we try to obtain photographic evidence of the signing but we can't get them for every autograph.

And always remember, a Certificate of Authenticity is only as good as the company that supplies it because anyone can create a certificate of this nature.

It's reassuring to have one when you trust your source but it's not proof of authenticity when you’re not so sure of your source.

Do you make charity donations?

Sorry, no we don’t. We have numerous requests for donations throughout the year and it isn’t feasible to accommodate the value of requests we have.

We either hold events for our own chosen charities throughout the year or donate to causes as we see fit on a personal level.

Do you discount on multiple purchases for autographs?

Discounts are available for orders over £1,000 and we may consider discounts in other circumstances at our discretion (it would depend on the items in question).

Our autographs are already very competitively priced and amongst the best value on the market; our prices are more likely to go up, not down.

What kind of autographs do you sell?

Our entire autograph collection spans three websites covering a broad range of autographs across many genres:

www.genuinememorabilia.co.uk – bands, pop stars, film stars, film memorabilia, celebs, comedy, glamour etc

www.sportsmemorabilia.co.uk – football and many sports

www.signed.co.uk – affordable autographs covering all the above

Our autographs come in many forms:

  • signed photographs
  • signed pictures
  • signed prints
  • signed books
  • signed doodles
  • signed cartoons
  • signed albums
  • signed records
  • signed guitars
  • signed programmes
  • signed football shirts
  • signed footballs
  • signed boxing gloves

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