Whether you’re a first-time collector or you’ve been collecting autographs for quite some time, the internet can get you good pieces to add to your collection. The only caveat here is that not all autograph dealers online offer real, authentic (and authenticated) pieces, so be careful where you buy or even sell your autographs on the internet.
With that said, here are a few warning signs/red flags to watch out for:
Absence of Certificate of Authenticity
This has been said numerous times already by different autograph dealers online and offline but since a lot of collectors still fall prey to forgeries, it bears repeating: ask for a Certificate of Authenticity (COA). If the dealer refuses to issue or show a COA, and instead goes on a rant about how useless this piece of paper is, you can be sure that this dealer isn’t the real deal.
They have a large inventory of the same autograph
Before you even talk or contact autograph dealers online, do a background search first. Check their inventory. If they’re selling on auction sites or online stores, check other items on their list of offerings. If they have a large or considerable inventory of the same autograph, you can be quite certain that these are forgeries.
No celebrity will sign the same photograph a hundred times over and with the same consistent strokes, ink or pen.
The price is too low
An authentic Jimi Hendrix signature can easily fetch a whopping $9,000 and an authentic Marilyn Monroe autograph is at least $800. If the autographs sell for $50 or $100 or lower than their general value, you’d best look for other autograph dealers online. Also, beware of online dealers who are eager to sell so much so they’re willing to give you their items “at a bargain.” No true-blue collector will sell lower than the actual value of their pieces.
They cannot provide provenance
Whether or not they are the first owner of the autograph, that item has an origin. If they are the first owner, they should be able to tell you the exact events that helped them acquire the autograph from the celebrity. If they’re not the first owner, they should be able to help you trace its origins. If they cannot provide provenance, it could be because the origin of the autograph is their workshop where forgeries are created.
Do you have an autograph collection to sell? Feel free to contact Piece of the Past, one of the most trusted autograph dealers in the U.S., at (951) 258-4968. We buy entire collections and not just the cream of the crop.