When shopping on Ebay for autographs, it is always a daunting task to find exactly what you want. Then when you find it you have to assess where or not you think it is authentic. It says that it comes with a COA and that it's 100% authentic and not a pre-print or a copy. Well you're on to a winner, right? Wrong, just because it is written up professionally doen't make it authentic or even remotely close to being. Great, you're thinking, so how do I know which one to trust and which to remove from my "favourites" list. I'll give you a few easy tips to success when buying autographs on Ebay.
First of all I will show you an example of a typical page of someone who is selling "authentic" autographs. Click on the Angelina Jolie autograph to view. http://search.ebay.com.au/_W0QQsassZautographsaustraliaQQhtZ-1
This item from autographsaustralia is a standard listing that can be seen hundreds of times over. They are a "Power Seller", their feedback is well over the 3000 mark, with 99.9% of people saying that they were happy with their purchase. This must be good, lots of ticks in the box so far? Scroll down and they write that it is a personally signed photo of the said celebrity, that it is not a pre-print or a copy, it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, and they will happily give you your money back - no questions asked. Sounds to good to be true, well i'm sorry to say that it is.
Being a "Power Seller" just means that you sell enough items on Ebay to apply for "Power Seller" status. The feedback of over 3000, with a rating of 99.9% just means that that many people have been tricked by this seller. This information doesn't show you how many people have asked for their money back after they found out their autograph wasn't authentic and after feedback was left. When you return something, don't you generally need a good reason? Yes, but "give a 100% refund, with no questions asked", why, don't you want to know why your customer is returning that 100% authentic autograph.
As for COA's, there is plenty to be said. I believe that the actual COA means nothing. It is the person or dealer behind the COA that means everthing. Just because one is issued, that doesn't guarentee you anything. Here is an example of another sellers example of the way to sell autographs. Click on any autograph to view. http://stores.ebay.com.au/JG-Autographs_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZ0QQftidZ2QQpZ2QQtZkm
They have a lot of the same information as the first example. A "Power Seller", almost 14000 feedback, with 99.9%. Scroll down and look at how they are displaying the item. They have put their business name on the image to protect it from being saved and then printed off by others. They have a detailed return policy, which does not include not questions asked. They do issue a COA, that is as detailed as one can get. This will include all of their contact details so you can get a hold of them in the future. If a COA doesn't have this, alarm bells should start ringing. This seller also has a condition/quality section. It describes what it is not in detail. They know more about autographs then "it's not a pre-print or copy".
Scroll down further still and it tells you a bit about the company and the all important, never to be missed LOGO. See the one that says "UACC" in blue? This stands for "Universal Autograph Collectors Club". This is the only place that one can become a registered autograph dealer. When you see this logo, you should begin to feel alot safer in your purchase. You need to be a general member for a minimum of 3 years and the apply to be a registered dealer (RD). After becoming a RD, they are constantly checking to ensure that their members are selling, buying and attaining only 100% authentic items. The UACC has an ethics board that they all must answer to if caught out. Is some cases, people have been jailed or fined for their wrong doings.
All in all, the last example is someone you should add to your favourites, as you are deleting the first example. Finding what you want on Ebay is hard work and you are bound to make errors before you feel safe with someone you have found. Don't be afraid to question where the autographs came from. Ask their credentials, are the a UACC Dealer? What gives them the right to claim that what they are selling is authentic. If they are truely selling the genuine artical, they will be happy to answer your questions and put your mind at ease. I like to rember this quote "internet auctions, where uneducated buyers find uneducated sellers". Educate yourself on authentication, research the seller and ask questions. When the genuine sellers and the hopeful buyers work together, then Ebay will be a safer place to find your favourite celebrity autograph.