Owning memorabilia of one’s favourite team is one of the pinnacles of fan accomplishments. Particularly when items have a signature, it shows unwavering allegiance to a preferred team or player. The squads of the Australian Football League, also known as the AFL, have an ever-growing base of fans – all of whom want that perfect addition to their collection.
While meeting one’s idol is the best possible scenario, most fans don’t get the opportunity to do that. For the devoted follower of a team or player, searching for second-hand signed memorabilia is the next best thing. On eBay, there’s a huge selection of signed AFL cards, rare autographed items, and other sports mementos. It’s the perfect place to go when looking for that rare piece of the collection to fill that special place on the shelf.
While it’s impossible to authenticate signed memorabilia with a 100-percent guarantee, unless of course one witnesses it in person, there are a few things to check. The last thing anyone wants to happen is to purchase what they believe is the last piece of their collection only to find out it was a fake. By following the steps in this article, it is possible to avoid making costly judgement errors when purchasing signed items on eBay.
When coming across an item of interest, the first place one should look is at the seller’s feedback and rating. The rating system on eBay is in place as a first line of defence against swindlers and cheats. From a quick glance, it’s possible to tell whether a seller has taken advantage of buyers regularly, or whether they have met customer’s standards. A glowing rating means many past satisfied customers, and a buyer can feel confident in their purchase. Checking the rating is the first, and most crucial, step in the buyer and seller relationship.
Other items by the same seller
Most of the time, a seller will have other items for sale. By checking out the other items, buyers can compare signatures within the seller’s inventory. If a buyer is selling other items with a player’s signature, and the signature looks different on said items, then the seller may be marketing fake signatures. It might seem like a novice tip, but it can quickly ward off the most careless of swindlers.
Check the signature against other examples
While it might take a genuine authenticator to get a 100-percent judgement, even the most unpractised eye can spot vast differences. Because many receive signatures while other fans are pushing around, or while a player is reaching over a barrier, there are discrepancies in even the most authentic signatures. By finding a legitimate example and comparing it to many different signatures of the same person, it is possible to weed out the outliers and take one more step in authenticating the desired item.
Check with other fans
By joining fan forums or social networking groups, one accesses vast knowledge of the entire fan base. Posting pictures to these sites allows other fans to give their opinions on an item. Often times, members of these groups are people experienced in signature authentication. To get this expertise is a huge advantage.
Question the seller
Getting in contact with the seller and asking questions can shed light on a questionable piece of merchandise. If a buyer with vast knowledge of the game begins asking the right questions, a dishonest seller might end up tripping up over his or her story, thereby proving that the item is a fake. Question the seller about the origins of the card and don’t feel afraid to be specific.
Look for official memorabilia
Because of the large demand for signed memorabilia, select merchants have put into production limited-edition, signed cards. These cards, running since 1993 in limited groups, have specific markings and signs that allow people to authenticate them. This is by far the easiest and most reliable way to find an authentically signed card.
Buying Australian Rules Trading Cards with Signatures on eBay
Once buyers determine which cards they prefer, finding them is simple. By navigating eBay and searching in the “Sporting Goods” category, one can find the "AFL, Australian Rules" section. By clicking on this, it is possible to narrow down the search and quickly find items by categories and subcategories. Using the product finder is also an easy way to quickly find the desired items.
Remember, the best way to avoid buying a fake is to know the item and the seller. Armed with that knowledge, it’s difficult to make a poor purchase.