In a recent interview with Mike Frost(President of the IADA-CC see below)...this guy knows authentic autographs. He examined Michael Jackson's autograph sales on ebay in the hours following his death. By 6:30 pm on June 25 there were 163 signed items: 15 were PSA/DNA certified, 89 were reprinted signatures, 48 were 100% forgeries and only 14 others were 100% authentic. Were you one of the 48 people that bought a fake? Possibly spending over $500 for paper and ink? By 11:35 pm there were 675 signed Michael Jackson items on ebay with over 70% being FAKE! These sellers are very very bad bad people. And they feed off of your trust and ignorance.
Don't be fooled into buying something you believe to be authentic. If you have a feeling that the item is fake...it probably is. Please read the following tips to help you buy authentic autographed memorabilia and run the counterfiters out of ebay.
DON'T LET THE FORGERS GET RICH OFF OF YOU!
THIS INFO IS FOR ALL AUTOGRAPHED MEMORABILIA, NOT JUST MICHAEL JACKSONPRICE
- If the price is too low to be true...guess what people?...it usually is. The forger doesn't care if he makes a dime or $1000 off of you. He's out to make money, period. Don't get fooled! $14.99 for an "authentic autograph" is plain ridiculous! It kills me to see 100's upon 1000's of people buying something for an insanely low price, believing i'ts real. The price point is very important when purchasing real signatures. Do a little research. It's like buying a car. Find out how much the autograph your seeking is worth in today's market. Authentic autograph dealers will have a comparable price point.
AUTHENTIC AUTOGRAPH ASSOCIATIONS
- Buy only from reputable autograph dealers with a strong/long track record. Choose sellers affiliated with a prestigious autograph association. In particular, dealers who are members in good standing with one or more of the following autograph associations. These associations were created for the preservation of authentic autographs. Failure to comply with their standards with complaints lodged against them, will result in their membership being revoked. It's fair to say that if the seller is a member in good standing in one or more of the following organizations, they are reputable. Please contact each and every organization that they claim to be a member of to verify their membership.
Autograph Fair Trade Association Ltd
Professional Autograph Dealer's Association
International Autograph Collectors Club& Dealers Alliance - IADA-CC
The Manuscript Society
CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY COMPANIES
- Don't buy into the COA/Certificate of Authenticity! Most often, it's not worth the paper it's printed on. If a seller is willing to forge an autograph, he will most definitely print out a COA. The following are a list of legitimate COA companies approved by ebay and not found fraudlent by the FBI in a recent sting operation:
UDA - Upper Deck Authenticated
Green Diamond (The Ted Williams Family Company)
Do not accept a COA just because it was named after the sellers id or a fancy name like "National COA Company of America". Like I said, a COA is worthless unless it has an authorizing body. The guy who answers the phone at an unregistered COA company may very well be the seller. Be Careful!
THIRD PARTY AUTHENTICATION SERVICES
These services examine your autograph and determine if it is 100% authentic. They then offer you a COA. Bar none, the following names are the cream of the 3rd party authentication crop.
- Al Wittnebert
- James Spence
- Roger Epperson
- Only accept a "For Life" guarantee! Not 10 years, not 30 days, not 1 year...FOR LIFE only! Autopen forgeries have been discovered years after purchasing memorabilia.
- The seller must provide you with contact information. If he doesn't, don't buy from him! Name, address and telephone number. A seller may provide a "brick and mortar" address that may not exist. Always check your sources. Don't be fooled. Use Google Earth! Enter the address to see if it's where they say it is. They might be giving you an addres to McDonalds's!
- Ask a lot of questions. A legitimate seller will be more than happy to answer all questions. Forgers will be evasive and give you unsatisfactory answers.
"How long have you been in business?" "I would like customer references, can you provide a few?" "Where did you obtain the autograph?"
- MULTIPLE SIGNED ITEMS...ONE PIC OF THE CELEBRITY SIGNING AN ITEM...THE COMMON SENSE RULE
- I cannot stress enough to buy from a legitimate seller with a strong/long track record. Forgers will set up shop to take advantage of hot A-list celebrities that are in the news at the moment. Only to close soon after. Don't be fooled!
- This leads me to the whole "positive feedback theory". Just because a seller has thousands of positive feedbacks, does not mean the autographs are legitimate. The buyer is more than likely addressing the speed of delivery, careful packaging and/or the high quality photo. It does not proove the authenticity of the autograph.
- Be aware of the time and date. There is no way that a Michael Jackson 02 Tour Ticket will be signed by the late great one...no way!