Sporting teams often live and die by the support of their fans, and the players often repay this faith by meeting and talking to the passionate, die-hard supporters after their games. In order to immortalise such moments, fans often ask for autographs, getting things such as their team jerseys and match programmes signed. However, not all fans have this opportunity. As such, these fans can go to eBay, where they can get their favourite players’ autographs and signed pieces of memorabilia. The only worry is making sure that said autographs are genuine. Here are a few things to look for to ensure that this is the case:
Confirming Autograph Authenticity
Signatures have long been used to confirm someone’s identity, and while faking them is a difficult practice, it is possible, especially when dealing with the untrained eye. Some autographs are basic, making them easier to forge, whilst there’s always going to be a few differences here and there when a player is rattling them off in succession. As such, spotting a fake that’s been done well can be tricky. Any shopper can give themselves the best chance of doing this by following the tips below.
Turn the Signature Over
While this isn’t exactly possible since most likely it will be shown in an image on a computer, what a shopper can do is look at the signature upside down. Often the brain is more objective when doing this as it will focus on form, rather than the actual text, so check the image against an original and look for any dissimilarities, such as spaces between letters and letter shapes.
This can be a long shot but will sometimes clarify things. Ink types change over time, so sometimes certain signatures signed with a particular ink just weren’t possible in a bygone era. For example, older items of memorabilia before the ’60s couldn’t have been signed with felt tip pens as these hadn’t been invented yet.
Spacing and Shapes
Forgers will commonly pay more attention to getting the flow of the signature right and less to actual spacing between letters. Often, particularly with longer and more complicated signatures, this can be revealing. Focus on looking at the gaps between letters and names and pay particular attention to anything that differs from the original.
While players will bulk sign after games or at signings, they will give signatures to many different people, not just one. As such, if a person has various items selling with the same signature, these are likely to be forgeries as it’s highly unlikely that a single person would have gotten that many genuine signatures from one player. If any concerns like this are found, ask the seller directly where they got their items. It’s also a good idea to ask them if they are willing to set up a video chat to discuss the item. Any forger will be less inclined to agree to such a request.
The seller rating system is one of eBay’s useful tools for helping buyers confirm whether or not it’s a good idea to deal with a particular person. Whenever someone buys an item they can give the seller feedback on their performance, and this can be viewed by all future buyers. In addition, they can leave comments as well to tip people off to potential problems. Often those selling memorabilia will be smaller sellers, and may have only sold one or two items, and so it may be harder to find conclusive information through this method. When used with the above tips, however, it should be easier to find authentic signed items.
Buying Australian Rules Autographs on eBay
There are two simple methods for finding any item on eBay. First of all, for something as specific as Australian Rules autographs, using the search function is a good idea. Just type in ‘Australian Rules autographs’ and relevant listings will load. The other alternative is to go to ‘Sporting Goods’, then ‘AFL’ to load up all AFL listings. From here the listings can be reduced to signed items by searching down the tabs on the left of the page.
When looking for items, always consider delivery costs and times as well. If possible, and particularly for expensive items, check to see if it’s possible to collect the item in person. This will give any shopper the chance to inspect the signature in the flesh before deciding whether or not to agree to the sale. If not, and if still not completely satisfied with the items authenticity, start a dialogue with the seller or simply look elsewhere.