Autographs at Internet Auctions

on Sunday, 10 April 2011. Posted in Autograph forgeries

It is hard to find genuine autographs on Ebay and similar auctions!

Professionals would agree that at least 80% are forgeries.
That means that 8 out of 10 buyers / members of the public are purchasing worthless items.
The auction companies are raking in millions from autograph sales, so they have little interest in attempting to solve the problem. Forgerys are such an epidemic that they threaten the integrity of the whole hobby for us and future generations.

Ebay and other Internet Auctions has become a phenomenon with around 15000 autographed items for sale everyday. These consist of 5000 supposedly certified, 2000 uncertified and 5000 preprints. 80 % at least of these are fake.

Everyday to give popular current artist examples there are around 250 Robbie Williams / 250 Madonna / 500 Harry potter / 500 Lord of the Rings; almost all are fake it is really hard to find a genuine one!
Everyday I am contacted by someone who has bought “a bargain” Bob Marley for £50 / Kurt Cobain for £20 / Led Zeppelin for £50 / Jimi Hendrix for £50 / Pink Floyd for £20 to give just a few examples.
Many of these are bought from the USA with supposed DNA certification. The best indication of a fake is always the price; the above are all around 1/20th of the price of a real one. Inexperienced buyers must realise there are now very few bargains about as all the professional dealers and collectors are watching.

“If it seems too cheap there is an obvious reason why”

Stick to the following rules as a guide:

  • Do NOT buy on internet auction sites unless you are an experienced autograph collector
  • Do NOT buy from anybody with Private ID or using a PO BOX only with no other contact details.
  • Do NOT buy from anybody with a very low or negative feedback rating.
  • Do NOT be enticed by sellers with all types of add ons. i.e.Gold Star Sellers / Power Sellers / Member of this and that etc / Special Shops / enhanced displays etc. All these are no contribution to the authenticity of a signature.
  • Sellers saying anything like “15 years a roadie behind the scenes in the music industry”. “Obtained by my recently deceased auntie” etc. should be avoided.
  • If a seller states anywhere in the description “Obtained in person by our professional hunters in the USA” or similar ask when and where and if there is supporting evidence. Be aware that if photos are shown of a celebrity actually signing they could have been printed off another website or used previously. Do not allow the seller to offer to give this information only after the sale is completed.
  • View Sellers other items. Always a very good indication. If the seller has many very desirable autographs listed at low prices such as Marlon Brando / Madonna / Bob Marley etc. unless he is a dealer of world recognition walk away. “Too good to be true” usually means just that!
  • Do NOT buy any multi signed items such as Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter unless they have traceable provenance. These types of pieces are rarely authentic and much sought after. “The Godfather signed by 8” at £29.99? Think about it!
  • Be aware that many signed clothing items such as football shirts are not authentic. They are easy to forge due to inconsistency of signature and who they actually are. Also many players at major football clubs are instructed by the clubs not to sign for dealers anyway.
  • There are very few bargains out there. Professional dealers are watching, who know the values of items. If you have won a signed Jimi Hendrix photo on EBay for £150 it is unlikely to be genuine or a dealer would have bought it. If it seems cheap there is a reason why!
  • Ask the seller searching questions and do your own research if his answer is unconvincing.
  • Do NOT buy 90% of the so called “prints” offered. In most cases the so called original is not genuine.
  • Do NOT buy from sellers who claim to have used American and DNA authentication companies. Many of these are some of the worst forgeries out there with websites claiming extraordinary things. Genuine authentication is available from only a handful of recognized worldwide experts. It costs £50 upwards per item. How can a seller pay for authentication on an autograph worth £20?


Certificates of Authenticity. Read our section on this.

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