Buying autographs can be a risky business, How do you know if you are getting the real deal or a fake autograph, This guide hopefully will help you to make the right choice when looking for autographs of your favorite person, team etc etc
Ebay is an amazing place, Anything and everything, Well nearly everything can be put up for auction and have the chance to be seen by millions of people, Not too long ago a whole town was sold on EBay.
But unfortunatly there are people out there who want to con you, They want to sell you fake items, or they want to just take your money and run, EBay does give some very good advice on how to try and avoid these unscrupulous people, So I strongly recomend taking the time to learn how EBay protects you wether you are the buyer or seller.
The safest way to go when looking for genuine autographs is to only buy certified autographed items from companys such as Upper Deck Authenticated and Steiner, Or certified trading cards from the well known card companys like Upper Deck, Topps, Fleer ( Now no longer doing cards ) and Sage.
But there are plenty of other people out there selling real autographs, Such as myself, ( SGA-KING AUCTIONS ) Who have spent way too many hours standing outside of hotels, arenas & airports to personally get celebrity or athletes autographs.
So how can you tell if a seller is really selling a genuine autograph or a fake, One way is too look at a sellers feedback, This should give you a good idea how reliable the seller is, Take time to look at the remarks left if the seller has any negative feedback. This doesnt mean you cant trust people with little or no feedback yet, Everyone has to start at the bottom, But to be on the safe side it is safer to go with a person with a large amount and excellant feedback.
Next make sure the seller accuratly describes the item signed, And make sure that they say that the item is a genuine autograph, They might try to sell you a pre printed autograph or a ghost signed item and carefully word the description so that they dont say it is real or not, leaving you the buyer thinking that it is real when it isnt.
A pre printed autograph is not real, It is a copy of the original and a ghost signed item is actually signed by someone else working for the celebrity or athlete.
When the seller states that it is a real autograph and you later find out it isnt, You can then file a complaint with Ebay for misrepresenting the item and hopefully get your money back.
You can also compare the photo of the autograph to other autographs of the same person, But speaking from experience a lot of times this wont help, Because a lot of times when we get auto's at places like the teams hotel, The athlete is standing up, Sometimes talking on a cell phone and or carrying bags, And in three cases, Players have been carrying babies while they signed for me ( Mike Miller, Grant Hill and Jeryll Sasser ) and a lot of times they are in a rush which means that the autographs a lot of times dont match the normal signature. But there are still a few who will take the time to sign really nice, Players such as Dikembe Mutombo, Chris Mihm and Bill Wennington are a few that come to mind.
Another way that could help tell if the seller collects the autographs in person is their Location, If they live hundreds of miles away from say the nearest NBA Club, Then the chances are that it would be hard for them to consistantly get NBA players autographs, Thats not to say that they couldnt get some, But I would be cautious if they sold many autographs from different teams.
Im lucky, I live in a NBA town ( Orlando ) and I know where, when and how to get autographs, My collection became so large that I ran out of room to display everything, So now Im selling a large portion of it here on Ebay, Its killing me to say goodbye to a lot of these signed items, But I have no choice.
When given the choice of buying a item that has been authenticated by experts ( PSA - DNA ) or a non authenticated item it is always safer to go with the authenticated item, But be aware that even PSA-DNA is not perfect.
If in doubt, Then take the simple choice and do not bid, As the old saying goes " Its better to be safe then sorry "
But if you do decide to bid on someones autographed item, Think about what I have said above and be carefull.