4 min article

Autographed items, Certificates of Authenticity (COAs), and trading cards policy

Authentic autographs and autographed items can be highly sought after items, and in some cases may be extremely rare and valuable.

Our policy on the sale of autographs and autographed items provides guidance to keep all of our members safe when buying or selling on eBay.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How can I tell if an autograph is genuine?

Autographs are commonly sold with Certificates of Authenticity (COA) or letters of authenticity (LOAs). COAs and LOAs can offer assurance that an autograph is genuine, but you need to be sure the authenticator is reputable.

What information should I include when listing an autograph?

Include as much information as you can about the autograph and the item it's been written on. To help your buyer understand exactly what they're buying, we recommend including the following:

  • A clear photo of the autographed item
  • A clear photo of the COA or LOA, as well as the name of the person or company issuing the certificate
  • Your refund policy

If you're listing an authorized pre-printed autograph, they should generally be listed in the Autographs > Reprints category. For full details, read our policy below.

Read our full policy

Autographed items policy overview

Since autographed items and trading cards are unique, they can be very valuable, but are also easy to forge or reproduce. Autographs are commonly sold with certificates of authenticity (COAs) and letters of authenticity (LOAs), while trading cards use a grading system. COAs, LOAs, and grades are meant to assure the buyer that the signature or item is genuine. However, COAs, LOAs, and grades are only as valuable as the reputation of the issuing party, so it's important to know the reputation of each authenticator or grader.

We investigate concerns from our members in regard to autographs, COAs, LOAs, and trading cards. As part of this policy, we work with several reputable third parties. These third parties may use known authentic autograph examples to determine if these items are genuine or "likely not genuine." If they have concerns about an item’s authenticity, eBay may remove the listing from the site.

Make sure your listing follows these guidelines. If it doesn't, it may be removed, and you may be subject to a range of other actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account.

What are the guidelines?

You can list autographed items and most trading cards on eBay. These guidelines will help you successfully sell these types of items on our website.

Autographed items

Allowed Things to do

Be sure to include the following information in your listing:

  • A clear photo of the actual autographed item
  • A clear photo of the COA or LOA
  • Information about the COA or LOA, including the name of the person or company issuing the certificate
  • Refund policy, in case a reputable dealer informs us or the buyer that the item is "likely not authentic"
  • Authentic and authorized pre-printed autographs or autographed items should generally be listed in the Autographs-Reprints category. An authorized pre-printed autograph means a company has acquired the rights to accurately reproduce the original signed item
 
Not allowed Things not to do
  • Don't list items that contain authentic pre-printed autographs in the Autographs-Original categories. An example of this would be a pre-printed autographed photo of a celebrity that is contained in a press kit
 

Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) and Letters of Authenticity (LOAs)

COAs and LOAs let buyers know that the signature is "likely genuine." They also benefit sellers by helping to increase the value of their autographed items.

There are many reputable autograph experts, and eBay has identified a partial list of authenticators - opens in new window or tab for your benefit. These authenticators offer various services for buyers and sellers of autograph.

Allowed Allowed
 
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Autographed items with COAs and LOAs, or references to COAs and LOAs from the following people or organizations:
    • ACE Authentic
    • Coach's Corner Sports Auctions LLC
    • Christopher L. Morales
    • CSC Collectibles
    • Donald Frangipani
    • Forensic Document Services
    • Hollywood Dreams
    • J. DiMaggio Co. / J. DiMaggio Company
    • Legends Sports Memorabilia
    • Nathan's Autographs / N.E. Autographs
    • Nicholas Burczyk
    • Pro Sports / Pro Sports Memorabilia
    • Rare and Signed.com
    • Robert Prouty
    • R.R.'s Sports Cards & Collectibles
    • SCAA / Front Page Art / Angelo Marino
    • Slamdunk Sportscards & Memorabilia
    • Sports Alley Memorabilia
    • Sports Management Group
    • Stan's Sports / Stans Sports Memorabilia
    • TTA Authentic (formerly STAT Authentic)
    • Universal Memorabilia
    • USA Authentics
  • Blank COAs and LOAs
  • COAs and LOAs as stand-alone items
  • COAs and LOAs from anyone listed on the FBI's Operation Bullpen - opens in new window or tab website
 

Trading cards

Having trading cards graded by a grading company helps buyers know the value of the card you're listing. When listing any of the below trading cards, the following information must be stated word for word in the listing and in the same font size as the rest of the description:

The seller has taken the appropriate steps to have this trading card professionally graded by a reputable grading company.

The seller needs to include a clear photo of the graded trading card, showing the name or logo of the grading company.

Allowed Allowed
  • Most trading cards can be listed, as long as they're the original trading cards or authorized reproductions of trading cards. An authorized reproduction means a company has acquired the rights to accurately reproduce the original card.
 
Restricted Restricted

You can list the following trading cards only if they've been professionally graded by a reputable grading company - opens in new window or tab:

  • 1909 Cy Young (T206)
  • 1909 Eddie Plank error card (T206)
  • 1909 Honus Wagner (T206)
  • 1909 Ty Cobb (T206)
  • 1933 Babe Ruth (Goudey #53, #80, #144, and #181)
  • 1933 Lou Gehrig (Goudey #92 and #160)
  • 1951 Mickey Mantle (Bowman #253)
  • 1952 Mickey Mantle (Topps #311)
  • 1966-1967 Bobby Orr rookie card (Topps #35)
  • 1979-1980 Wayne Gretzky rookie card (O-Pee-Chee and Topps #18)
  • 1986-1987 Michael Jordan rookie card (Fleer #57)
 
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Unauthorized reprints of trading cards that have had authorized reproductions created, such as unauthorized reprints of the:
    • 1979 Wayne Gretzky rookie card reproduction
    • 1986 Mario Lemieux rookie card reproduction
    • 1986 Michael Jordan rookie card reproduction

Why does eBay have this policy?

eBay is always looking for ways to improve the buying and selling experience. As part of this effort, we created this policy as a means for our members to make informed decisions before buying and selling autographed items, as well as items that have COAs, LOAs, or items that have been graded.

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