The rise of fake autographs is one of the biggest problems in the sports collectibles industry. The Internet provides shady sellers with a tool to dupe unsuspecting customers who are buying an autograph without actually seeing it in person. Does the “M” in Michael Jordan’s signature have an open loop? Does that Mickey Mantle autograph you saw online look a little too clean? If you want to ensure that your sports autographs are real, there are some respected companies that will authenticate your collectible, which gives you and potential buyers a peace of mind.
Submit your autographed collectibles to PSA/DNA (see Resources). The company has some of the sports collectible industry’s most experienced and respected autograph experts, who will examine your autographs and tell you if they are fake or the real deal. If the autographs are deemed to be genuine, they will be issued a certificate of authenticity (COA) and a unique alphanumeric number that ties directly to your items.
Let James Spence Authentication (see Resources) verify your autograph. Items can be sent to JSA’s offices. The authentication process is much like with PSA/DNA, and any autograph deemed authentic can be verified by entering its JSA certificate number on the JSA website.
Have your autographed items authenticated at sports collectibles shows. At many of the bigger sports collectibles shows, such as the ones promoted by TRISTAR Productions, there is usually opportunity to get autographs in person from athletes, then immediately have those autographs authenticated. PSA/DNA usually is on hand to authenticate the autographs at TRISTAR shows.
Just because a seller says that an autograph comes with a certificate of authenticity, that does not ensure that the autograph is real. Anyone can issue a COA. Stick with respected companies like PSA/DNA and James Spence Authentication.