Quick Autographs, COA's & Fakes

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I have decided to write this guide specifically about the problem of celebrities "quick" autographs, in fact many buyers believe them to be fake because they can look nothing like the perfect example they often compare them to. Just because its quick doesn't mean it isn't right.

When people get autographs normally the environment is no condusive to perfect signatures, for example waiting in queues, at football matches, at gigs etc. Also the stars don't tend to be able to lean on anything and also have a habit of signing on the move. This is why many footballers have more than one autograph, for example John Terry's of Chelsea, which can very from a simple JT to a full signature with his squad number, and the variations in the middle are sometimes amazing. Another player that does this is Christiano Ronaldo of Manchester Utd, and his autograph can be just a simple CR7 up to a full C Ronaldo, again with his squad number. The difference between a quick autograph and a "all the time in the world" example can be vast, and indeed so should the price, however the perfect autograph almost never happens unless the player has done a signing (ie sat and was paid to sign a number of items), and there are not many of those currently playing in the premiership at the moment.

I have been collecting & dealing in football autographs now for around 30 years, and the demands on todays players have made them sign much faster than ever before, also many players want to dedicate their signatures now, for example Thierry Henry. If you are wanting to buy an autograph from a dealer don't be afraid to ask them where they got the autograph, they should tell you, especially if they belong to the UACC. Many dealers offer COA's (Certificates of Authenticity) for items which alledgedly prove the autograph is real. don't be fooled, just because the COA looks stunning is does't always follow that the item is genuine. Buyers in my experience tend to get carried away by the COA, indeed one buyer complained that my COA's weren't good enough! surprising considering they are buying the autograph not the COA! If you request a COA then make sure that the item is guaranteed for life and not just 7 or 14 days, as some do. Also ensure that the dealers details, address etc are recorded on the item, also record the date purchased and if necessary print off the page advertising the item to start with.

I bought a signed Frank Sinatra recently which seemed to be fine from the picture on the page, but when it arrived the seller has printed off the photo and then traced over the original signature with a biro, and that came with a COA! I will be seeing that particular individual in court shortly.

There are fakes being sold on ebay, no doubt about it, but there are also many reputable dealers who have been doing this for many years, so therefore if you see UACC registered dealer on the page (providing they have supplied their RD number) you should be protected and can buy with safety. Also from many UACC members offer a degree of safety, but read their feedback and make your own mind up. Just watch out for the too good to be true item, it usually is!!

To finish remember to ask where the autograph came from, ask about your guarantee, enquire about the UACC Rd's, compare your intended piece with others from similar dealers, but don't be frightened to ask for your money back if you are not happy.

Happy collecting, and I hope this guide may help a little...


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