Your Guide to Determining Whether an Autograph is Authentic

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Your Guide to Determining Whether an Autograph is Authentic

For many people, football is a point of passion. It makes sense that a fan would want to surround himself or herself with football memorabilia. If a person wants to see the memorabilia as an investment, then there are certain things that must be done to authenticate the items. Memorabilia should be kept in as close to pristine condition as possible. One way to enhance the value of football-related items is to get autographs of famous players. However, fans should be sure that their football items signed by such people as Wayne Rooney and David Beckham are authentic. A number of authentication methods are provided. Signed memorabilia can be bought at specialty sports shops and pro stores around stadiums. If a person were to go online, eBay has a wide selection of autographed football items from all teams of the premiership and below. These items can often be found at discounted rates as well.

Various Methods of Determining the Authenticity of Autographs

Scam artists who use fake autographs have a variety of techniques at their disposal to fool the unsuspecting public. If a person knows what to look for, he or she can eliminate a number of possible avenues for forgery.

Examine the Ink

It is a good idea to use a magnifying glass and give the signature a close examination. Autographs that look too smooth may have been generated by a machine. Stamped autographs often have more ink on the edges of the autograph because it is squeezed to the sides of the stamping rubber. The color of the ink can also indicate whether the autograph is real. For older footballers, signatures can become oxidized, which would be a sign of authenticity. Pen-signed autographs also have tunnels and bridges on paper via the nib. Autographs generated with an autopen do not have such grooves.

Look for Signs of Stamping

Stamping is a quick way for a forger to reproduce a signature in mass quantities. Without looking closely, a buyer can be fooled by a stamp. In addition to looking for extra ink on the sides of the signature, people can feel the texture of the ink on the page. If it is completely smooth, the autograph may have been stamped on the piece of memorabilia. This technique does not work non-paper items, such as football jerseys and footballs since the ink is absorbed without providing a raised layer. Autopens are a type of stamping and they leave a dot on both ends of the signature. Autopens also can write in unnaturally straight lines and have no line inconsistencies.

Compare Autographs to Established Autographs

Autographs forged by other people are the hardest to authenticate. If a forger takes the time to perfect the football star's signature, then ink analysis and other types of authentication may fail. However, most forgers like to do so in mass quantities. If a football team's signatures all look similar, then one person may have forged the entire team. If there are already established authenticated autographs, then the new signature should be compared to them. Dedicated signatures are often a sign of authentication.

Hold Signature Up to Light Source

If the autograph is on a piece of paper, a number of clues can be found by holding the paper up to a light. When held up to the light, the pressure of the line can be seen more easily. If the ink is too light or equal pressure has been applied throughout the signature, there may be reason to worry for a forgery. Silver signatures on photos can be easily reproduced using an autograph on the negative. Light sources can also indicate the lines on a laid paper, which is linen or vegetable fibre that has dried.

Use an Authentication Service

If a buyer has examined the autograph thoroughly, but is still somewhat concerned about its authenticity, there are third-party authentication services that a person can contact. Autografica and Garry King are well known authenticators in the UK. People can also contact the Autograph Fair Trade Association (AFTAL), which can refer buyers to official authenticators. AFTAL dealers abide by a code that establishes trustworthiness and expertise.

Types of Signed Football Memorabilia

Getting any item signed by a favourite football player brings a certain pride to the collector, and these items are great to hang them on a wall and display them on a shelf. Collectors of signed football memorabilia would be delighted to know that there are plenty to collect.

Football Programmes

Collectors can scour the internet to find the programme of a great football game signed by a famous football player. Signed programmes are available online, and buyers can get one such as MCFC Official Programme of Man City vs. QPR in 2012 signed by several football players or the UEFA Champions League of Manchester United vs. Real Madrid, signed by Jose Mourinho.

There are a few things to consider when buying a signed football programme online. The first, and the most important, is the authenticity. When buying online it is almost necessary to see a close up shot of the signature so buyers can have a good feel if the signature is authentic, basing from the applicable pointers for authenticity-checking mentioned above. Another one is the condition of the programme. A signed programmed in "mint condition" means that the programme has been preserved as if new.


Nobody wants a battered football unless it is hand-signed by a pro footballer. With many clubs and players in football the internet is flooded with signed footballs,, and buyers can find online signed footballs from the lowest to the highest price range. Footballs can either be signed by a single player or several players of a club. Collectors can even get vintage signed footballs like the Liverpool FC signed football from the mid-80s, with the ball being signed by around 19 players.

There are signed footballs that have a certification of authenticity to prove that the signatures are not fake. The certificate can be signed by a memorabilia store or another reputable organisation, and it is always recommended that buyers check the organisation's credibility.

Football Shirts

Signed football shirts are another popular item to collect aside from footballs. They are very popular amongst collectors because they are personal items that connect the fans to the players. Again, when buying a football shirt, buyers should ask for a certification of authenticity to the seller. The certificate must be signed by a reputable organisation to ensure that buyers are getting the real deal.

To preserve the condition of a signed football shirt,, collectors can buy a frame specifically designed for framing sports memorabilia. Such frames are available in a variety of colours, such as silver, gold, back, and white. When framing a football shirt, or any memorabilia for that matter, do not use a double-sided tape as it can damage the material over time. There are sports memorabilia frames that come with a shirt-friendly eco tape to ensure that the shirt does not get damaged while it is set in place in the frame. Frames with an acrylic front are lighter and safer than those with glass.

Signed Photos

Being a celebrity automatically entitles anyone to have a valued signed photo, and football players are no different. Signed photos of football players like Allan Shearer and David Seaman abound the internet.

Original Autographs

Original autographs command a high price, especially if it is signed by a star football player. Signed photos that buyers can find online can be a photo clipping from a newspaper, a page of a magazine or programme, or a formal photo. They can also buy a mounted display with the photo and the signature separate, a great memorabilia to add to the collection.

Pre-Printed Autographs

Pre-printed autographs are copies of an original signed photo. These autographs can be produced by the stars themselves to make sure they do not run out of photos to give to the fans. The autographs can also be printed by sellers for profit. Naturally, these photos are way cheaper than original signed autographs, and they are more common to find online.

Trading Cards and Stickers

Trading cards and stickers are also common signed memorabilia online, and there are sellers who sell them as a set. Aside from authenticating the signature, it is also important for buyers to check the quality of the card. Football card collectors must make sure that the card their buying, especially if priced expensively, must be in excellent condition. This means that the signed card has no creases, the edges are not dog-eared, and the photo is still clear.


Football has always been a very popular sport and it always spawns new generations of fans that avidly watch the games and fervently collect signed memorabilia. There are so many autographs for fans to collect. The most popular ones are signed football shirts, footballs, and football cards. Signed photos of football players and football programmes are also in-demand commodities online. Collectors of these items must check the quality of the items because it is always the case that the price of a signed memorabilia largely depends on the quality of the item, except for footballs and football shirts of course.

Another major—and the most important—consideration when buying autographs is the signature itself. Fake signatures come aplenty, and collectors must know how to spot them. Verifications such as examining the ink of the signature, looking for signs of stamping, comparing autographs from an established autograph, holding the autograph to a light source, and using an authentication service must be made in order to make sure that buyers are getting the real deal. Football is a fascinating game and collecting autographs is a great way to remember a great game or league and keep something from the star players.

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