When it comes to buying authentic autographed sports memorabilia, the Internet has numerous options. How can collectors be assured that the autographed sports memorabilia they are purchasing is legitimate?
For starters, when shopping for autographed sports memorabilia, one of the first things collectors should do is narrow their search to items that have been authenticated by one of the leading third-party authentication services. Another option is to buy pieces that originated from signing events held by reliable show promoters like Tri-Star.
Authenticating autographed sports memorabilia is far from a perfect science and buyers should understand what types of authentication letters they are purchasing when buying memorabilia. Authentication companies offer many types of “letters of opinion” or authentication letters.
In terms of purchasing authentic autographed sports memorabilia from dealers or individuals who have gotten their items from shows, some of the larger promoters are Mounted Memories, Fanatic Authentics and Tristar. They hold several sports collectibles shows every year and organize the show’s autograph pavilion and its roster of athlete’s and celebrities.
These companies provide a service allowing show patrons to have their own items autographed as well as providing onsite autograph authentication of those pieces.
Additionally, as the popularity of authentic autographed sports memorabilia has grown and the proliferation of fraudulent goods has increased, many athletes now provide their own authentication services. These athletes provide guaranteed authentic autographed sports memorabilia direct through their websites and/or wholesale these items to other dealers by the application of their special holograms.
Upper Deck, represents some high profile athletes the list includes Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, LeBron James and Tiger Woods. Among the Panini exclusives are Kobe Bryant, Andrew Luck, Johnny Manziel and Kevin Durant.
When looking to purchase autographed sports memorabilia, the most important weapon to arm yourself against fake autographed sports memorabilia is knowledge. By being better educated about what the actual “opinion letters” represent, and what you are actually buying when you get an authentication letter, will make you better aware of authentication practices. In addition, being better educated about a player’s signing habits and handwriting analysis, coupled with only purchasing from reputable dealers and authenticators, collectors have a much higher chance of buying authentic autographed sports memorabilia that will be treasured collection cornerstones for years to come.