Fraudulent autographs are a form of fraud that has diminished the business (and hobby) of collecting signed memorabilia. When selling an autograph, or if you want to have it be appraised for insurance purposes, it is necessary to have the item authenticated by an expert who can determine the legitimacy of the signature. The following list are just some of the places to get your autograph authenticated.
AMA Autograph Authentication
AMA Autograph Authentication offers owners a multi-step process in determining the authenticity of a signature. First, they will do thorough ink analysis. How deeply the ink has absorbed into the medium can be matched to the time period of the signature. An evaluation of the material will follow. If the autograph was written on paper, AMA will determine whether the ageing of the material is natural or artificial, or whether a new autograph was simply written on old paper. A computerised forensic scan of the item can also help determine its veracity by isolating certain ink colours and textures.
Sports Memorabilia Collectors' Shows
Memorabilia shows, like the ones hosted the National Sport Collectors Association, invite experts and dealers from all over the country to sell and trade their wares with other collectors and dealers. Many of these experts will be able to authenticate and appraise autographs on the spot or will be able to provide information and options on autograph authentication. Look for information on upcoming shows online or in your local newspaper. Many cities have convention bureaus and tourist centres where you can find information on upcoming shows in your area.
Tristar Productions puts on shows throughout the country that bring in collectors and experts, but it also hosts autograph signings, where collectors can meet sports celebrities and have items signed. While Tristar does not authenticate non-Tristar items, items sold at these events are authenticated on the spot with a special holographic label that contains a code number. This code number is entered into Tristar's merchandise database, where the item can be authenticated instantly at any time.
Professional Sports Authentication
Professional Sports Authentication, or PSA, will authenticate your autograph for a fee, which is determined by the celebrity. Fees range from £16 for lower-end celebrities to £162 for older celebrity signatures that are more difficult to verify. PSA will also grade the item based on its condition. An item with more wear and tear could be worth less than an item that has been properly preserved. PSA will also provide the owner with a Certificate or Letter of Authenticity.