Autograph collecting terminology and common sense are vital for the hobbyist in order to make informed purchase decisions.
Question: What advantages does autograph collecting offer as compared to other collectibles?
Answer: Autographs have been called “frozen moments in time.” Autograph collectors are curators of history. The most personal item that one person can give is his or her signature. Anything that can be signed can be considered collectible…letters, documents, photographs, books, memorabilia, etc. Few objects give a collector the opportunity to own a unique or one-of-a-kind item that is actually part of someone who is known by millions of people. That is the main reason why autograph collecting has become one of the fastest growing hobbies in recent years.
Question: What guidelines should I consider when purchasing autographs?
Answer: Buy autographs that capture your interest. Don’t purchase items presented as “investments” or sold through pressure. Learn as much as possible the language of autograph collecting. The more you study, the easier it will be for you to determine what items are authentic and which items to purchase. Use common sense when buying a signed piece. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Purchasing from reputable dealers, who will help you avoid risks and problems, is paramount. Most dealers offer a certificate of authenticity, which is only as good as the reputation of the dealer. If the dealer cannot tell you when and where the item was signed or how it was obtained, go elsewhere.
Question: I see many pre-printed autographed photos on eBay. What are these and is there any value?
Answer: These are facsimile reproductions of actual signed photos. With today’s technology, sellers can easily copy an authentic item with great detail and sell at a drastically reduced price. Novice collectors or those on a limited budget are usually the target of these sellers. Unfortunately, many buyers are unaware that the item is a copy because of the vague description. We recommend that collectors avoid these pre-printed photos and be extremely careful when purchasing autographs online.
Question: What is a COA? Must I have a COA with an autograph I purchase?
Answer: COA is an abbreviation for “certificate of authenticity”. Many collectors require a COA before they purchase an autograph. Frankly, a COA is just a piece of paper that is only as good as the confidence of the buyer and the reputation of the seller. Always make sure you are purchasing from a person who knows how and where the signature was obtained and will guarantee the item to your satisfaction.
These are just a few of the questions we receive from autograph collectors. If you have a question, feel free to contact us.