Free Autograph Authentication - How good is it?

Posted by garry 30/07/2017 0 Comment(s)

There are a number of companies around that will give you a free authentication on your signed items, but before you send off your scans you should ask yourself why they would offer this service for free? 


You might think that its a good business ploy, offer a free service to get the customer to buy something else? And that is exactly what it is! But you need to consider how they might make money out of you by offering this free 'authentication' when in most cases the signatures that are offered to them are not authentic? (over 50% of the items we see are not authentic, and that does not include the football signed items whereby the non authentic count is even higher!).


Any genuine company that offers a genuine authentication service will tell you that most items they are shown are not authentic at all. In some cases these fakes are easy to spot, in others they can be very difficult and can take some time to work out. Each time we are offered a signature it will take at least five minutes of our time simply going through the motions of answering the emails and loading the images into photoshop for first examination. Each one may then take anything up to an hour or longer to decide if its likely authentic or not. Of course in some cases it is only a matter of minutesbefore we can offer an opinion, but we could still be looking at an average of ten to fifteen minutes per signature, only to tell most customers that the item is of no value at all. So the idea that this free service might generate more business is a bit of a non starter! 


Then there is the matter of authenticity. It is simply not possible to say an item is authentic from only a scan or image. We make it clear in any response to a request via email, that we can never say an item is authentic, simply because we have not see it with our own eyes. Printed signatures of course are impossible to spot via a scan, and good fakes taken as a photo rather than a scan can be equally deceiving. Then of course we have the image of a signature that the sender does not even own! This is a rare but not unknown trick, whereby the person requests an authentication of an item which they have simply taken from an auction catalogue or similar. So once they have the piece of paper that says its authentic, then all they need do is use the latest lazer or hi res inkjet printer to put a copy of it onto an album page, and hey presto an "authentic" signature with a COA to match. And that is why we will never 'authenticate' any item from a scan or image, and why no other decent company will either. So if any company is prepared to offer you a COA for an item they have not seen with their own eyes, then stear clear.


So why do they offer this 'free' service? Simple, you dont know if your item is authentic or not, which is why you are looking for a second opinion and that all important COA. In your mind the item is likely authentic, and all you need is confirmation of this - you would not have bought the item in the first place anyway if you thought it was fake would you? So the free service will tell you your item is genuine, and then offer you a COA to go with it for a fee (yes, there will always be a fee!). But surely they wont tell you its real if they think its not? Why not? somebody has likely sold you a fake signature in the first place and you did not spot it then, so its now even easier for somebody else to tell your its authentic, especialy when they are not breaking any law that i know of. 


So you see, your 'free' authentication was not free anyway, and is most likely to be money wasted. Did you know that there is a list of 'authentication companies' and COA's which are banned on ebay? Lets be honest, we all know that ebay is the place to buy fakes, so if they have got a list of companies that supply fake COAs then those companies must be really really bad!


You can find the full list of banned COA's on ebay here.......


Copyright Garry King 2017

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