Free Autograph Authentication - How good is it?

Posted by 30/07/2017 1 Comment(s)

If you are looking to have a signed item checked, then you will see that 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 or items 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, and will only offer any kind of written authentication if they have actually seen the item first hand.  Anyone who offers you authentication without fully examining the item first hand is either a fool or a charlatan, or maybe both!


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 via our own "Quick Opinion" service 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. Some 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 minutes before 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! It only works if you simply say that everything offered is likely authentic, and then suggest the customer pays more money for a full authentication, only then will the tills start ringing!


Then there is the matter of authenticity. It is simply not possible to say an item is "authentic" from only a scan or image, only "likely authentic". 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 seen it with our own eyes. Printed signatures of course are almost 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 little known 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 our advice must be to stear clear.


So why do they offer this completely free service? Simple, you are not sure 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? But 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, so do take some time to read it


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


It might make interesting reading!


And of course, if you want a decent opinion by someone who has had more experience than almost anyone then you could try this guy!


Copyright Garry King 2017

1 Comment(s)


Hello! I was hoping to get a second opinion on these autographs of Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer. I've asked one opinion on them, and was told that they are fakes. I contacted the seller, where they said that there is no COA, but that one actor signed at a Q&A session, the other at a screening (sounds pretty generic, but I guess it could happen?). I would love a second opinion on the signatures, should you have the time.Thank you so much! Jason

Garry King:
26/03/2018, 10:04:00 AM

I am afraid that i do not offer free authentications as I simply do not have the time. The whole point of the article is to try and show you that a free authentication is often worthless. Those that offer the service either have no real knowledge of the subject or are simply trying to hook you into buying a 'paid for' service based on them telling you your item is authentic! There are only a very few genuine "experts" within the autograph world, but many people with limited knowledge who like to promote themselves as experts either for financial or personal gain. And asking the same questions on a forum can often lead to very conflicting answers!Asking the seller where they came from or if they are authentic is also pointless. If he or she is a forger, then they will simply tell you what you want to hear! Its so easy to find out where anyone was via Google, or even find some images of them signing something, so never let that kind of thing convince you something is genuine.There are many articles on this site which will enable you to get a better understanding of authentication and allow you to often do the job yourself, proving you are prepared to spend some time on the subject.

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