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I know i have covered this before but its a question that is asked so often by customers "hello, is this autograph genuine" asked when looking to buy an item from our website, and a very commmon question asked of any dealer.
Two old sayings come to mind here the first "there is no such thing as a dumb question, only dumb people who ask questions" and "the only dumb question is the one you did not ask" so lets look at both of them....
I dont say this directly to a customer of course, but asking a seller if an item is authentic has got to be the most dumb stupid and ill thought through question ever asked (apologies to all those customers who have asked me the question before as i am sure they are neither dumb or stupid!). So lets assume the customer asks this of a seller of fakes, what do you think the sellers answer will be? "No, they are all fakes, i do them all myself in my spare time, in between spending the money i have made from people who dont ask me that question!" No, of course not, he will simply tell you what you want to hear, and that the item is 100% genuine, was obtained in person at such and such a place on a certain date, all proof of course that the item is genuine (which of course its not!), and not forgeting that it comes with their COA which "proves" that the item is genuine anyway!
Ask the same question of a reputable dealer of many years experience and he will first think "oh no, not that one again" then perhaps "i have been doing this for 25 years and still i get the same dumb question, if only they had taken the time to read the 'about me' section, or maybe "OK, the customer has not really thought this one through, so let me try and explain" The truth of course is that we all think the same, but only give an answer based on that last thought!
So by all means ask a seller a question, it helps to prove there is actually someone with a brain at the other end of the line, but please make its a sensible one, and not one that will simply lead you down the road of buying fakes. Why not try this one "are you a Registerd Dealer with any of the known autograph associations" if they are they will tell you and you can then double check that on the appropriate website. If they are not they will normally give you an answer along the lines of "we dont feel the need to belong to any association that simply takes money from its members for a subscription" Now i want to make it clear that there are some very good dealers that do not belong to an association (and i probably know of every one of them) but there are also many that could never become members, or simply do not want to belong to an association that will help you when you get into an argument with one of its dealers! And to make it clear about memberships, although some sellers will tell you otherwise, its not simply a matter of paying a subscription to join. The three main autograph dealer associations, the UACC, RACC and AFTAL, all require new dealers to provide references etc, and all new memberships are scrutinised very closely before being accepted as members. Dealers then have to abide by a code and may be subject to suspension or ejection if they should be found to be trading against the associations rules, and that is the real reason why some are not members.
So what you need to be asking are questions that help you decide if the dealer is truly all he claims to be. If you have any doubts at all, then simply avoid them. Signed items and autographs are like buses, there will always be another one along sooner or later, it may not be as cheap, but then there is probably a very good reason for that!
Copyright. Garry King 2018.