Collecting football autographs is a great pastime for a football enthusiast.
And it can also be a great investment if you decide to sell on your collection for a profit. Nowadays the sports memorabilia industry is big bucks and as more and more fraudsters try to rip off genuine collectors it is important to have your wits about you when buying and selling memorabilia. If you are new to collecting football autographs or just need reminding the best way to collect, here are a few key points to bear in mind when adding to or starting up a collection.
1) Firstly, you need to be buyer aware.
The best way to avoid being ripped off is to remember if a price sounds too good to be true, it probably is! You need to familiarise yourself with average prices of memorabilia as this will stop you being ripped off and will also potentially help you spot a bargain. You can do this by browsing through different auction sites.
2) Valuing an autograph is not as easy as it sounds so you will need to do your homework and get a feel for price ranges.
Things to take into consideration are the quality of the signature, when it was written, the condition of the material the autograph is on and most importantly whose autograph it is.
3) You need to be clued up and aware of time periods.
For example, if you see an autograph that claims to date back to the 1930s and it is written in marker pen the chances are this isn't authentic. Little things like what the autograph was signed with or on could make all the difference between a real and a fake. Above all don't rush into a purchase, make sure you research it properly before parting with your precious cash.
4) Most pieces of memorabilia should come with a certificate of authenticity.
If your piece does then great but even then it does not necessarily guarantee that it is real. It is very easy to reproduce this documentation at home so you need to vigilant when checking the document. It would be wise to do a bit of background research as well so as not to get caught out.
5) Although the internet is a great tool for buying sports memorabilia you do need to be on your guard and make sure you only buy from a reputable company with a long track record and good reviews.
Most sites will feature testimonials so check these out and see what other collectors have to say about the service they received.
6) If you are a serious collector then it might be wise to join a relevant association or organisation so you can talk to other like-minded individuals and you can share tips and advice.
Fellow collectors may be able to help you watch out for rare pieces!
7) Of course, the best way to make sure that an autograph is authentic is to get an autograph in person.
However, this can be very time-consuming and hit and miss if the player in question is not willing to give you an autograph.
8) Before buying make sure that you get a good look at the item in question.
An authentic seller should post several pictures of the goods so make sure you check these properly. If you are familiar with sports memorabilia you should be able to spot a fake quite easily.
9) It may seem silly but check the autograph is spelt correctly and that it is similar to other autographs by the same person.
10) The final tip is to always be extra vigilant.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there looking to make some fast, easy money by ripping unsuspecting collectors off. Don't let them! Collecting football autographs should be fun so don't let scammers spoil it for you!
By Lydia Cooper