One of the most common issue we deal with on daily basis is the question about authentication. Is this autograph real? Who says so? How can I trust it? There are thousands of fake autographs on the marketplace any day and time. It’s a sad reality that legitimate autograph dealers have had to deal with since the first autograph was signed.
Autograph authentication can be dividing into two main groups – first party authenticators and third party authenticators.
First Party Authenticators
These are frankly the most trustworthy and reputable autographs on the market. These businesses specialize in performing in-person supervised signings and then authenticate the item based on this process. Often times many of the athletes and celebrities who sign for these companies are exclusive clients. For example, Michael Jordan has been an exclusive client to Upper Deck for well over 20 years.
First Party Database Links
Third Party Authenticators
These are the "autograph experts" that you may have seen on shows like Antique Roadshow or Pawn Stars. These are companies who specialize in analyzing a signature on any type of item and determining whether they believe it to be authentic. Many of these individuals have been working in the autograph industry for decades and have witnessed the evolution of both the autograph industry and the criminals who try and game the system.
Most of these companies charge for examination of an item – whether it is genuine or not – and if an item passes inspection, it ss usually tagged with a hologram or sticker with a matching certificate of authenticity. This database is publically available for checking each individual item.
There is a sub-level of authentication that third party authenticators can provide and that is in-person witnessing of an autograph signing event. Often the authenticator with provide a more unique certificate during these events using vernacular like "In Person" or "Witnessed" which indicates that the authenticator was actually present when the autograph was signed.
Third Party Database Links