Purchasing Autographed Football Sports Memorabilia used to be done at a local sports shop. People knew the owner and had not doubt that all items purchased were authentic. Today, most memorabilia items are purchased online like other goods and services. The risks are higher because customers cannot see the item up close and have no idea from whom they are buying.
It can all be quite confusing, especially for those who are new to collecting signed memorabilia, or just trying to find a unique gift for someone special. Pricing varies greatly online, so people are never sure if they are paying too much and being gauged or have found a site that offers fair and affordable pricing. A few practical tips can help make things easier.
One of the oldest companies for authentication of sports memorabilia is PSADNA. Two others are JSA and Beckett Authentication. Each company provides a certificate of authenticity with a unique number on it. That same number will also be on the item purchased. Numbers and items can be verified as well on each of the company websites.
Some companies have athletes come in and do signings for merchandise. At that time, the company will number each product and provide authenticity. The best course of action when unsure is to call the website or email to get questions answered. Do not spend the money on anything autographed unless you are confident it is authentic.
If a website has been online for a year or two, it may be wise to continue searching for another site. Find one that has been in operation at least seven to ten years. Any site selling counterfeit items will not be in business for long. People will complain, report the site for fraud, or get the information out on social media.
Compare websites and, if possible, visit a memorabilia store near you to get an idea of what signed items are going for. Check the jerseys, footballs, helmets, photographs, trading cards, and even display cases for pricing. It will probably be less online but if it is a huge difference, buyers may be getting swindled into buying flimsy cases or knock-off items.