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Q. Do you buy collections and single items? Yes, but we don't buy simply everything that is offered to us. If you have a collection for sale, then simply put together a list which will tell us exactly what you are offering, ie size, dedications etc, and email it to us. We are always interested in historical and vintage items, but we do not buy signed football shirts or any modern football items.
Q. Can you tell me when and where an item was signed? In some cases yes, but in most no. This is the kind of question that we get asked on a regular basis, and is often asked simply because some collector websites suggest that you ask a dealer as many questions as you can before buying, and this is always the first one that comes to mind!
We agree that is a good idea to ask questions, but asking where an item was signed will not really help you in deciding as to whether an item is genuine or not. Why? because we know that if you take a look on the internet you will be able to find out where just about any famous person was at any time, so if you ask that question to a seller of fakes, he will either simply make it up, or if he is a little smarter he will look on the internet and find out some likely date and tell you that! A forger will always tell you what you want to hear, and not always the truth! So date and location etc does not help in any way at all. We agree its nice to know, so if we know, then we will say on the item listing, but we only give that information to the buyer!
Much better questions to ask are, are you a registered dealer with any of the known associations? do you attend any of the known trade shows? or even, what is your address? That last one may sound odd, but take a close look at some of the dealers websites, and you might be surprised to find that they do not have an address shown! In the UK, that is an offence, so you might ask yourself why they don't want you to now where they are based!
Its much better to ask about the dealers provenance (their own background and history) than trying to find out the provenance of the item, because then you will start to find out just how genuine the dealer really is!
Q. Do you supply charity auctions? Charity fund raising auction using authentic signed memorabilia, is a great and relatively easy way of raising money for a charity or similar. But how do you get the items, and most importantly how do you know the items are authenticly signed?
We can supply ready-framed items for your registered charity auction, and are able to offer these items on a sale or return basis, or at no upfront cost to you all dependant on how well we know you. Please call Garry directly on 01634 830062 office hours to discuss your needs.
If you have never run a charity auction before, then fear not! for we can give you all the advice you need, and if you are far away from us, then we can introduce you to another dealer who will be able to help out.
AFTAL have become aware recently of a number of companies who have targeted this market deliberately, and are offering what seem to be authentic items which are in most cases fake. These companies are known to us, and in some cases the police and Trading Standards as well, but they are not that easy to track down and secure a conviction.
Be aware that the items offered by these people are often fake, and are of no value whatsoever; despite they’re nice looking COA’s! If you are not local to us, then most AFTAL members can offer the same service. If you are offered items for any charity auction, and need some advice on their authenticity, then please either contact us or any other AFTAL member, we will be happy to help.
If you are in any doubt about any company, then first ensure that they are Registered Dealers with the UACC or Approved Dealers of AFTAL or RACC, and always check any memberships they claim to have. Both websites have a complete list of dealers available for public viewing, so they can easily be checked.
Q. Do you offer any discount to dealers? Yes we do, but you will need to contact us first with your details etc, and we will then let you know what discounts we can offer. All trade orders are subject to a minimum value order.
Q. Who is Autografica anyway? Autografica is owned and run by Garry King. Garry is a long time collector of autographs and has been involved with a number of businesses over the past 30 years. In the late 80’s Garry started to become more involved in autographs, at first helping a friend out at shows, then in around 1990 starting to put together items he could sell himself. As this expanded, he sold another existing business and concentrated on autographs full time, and thus, Autografica was born!
Then in 1999 after a visit to a USA event, Garry came up with the idea of running similar events here in the UK, and with a partner started ‘Autographica’ the show, which became the largest autograph show in the world, and is still running today. Through the show Garry met many of the excellent contacts he has today, and of course many famous people, Buzz Aldrin, Jim Lovell, Ursula Andress, Geoff Hurst, Sir Norman Wisdom etc. All of these great names have attended Autographica and allowed Garry to make contacts he never thought possible.
Q. How and where do you obtain your autographs? We do not make claims that all our items are collected in person, that would be almost impossible, but many of the autographs we offer are obtained either in person by ourselves, or through special arrangement with the signer, many of who have attended the Autographica or other Showmasters events.
In addition, we also purchase collections and attend various auctions around the country, as well as purchasing quality items from established collectors and other well known dealers within the trade. We do not write to celebrities for free signed photos, or send them items for signing. 15 or 20 years ago this was an easy way to get free stock, but today you are more than likely to get an item signed by a secretary or a machine! Watch out for sellers offering multiples of signed photos by the same top names, as this is an almost sure sign that these may be secretarial signatures!
Q. Are the photographs you have produced by a photocopy machine or by a computer printer? If a description states ‘photo’ then it’s a photo created by conventional means on photo paper. We try not to make incorrect statements when it comes to describing any item. We know the difference between a photo, an inkjet print, or laser copy or litho, and will always state clearly exactly what an item is.
Q. Do you provide a Certificate of Authenticity (C.O.A.)? Yes, we supply a unique COA which also has a small hologram attached with a matching hologram attached to the signed item (but never on the image or front of an album page, always on the reverse). The COA also has our full contact details on it plus a blind stamp and is signed by ourselves as well. This all ensures that what you have was purchased from us, is dated, and can easily be traced back to us at our address. This COA should always be kept with the item.
But there are some things you should know about COA’s. Most dealers and collectors in the know accept that a COA is not a 100% guarantee that an item is authentic, and any seller who suggests as such is fooling both himself and you! What they guarantee is that the seller has done his best to ensure that your item is authentic in every respect, but if there should be a problem in the future, then you have an address to contact and a guarantee that the problem will be resolved.
With today's technology, anyone can easily produce a very professional looking COA with a computer printer, and some fancy paper. Never buy an item just because it has a COA with it. A COA, even the best looking ones, will never make a fake autograph authentic, and believe us, we have seen many very nice COA’s supplied by the biggest crooks in the business, selling the worst fakes possible. If a seller is prepared to fake a signature, then they will certainly produce a fake COA and maybe some great provenance to go with it as well.
Be also aware of sellers offering items which then come with a COA from a third party (ask yourself why they are getting someone else to verify their stock? do they not have the ability to do this themsleves?) or perhaps they are seeling items which come with a COA from another known dealer? We have seen a growing number of items sold on ebay that have poorly copied COA's from known dealers. These sellers simply buy one item from a known dealer, scan the originla COA, then by using a Photoshop type programe, remove any product details and signature, then simply reproduce the new "blank" COA for their own items. One well known ebay seller is being investigated for this very offence right now!
If you have any doubts about a supplier, then educate yourself. Find out more about the signers habits, take a good look around and see how rare or expensive the autograph is, read some books on the subject, get to know a few good dealers, and ask them about other suppliers. Most dealers are more than happy to help out when it comes to helping you avoid a bad dealer.
Don't be afraid to ask questions, just make them sensible ones! We have lost count of the number of times we have been asked ‘is this a genuine signature?' Now ask yourself this, if a seller was simply sitting at home and creating his own fakes, would he tell you? Dealers cannot always provide provenance about all their stock, other than ‘it came from auction’ or 'it came from another dealer' but a good dealer will know about signing habits, biographical details of the signer etc, and of course any good dealer will be known at the various shows (especially the Autographica event), be known by the other dealers within the trade, and of course would almost certainly be a Registered Dealer with either the UACC, AFTAL, IPDA, RACC or PADA.
Be wary of dealers whose answers are either vague or who claim they have worked in the film or music business for years etc, and have inside contacts who provide them with signed items. Be also very wary of dealers who are only ‘virtual’ dealers on eBay, as these sellers are the worst of all, and can disappear overnight, only to reappear the next day as a totally new dealer (with 10 years experience of course!). We wrote an excellent page on avoiding the forgers which we put on to ebay, but they did not like it, so removed it. Before it was taken down it was read by over 90,000 people, and we received hundeds of emails thanking us for letting others know what goes on.
Ask about the dealer's return policy. Make sure that there is one, that it's in writing and that it allows you to return your purchase for a full and prompt refund should you not be satisfied or have questions regarding an item's authenticity. All members of the UACC, AFTAL, RACC and PADA must offer a full lifetime authenticity guarantee, anything less is worthless. Remember this: "IF AN OFFER SEEMS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, THEN IT PROBABLY IS."
Now, just a word about our packaging: We believe that your transaction isn't complete until you're holding it safely in your hands. Each item (regardless of price) is packed to withstand the extremes of the postal delivery service, so that it reaches you in perfect condition.
Q. What forms of payment do you accept? We are happy to accept personal cheques and postal orders, although we do need to allow for cheques to clear. Credit and debit cards are accepted via PayPal, via our secure site, or directly over the phone.
Q. What about shipping and secure packaging? We generally use Royal Mail w/delivery confirmation, or DHL International Air Parcel Post (small package rates) for shipments to international locations. All items are sent insured to ensure that any loss or damage is covered.
Q. What is your return policy? Any item not deemed by you as 'as described' may be returned for a full and prompt refund within 14 days of receipt if in its original condition and returned in the same manner in which it was sent to out. Please contact us first though before you return any item.
Q. Do you accept items on consignment? No, we have done this in the past, but it has so many problems that we have now dropped it.
Q. Can I contact you in person? Yes of course, you can email or contact us by phone during normal office hours, and most weekends too. Our number is 01634 830062