What is a Certificate of Authenticity?
A COA or Certificate of Authenticity is a document that is accompanied with a piece of memorabilia to show the item is Authentic and Genuine. In reality anyone can issue a Certificate of Authenticity and for this reason we say that a COA is only as good as the person/company issuing it.
Why do you need a COA?
In today’s world anyone with an internet connection or online auction site account can sell an autograph, and anyone can print off a COA on their home computer. The world we live in is rife with bogus sellers auctioning fake autographs and signatures with fake homemade COAs attached to them. Memorabilia collectors beware – only very few COAs are worth the paper they are printed on. Getting a Certificate from a well known company like us (Up North Memorabilia) will help you if you ever decide to resell your item in the future. Having a COA from an unknown company will not bode well with other collectors. If you are spending money on autographs buy from the right people so you get a COA that means something, and to ensure your investment is safe, store the Certificate with your item at all times.
Does a COA guarantee my autograph is Real?
No Certificate of Authenticity can guarantee your autograph is Genuine, buying autographs from the larger and well trusted autograph dealers will give you much more chance of the item being real. Would a large autograph seller really risk their reputation by selling a few forgeries? It is highly unlikely. Getting a Certificate from the right people is the best way of ensuring your memorabilia or autographed piece is Genuine. Most autograph companies will only issue Certificates with their own items and will not authenticate memorabilia from other sellers, so for this reason it is best to source a good reliable sellers and stick with them. The best companies will know the rest of the Industry and if they do not stock what you are after they should be able to point you in the right direction.
What to look out for?
Certificates printed on standard printer paper are likely to be bogus, all autograph companies should be priding themselves on their COA, it is the one thing the customer wants and it needs to be professionally produced to differentiate themselves from a bogus seller. Holograms mean nothing really, dont be fooled by forgers suggesting that Holograms make an COA “better” or “more authentic”, they mean nothing at all and are purely there for show. Any decent autograph company will show up easily in a simple google search. If you struggle to find any details on them at all it is likely that that company isn’t as Genuine as they suggest. Dig around, ask some questions, it will not take you long to be able to make an educated judgment yourself.
To sum up…
One thing to remember; anyone can produce a COA, but would you buy an autograph off someone in the street who no-one knows or would you buy from a seller with over 10,000 customer feedbacks or reviews? Its a no brainer, people gain confidence from other like minded people. Research, buy from the trusted sellers (sellers with genuine customer testimonials or huge feedback/reviews) ask questions, and dont be fooled by holograms!