For peace of mind we would always advise purchasing autographs from full Dealer Members of the following known autograph clubs. They are recognised “in the majority of cases” to be experts in their field. Membership of these clubs is often hard earned or by invitation and therefore of considerable value to the dealers. So any customer of these dealers who feels they might not have been treated properly can have an extra avenue of complaint to the main boards of these associations in the event of any disagreement.

 

* The UACC (Universal Autograph Collectors Club). The oldest, largest and probably best known worldwide autographs club   based in the USA. There are around 200 fully registered UACC Dealers worldwide with approximately 30 of these being based in the UK. However their UACC membership scheme is a confusing term. It is important to remember that anybody can become a UACC “member” by paying a small registration fee to the club. Often these members are autograph collectors & enthusiasts (but not experts) and some of these “members” may on their promotional material indicate they are dealers. Remember a UACC “member” will have a 4 digit registration number and a fully registered “expert” UACC dealer will have a 3 digit registration number (usually between 1 and 350). Be aware of bogus use of the UACC logo sometimes found on rogue dealer websites and on internet auction sites. For full information, a list of dealers and club rules visit their website at www.uacc.org

 

* PADA (Professional Autograph Dealers Association). An international organization of dealers in autographs and manuscripts which promotes the highest standards in this field. A leading source for experienced and ethical dealers in autographs that are unconditionally guaranteed authentic. These include letters, documents, manuscripts, photographs and books signed by notable individuals in a wide variety of fields including; history, literature, music, the arts, science, aviation, business, vintage entertainment and sports. For full information, a list of dealers and club rules visit their website at www.padaweb.org         

 

* AFTAL (Autograph Fair Trade Association). A UK based club now numbering around 100 dealers working in association with trading standards in order to clean up the UK autograph market. They were first formed by a small select group of well established autograph dealers with the intention of stamping out the market in fake items and also to help potential autograph buyers find UK based dealers that could be trusted. Their Code of Conduct commits each AFTAL approved dealer to sell only authentic items, to have the knowledge, qualification and diligence required to help any client looking to buy authentic signed memorabilia. For full information, a list of dealers and club rules visit their website at www.aftal.org.uk      

 

ROGUE DEALERS WARNING

 

With the huge increase in values and levels of interest in autograph collecting (especially over the past 15 years), hundreds of supposedly “expert dealers” have surfaced all over almost overnight. The ease of use and proliferation of the internet has given these new “dealers” a shop-front, the opportunity to start a small business with virtually no start-up costs selling on online auction sites like Ebay. The truth is most know nothing about autographs and have no genuine love for the hobby.

 

“Get yourself an Ebay shop / a fancy logo / maybe a 500 pound website / print off COA examples / get a PO box number / buy some cheap autographs from a dubious origin / buy some frames / quadruple the cost / give a worthless lifetime guarantee (as most will not still be in business one year on) / assume every customer is a complete mug and off you go”. In business, unregulated and ready to snare the autograph buyers who buy purely based on low prices and think that a COA is a guarantee of authenticity. Those buyers who ask no questions and do no research will lose their money and are unlikely to have any supporting course of action to take in the years ahead. 

 

We would advise you ask questions and think seriously about the following – 

 

* Who am I actually buying from and where are they based? 

* What is the expertise and reputation of the seller. Can I see / evaluate other items he is selling? 

* Does it look “too good to be true”. What is my gut feeling, can I trust him? 

* Is he a member or a registered dealer with any recognised autograph club and am I able to check / verify this? 

* How long has this person been in business selling autographs? 

* Is the seller transparent and easily contactable ; IE telephone number, postal address, email address? 

* Is the seller offering a Certificate of Authenticity and how exactly is it worded? 

* Does he appear gracious and honest during correspondence?

 

All the above points will help flag up any concerns you might have about who you are buying from ....