"Certificates (COAs) are easily the most misunderstood area for the ill-informed autograph buyer"
It is vitally important to remember that any CERTIFICATE is only ever as good as the issuer
"Who can I trust and how do I know its genuine"
Most dealers still issue a Certificate (COA). A Certificate unless issued by a respected registered business is no guarantee of authenticity. Indeed on closer inspection many do not have detailed descriptions, images or even the seller’s contact details on them. Remember anybody can set up as an autograph dealer overnight and anybody can issue / print off a COA. If a seller is knowingly selling forgeries, he will feel no shame issuing bogus certificates.
* How do I prove an item is not authentic : How do I find an expert / How do I know he is / Can that expert opinion ever be definitive
* How much is authentication: There really are very few genuine experts out there prepared to put their knowledge to the test and whose opinion might sufficiently be respected to prove decisive in any litigation. You would expect to be paying a percentage of value or £50 and upwards per item for a detailed report
* Be aware that photographs from in-person signings could have been previously posted online or used on many occasions
* Holograms are useful to match an item with a certificate and to ensure the autographs have not been tampered with. However they offer NO ACTUAL PROOF that the original autograph was ever authentic
A CERTIFICATE (COA) is only as good as the issuer. It is NO guarantee in itself of authenticity. Its main purpose is to act as a reassurance to the buyer and a record of purchase. Most COAs do not stand up to detailed scrutiny