Autographed sports memorabilia is a multi-billion dollar industry. Unfortunately, the size of the fraudulent sports memorabilia market is not going away. According to an FBI report, more than 50 percent of autographs sold are fraudulent, and PSA-DNA, the industry’s leading signature identifier, claims to have examined more than 10,000 Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan signatures. Only 33 percent of is true.

The amount of sports memorabilia bought

 And sold online is certainly a growing market, and unfortunately, criminals can sell fake autographed balls, bats, photos, jerseys and more. To consumers unknowingly has decreased over time. . For the casual sports fan or professional collector, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that the items you buy online are authentic.

Understanding the benefits and limitations of a Certificate of Authenticity – Items purchased on eBay or other websites may include a Certificate of Authenticity or, alternatively, for fans and collectors, a verification service such as PSA’s | DNA signatures, photos, etc. These services use signature and verification experts who verify submitted shipments for a fee and issue a letter of authenticity if the signature is deemed authentic.

Services such as PSA

 DNA guarantees that the large auction houses (Christie’s, Maestro Fine Sport, Gray Flannel, Hunt Auction, etc.) receive or return the products with certificates of authenticity. However, beware of certificates and letters of authenticity: they can offer the buyer more legitimacy and security, but unscrupulous sellers can offer false certificates. However, it is important to note that authentication services generally do not guarantee signatures, and aggregators only pay for the opinion of industry experts using advanced authentication tools.

Bargain Buyer Beware – While it may not seem like much to the sports memorabilia collector who is always looking for quality, the unusually low price of genuine memorabilia compared to other markets can be a red flag. Fraudulent souvenir sellers want to move their inventory quickly, and a low price is sure to attract interest. The consumer must overcome the emotional element of overvaluation and use common instincts to determine if a price seems too good to be true.

Research, research, research

 The Internet is like a cash register in a store, luring consumers with piles of impulses they don’t necessarily need or want. With millions of memories online at their fingertips, consumers should avoid quick and impulsive purchases. Fraudulent souvenir sellers can certainly be smart, but consumers are doing themselves a disservice if they don’t take simple precautions. For example, if you are purchasing an autographed item, research existing images of the athlete’s signature and compare it to the one you are considering purchasing. A suspicious deviation from the verified signature is a clear warning sign.

Collect inputs from collectors. Buyers considering items on eBay or other sites should not underestimate other users’ comments about the seller. While it’s certainly not uncommon for sellers to give their reviews positive ratings, the reviews are often justified. Collectors take authenticity seriously and take care of quickly sold items to avoid letting other buyers down.

Consider Competitive Auction Sites

 For the sports memorabilia collector, there is always a trade-off between the value of the sports memorabilia and the assurance of authenticity. CBSSports.com now has an official online auction network that allows fans to bid on a variety of memorabilia, experiences and apparel. While Lowest Bid Price doesn’t necessarily promise the same finds as other less official sources of merchandise, there is certainly a certain level of legitimacy and certainty when dealing with products sold to a professional league  arena.