What do I need to know about the COA?

The most frequent question potential memorabilia customers ask is, “Does it come with a certificate of authenticity (COA)”? The simple answer is, of course, “yes” and that’s good enough most of the time for collectors. However, people are asking the wrong question.

Potential customers are rightly concerned about buying a fake autographs. They believe that receiving a certificate of authenticity is their best defence. Unfortunately, the countless fraudsters selling fake autographs are aware of this common misconception and make sure their COA looks nice to go along with the fake autograph they’re selling. Any criminal who knowingly sells fake autographs is not going to be deterred by having to include a COA.

In the USA state of California back in the 1990’s a law was passed called the Civil Code Section 1739.7 and the law’s intentions were good, but of course the COA was the main point of emphasis. Unfortunately, the law has had little or no effect on reducing the number of fake autographs on the market.

eBay initially tried to attack the problem in the same manner, by requiring autograph sellers to state who issued the COA in their item descriptions. This also failed to do much of anything, and to eBay’s credit, their current autograph policy now states that COAs are “only as valuable as the reputation of the issuing party”.  That’s the main point right there. Potential customers should not be asking whether or not the autographed item comes with a COA.  They can ask but a fraudulent autograph dealer will almost always answer “YES”.

Potential customers should be asking about the background, business practices, experience, history and reputation of the seller.

(portions of article taken from autographsforsaledotcom)