Online Auction Tips: How to Avoid Buying Fake Sports Memorabilia

Australians are passionate about their sport, and many of them like to collect official memorabilia as a way of showing their support. However, with the popularity of online auctions, it has become increasingly difficult to know whether you’re buying official Australian sports memorabilia or not. 

How can you tell that a signed memorabilia is fake? And how can you protect yourself against this fraud? Check the following tips.

What Is Sports Memorabilia?

Sports memorabilia is official, licensed merchandise that commemorates a particular athlete, event or team. It can include items like jerseys, balls, trading cards and bobbleheads. Australian sports memorabilia typically features iconic athletes or teams from popular sports, such as cricket, rugby, football, tennis, golf or basketball.

How Can You Tell Fake Signed Memorabilia?

To know if a signed memorabilia is genuine, here are some tips to identify them:

Turn the Signature Upside Down

Forgers, no matter how good they are, can still have the difference of strokes on fake signatures. Turn them upside down and you will see ‘objectively’ the difference in some strokes. 

Be Wary of Stamped Signatures

If the signature is flat, then it’s most likely a facsimile. Perfect example to check if a signature is authentic and signed by a sports icon is the signature on a baseball. Understandably, the production of balls sometimes is marked by the maker with their logo. But if the signature looks as flat as a logo print, then, it wasn’t penned by the sports icon himself.

Take a Good Look at the Ink

To authenticate an autographed piece, you’ll need to look for stamps that have been applied at the same time and with pigment. 

The more ink on one edge versus another will give away how old it might be; if there’s barely any difference in colour or appearance between different areas then chances are good this signature never left its maker’s hand.

Check the Colour 

To determine whether a signature is real, you can use the following three tests. If it seems too light or there’s equal pressure applied throughout then chances are that your star has signed off on something less than genuine; signers who have shaded purple ink will most likely be fake as well. 

However, if their signatures glow in shades of silver-blue like some celebrities do (such as Paris Hilton), this might mean they were stamped with an official seal instead. 

Consider the Date and How It Was Signed

The way in which an autograph is signed can be used as a clue to its authenticity. Autographs dated before 1960 should have been written with felt pens, but those from this period typically use ink and not pencil or pen marks on paper (which would leave behind imperfections).

How to Avoid Buying Fake Sports Memorabilia

1. Be Wary of Out-Of-This-World Deals

Too-good-to-be-true deals are questionable. As a sports memorabilia buyer, you should watch out for people selling low-priced sports memorabilia. A $100 item claiming to have been worn or used by a famous athlete seems unlikely genuine. These types of iconic memorabilia signed or worn can sell for millions of dollars.

2. Check the Company’s Background 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommends performing an online search with the business name and ‘scam’ or ‘rip-off’ to see if others posted reviews about them. 

Before buying, make sure they have a phone number where you can contact customer service should there be problems after purchase, as well as accessible address information. Doing so may help you resolve issues quickly without having to go through long journeys back home only furthering your frustration levels along.

3. Check If the Website Is Secure 

To ensure that you’re safe when purchasing from a website, look for the ‘s’ at the end of the domain address. If this does not appear or if there is no SSL certificate installed then it may be risky to enter your credit card information on their site as they could potentially take advantage and use your personal data for fraudulent transactions.

4. Make Use of Your Credit Card 

The best way to ensure that your Internet transactions are safe and secure is by paying with a credit card. Credit cards provide more fraud security, which means there’s no liability for any unauthorised purchases made on the site.

5. Check If They Have Certificates of Authenticity 

Be careful when donating sports memorabilia to charity auctions. Some scammers hope they can appear generous by donating fake items, but you’ll know if an item is real for its price valuation and authenticity rating before bidding on it. 

If there’s any doubt in your mind about whether the piece is actually used for what appears as though it should be, then don’t bid—just directly donate to the charity (whether monetary or otherwise).

6. Engage Only With a Reliable Supplier

So, whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, it’s important to do your homework before spending big bucks on sports memorabilia. Keep an eye out for the telltale signs and remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. 

If you’re about to do a fundraising auction, get your sports memorabilia only from a trusted provider like us at Helping Hand Group. 

Helping Hand Group Auction Services: Lending You a Helping Hand

At Helping Hand Group, we always strive to source new and exciting items that will attract guests at fundraising events. We offer only genuine auction items like sports memorabilia on a consignment-type basis. So, if you want to use sports memorabilia as your auction items, you can be confident that you are auctioning off genuine pieces from us.

If you need help with your fundraising event, we are here for you. From setting up item displays, managing auctions and taking care of the payment, removal and shipping of items, we can do it for you. 

Contact us today with any questions or auction queries you may have. We would be more than happy to help!