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|Silver Card Talk Member|
Ling Ling Chang just introduced a bill, AB 1570, with the support of Skywalker himself, that is looking to help navigating the memorabilia waters a bit easier. California already requires that a certificate of authenticity accompany any sports memorabilia, but has, up until this day, neglected to cover other kinds of memorabilia. Once Chang heard of Hamill’s actions online she knew she had to reach out...
Mark Hamill Wants to Make Sure Star Wars Fans Won't Be Fooled Again
"When you are out numbered and the situation is hopeless, you have no option... You Must Attack!"
|Diamond Card Talk Member|
Mark Hamill certainly wants to do what he can to protect his fans from wasting money on fake autographs. If only more celebrities were like that, but fake autograph peddlers have to be sued and/or arrested. They are committing a crime known as fraud and taking people's money under false representation, but by in large they get away with it because:
a) No one goes after them because it's expensive and time consuming for individuals to sue.
b) Law enforcement doesn't regard it as a major crime and generally doesn't get involved for small potatoes. The FBI did go after a major counterfeit autograph ring doing sports figure autographs at one point, but that was a very, very long time ago.
c) They can find an expert to say it's real to contradict your expert who says it's a fake.
d) Even if it can be proven to be a fake, you have to prove that the seller knew it was a fake when he sold it.
e) Even if you prove that, then it has to be proven that the seller was the one who actually made the fake, or else he just claims that he got stuck too.
f) Finally people who sell fakes know that the worst that will happen is that they will get complaints and be forced to sell elsewhere or sell in the same place under a different name.
Now none of that changes because a certificate of authenticity is required. It sounds like a good idea, but only if the COA is from a known entity that can be verified. Otherwise it's just a piece of paper that can be bought blank and filled in by anybody.
If someone is going to sell fake autographs, it is no leap to give fake COAs with them. So legislation like this means well, but the truth is, it will hurt people who have genuine in-person signatures without COAs, but it will do little to stop people who are actually selling fakes in MHO.
Buy certified autograph cards or go to in-person signings yourself whenever possible is my best advice.
|Diamond Card Talk Member|
I was just reading something about autographs that someone else wrote on another forum and they used wording that I thought was really simple and to the point. I think it can apply perfectly to the subject of COAs and draws a clear line.
The phrasing he/she use was "backed by opinion". I would gladly give that person credit, but I don't know who he/she is.
All certifications coming from any paid service that is authenticating autographs is backed by opinion. The opinion is that of an autograph expert(s) who is supposed to be qualified enough to call himself/herself an autograph expert. Any cut signatures used in card products is backed by opinion, presumably verified by an expert hired by the card manufacturer. Sometimes sellers will issue COAs on items coming from their store, which may be simply based on their own opinion or assessment of the autograph and is more a record of purchase than anything else. The fact is, a COA that is backed by opinion, is only as good or bad as that opinion.
Then you have COAs that are issued by a company or person who declares that it was signed in their presence. Now that is a much stronger guarantee because it is either absolutely true or absolutely false. There are no mistakes, either the item is real or the seller is lying. Many certified cards, or the stickers used on certified cards, are expressly stated as having been signed in the presence of a company representative. You can also get a more informal COA at a private signing that is designed to prove the accompanying item is genuine and here's where it happened.
The problem with those types of more informal COAs for private signings at shows or hobby stores is that the COAs themselves may be reproduced and attached to fake autographs. You have to have the whole matching hologram or stamped number system in place to really make that work and not get abused.
Finally, I think the last type of COA or card company declaration, is the one that goes guaranteed by the celebrity. The signing is not witnessed, but the signer is obligated to provide a genuine autograph and is solely held responsible for it. This one gives the issuing company a bit of wiggle room, because if it turns out that someone else ghosted it, the company blames the signer. We have seen this happen recently with a popular celebrity giving a stamped autograph to a major card company. When it was discovered, the person and the company made good by replacing the old cards with new authentic signature cards.
Along the same lines, without a company connection, are signed items that may be bought straight from the celebrity themselves. They are in essence guaranteeing their own autographs. They sometimes have special cards and photos made up just for that purpose and those items can be easily verified.
So just like the autographs themselves, all COAs are not equal. An in person declaration is much better than any "backed by opinion" guarantee, as long as you can verify the reputation of whoever is making the declaration. Some experts with opinions are better than others, even from the paid services. And some COAs can be easily issued with no proof or can be reproduced or just easily switched to any item. So just like the autographs themselves, don't be blinded by a COA. It may not be worth the paper it's written on either. This message has been edited. Last edited by: Raven,
|Gold Card Talk Member|
I am sure that Ling Ling is proud of herself but I don't think I will rest on a goofy bill which insists upon COAs that have been a part of memorabilia forgeries since the beginning.
I have my own back covered on this, I really think the state of California has more pressing issues.
Just because it's rare doesn't mean it's valuable.
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
I was at a Creation Convention a long time ago. Nimoy was the Guest... There was a dealer selling fake autographs , Including Nimoy.... Mr. Nimoy went to the Dealers Table took a look over the items & declared the Autos to Be Fake! He also told the Dealer Mark Hamill is Spelt with 2 "L"s...
Other fakes included a Dual Auto of Sean Connery & Christopher Lambert... "IN QUANTITY" on his table. EVERYTHING ON HIS TABLE WAS FAKE! EVERYTHING!
He got thrown out of the convention
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