What is your tolerance level when deciding whether an autograph is real or fake? I need to be convinced beyond reasonable doubt before I part with my money.

I say this because all auction sites I visit appear to have some really dubious items. It is the same with authenticators.

I must dismiss many items that are authentic, but, on-the-other-hand, to my knowledge, I have not purchased a dud.

Sometimes it seems that authentication is subjective instead of a science.

Where profit is concerned, I’m sure that auction houses, and authenticators,  give an autograph the benefit of  doubt, because they are in the business of making money and, unlike enthusiasts, like you and me, they have to make a decision on 100s of items in a limited time-span.

Collectors like you and me generally specialise in certain subjects. Mine is vintage Hollywood, for example. On many occasions I have messaged an auction house to inform them that an item they are selling is not what they think.

Disclaimer: All the above is based on my opinion, and may or may not be factual.

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I have to be comfortable with the autograph personally. If it is an autograph that I haven't studied much, I will seek opinions of others who have more knowledge on the signature. Experienced collectors are far more accurate than third party services on their specific interest. Networking is the best way to build a fine collection these days.

Hello Joe,

Exactly!

People can be so trustworthy. If an (so-called) expert says it's real, then they think it must be. They don't think about authenticating the authenticator. For example: are they a generalist or do have they have any specialist experience?   

I get the impression that the autograph trade is a 'brand of brothers', so the more experience and research you do, the better. Specialising is a good way to start - then build on your knowledge.

"Experienced collectors are far more accurate than third party services on their specific interest" Joe W.

Ain't that the truth Joe.

 If everyone kept your observation in mind they'd be far better served.

+1. Self education, observation, rinse wash and repeat...

Eric, I myself launch into a rage, then a tirade when confronted in person with a forgery. Unless the guy with the forgery is bigger than me in which case I acceptingly nod my head and acquiesce, "Ain't that something?". lol

I imagine I have as well, but thses days I just move on to something else. I do get a bit more animated when the "I got it in person!" is employed with less than...truthful exuberance. ;)

I call it a System of tolerance!!  Speaking from experience, submitted quick opinions and the items fail but ive sold the item on and someone submits it for a coa and it passes from the same coa. No i wasn't selling it because i believed the item was fraudulent. System of tolerance, most tpa's are out to make a buck and to be fair they have to rule just on an autograph without the provenance usually and so forgeries will be passed. If your doubting the authenticity and other collector shy away from the item best to avoid..

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