I am collecting autographs for nearly seven years, mostly astronauts and my fav music bands. One of my first autographs in the beginning times was a clear signed Photo of Johnson/Thomas (Miami Vice), which I ordered from a US Dealer. Now with some experiences, it is clear, that it is a total fake with no chance to get the money back. What do you do with your fake autographs? Destroy them or keeping them near the real ones? 

Tobi (from Germany)

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Hi Tobi, I'm also interested in the answer to this! I have inherited a massive collection of autographs from my late father and its becoming clear that there are many fakes in there. My instinct would be to destroy them as I would hate for anyone else to get their hands on them one day and try to pass them off as real for financial gain. 

However, I am sure someone much more knowledgable will be along soon with advice! Good luck to you

My first eBay purchase was a forged Robert De Niro autograph.  Since then, I have been much more careful about what I add to my collection.  I threw the forgery into the garbage.  I did not want it contaminating the rest of my collection.  I agree with Not A Nurse.  Remove the forgeries from circulation by destroying them.  You may want to consider taking pictures of them for research purposes.

Interesting discussion. It is rare that a collector has not obtained a fake here and there. Nobody is perfect. When possible I have gotten my money back but in a few cases that has not worked out I have destroyed them although I have kept a few as a reminder to be more diligent. I clearly mark them as fake so, if something happens to me, someone does not unwittingly think they are genuine. You don't want to see those fakes end up back in circulation.

It's part of the educational process.

Destroy it.  Get it out of circulation.

But maybe, before you do that, take scans of it so that you have an exemplar of that particular forgery.

if its a ball, I let my dog play with it, if its a photo I destroy it.  If its questionable, I keep it but segregate so it doesn't infect my good ones!

I don't sell any autographs, so the fake one will always stay here on my side. And it is my ethic opinion, not to throw it in circulation. I read here in the forum, that important dealers like Roger Epperson keep the fakes (Michael Jacksons) to detect similar ones in the market.

I was very annoyed about the dealer, but also annoyed about me and my naive purchase.

The fake autograph looks very impressive, that I store it away from the others. Sometimes I look for it without any emotions. But to destroy it, I still haven't the nerve to.

I didn't really purchase autographs unless from a private signing or the person themselves. Most of my fakes came from the pre internet days where secretarial autographs were not really known so anything hand signed, the fan thought was real. I ripped up all the secretarial items years ago.

Pre-internet days were a challenging time, certainly, for collectors since most of us didn’t have readily available exemplars to pour over.  Many people just trusted the local guy at the mall.  I know I did with the purchase of my first Michael Jordan.  That didn’t turn out so well.

Another challenging time period (post-internet introduction) was the early-eBay-pics-optional period, when ebay didn’t require sellers to post a picture of what they were selling!  And many people didn’t post pictures.  You’d just get a sale heading like, “Babe Ruth signed baseball, bold,” with a low price of say $500.  Some novice collectors would jump at the chance to get a “real” Ruth for only $500.  And then you were to send a money order or cashier’s check pre-PAYPAL.  

Then you waited for the arrival of your “helluva deal” which either came in the form of a cheap facsimile or didn’t come at all.  In the meantime, your money order was already cashed!  I’m happy to say, however, I never got duped by a no-picture deal.

put them on ebay with the rest of the fake ones


About seven years ago I bought a DiMaggio & Williams autographed ball for $200.00. I wasn't so much dillusional as I was uneducated. Too trusting but still stupid. I swore I'd never get taken again. I've kept the ball as a reminder,  but well away from legitimate collection. I've often thought about giving my dog the ball, throwing it out or simply burning it. Lol. We'll see.

Oh, and what do I do with my fakes?  Well...I do the smart thing.  I pawn them off on some other unsuspecting fools!!

I’M ONLY JOKING, OF COURSE!!  I actually still have the few that I’ve purchased and never returned.  But I will never ever put them back in circulation, of course.  I really need to trash them.  But there are two that are pictures I like.  And they serve as reminders to try to avoid making such mistakes again.

Writing “Fake!” on these fakes is a good idea though.



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