Safe Buying From Autograph Magazine Live Members

A lot of buying and selling takes place between members on Autograph Magazine Live. I didn't realize how much until recently.

You may save money that way or get more when you sell. There's nothing wrong with that. But safe member-to-member buying has been a growing concern of mine over the past few months.

The vast majority of AML members would never want to sell a questionable autograph to anyone. But as we all know, forgeries are a huge problem in autographs. And the most successful members of the forgery industry sell them the same way the legitimate sellers do: by building relationships and trust with potential victims.

It's important to use safe buying practices, no matter how helpful a member is or how credible they seem to be. These are my 5 simple rules for buying autographs with a high degree of safety:

  1. Get other opinions before you buy. Post photos on AML or send them to members who know the signer. Ask respected experts or authenticators. It may cost you a few bucks, but it's worth it.
  2. Research the seller's reputation. Even good collectors may not have references for selling, so ask for buying references. Virtually all dealers and auction houses have reputations you can research, good or bad.
  3. Don't assume the seller's stories about how they got their autograph are true. The vast majority of modern forgeries are sold with fabricated in-person stories. Most vintage forgeries come with fake provenance.
  4. If you're planning to send it out for third party authentication after you buy, ask for the seller's agreement to refund your purchase price if it doesn't pass. Even a good seller may refuse, but you need to know that upfront. There should always be a reasonable way to resolve authenticity problems, though.
  5. Make sure you're comfortable that the seller will deliver what you bought after you pay for it. References or an established eBay account or dealership are things to consider.

These are my rules for buying autographs from members safely. What are yours?

Views: 655

Tags: autographs, safe buying

Comment by DB on August 7, 2012 at 5:10pm

finalizing and implementing this ought to be sufficient;

while hopefully eliminating certain inflamatory commentary such as found on page 12 or perhaps implementing post haste the following;


I recently bought an application that can render a shock right through the keyboard to misbehaving members. Let me know if you need to use it.

Comment by Bill Panagopulos on August 7, 2012 at 5:22pm

6.) Make sure that the authenticating company knows "Donitz" from "Doughnuts"

Comment by Lou reves on August 7, 2012 at 8:42pm

And what is funny about this is some of these experts are getting their stuff from EBAY and they say nothing on there is any good...

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on August 8, 2012 at 1:28am


Most member to member business either takes place privately or on eBay; not through the Buy/Sell/Trade forum. 

Comment by DB on August 8, 2012 at 3:36am

Ah, another "ebay" be careful thread.  I was thinking interAML.  

didn't we just have a vg thread on things to look out for on EBAY that was done recently and sent out to the thread's owners customer list?  Just can't locate the link at the moment...  maybe we ought to consolidate them all.  

7.  Learn where the EBAY Banned list ,

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on August 8, 2012 at 12:11pm

It's an AML discussion. On eBay you learn to be wary of the seller. On AML it's easy for sellers to build relationships in the community that can cause collectors to let their guard down and not use safe buying practices.

Comment by Lou reves on August 8, 2012 at 3:04pm

It just bothers me that all these so called experts are all ebay is bad, yet they all buy and sell on it so it cant be that bad!

Comment by Steve Cyrkin, Admin on August 8, 2012 at 3:11pm


You said something similar yesterday but I'm not sure what you mean. Can you be more specific?

Comment by Lou reves on August 8, 2012 at 5:25pm

Steve, everyone keeps saying its safer to buy here at my set price or at my web site, the truth is alot of dealers who are here and even registered with the UACC BOTH buy and sell on ebay, which is where one can find alot of good stuff its not as bad as its made out to be. There are more sports forgeries on ebay then anything else I would say, maybe I just venting, but why bash ebay, then buy stuff on there and turn around and say its a terrible place but buy this I have ( i wont tell you thats where I bought it) but this happens I can mention who but I would not do it with provacation. They know who they are and if they think their names are solid as dealers they should say this themselves. Again it just irks me to hear...buying here is safer then anywhere else and ebay is nothing but fakes. It all goes back to getting educated and I think this is a great place for newbies to get fast and free help from good people. I use my real name and I do think anyone posting an OPINION should have to do the same NOT initials or part names and tell why its bad not I dont like it at all, looks bad to me? Why? Put up or shut up. why should someone have to spend all that good money on paid opinions when they could get help here for free from good HONEST people like Roger, John and Bill. Hope I did not take this to far but I will stand down for now just watch from the sidelines.....

Comment by Steve Zarelli on August 8, 2012 at 5:43pm
I can't ever recall anyone ever claiming eBay was all junk. Where have you seen this? Myself and others have stated numerous times eBay is a great place for bargains if you know what you are doing.



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