Q. Do Certificates of Authenticity really mean anything? Diana, Rhode Island
A. Here is my view on the COA thing. I myself am a dealer and also the U.A.C.C. Regional Director of the following states MA, RI, CT, VT, ME, and NH. I absolutely HATE COA's but I offer them. Folks seem to like them. People these are worthless pieces of paper that mean nothing. They are no proof at all of authenticity. Where the real backing comes from is the reputable dealer, one who stands behind what he sells and will solve a problem with no questions asked and work with the customer. The best thing to do is to find a few dealers whom you like and trust and stick with them !! Here is another thing to think about.....Most dealers off the lifetime guarantee. Now what does this mean to the person who does not have the knowledge of authenticating their own autographs !!?? NOTHING !!! A lot of dealers leave it up to the customer to prove the signed item is not authentic, now you have to go back and give proof. How can one do this if they don't know how to authenticate and know what to look for. You don't..so you take the dealers word for it. PLEASE DO NOT GET ME WRONG there are a lot of good dealers out there. And as we know a lot of bad ones. The best weapon against them is to learn all you can. ANY dealer can make an occasional mistake. What separates the bad ones from the good ones is that the good ones will not put up a fight to take an item back. Now the U.A.C.C. now has a registered dealer program. And you can now check out Dealers before you buy. Be sure to check me out also I am registered dealer #49. You can find this out at the U.A.C.C. Web site at: www.uacc.org
Q. Is an autograph worth more money if it is inscribed or not inscribed? M.A., Virginia
A. Well technically the more the celebrity writes on the photo (in their own hand) the more it is worth. Although on the other side of this. Most people don't like the fact that the photo is inscribed to someone. Not many people want a photo inscribed to "Fred" when their name is Anthony. So many dealers mark their prices lower on inscribed items and it seems for now the trend will continue that way.
Q. What is the U.A.C.C.? I have seen many people claiming to be members but what is it? Paul D., Florida
A. The U.A.C.C. is short for Universal Autograph Collectors Club. This is a real organization based in Washington D.C. for autograph collectors. The club puts out a bi-monthly publication called the Pen & Quill to its members which is filled with useful information on whats going on in the autograph world and also well written articles from its members on all subjects of autograph collecting. The club also helps its members with possible bad dealings that they may have with U.A.C.C. dealers with its Ethics Board. (the Ethics Board are kinda like the policemen of the autograph world) They will step in and try to resolve disputs between a customer and a dealer, if needed. A nice little beinfit of the organization. Please keep in mind the Ethics Board is a last resort. You should always try to settle the dispute directly with the dealer first. You can get all the information you want on the U.A.C.C. at its official web site along with a application to print out so you can join at www.uacc.org
Q. Is an autograph worth more if it is in pen, pencil or marker? Tim, Chicago
A. Well of course most people prefer their autograph in the offical pen of autograph collectors, the SHARPIE marker.But it really dosen't matter what an autograph is written with. It is STILL the autograph of that person. But again this is kind of like the inscribed thing up above. As for dealer pricing a photo in SHARPIE will cost more than a photo signed in pen. A pen signed photo will sell for more than a pencil signed one. The downside of a pencil signature is that over time it can fade and also if rubbed pencil can smudge. So it has to be taken better care for than the others. Now where the price difference wouldn't matter is what if the item was signed by a historical figure BEFORE pen and SHARPIE's were invented?Now of course the item would be worth its full value.