When collecting celebrity autographs it is important to consider the following points.
Celebrity Autographs are fun to collect and good quality autographed pictures can be a great investment. Enjoy your collecting, appreciate and display your collection well, it will give you great satisfaction.
It is because celebrity autographs are very collectable that you must be aware of the pitfalls associated with collecting them. Establishing authenticity can be a real problem these days for collectors.
Most, not all, autographs that appear on Internet Auction sites are fake. This is why their price appears to be extremely good. The sad fact is that people are paying money for pictures that are worthless. Like all things in life you pay for what you get! Consider this, if a celebrity autograph appears to be at a price that is to good to be true, then it probably isn't true!
Know your stuff.
When buying an autograph, make sure that you are aware of what the celebrity's signature is meant to look like. I have seen people offering “Genuine" autographs for sale that include spelling mistakes in the name! Cate Blanchett appeared as Kate Blanchett on an auction site, and people were bidding on it! I have seen Bruce Lee autographs been sold on screen dumped laser printed pictures (Bruce died 20 years before laser printers where invented!). Study the celebrity and apply some common sense when considering buying an autograph.
Know your source.
Always check the credentials of the person you are buying from. Do not accept high positive feedback on an auction site as showing items are authentic, this usually means that the people deliver on time, mostly because they are signing to order. Most reputable autograph dealers will be able to give you date and location of where the item was signed. Always enquire after this information when you make a purchase.
Copies, autopens and secreterials.
These days it is important to check that an Autograph is original, modern technology makes it easy to scan and print pictures that look as good as the original. If in doubt a quick check with a magnifying glass, will show the tell tail dots of the printed ink on the signature.
The autopen is often used by busy celebrities to sign fan mail and posted pictures; these signatures are very difficult for the average person to detect, as they look real. However, people who know the celebrity's autograph well will be able see that autopens always look identical, every time. Autopens are classed as not authentic.
Most busy celebrities will use a secretary to sign their fan mail and mailed pictures, these can often look similar to the real thing, but sadly secretarials are worthless to a collector.
Always be careful when buying an autograph that has been acquired from a celebrity through the mail. Most times, not all, they are not real.
ALWAYS BUY IN PERSON AUTOGRAPHS.
In person autographs are pictures or documents that have been given to the celebrity and have been signed there and then, no question then as to their authenticity.
Best of all, get the autographs yourself – its fun and not that difficult if you put your mind to it. If you do collect autographs in person, then be sure to make a note of when, where etc you obtained the autograph and any other relevant information (Theatre ticks, Premier programs etc) and keep it with the Autograph – it will much easier to establish the authenticity of the autograph in years to come.
Enjoy your collecting.
Ian Fleming - Legends Online - a major resource for movie collectibles. http://www.legends-online.com