Probably the one question I’m asked constantly by those who know I collect or have seen my collection is, “How do you know it’s real?”
My answer is usually, “I just know.”
As easy as that sounds, it’s not that easy.
But with a little work you will know, and you can protect yourself and your collection.
Start with the simple notion that 95% of autographs sold on eBay and through memorabilia sites are fakes.
Why is that?
These alleged reputable dealers are looking for people who don’t know what they’re are looking at.
People that want to believe at that price, it’s too good to be true.
Want to believe that the dealer is reputable.
And to borrow a quote, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
Check out this link to find out who really said this.
So how do you know if a set of signatures you’re buying is fake?
If there’s a certificate of authenticity offered, it’s fake.
Any a-hole can print up a impressive looking “certificate”, sign it, offer a lifetime guarantee, and sell pretty much anything.
People think this is their protection.
Sorry, it don’t mean shit.
You need to know your stuff. Buy from the right people. Get knowledgeable.
But like anything else, you want to make good decisions, you do your homework.
I own many signed Stones items.
Frankly it’s easier to buy a legit set of vintage autographs from the Brian Jones era, than a set from today.
Begin at the beginning.
Familiarize yourself with the earliest signatures of the band.
What did they sign like in the 60’s say. Gather images you find online and through eBay and compare them.
Try to think of the circumstances in which they might have signed these items, how much time they had, what they were signing. A card, paper, magazine.
All bands in the 60’s signed in ballpoint pen.
There were no sharpies.
Study how their styles changed throughout the years.
Usually over the years, not unlike us all, our signatures deteriorate and get sloppy.
We get lazy.
No different for rock stars.
Look at Charlie Watts today, barely understandable or readable.
A large C and B.
Stands for “Charlie Boy”, the way he used to originally sign his name back in the 60’s.
A signature reduced to letters.
I found on eBay a year or so ago a signed album.
It was a “Get your Ya Ya’s Out,” signed by all the original Stones, including Brian Jones.
The album as recorded in 1969 and released in September of 1970.
See where I’m going with this?
How could this be signed by Brian Jones if he died in July of 69 and the album was released in 1970?
This is the kind of crap that goes on all the time.
Of course it came with a certificate of authenticity.
Buy from reputable dealers. If you do your homework and ask around you can find them.
I buy from Recordmecca in LA, and Tracks in the UK.
These guys know their shit.
They give a lifetime guarantee and it means something.
Some examples I own are shown here. Bought from the dealers listed above.
Keith’s signature measures roughly 6 1/2 ” long.