Make sure your sports memorabilia is the genuine article

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					The sports memorabilia market is an enduringly successful and popular one. Like any
trade that deals in high profile goods with a lucrative price tag, the memorabilia
industry has been beset for years by the unscrupulous behaviour of people and
companies out to make a quick buck. Where unethical traders exist, there 鈥檚
always potential to damage both the market itself and the expectations or confidence
of buyers interested in that market 鈥?in the case of the sporting autographs industry,
customers have become wary of parting with their hard earned cash for fear that the
goods they are buying may not be the genuine deal.
  There is, for example, the case of a famous sports bar in an Irish capital city, which
purchased an item of sports memorabilia (a football shirt) signed by the entire team of
what was then indisputably the greatest Premier League football squad in history.
Included in the signatures on the shirt was the scrawl of a particularly famous Irish
legend 鈥?a central defender whose tough tackling and all round leadership had
become a byword for everything that is uniquely British about the game. The
signature appeared to be authentic, and was proudly alluded to by bar staff and
customers alike, as they viewed the shirt in its glass-encased glory, hanging on the
wall behind the pumps.
  After a couple of years, a savvy customer noted that this particular piece of
footballing sports memorabilia had apparently been signed at a time when it would
have been impossible for the player in question to have delivered his autograph.
Further investigation of the memorabilia item revealed that the club and country
captain in question had definitely not signed the shirt 鈥?he had, in fact, refused to do
so, as apparently was his wont for all but the most mandatory of signing events. This
signature came from a player famous for not signing things 鈥?and yet the rest of the
scrawls on the shirt were genuine.
  This is actually a relatively innocuous example of the extent to which forgery or
incorrect documentation has resulted in an inaccurate listing or sale of an item of
sports memorabilia. There are, of course, companies that are willing to go much
further in their deception, knowingly selling completely false items under the guise of
genuine memorabilia. Fortunately, there is a very simple way of making sure that the
item you buy is completely authentic.
  All autographed souvenir companies worth buying from keep visual and textual
authentication records of their merchandise. A visual record is either a photograph or a
video clip or the actual signing event, digitally dated to avoid any faking of the proof.
Any item of sports memorabilia without such documentation should automatically be
treated as suspicious. Any piece of memorabilia that has visual documentation is fine,
It 鈥檚 as simple as that. Any reputable source of autographed souvenirs will supply a
certificate matching the item bought to the visual record of its signing, and will be
able to supply a viewing of that record to anyone who asks. Don 鈥檛 get caught out
鈥?ask for proof before you buy.
  It 鈥檚 easy to fake sports memorabilia 鈥?but impossible to fake visual proof of a
signing. Ask for that proof before purchase and buy authentic memorabilia with

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