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July 13 2003

How to Avoid Fraud with Online Autograph Collecting. If you're looking for the signatures of your favourite Buffyverse actors, Zap2it explains how not to get ripped off.

Anyone here got any autographs from the cast of Buffy/Angel/Firefly? I got a signed pic from Clare Kramer and the Troika at a couple of signings but thats about it.

I've got a plethora of autographed Buffy and Angel photos and other merchandise (I haven't gotten anything related to Firefly yet). 99% of my autographs were obtained in-person through conventions and other events in the Southern California area. I've got autographs from each of the major players on Buffy and Angel thus far, including Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz. I also own all of the Inkworks autograph cards that've been released thus far. Autograph collecting is one of my hobbies, so I'd consider myself to be an autograph expert in the Buffy and Angel field.

I've really been appalled by most of the signed scripts, allegedly signed by the entire Buffy cast, that have sold on eBay, not just because of the price that they usually sell for but also because the majority of them have fraudulent autographs. Especially the ones with Sarah Michelle Gellar's autograph. I'd estimate that over 75% of her autographs being sold on eBay are fraudulent.

If you want authentic autographs, here're some sources:
- Fox Auctions sometimes sells autographed Buffy and Angel merchandise on eBay, like the "Chosen" script that keeps getting relisted (heh). Those autographs are legit.
- Certain companies host regular conventions and signings, like Creation and Metro Entertainment. Those autographs are legit.
- Actors like James Marsters and Iyari Limon sell autographed merchandise through their official websites. Those autographs are legit.
- And the Inkworks autograph cards are legit.

When it comes to eBay, here're some tips:
- A huge positive feedback rating means zilch, particularly when it comes to sellers who specialize in selling celebrity autographs. I'd be really suspicious of the majority of them, even if they claim accreditation and/or offer certificates of authenticity. Speaking of which...
- A certificate of authenticity means zilch.
- Ask the seller specifically where and when they got the autographs. If they refuse, or will only tell you if you win the auction, don't deal with them.
- Look at where, geographically-speaking, the seller lives. Many of those supposed autographed scripts have originated from outside the States, which shouldn't be the only warning sign, as several actors have done conventions abroad, but it should be a contributing factor in your decision.
- Do your homework. The Internet can really help in this area. Find out what real versions of the autograph look like before buying them.

And of course, if something looks too good to be true, chances are it is. So be careful!

Hope this sheds some light. :)

[ edited by Oddjob on 2003-07-13 09:59 ]
I was lucky enough to get Amber Benson's and James Leary's autographs at the AICN Buffy Bash this past May. They are framed and on my wall along with photos and appropriate trading cards. (Tara and Clem). Very cool.

I'm sure you're right about the high percentage of fraudulent stuff out there. I've always been too suspicious to bid on anything like that. Must be the Scully in me.
I've sold some of my collection (Firefly) on eBay. I've always included where and when I received the items in the description. A certificate of authenticity should include enough information so that a buyer can backtrack and find out that the item was, in fact, signed by the person or people advertised as having signed it, or that the item is being sold by a reputable (recognizable) dealer.

If something was signed at a con, it's a little harder to verify, because thousands of autographs are given and the person will likely not remember it. If the item was won at an auction, it's easy to find the org that auctioned it to verify its authenticity.

Bottom line for me: People who screw the fans out of cash are scum.
i've got stuff signed by people at conventions. i have no desire myself to buy autographs w/o getting them in person. for me the joy is in the meeting and seeing, not the actual signed thingy.

of course, i have bid on things at the con auctions. oh MY. amazing what tony head selling his signed stuff does to my willpower. bid, bid, BID!!!

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