The sports memorabilia market is a multi-billion dollar industry that covers nearly every inch of the globe and just about every sport out there. Whenever you introduce this type of money, fakes are sure to appear in the market. Fake autographs are not a new thing. They've existed for years but the growth of the resale market for autographed memorabilia is what began to bring them to light. This has forced the hands of memorabilia companies to take steps to properly document the authenticity of its memorabilia that's being offered to consumers.
The most common thing you should look for is a Certificate of Authenticity. In its most basic form, a COA is a document that states the item in question is authentic. In years past, this alone was common in the industry, however, over time fakes continued to make it into the market even though they had a "COA" with them. This isn't to say that all items that only include a COA aren't authentic. Companies, and even athletes themselves have taken it a step further. Most items now include tamper proof holograms that are serial numbered and specific to that item. You have the ability to enter the serial number in online or contact the company and can receive verification about your item. As an example, items obtained by Stealin' Home Sports include a tamper proof hologram that bears our company name as well as a unique serial number to that item. If anyone attempted to remove the hologram from the item, it would basically disintegrate and would be useless.
Now you may be asking yourself what do I do if I have an item that I got signed in person? There are avenues for you as well. Reputable companies such as James Spence Authenticated, PSA/DNA, and Beckett take great care in analyzing your signed piece and determining its authenticity. Like us, these companies utilize serial numbered and tamper proof holograms on every item they deem authentic. It's not a requirement that you get authentication for your item. While you can't put a price tag on sentimental value, if you ever decided to sell your item to another person, a reputable COA from a third party helps to increase the value and marketability of your item.