Over the last several decades, the hobby of collecting sports memorabilia has grown quite a bit. Millions of people each year attend card shows or purchase items from memorabilia shops both online and in brick and mortar stores. The industry has grown to the point where unfortunately there are a large number of people looking to commit fraud on collectors by offering bogus items for sale. For someone who is into this hobby, collecting authentic sports autographs is really the only way you can guarantee that your items are for real.
Of course, for most people, if you obtain an autograph in person at a stadium, arena or even a card show, you are assured that the item is real since you witnessed the athlete sign the items himself. However, many people in this hobby do not acquire all of their autographs this way. Sometimes the only way you can get an autograph of the player you really want is to try and purchase it from another outlet.
Many current players just receive too much fan mail to offer an autograph through the mail. They may send you a form letter or a card with their apologies that they could not do something more personal. However, several of these players do take part in signing events for various companies who will then offer their autograph for sale.
The only way to really know that your item is among the authentic sports autographs from these signings is to have a certificate of authenticity. This certificate provides you documentation that the person signing was witnessed signing these items on a specified date for a specified reason. This helps to provide you with proof that the item you are buying is real.
The other thing many companies do now is place a hologram on the item itself to mark it as authentic. This gives the item a specific identification mark. If there is ever a question of the items authenticity, the hologram can reveal information that can be looked up verified to mark it as original.
If you are thinking of starting a hobby, getting involved in the world of authentic sports autographs can be a lot of fun. You just want to make sure that if you are purchasing any items either from the Internet or a store that you check to see that proper proof is given to you. You so not want to take the chance of getting taken and having a fake item.