celebrity autographs are fake!: Fake Celebrity Autographs
Feb 9, 2:18 PM ET Entertainment - AP By COLLEEN LONG, Associated
Press Writer NEW YORK
you plunk down hundreds for a signed copy of a dusty Beatles
album or a golf ball whacked by Tiger Woods, take a good look
at it. Chances are, it's fake.
celebrity autographs are incredibly difficult to authenticate,
experts say, and if a deal to purchase something autographed
by your favorite star seems too good to be true, it probably
six percent of all autographed Beatles memorabilia is authentic,
according to PSA/DNA Authentication Services, a California-based
organization that examines collectibles.
24 percent of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley signatures
PSA/DNA has examined were genuine, and only 33 percent of
more than 10,000 Woods and Michael Jordan autographs they
scrutinized were real.
are aware of the problem, but there's not much they can do.
Woods won't sign golf balls, because they are such easy targets
for forgeries. He says he has seen hundreds of false autographs.
"I feel sorry for the person who buys it and thinks it's authentic,"
Woods told The Associated Press.
a reflection not only on the person that sold it — and they
don't care, they get their money. I don't want to leave that
impression, because I didn't do it." PSA/DNA has been tracking
fakes for about two years, and started tracking celebrity
autographs last year, president Joe Orlando said. The company's
experts analyze handwriting and materials, and preside over
signings to authenticate signatures. Items are outfitted with
a hologram which tracks the life of the signed poster, jersey
or album cover. So far, the company has authenticated more
than eight million items, but that doesn't scratch the surface
of the millions of forged items out there, Orlando said.
autographs change over time, and you must have a keen eye
as a collector," he said. "Experts must know how they change
and when they change. Even then, signatures are different
all the time. Forgers capitalize on that. It's very tricky."
can also be pricey, but it's worth it to collectors. A Babe
Ruth signed ball went for $115,000 and one of his bats fetched
$1.3 million at auction. Generally cards, jerseys, albums
and posters can be worth a few hundred dollars. Woods, Jordan
and many celebrities use services like Upper Deck or PSA/DNA
to verify that their merchandise is real.
curtailed it a little bit," Woods said. "Now we have a way
to make sure my signature is authentic with the hologram.
The thing is, the average person who wants a quick hit just
goes on eBay. 'OK, I get can that for $100,' and boom, they
got it," even though it might not be real.
FBI agent Timothy Fitzsimmons said it's dangerous to rely
too much on authenticators.
forgers sometimes go to great lengths to get items authenticated,"
he said. "Sometimes, forged signatures were even identified
as real ones, and the real ones as forgeries."
says it's most important to find out the item's history, all
the way back to its ultimate source. Based in San Diego, he
has been working on prosecuting forgers for the past eight
years. He said more than 60 suspects have been arrested around
the country for selling forged merchandise, mostly on Internet
auction houses like eBay.
Brando, Tom Cruise , these are very famous people and their
signatures are worth a lot because they don't sign too often,"
just breed on the Internet." eBay officials say the site is
just the marketplace, and they don't have access to the items.
"We have policies about what can and cannot be sold, sure.
But it's up to the buyer, too.
must know what they're spending their money on," said Chris
Donlay, spokesman for the site. Donlay said there are links
to organizations that help figure out if an item is real.
Estee Portnoy, Jordan's business manager, said the basketball
legend has had a contract with Upper Deck for about 14 years,
and he does signings every month.
can't tell you the number of people who call our office, especially
parents, to see if we can verify if something they bought
is authentic," Portnoy said. "About 99 percent of the time,
Source: Yahoo News)