Authenticity 101

Whenever I get a phone call asking about the price of their particular piece of sporting memorabilia that they want valued my first question to them is always does it have a certificate of authenticity.

The certificate of authenticity is an extremely important document and is the key to the value of the item. And it isn't just if there is a certificate of authenticity or not, it also depends on who has issued the document. A certificate of authenticity coming from a reputable name who has been in business for a long time is a lot more trusted than one that comes from someone who's just popped up on eBay in the last few months. There are a lot of dealers now also offer a photo showing the sportsperson or celebrity signing your piece of memorabilia but how can you be certain that they are signing yours and that the photo wasn't taken off someone else's signing session.

A lot of sports people and celebrities have more than one signature. They normally have one signature which they use when signing autographs for fans and one that they use to sign licensed sports memorabilia. More times than not licensed sports memorabilia are made in limited editions which helps to hold the value of the item from dropping. And also most licensed sports memorabilia have certificate of authenticities from their governing sporting body so you know that it has been signed by the person who they say it is.

One other big factor that I always ask about when valuing memorabilia is what is the significance of the item, what game is from/honouring and what were the circumstances surrounding the game/event. These can have a large impact on the value of the item especially in future as times change and items increase in value. The best example of this is the 2009 Melbourne Storm NRL Premiership memorabilia.

Early in the 2010 NRL season the Melbourne Storm were heavily penalised for salary cap breaches over the previous several seasons and part of this was stripping them of the 2009 premiership. By this stage all the premiership memorabilia had been released and sold but now the premiership never existed as it has been removed from the NRL records. The value of this memorabilia should go up quite considerably in the future because it is a lot like a freshly minted coin with a defect. It will be extremely rare for this to ever happen again especially after a premiership has been won.