If you have a signed trading card, you should insist on getting it authenticated properly using the right service. But who can authenticate a sports card signature?
While the signature alone should be able to add value to your trading card. Getting it authenticated provides that confirmation that cements the added value.
The authentication typically comes in the form of a piece of paper that confirms the signature’s authenticity.
Confirming to a potential buyer that the card and its autograph are not fake would require some evidence from you. Often in the form of some provenance. E.g. a photo of you with the player when it was signed. Alternatively, a professional authenticator can verify.
The process of authenticating a signature can be a time-consuming one but it is worthwhile. Especially if you want to make it easy to sell when you can prove its legitimacy.
If you have a signed trading card then read on to find out who can authenticate a signature.
Use A Recognized Autograph Authentication Company
There are several authentication companies that you can use for signed trading cards.
These include James Spence Authentication (JSA), Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), and Autograph Certification Experts (ACE).
Each of these companies is recognized for being able to verify that a signature is legitimate. This will come at a fee. But if you want to confirm that the signed trading card that you bought is indeed signed by that player, then it can be worth it for peace of mind.
These companies use a mixture of handwriting analysis, computer technology, and specialist autograph authentication equipment.
You would have to mail in the autographed cards so ensure that the postage is secure. Once their work is done, you will have the proof you need to show that the signature is legitimate. Potential buyers will also be confident that the autograph is real and will be prepared to pay for it.
Use A Local Autograph Authentication Company
While these companies are universally recognized. You may find it easier to go with a local company that can take the signed card too easily.
Simply walk into the shop and speak to someone behind the counter and show them the trading card. The requirements may differ but all of them are designed to properly authenticate the item and the signature.
To prevent fraud, this typically means filling out some forms that specify how you obtained the item. As well as providing your contact information.
The fee for both a local and recognized authentication company may put you off actually getting the signature authenticated.
At the time of writing, James Spence Authentication charges between $20 and $30 for basic certification. And that is designed for items that are valued at less than $200.
For anything above that value, you would be looking at a higher fee. So it is worth trying to make sure that the card is not a fake beforehand. You also have to factor in the shipping fees which can soon add up.
Obtain Your Certificate Of Authenticity
After the signed trading card has been properly evaluated and authenticated. You will be told by the authentication company how you can get your certificate of authenticity.
This is the piece of paperwork that you can use as evidence that the signature, and the item, are legitimate. Just as paying for the service, you may have to pay an additional fee to receive the certificate.
The certificate of authenticity may also include a grading. This is used by companies such as Professional Sports Authenticator to indicate how well a signature still appears from the date it was signed.
Degradation can lower the grading. So it is a sign of how well you have looked after your signature if the grading remains quite high.
If you want to learn more about grading and how to become a card grader, we have an article here.
Finding out who can authenticate a signature should not prove that difficult. Several recognized companies can perform this but it does come at a fee.
Such a process is designed to rule out fakes. And also those signatures that are so illegible that they do not present good value to a potential buyer.
Only if you are confident that the signature is legitimate and you think it can add value to the card itself then you should use one of those companies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Should I Do If I Believe That A Signature On My Trading Card Is Fake?
If you do suspect that the signature on your trading card is a fake or has faded beyond recognition then it may not be worth trying to get it authenticated.
Even if you think that the signature is legitimate, if it is not then all you will get is a notification that this is the case and you will still have to pay for the service.
Should you have obtained the signature in person then your testimony may not be enough to convince an autograph authentication company.
If the handwritten signature is messy, or the card is crinkled so that the signature is beyond recognition, then it would prove harder to authenticate.
If it costs you to get a signature authenticated where you are likely to get such a low grade that puts off potential buyers anyway then it is likely not worth the pleasure.
You should still keep hold of it and take care of it yet it may well be for your own pleasure rather than making any money when you sell it on.
Could I Get A Signed Trading Card Authenticated Without Having To Ship It?
Yes, there are online services that allow you to simply upload a scanned copy of your signed trading card.
You would still have to pay for the authentication though the process may be determined by whom the card has been signed by.
The submission would be examined on its own yet used with a master database of authentic examples that it can be matched again. With this in mind, you should still ensure it is not a fake or considered illegible.