It seems simple. You search around the Internet and find a reputable dealer. It may be an online company, a dealer in your area, or even a friend that's selling their piece for a little bit of extra cash. You compare the prices, find the best deal and the sale is made. It ends with you going home a little closer to your favorite player, and very happy with your purchase. It's foolproof!
But if it's that foolproof, then why do so many people buy fakes?
Well, the answer is simple, it's not actually foolproof (far from it). Everybody understands the importance of buying from a reputable dealer, but people have a hard time figuring out who the reputable dealers actually are. It's not because people are stupid, it's because they're unsuspecting. They never stop to think that the person they're buying from is either a liar, or doesn't know what they're talking about. The bottom line is that they believe everything the seller says, even though that's the last person you want to trust.
Here's an example of what I'm talking about.
I read a story a while ago from a guy that was talking about his sports memorabilia experience. He bought a fake from a company that I'm sure you've heard of, Ebay. In his case, he found a dealer that he thought was reputable, and ended up getting ripped off. In this case, the buyer trusted a person that he shouldn't have because that person (like many others) knew how to manipulate the rankings on Ebay. It was a mistake that cost the buyer about 800 dollars (560 pounds).The first thing you should learn is that Ebay isn't your best option for buying sports memorabilia. The sellers have gotten too good at manipulating the rankings and making themselves look credible. They've made it nearly impossible to tell whose telling the truth and whose lying.
My second point is that you need to focus on a company that specializes in sports memorabilia. A company that's been around for a while is probably a legal entity, and is a lot more trustworthy than a company that's been around for a couple of months. When you're buying sports memorabilia, it's best to look for the brand names like Upper Deck or Mounted Memories.
However, you shouldn't buy from only these two companies. In fact, far from it. They both have a limited supply of players and teams. However, they do supply many other businesses with their authentic memorabilia. When you're buying from a company, check to see what kind of affiliations they have. If they're buying items from Upper Deck, Mounted Memories, Tri-Star, Highland Mint, or APE, then you should feel more comfortable about what you're buying.
Below, I've listed some basic tips and guidelines that you should use when you're buying sports memorabilia. This won't guarantee that a knock off stays out of your collection, but it will dramatically reduce the risk.
- I'll say it again, buy from a reputable company that specializes in sports memorabilia: Again, there are many companies that offer a great service. The key is finding out who the liars are. Look for a company that's been around for a while because they are usually more credible.
- Check the consumer reviews: As the Internet continues to evolve, it's becoming easier and easier for people to learn more about the companies they're about to buy from. You can use a website like Measured Up, Biz Rate, or Epinions to see what other people have said about the place you're buying from.
- Know where the memorabilia comes from: This is something that people often overlook. They look at the authenticity guarantee (every company has one whether it's real or fake) and feel completely secure. But it's important to know how the memorabilia gets into the store. Does it come from a paid signing, a different supplier, or from people walking into the shop? Just remember, if people don't tell you how the items get in the shop then they probably don't want you to know how the items get into the shop.
- Yes, a discount can ruin your wallet: Most people jump on a discount. I know I do. But in this market, a discount may actually be a different way of saying "you're buying a knock off". Only jump on a discount if you know the company you're dealing with is trustworthy and meets your expectations.
- Make the seller prove everything: If you have questions, it's important that you ask them. The seller is the last person in the world you want to trust, so make sure that they can back up everything they're saying. A seller offering a good deal is like a politician saying he'll fix the country, his words mean nothing, you should only pay attention to his actions.
Soccer memorabilia is difficult to find. Despite the fact that it's the most popular sport in the world, most reputable companies focus on sports in the United States. Quite simply, there's more money in it for them.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It just means that you'll have to look a little harder. I know that the company I usually recommend in my guest articles didn't even have soccer memorabilia. I had to look around at some of the other reputable companies and see what they had.
I ended up finding a decent selection at It's Already Signed 4 U. It was a little expensive, but that's the case with most reputable places. You have to pay a little bit more for the authenticity guarantee. Also make sure to check out their authenticity page to help you understand where they get all of their memorabilia.
Get more memorabilia buying tips at Memorabilia Helpers, where you can find more information on reputable companies as well as more tips on buying practices.