I've watched enough of the TV show "Pawn Stars" to know that, as Rick Harrison says, there are a "ton of fakes" when it comes to autographs. But I didn't know that something like 50 percent of certain famous signatures are forgeries.
PSA/DNA is one of the premier services for authenticating collector autographs. They've recently put out a list of the 10 most likely to be forged in 2012, and said about half of those they examine are fake.
According to them, the Top 10 forged autographs are:
- Elvis Presley
- The Beatles
- Neil Armstrong
- John F. Kennedy
- Michael Jackson
- Marilyn Monroe
- Jim Morrison
- Jimi Hendrix
- Walt Disney
- Judy Garland
Depending on what's signed, these autographs can be worth hundreds up to tens of thousands of dollars. Nice bit of money just for someone's signature. Who says writing by hand is worthless?
According to the FBI, forged autographs are big business.
The world of autographed sports and celebrity memorabilia is huge—a $1 billion a year industry. Unfortunately, at least half of the items that are sold are forgeries, even many that come with certificates of authenticity...which are also forged. Over half!
That means signature seekers need to be especially careful before laying down hard-earned money for the scribble of their favorite celeb, athlete or historical figure. Otherwise, you might end up like this poor fellow who had to learn about autograph forgeries the hard way.
While we applaud anyone who still puts pen to paper, we have to ask: Guys, can't you channel your entrepreneurial energy into slightly more legit endeavors?