COA doesn't ensure authenticity

I received an interesting e-mail from a concerned reader regarding fake signatures of former Heisman Trophy winner and likely No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, Sam Bradford.

While attending a recent public signing of all four Oklahoma Sooners living Heisman winners (Bradford, Billy Sims, Jason White and Steve Owens), veteran collector Richard Baker noticed a couple of interesting trends regarding Bradford autographs.

If you are looking to buy a Bradford item on the secondary market, there are two things to look for that will leave no doubt about the authenticity of the item. The first is to look for a Bradford company hologram (SB14) sticker that should come with any genuine autograph.

The second nuance to look for is that Bradford (not sure if intentionally or not) places the apostrophe on his Heisman year inscriptions after the (08′) instead of the grammatically correct (’08). Baker had more than two dozen items autographed at the signing and each and all were consistent with this unique signing quirk. However unusual the “08′” inscription may be, it is a tell-tale way to identify a forgery in the early going, at least until word spreads among the forgers and they adjust.

With some of Bradford’s autographed cards are selling for top dollar (in the $200 range) already and those numbers likely to continue to rise if Bradford is taken No. 1, the fakes will become more and more prevalent so buyer beware.

Bradford fakes sold on the secondary market (eBay and others) have several flaws and should be easily noticed by veteran collectors. Check out the major differences in the authentic Bradford signatures (below) vs. the fakes selling on eBay. In addition to the difference in the apostrophe, also check out the not-so-subtle differences in the actual autographs between the authentic Heisman Trophy helmet vs. the pair of Oklahoma Sooners helmets selling on eBay.

I guess that’s because Bradford is still relatively new to the autograph market, the forgers didn’t take the time to study the particulars of his signature. Hopefully over time, collectors will become away of what a genuine Bradford signature looks like and they will steer clear of the numerous fakes floating around in Cyberspace.

You’ll also notice that the two fakes come with COAs from what many believe is a reputable company in GAI (Global Authentication). Obviously when you see a company’s COA sitting next to a fake like that the authentic part is questioned and in this case it should be. While I don’t buy or sell a ton of items online, I would never buy anything that didn’t come with a COA from PSA.  

(Online version=Oklahoma Sooners helmet)
Notcie the ’08 Heisman vs. the 08′ Heisman inscription on the authentic Bradford signature on the Hesiman helmet below)


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