Josh here. After receiving a bunch of emails from customers asking questions about buying signed Liverpool FC items and buying memorabilia, I figure’d I’d write an article about our experience in over 10 years of collecting. We’ve bought dozens of items ranging from signed pictures, to match-worn shirts and boots. We’ve made mistakes along the way and learned who and what to avoid. Here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Lesson #1: If you can buy an item that supports a player’s Foundation or Charity, do it. We are huge supporters of Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation. They work unlike any other group out there to truly give supporter’s a chance to own quality items. They even do dedications. Jamie’s charity often pictures Jamie with the signed items, as shown on right. We’ve got a lot of their gear at the shop, with 100% of the purchase price going to them. Charities like the 23 Foundation (and the new Daniel Agger Foundation) offer a COA from them for their items, ensuring that you know it is authentic and that your purchase is going to a great cause. Authentic merchandise and all of your money goes to charity. A win-win.
2. Avoid eBay (most of the time). If you see a multi-signed Liverpool jersey on eBay for $200 or less, more than likely it’s fake. Look at the pen marks. Is the pressure the same for every signature? Fake. Are all of the signatures spaced evenly and look a little too good? Fake. When in doubt, ask questions. It’s next to impossible to get the entire squad of LFC to sign a jersey (unless it’s been issued from LFC and those are only given to charitable organizations to raise money). If you’re looking at a seller that has lots of them for sale (or has sold a lot of them), it’s not real. An example above is a fake signed shirt. Look at the signatures. Spaced too perfectly and the pen weight is all the same. That being said, there are reputable people on eBay. We can recommend some on request.
3. Players are increasingly turning to signing sessions. Companies out there like A1 Sporting Memorabilia and Exclusive Memorabilia, etc are paying and arranging for private signing sessions with players. These signing sessions are brilliant because they get the player in a calm, relaxed atmosphere so you know that the signatures are clear and come with a COA. You can get items ranging from signed shirts to signed photos celebrating key moments in LFC history. We’ve worked with both A1 Sporting Memorabilia and Exclusive Memorabilia (and stock their items in our shop) and their names are very well-known in the memorabilia business. Pictured at left is a signed Steven Gerrard Carling Cup Program from A1 Sporting Memorabilia.
4. For Liverpool FC items there is a website out there called The Boys Pen (theboyspen.co.uk) dedicated to eradicating fake signed items and offering up signed items from folks on the forum who get items signed at Melwood, Anfield, and catching players all over. It’s a great place to head to if you’re just starting to build a memorabilia collection or if you want to have your existing one grow.
5. What is a COA? A COA (Certificate of Authenticity) is just a piece of paper. Anyone can create one. The issue is what’s behind it. A COA from Liverpool FC, the 23 Foundation, Daniel Agger Foundation, ensure that your purchase is protected and can appreciate throughout the years. A COA from “Bob’s Memorabilia Company”, not so much.
6. Provenance. Provenance is how the item in question came to be. If you’re buying a match-worn jersey from a player…there better be a pretty good story or reason to how the person came to own it since it is such a rare item. It’s never a bad idea to ask as many questions as it takes until you feel comfortable. For match-worn shirts we recommend footballmatchshirts.co.uk as the best folks out there for match-worn gear.
7. Retro Reds: The Absolute best in the business for the former legends of Liverpool FC is Retro Reds. Their site can be found here: http://retroreds.co.uk/
As always, let us know if you have any questions…There’s nothing worse than feeling like something you spent a lot of money on isn’t authentic. The old adage is true. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.