7 Ways To Tell If Your Sports Memorabilia Is Real

The following article was sponsored by Steiner Sports

Some have likened the characteristics of the Internet to the lawlessness of the Wild West. If this is true, then the sports memorabilia industry is more so. At least Dodge City had a sheriff. There is no regulating force, no single governing body to defend consumers from fraudulent practices, of unscrupulous sellers, of non-authenticated sports memorabilia. While fraudulent practices have prompted federal authorities to investigate illegal activity, it is generally after consumers have already been burned.

For a year prior to the 2015 Super Bowl, federal investigators working with the National Football League confiscated nineteen and a half million dollars in counterfeit sports collectibles. That translates to 326,147 fake memorabilia items seized and 52 individuals arrested.

Online entities, local stores, flea markets and crooks selling “sports memorabilia” on the street, were included in the federal sting. The sweep kept thousands of collectors from being bilked, but the problem is hardly solved. The fake memorabilia ruse is a serious problem, with real monetary implications.

The sports memorabilia industry garners 1 billion dollars per year and scammers are vying to get in on the action. All too often collectors find themselves on the disappointing end of sports collectible scams.

While it is difficult for consumers to definitively authenticate memorabilia, there are ways to protect yourself from unlawful practices, and to distinguish between what is fake and what is authentic sports memorabilia.

1. Do your homework


Study the market and dealers. Only purchase from reputable industry leaders. Steiner Sports for instance, is the “top distributor of authentic sports collectibles” and as such provides an authenticity guarantee. Also, sports paraphernalia sold through the National Football League and Major League Baseball is sold under strict rules and authentication practices.

2. Do it in person

Hand out to Shake

When at all possible, collectors should obtain signed signatures in person. This is obviously the best way to ensure authenticity—standing in the presence of the athlete as he signs.

3. Stay inquisitive


If a dealer refuses to come clean on information regarding the authentication practice, or if it lacks evidence on how long it has been in existence or fails to disclose the city and state in which it is located, then keep moving. The lack of information surrounding the dealer may indicate that the business is fraudulent.

Why wouldn’t a reputable business supply pertinent information on the company and its practices? Dealers at auctions should at the very least supply working telephone numbers, email, and physical addresses.

4. Beware of 2nd party authentication


Determine who actually supports the authentication, the first or second dealer. Both dealers should support authentication. If the certificate bears only the signature of the 1st dealer, then contact him to determine whether the item really did originate from his authenticated inventory.

5. Deal with reputable companies

puhsy salesman

Purchase hand-signed collectibles from companies that stand behind their autographed pieces. Steiner Sports guarantees that an authorized Steiner Sports representative was present at the time of signing. Additionally, every autographed collectible is marked by a tamper-proof hologram, before being cataloged and inventoried.

You may not have personal access to the professional athlete that signed your collectible. However, companies that ensure your sports memorabilia is authentic do. These companies will offer proof that the athlete signed the product, through an athlete-signed and notarized affidavit.

6. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you


Don’t allow desire to overwhelm sensibility. Don’t be pressured to purchase an item that you have long coveted if there is no proof of authenticity.

7. Stay realistic

If it seems to good to be true, it more than likely is. There is no such thing as a free lunch, especially in this business. Before purchasing an item that is below market value, ask yourself this question. “How is it possible for a dealer to offer a signed item, by a 5 million dollar contract athlete, for so little?” The answer to the questions is, “he can’t.” The item is fraudulent.

Click here to visit Steiner Sports for your authentic sports memorabilia needs.

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37 thoughts on “7 Ways To Tell If Your Sports Memorabilia Is Real”

  1. Operation Bullpen
    It reminds me of the FBI sting, Operation Bullpen. Apparently, in the mid 1990s, there was so much fake goods going around, that they did an operation and rounded up a number of people that were selling fake goods. I had the unusual situation to be working at a part time job at the Y, where one of other part time workers, got arrested in that operation and even ended up with some jail time.
    At first, I was shocked and asked how much could it possibly be for the FBI to be looking into it. I figured at most it was several thousand per year that he could be selling and, while wrong, the response seemed to be way out of line with the crime. Then he told me that over the past few years he estimated that he had sold over $250,000 worth of items, so it was no wonder that the FBI had started to look into this, especially since he was only a ‘small’ operation in this whole thing.
    What I did not understand, when he told me how much he sold, was what was he doing working part time at the Y, when he had been selling so much. The reason he had to work at the Y, is that he spent a lot of the money he made on himself, plus he was ‘building his inventory’ of items to sell. When he got raided (the FBI came to his house a little before 6am in the morning, seized everything and arrested him); they had to use two small trailers (hook up to a car or SUV) to haul all of the stuff away from his house. I was also surprised to find out there was a whole network of people making the fake stuff. People would develop a specialty of one kind of fake items, and trade some of their fakes with fakes made by other people in order to enlarge the items they could sell to the end customers.

    1. Back in / around 09 or ’10, I worked for a company that was owned and operated by David Tabb, who was one of the guys arrested in the above mentioned case.
      In this case it was an auto warranty scam. I worked there about a day and a half. I knew something was up the second I walked into that place. DUring the “orientation” they had us go “meet david” so we could see what a cool guy he was. He was an obese fucker. In his office (which we had to be buzzed into) was a bunch of sports memorabilia and. if i recall correctly, fake movie memorabilia as well. When I looked into his past I found that he also owned a company called hollywood dreams back in the 90s which also sold fake movie shit. In either case he clearly didn’t decide to leave his criminal behavior behind him….

  2. Number 6 should be the first item listed. Emotional spending is the first way to screw yourself. Look at how many people jump online to buy stuff right after a Superbowl or Finals. Be careful. Impulse spending is something best left to the House Hunter ladies. 😀

  3. Anyone interested in a Derek Jeter/Mickey Mantle Game-Used Bat piece card and a Game Jersey Reggie Bush/Derek Jeter/Sidney Crosby/LeBron James (both cards Upper Deck Employee only 2006), original owner, never taken out of hard plastic case?

  4. Sports Memorabilia? Are you fucking serious? When did this site turn into a fucking gossip blog? Nobody here give a fuck about his shit. Sports jersey are for beta/omega males who want to look alpha instead of actually being one. It is extremely pathetic.

    1. Don’t decry the sponsored posts. It’s hard enough to get a company to advertise on such an “incendiary” site as is, we should be grateful for all the allies that we have during The Great Decline.

    2. Agreed completely. We have a nation of sport dorks glued to t.v every waking moment that isnt taken up by their job. These idiots that are asleep at the wheel. American men have dropped the ball when it comes to why our country is so fucked up and run into the ground by those cunts in Washington D.C. Yeah just spend all your leftover money on being a heart attack waiting to happen with all the other fucktards at the sportsbar. You want something to get behind? How about knowing what those crooks are doing behind closed doors and taking them to task?
      We know the political system is rigged and fucked but maybe it wouldnt have become this bad if we knew what these crooks were up to. The ignorance and apathy blows my mind. People in all other countries are in the streets or online risking their lives to change their countries political corruption. Our government sold us out and no one can be bothered with doing anything about it.They’d rather live vicariously through some steroid thug making way more money than they should while these “fans” jobs pay about the same or less than it did 20 years ago.
      I said the same thing about the firestone ad a couple days ago. Grow the fuck up and be a man so your wife or girlfriend has nothing to bitch about. Get your blood going, boost your testosterone by DOING something physical. Maybe your lady will start fucking you instead of bitching at you.

  5. Why is this article here? It’s not a really manly thing to want to suck the nuts off of another man seriously. I mean what’s the difference between a boy having a signed ball of his favorite sports celebrity “entertainer” and a fangirl with a lock of Justin Bieber’s hair?
    At least be a fanboy of Thomas Jefferson or Isaac Newton. You know real men not men that never grew up.

  6. The NFL is the true scam, a parasite on the taxpayers with their free stadiums and sweetheart monopoly setup. Have to stay vigilant so no one is selling shirts or mugs with their logos.

  7. #2 and if you ever want to sell it, or your kids might, don’t forget the photo with the player and you holding the signed item.

  8. Not the worst advertisement-article in the world, but putting a black quarterback as your lead picture is a bad idea here; save that for the SJW crowd, we have few self-flagellating non-blacks here.

    1. It has nothing to do with political correctness. That picture is of Jameis Winston, the Florida State quarterback who is the projected 1st pick for tomorrow’s NFL draft. If this article was written last year, they probably would have used a picture of white quarterback Johnny Manziel.
      Another reason they probably used his picture is that the memorabilia market gets flooded with counterfeit goods of high profile college football players, like Winston, or Manziel, around this time.

      1. No. If this were a black-audience-themed site, they would have put a black sports celebrity as the lead photo, whether he was the #1 draft pick or not. That blacks can act so hateful of non-blacks yet demand we worship them isn’t kosher. The lead picture should have been a white or Asian or other non-black sports star.

  9. I find that my human ears sell much better if I can capture the moment when the gladiator is cutting it off with his sword. If you have it on video that’s even better, especially if you can get him on film throwing it directly to you.

    1. genghis khan did a marvelous job at collection mementos like the ears of his enemies in the sport of battle (helped him to keep score!). i’m surprised it’s not mentioned in this fascinating article!

  10. aight guys, just cause the vast majority of us still harbor resentment towards the athletes who had what we could never have in high school doesn’t mean we have to shit on guys who admire and respect the timeless value that sports and athletes have brought to many people

    1. Admiring and respecting sport does not mean you have to support or condone the sports memorabilia industry (and the economic and social ills that come with it).

  11. Got to like how men try to justify their manhood by saying they play or watch sports. I do have respect for men that do cage fighting, wrestling or boxing though. You know real skills you can apply to defend yourself. Of course these aren’t sports and I would separate them from the ball variety as much as possible.

  12. If you love sports then spend your time doing something useful. Volunteer at the local youth leagues. They are always looking for coaches, assistant coaches, referees, umpires, and the myriad of other things a league needs to run efficiently and successfully. Not only will you enjoy the experience, you can actually front red pill ideals to the kids, such as an attitude of continuous improvement, being accountable for your actions, and that failure is both painful and temporary.
    Sitting on your ass and watching other grown men play a game is ridiculous, even if I do occasionally enjoy it.

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