We are often asked about the authenticity of our more prestigious products, such as autographs and space flown items – and rightly so! After all, would you spend hundreds, maybe even thousands of pounds on a car without checking it for faults? The answer is no. So, to answer the most common question… how can we guarantee authenticity?
Let us start with autographs. Highly valuable and highly lucrative as they are, can of course be subject to forgery. So, where do we get our autographs and how do we know that they are authentic? The answer; either directly from the Astronauts or legal agents who said Astronauts have chosen to act on their behalf, or from reputable collectors. Quite simply, we’re not interested in ascertaining autographs any other way as this is the only real way to guarantee authenticity. We often receive emails and phone calls asking if we would like to buy Astronaut autographs or other pieces of autographed memorabilia, the answer is always ‘thank you, but no.’ So if you have such memorabilia and are considering selling it then we suggest you take them to an auction house where they can be verified by professionals prior to sale.
That said, some autographs are harder to find than others. For instance, it is impossible to ask certain Astronauts for autographs if they are no longer in the world of the living, which sadly is the case with many of the world’s Space Heroes. We will use the most famous of said Astronauts as an example; Yuri Gagarin. The first man in space. Although you do not see many of these, once every blue moon we will have one for sale.
So, how can we guarantee the authenticity of an autograph when the Astronaut has ceased signing? Quite simply, research. If you are going to make such an investment then understand what to look for. The easiest way is to research the particular piece you are looking at to find some background history.
For instance; Gagarin KNIGA Covers.
These particular covers were signed under official license of the KNIGA agency in Russia and were part of the set of the Vostok 6 cosmonauts. These covers, much like the Apollo insurance covers, are considered the ultimate collectible as their background history is airtight.
The covers themselves have an individual postmarker and date (‘10 1 64’). Moreover, the KNIGA only exist signed, meaning there were no unsigned covers ever made!
With autographs the term ‘better safe than sorry’ has never been more true. You need to know what you are buying and probably more importantly, the reputation of the person or organisation you are buying from.