Friday, January 18, 2008

George H.W. Bush Autographs

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone trying to sell George H.W. Bush autographs. It sounds interesting, but the seller seemed to do everything he could NOT to sell his products.

Unless you are getting an in-person autograph (which is the best way to do it) you have to ask a seller these 3 key questions before buying a product from a private signing.
1. What is the Certificate of Authenticity? Any one can make a certificate, but what makes his COA special?
2. Do you receive a photo of the person signing the item. In today's digital camera age, that's not asking too much.
3. Get the specifics. Find out the exact date of the autograph session, when will you get your item, and what examples can the seller provide.

I was very interested in the products when I began asking the seller these questions. His items for sale included an autographed Yale baseball jersey, a baseball bat, and a 11x14 photo of Bush meeting Babe Ruth. It was very cool stuff.

Unfortunately, this seller didn't have any specific information. His website and order form only took personal checks (who doesn't have PayPal these days). His brochure was a 4 page Word Document in Times New Roman font, all capped, and in italics. He also would not provide a photo of Bush signing the items or previous photos of signed items. This seller’s website was also weak. He had pictures of Bush and talked about himself, but it still didn't have any proof.

I’m not expecting people to be design experts, but if you’re going to ask me for $$$$, then you can at least spend more than 5 minutes on your marketing plan. You need to sell us on you and your product - a $2 web site and brochure isn't going to do it.

This guy may be legitimate, may have sold plenty of items, and may have had a successful signing. But his "marketing" didn't prove anything to me.

As collectors we need to be more informed, ask these tough questions and demand more from the private signing autograph companies. We need to do a better job at protecting our investments and the hobby.

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