A Worthless Ribbon and a Worthless C.O.A.



 
 
 
Those requiring a Certificate of Authenticity (a “C. of A”) to accompany an autograph they purchase need to appreciate that such a document is simply a marketing tool to falsely provide a measure of comfort that an autograph is genuine. The operative word here is “falsely” as such “certificates” simply state the OPINION of the firm or individual preparing the letter and offer NO recourse whatsoever should the document be proven fake. These authentication letters, often generated by firms that have little if any expertise in a given area, will not stand behind the document nor offer any refunds — they merely provide their “informed opinion” on the legitimacy of an item. We can show you dozens of absolutely spurious manuscripts accompanied by a C. of A., in many instances being sold by national dealers who penned the C. of A. themselves! So, where does that leave the buyer – a well-intentioned collector justifiably fearful of getting “stuck” with a bad piece? Two things: develop a critical eye on your own, learn to trust your own judgment; and, whenever possible, seek counsel from more learned colleagues. And when possible buy from someone willing to stand behind the purchase. In the instances of letters authenticating other elements of material culture, it really is “buyer beware.” Case in point: this FAKE Lincoln campaign ribbon. We have been seeing these orange creations for about 15 years now and they are, without any question, modern creations. The fabric is new and the “printing” appears as some offset process. There is no room for error; anyone handling Lincolniana from the 19th century would instantly know. So, when an example accompanied by a “Certificate” from an autograph dealer (pictured below) hit Ebay, we contacted the identified “expert.” He said it was his opinion the item was genuine, “case closed.” Good luck to the buyer when it comes time to re-sell this “treasure!”

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