As I was thinking about something to write about for today’s post, I did a search for Duran Duran memorabilia. The very first items were several Fender guitars, all being sold as signed pieces. I took a look at the signatures, and upon just an initial look, they appeared fairly authentic. The guitars were being sold for around $750, and even with the signatures, I wasn’t sure I’d want to part with my money. Admittedly, I have seen some really poorly done forgeries in my time, and others that I felt confident were real. These seemed real, but also there was one guitar that had a signature on it that I couldn’t readily identify. That seemed strange. Would I ever feel confident enough to buy something like that?
The word “confident”, though, is obviously a stumbling point. All too often it isn’t just about whether or not there’s confidence…but how much. For example, let’s say I ran across a signed CD that was being sold for $50. Naturally, I’d take a look at the signatures, and if I really wanted the CD, and the signatures appeared real, maybe I’d be willing to purchase it, figuring that the signatures were only a bonus. On the other hand, if I were looking at a signed album that was selling for $300-400, I think I’d take a far closer look at the signatures, even if the album was one that I didn’t have in my collection.
Invariably, I’ll scroll through eBay just for fun, and see hundreds of items that are signed…but certainly not by band members. Those items are usually very easy to pick out, but the ones that simultaneously confound and frustrate me are the items where maybe one or two band members truly signed it, the signatures appearing authentic…while two others are clearly not. I especially abhor the memorabilia that is dated, for example a Liberty album that is signed by “Andy” (meaning that I don’t think he really signed it), or maybe even an Astronaut album signed by “Warren”. Dead giveaways at any right, but also irritating.
Another issue with autographed memorabilia is in fact, value. We all have a fairly good idea of how much a Paper Gods CD should cost, but how about one with authentic signatures? While it might be rare to find a signed Seven and the Ragged Tiger album – particularly one with all five band members, for example; many of us probably remember that signed Paper Gods albums were offered by the band through online sales during the initial push after the album was released. Therefore, finding a signed Paper Gods CD shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as unearthing a signed Seven and the Ragged Tiger album. (and I’d certainly look twice at those signatures to make certain they were real – many I’ve seen online are fake!) Rarity and authenticity are characteristics of value, and combined with condition and market (demand as well as past sales) are what help determine the price you’re going to have to pay in order to have and hold something signed by John Taylor and Co.
For the most part, I’ve never been one to buy something signed. I have caved in and bought signed albums and CDs before, but absolutely not for the inflated prices seen aftermarket on sites like eBay. That’s why, when I see plain guitars signed that don’t seem to even have provenance (origin or history) to the band—meaning they didn’t use it in concert, or to record—they were just given an album to sign with no reason attached, I have to wonder who buys that stuff, and why.
Anyone out there willing to share their tale of buying something like this?