When it comes to adding value, a signature can be key, but it can also be tricky: how do you tell if the scribble on any given item is real?
Authenticity, and proving it, is king in this area. From a commercial perspective, when we’re having something signed by any driver we will always try and include photo evidence along with the date and place of the signing, for the all-important certificate of authenticity. But even that isn’t infallible; we can’t take individual photos of every item, but the quality of the signature, our reputation and guarantee, makes it the best in the market.
But it can be tricky for those who love to get an item signed themselves. They’ll get a signature from their hero and head home knowing the personal value of that and the memory attached to it. However, try and sell that on and you can have a tough time proving it’s authentic. Bundling evidence of the day can help, such as having a friend take a photo of you with the driver in question, or adding in literature to prove you were there that day.
We see many fakes in the signature world, and at the moment Michael Schumacher seems to be the favourite. There are thousands of ‘signed’ items on the market. Michael must have spent several months just signing merchandise for every item to be genuine…
Experience is key to spotting genuine gems. Ayrton Senna’s signature changed hugely across his career, and can be dated by the change in style. NASCAR hero Richard Petty signs almost exclusively in his own markers, which helps make his signed items easier to spot.
Ultimately though, if you have a prized possession signed by your own racing hero and it makes you happy just to look at it, then that’s all the authenticity you need.
Andrew Francis is director at The Signature Store