Do Pawn Shops Buy Autographs

Brian McCracken


What a unique item! Autographs can have value to collectors and are typically sold in auctions. You know, there are some people that absolutely go crazy for them. Autographs and autograph collectors can be a really big deal in the right crowd or to the right audiences.
And who could blame someone for loving an autograph, am I right?
It’s like having a piece of history. Having someone’s signature can be a passageway to an older time or a former period and event that will never happen again.
It’s really true that autographs can mean the world to a lot of people.
Like anything that can hold that kind of meaning, autographs certainly have their place in the hands of the right collectors or in the hands of people that really love these kinds of items.
However, will your neighborhood pawnbroker deal with them?
Here’s the problem with autographs.
#1 – There’s a lot of fakes out there for anyone who is actually popular.
People have been faking signatures for as long as they have been around. There will be some people who attempt to create fakes just for profit then, which is sad but true.
# 2 -There’s entire sets of signature stamps.
If you are going to buy an autograph, you have to make sure that it’s not just some stamp from someplace. That is normally easier to detect, but still a problem.
Pawnbrokers Buying Autographs
It doesn’t always go like it does on TV…
There are plenty of pawn brokers who bought something and really thought that they have the ‘real thing’ just to find out later that they bought junk.
You see, just because Rick from Pawn Stars has what seems to be an infinite list of ‘Experts’ to call, most pawn brokers don’t have such a luxury. In fact for most pawn brokers, they are the final word – there is no one to call for an expert opinion.
Identifying Autographs
You see, while most pawn brokers will be able to identify a stamp versus a signature they typically won’t know how to determine in an autograph is truly legitimate.
The skill for identification is a very specialized piece of knowledge that quite frankly virtually nobody local knows well. Of course, there are experts out there, but what they know is unique information which is not easily found elsewhere.
It’s just not a common skill or talent to have.
So because of an autograph’s unknown authenticity there is a lot of risk involved in loaning on or buying them. If it’s fake they’ve wasted all of their investment.
It’s ‘all or nothing’ and typically people want a lot of money for autographs – so it’s not a cheap decision for the pawnbroker either.
It’s Risky…
Because it’s so risky, not many pawn brokers will deal with autographs. There are some high-end shops that have the access to experts or are specially trained themselves – but those aren’t the normal situation for most pawn shops.
Thanks as always,
– The Head Nerd –