The most expensive collectible you'll ever buy is the one that isn't authentic.
I've said it before. And sadly, I'm saying it again.
That's because scientists revealed this week that a gourd said to contain blood belonging to the guillotined French king Louis XVI, in fact holds the blood of another, unknown individual.
The Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona believes the gourd was the work of an 18th century fraudster.
"In the French revolution, the guillotine was working every day - and probably it was much more easy to approach the scaffold when non-important people were being beheaded," said the institute's Carles Lalueza-Fox.
"Maybe that was one of the occasions. They thought nobody was going to be able to recognise whether the blood was from the king or not."
Which means that the man who bought a similar relic said to contain Louis XVI's blood for $24,400 at a French auction last year, must be wondering whether he too has the real thing or not.
The story is an important reminder to us all: authenticity is the cornerstone of collecting.
Fakes are everywhere. And anyone who believes they are immune to nefarious operators is kidding themselves.
- The FBI estimates that 80-90% of the sports memorabilia on eBay is fake.
- JK Rowling has said that nine out of 10 of her autographs offered for sale are forgeries.
And if you're at all interested in making money from your collection, being able to prove to prospective buyers that the items you're selling are genuine is paramount in achieving a strong price.
Which is why I want to reiterate my three step process to ensuring you buy genuine items.
How to avoid buying a fake
The next time you're about to buy an item from a dealer, ask them these three questions first:
- Can you explain how you authenticated this item?
- What is your expertise to give this authentication?
- Do you offer a lifetime moneyback guarantee of authenticity?
The last of those three is the most important. If at any point you discover the item you've bought is not the genuine article, will the dealer give you your money back?
My lifetime guarantee of authenticity is a point of pride.
I'm only able to offer it because I only sell genuine pieces.
Until next week,
PS. Click here to see my latest stock for sale.
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