View Full Version : The obsession with COAs

01-12-2007, 09:56 AM
I’m disturbed by the absolute obsession a great number of people have with COAs. It seems that when I do sell some of my collection, whether it be a bat, jersey, or autographed baseball, I’m inundated with requests for a COA. It’s not just asking whether the item comes with a team COA but just anything I could pass off as a COA.

I see so many sellers on eBay stating that items come with their “personal COA.” Maybe this increases sales, but I can’t fathom creating my own COA and including it with an item. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to display an item with a COA from “baseballdog007.” Maybe I should just tell them to print out my auction description and write COA on the top.

I keep all the COAs I receive with various items; not because it makes me feel better about the item, but because if I ever have to sell the item, I know it would help me sell it to a lot of people.

I just don’t understand it. The attitude of these people almost invites fakes because they refuse to look beyond the piece of paper. If someone won’t buy legit items without a COA, then why do they deserve a legit item with a COA? Of course I’m not encouraging fraud, but these suckers almost ask for it but putting so much faith in the paper.

01-12-2007, 10:13 AM
I have sold bats on ebay for prices that I would never have let things go for, because they did not have a COA. I'm talking about bats right out of the players hands, well used, perfect for collecting type bats that I wish I still had. This is why the guys who are smarter than me put reasonable reserves on items. But even then, without COAs, nobody bids on them and you're now stuck with ebay fees and you take the loss. I can't tell you how many times I have put a bat on ebay or on this site and 9 of the first 10 people responding ask me if there's a COA. Not, "Where did you get this" or "How did you come by this bat", but instead, "Does it have a COA?" I have a folder full of COA's because other sellers gave them to me when I bought bats. I used to take those little holograms and rip them off of items when I got them because I hate the way they look. Now, I leave them on in case I decide to move one just because everyone else seems to want them.

01-12-2007, 10:17 AM
Recently I put on ebay a couple HOFer signed baseballs I don't need anymore. I got an email asking where the COA is from on the baseball. I went and reread my description and nowhere did I make mention of a COA with the ball. I started collecting autographs long before a COA was heard of. Why would I want to pay someone for a piece of paper stating what I already know.

Personally I think COA's and LOA's are a crutch for the uninformed in many circumstances.

On the flip side I do keep everyone I receive. Afterall why throw away someone's work as long as it is from a reputable source.

01-12-2007, 10:24 AM
This is a great topic and one I have changed my mind on recently. I never include a COA bc all the stuff I get (auto's) , I get myself. I get so many emails asking if it has a COA, and I have to type out each time, how I get auto's etc. I am going to go ahead and start making my own COA. I think one it will cut down the emails on ?'s and 2 and I really feel it is going to increase the number of bids my items receive.

Anyone have a suggestion on a good template to use for COA's?


01-12-2007, 10:31 AM

You could use the ransom letter font (http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/225024/2/istockphoto_225024_ransom_note_letters.jpg), for a unique look :)

01-12-2007, 10:45 AM
I'm sure we'd all agree that COAs are generally worthless. However, you're right about the infatuation people have with them. On another forum, someone recently asked about the safety of buying autographs on eBay. One sage member immediately replied that no one should ever purchase an autograph without a COA. It's people like that that keep people like Angelo Marino in business.

That said, I'm seriously considering making up my own 110%/Hugh Trampson COA the next time I sell something on eBay just to see what happens.

01-12-2007, 11:30 AM
The ransom letter font is great. I wonder if someone would frame that with their autograph

ha ha

01-12-2007, 01:08 PM
I think it can work in favor of a buyer. With some people only buying stuff with a team letter/well respected dealer ect. It leaves open nice bargains on stuff a collector/small dealer is selling on his own. I mainly collect common type player's game used stuff. I still check images, tagging and make sure everything is correct for the jersey... ect. Can pick up some nice stuff that way cheap. I don't think people are buying authentic jerseys, making the correct tags/or removing them and putting them on from other gamers/game issued to lose money on selling a common player's game used jersey. I feel more comfortable buying these types. Not having a COA on these doesn't bother me, as long as everything is correct with the item. But if I were to send big $$$ on a HOF type deal. I would look to buy one with as much paperwork/photos with it. That is why you see the NFL/MLB type auctions on gamers go for so much.
I think some COA that are done right are the best thing for the hobby. I own a few NHL game used jerseys and a helmet from Meigray. With there serial # tagging, LOA and the population report on there website showing the jersey serial # ect is about as well done as it gets. I have no question these are the real deal. I even have a Getty photo match from them on one jersey showing a match up on a rip in the jersey. Showing the date the photo was taken and where. They also keep track of when each set was used. Makes it real easy to look up pictures and info of what your player did in your jersey. I also own a couple things from Ballpark Heroes. I like that they put a few pictures of the item in the letter and sign it.

01-12-2007, 01:58 PM
I too do not like COA's, especially from some professional authenticators. However, I understand why the demand for COA's exist. I think it allows buyers to have a nice paper trail from where the item originated. Not only a paper trail, but perhaps the document serves as a key piece in proceeding with legal action, if an item is proven to be bogus.

In the past, I have asked ebayers and forum members if items come with COA's - for two reasons. First, perhaps I can get several questions asked by simply asking one. If I am told that the item comes with a Meigrey COA - no more questions are needed. However, if it comes with one from some collectibles dealer in hicksville USA, then I want to know the history of the jersey, have detailed photos, know if there is any alterations to the jersey, and what is the extent of the wear (if not visible in photos). Second, the market demands them. If I'm a seller, I'm going to provide my client with whatever documentation he desires. I won't pay for an authenticator, but if a buyer wants a letter with photos of the jersey I'm selling then I need to provide it. That is only good business.

NOTE: I've heard stories where COA's are altered. Certainly COA's can be altered and forged, but that is the case with anything including the item the COA is representing.

01-12-2007, 02:26 PM
All Coa's are for is for buyers to try to have tangible evidence that they can justify in their own mind if the jersey is real.

In paper, rock, scissors - Doing you homework beats PAPer COA. I hate casual lazy buyers in this industry, like people bidding $10,000 for a ladinian Tomlinson game used jersey.

You wouldn't buy a car without doing SOME homework of your own. Image a car dealer just giving a coa with a car stating that it is "genuinely a vehicle" and have that be all the work you do.

01-12-2007, 03:36 PM
Sad to say, but the proliferation of COAs and authenticators (bad and good) has helped create a whole generation of lazy, uninformed collectors who seem to believe that an item magically becomes 'real' when it comes with one.

I don't collect G-U items, more into vintage signatures, sports and historical, but I see the same kind of nonsense going on in the autograph world. I'm always seeing phrases like 'My Personal COA,' as if I should give a whit what they have to say.

I also don't care for some people's overreliance on the PSA 'Quick Opinion,' which, as the name implies, is just that. I suppose it could deal with some fakes, but I sure as heck wouldn't make it into a deciding factor as to whether or not to buy the item. If I'm that unsure, I'm not likely to touch it to begin with! Don't have much use for the service myself, but to each his own, I suppose...

I do get quite a kick out of the moronic, cheesy-sounding company names that ebayers come up with for their COA's; 'Super-Duper Authentic Worldwide Memorabilia' or the like. Sometimes, I've had half a mind to catalogue these silly companies (many of which don't even exist, of course).

01-12-2007, 04:50 PM
You wouldn't buy a car without doing SOME homework of your own. Image a car dealer just giving a coa with a car stating that it is "genuinely a vehicle" and have that be all the work you do.

I agree 100%. Not only is it necessary to do your homework, but it is also fun (to me anyway).

The only problem I've found, though, is since many jerseys are sold at auction, it often times it takes longer to do the homework than the auction lasts. Perhaps that is just for some of the odd stuff (i.e. minor league jerseys) that I like to collect.

01-12-2007, 05:35 PM
I like it when the Seller says, "if you spend over x amount" a COA will be included. How about the guys no-one heard of that say "I`m the President of the Company" I guess I`m a CEO AND a President. who`d a thunk it?

I agree, it DOES, or MAY Create Lazy collectors...Kinda like a "100 percent Guarantee" on a really Crappy Product! Who wants it, if it`s not good product, well....Lazy Collectots might,LOL.

I save `em too, guess people want them?

01-12-2007, 11:02 PM
Just to Clarify...
Not intending to Bash anyone, ANY CEO, or President. I just seem to find the Humor in things sometimes. I DO think the COA in general, is, or are Over-rated.
How about the COA without an address, phone number, or any contact info!

Anyone know where I can download a Generic COA, for the next Item I list. Just Kidding,

01-13-2007, 02:16 AM

01-13-2007, 01:18 PM
Anyone who is willing to fake an autograph or game used item will have no problem faking a COA. When issued by Jo Blow they really are useless and people don't realize the can print one up just as easy and it will mean the same thing. They will eventually push many people out of the hobby who are not a big reputable company. You can get somehing signed yourself inperson and it means more to get Psa/gai who did not see it signed say it was real. On the other hand if you see something signed by Tom Brady not TRistar you can almost guarantee its fake. So helpful in some cases.