The hobby of collecting autographs has deteriorated to a point it is about to vanish. Unscrupulous sellers and unscrupulous authenticators have basically frightened existing seasoned collectors away from the hobby and in addition have chased the novice collectors by frightening them. Dealers are selling off forgeries that have been authenticated by experts, the authenticators sell their services by scaring the collecting community into think fakes are around every corner
Between 2009 and 2012 , a collector purchased autographs from a well established Autograph auction Firm located in New Hampshire. Those autographs were sent to a third party authentication firm in California, the source of those autographs was not revealed to the authentication firm. The California Authentication firm has a close relationship to the New Hampshire Autograph House. When every item was rejected by the authentication firm, the buyer attempted to return the items for a refund. The refund was refused and instead the Auction house claimed that if they sent it off to the Authentication Firm themselves, they would be successful in getting the authentication and the desired COA(certification of authenticity). This sounds like collusion and there is a current active class action lawsuit against that auction firm. All the owners/employees of this auction firm are UACC(Universal Autograph Collectors Club) Members, and at least one employee sits on the UACC Ethics Board.
At one time autograph organizations in America was something every collector and dealer wanted to be part of. It was nice to be part of an autograph club. It was a way to learn and share your collecting . Autograph shows were a place that collectors could meet other collectors and dealers and they even had celebrities as guest signers.
Today, the UACC is so broken and dysfunctional, that they can not hold shows.
Today,Memberships have dropped more than 50% , the Pen & Quill is gone. They are a low budget organization that has an online site only. The reading material they offer is depressing at best. Dealers bad n mouth one another and Newly Formed Authentication firms advertise their services and its all about making money.