Thursday, January 7, 2016

Mark Hamill Fake Autographs

The Star Wars hoopla has hit the world in a huge way.  Record box office ticket sales, Star Wars merchandise everywhere you look, and a reminiscing for the 40+ year olds (Me) to the good old days of playing with our X-Wing fighters, Millenium Falcons and action figures of the late 70's and early 80's has taken hold of our culture.

With that, the evolution of the autograph industry over the past 40 years has offered opportunities for all movie fans to chase down their favorite actors to sign that random photo, movie poster, book or whatever we own.  The fact that our favorite stars are more available at comic con or pop culture events has made it easier to acquire such autographs.

However, one of the most coveted autographs (Harrison Ford is a close 2nd) from the Star Wars sagas is Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).  Yes, Mark has made appearances around the world at these events, but they are extremely infrequent compared to say Peter Mayhew, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and others from the original series.  When Mark does appear his lines are usually over 1000 people in length at anywhere from $100-$150 per autograph.

Recently Mark took to twitter and noted he was tired of his fans getting "duped" by fake Mark Hamill autographs. Click this link for the article.  He invited fans to send photos of his autograph to his account and he would confirm it the signature was in fact real or not.

While I think this was a nice sentiment, I think there are other ways to fix the problem.  The issue is that because his signature is rarer than others, and that he rarely does make public appearances, there are unfortunately frauds in the world who forge autographs and take advantage of desperate fans.  And for those who don't know how to identify a real autographed item, and don't have access to Mark or a place he may appear, that customer is duped into buying a fake autographed item because they don't know what to ask, what to look for, or may fear they may never be able to acquire one in person

So I think Mark should make more public appearances.  I'm not saying saturate the market with his signature, but 2-3 appearances a year vs one every 2 years would be an improvement.  While some may say his price is a bit high, he is a pop culture star and his price is more than fair compared to other pop stars.

I think he should have a special hologram affixed to all items he signs.  While this isn't full proof, it does deter fakes from being sold and at least offers an example of a genuine autograph.

And if he identifies a fake to a fan, he should dig into where it came from and take corrective action against those sellers.

So for all you Mark Hamill collectors, May the Autographs be with you.

Mark Hamill

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