A real professional autograph dealer is one who has studied autographs, has published educational articles, has taught educational courses, who maintains a file of exemplars and who has a serious library on the subject of autograph collecting.
A professional autograph dealer is much different than the hundreds, maybe thousands of people who just sell autographs.
We have in our industry a group called the UACC. They maintain a separate dealer list of what they describe as Registered Dealers. To hold the honor of being be a registered dealer,with a number, one must fill out what they describe as an "Extensive Application". They must have written references and only then after paying some dues they get numbered. These numbered dealers according to UACC policy are the only ones in the industry that those who head this group will recommend.
Many more than half the dealers who were once numbered have left the club or were removed. Are they no longer "professional autograph dealers"? Who made that decision? Besides, who in this group is capable or educated enough in the hobby to make this decision? Some at the top have made horrific mistakes in the articles they wrote and even more pathetic have for sale items with non genuine signatures. More on this later.
Just learning about the passing of the late, great Billy Graham, I decided to go on eBay and see what was being offered. One item instantly attracted my attention only because in the heading of the listing stated they were a "Registered Dealer" in the UACC. Impressive????
Yet, the Registered dealer states in their descrfiption that the "signature is perect".
Below are three other examples of the same item
The UACC only recommends Registered dealers in their club!
Worse, a Registered Dealer who is supposed to be a professional and who one would expect to have done their homework, or at a minimum be able to tell real ink from a printed signature states in their description that this signed item is guaranteed to pass three different companies who claim to authenticate autographs. These companies have on staff in some cases youngsters who attend shows and maintain the authentication booth. Others whose names may be recognized are basically used in name only. In my humble opinion there is no one working as an authenticator for an autograph authentication company who has the experience or knowledge than a true professional autograph dealer. Why would any so called "Registered Dealer" selling an autograph tell a customer that they could go to a lower standard to have the item authenticated? Makes NO sense. The many thousands or more of mistakes made by these companies is all the proof one needs.
The UACC group states: "UACC dues are NOT refundable" One has to think, how many new collector members and dealers must have asked that their membership dues be refunded for a group to have to post such a statement!
I decided to go to the UACC website and look at the rest of their "Registered Dealers" and this is what I got...