I read with great interest Katie Haffner's article in the New York Times yesterday regarding "Fakes on eBay". I understand when eBay says that they cannot authenticate every item that gets posted on their site, but what about the buyers who unknowingly end up paying top dollar for a reproduction. Is their only defense "Buyer Beware"?
I'm not naive enough to think that we don't have any reproductions on our site nor will we ever again in the future, but I will tell you that at Manion's, we never knowingly represent a fake as real. We also offer a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase. We have recently hired some additional personnel who are experienced collectors to police our auction listings, but even with that, something might still slip through. We are only trying to review one small category of collectibles (Militaria). I can't fathom how eBay could ever keep up with all their varied listings to adequately protect their buyers.
This also brings up the topic of "Certificates of Authenticity". I watched the HBO show "Real Sports with Bryant Gumble" recently where they ran a story about fake sports memorabilia. One of their points was that a COA does not mean much. Anyone can print one up and even reputable authenticators can be fooled as was shown in the story. A COA seems to make some buyers feel more comfortable about their purchase, but in reality, they offer little if any protection.