When does your LOA matter? What is the importance of a piece of paper that “Authenticates” a jersey?
Throughout our experiences, we have discovered that there are some people who refuse to consider purchasing any jersey that does not have, or has misplaced the LOA, but why is that? What is an LOA good for and of what use is it?
The following is of opinion and we are very interested in hearing yours.
A Letter of Authenticity is ONLY useful when the authenticity of an item is in question. If you know that a jersey is as represented, whats the point on needing an LOA? For future resell? Are you concerned that a future buyer would only take the jersey if it has an LOA? If thats the case, maybe that is your opportunity to further educated the buyer which would prove valuable to them, as they may not have as much knowledge on the topic.
Letters of Authenticity are simple pieces or paper that are not attached to a jersey and do not always travel with a jersey. They are easy to misplace. They are essentially worthless, but they can play a part…sometimes.
If a LOA does NOT contain item specific information in it, such as wear, stitching descriptions, or anything unique to the item (which is the case in many instances in our hobby), the LOA is not very useful. Many teams either do not issue an LOA or issue a very generic LOA. The Detroit Red Wings for example assign an LOA with every jersey. Each LOA is the same for each jersey, the only difference is that it comes with a serialized holographic stamp. The counter part stamp to the LOA is included in the LOA package, but not affixed to the jersey, meaning many purchasers, direct from the team, do not apply said sticker. So what is the point of the LOA? An educated collector knows the proper tagging when they see it. Team set stamp, screened serial number, tracking barcode heatpressed into the body. Does a LOA provide any additional value here? Does it PROVE that this jersey was worn or not? No. (Even game issue jerseys are issued with the same exact LOA).
What about Meigray shirts? We all know the signs, tags, etc. Meigray will not reissue an LOA that has been lost or misplaced, but does this hurt the value of the jersey? More importantly does it make you question its authenticity? It shouldn’t. That Meigray shirt has a MeiGray tag that associates the jersey back to the MeiGrade system. Do you think the copy-proof tag on the jersey is a fake? If not, what is the issue? What if it also comes with the team tag that was on the jersey before MeiGray purchased the jersey?
How often do you actually have to take pictures of any included LOAs to send to your buyer to prove the jersey’s authenticity? An auction website issues an LOA with the jersey they sell but what does that guarantee? It shows where you bought it from, but does it always include jersey specific information and WHY it is verified proof as a game worn jersey and can you trust it, or is it just a receipt of purchase?
So when is an LOA useful? In our current age of the hobby, an LOA becomes useful when we are dealing with vintage jerseys or as a research assistant. Some of the better LOAs in our hobby include information such as the dates the jersey was worn, which is great when your trying to find a photomatch. Vintage jersey LOAs prove to be valuable as many of us would not be able to identify authetics against game worn from years before. Tagging and set stamp systems did not exist then. In this regard, having an authenticator take a look at the jersey and issue an LOA saying they looked at the jersey is great, provided the LOA lists specific reasons why the jersey is verified as game worn and those things can be matched in the jersey unique to the jersey (this is where sending an LOA photo to a buyer is important).
The San Jose Sharks include team stamps in the hem of their jerseys but DO NOT include an LOA. Would you never buy a San Jose Sharks jersey because of this? Or do you realize that the jersey shows all the signs of it being game worn because you have knowledge of the situation or consulted an expert?
I leave you with this final question: Of what value is an LOA to you?
Our December 13th Game Worn Radio show will be discussing this topc at 10PM EST.