What is AFTAL?
The "Autograph Fair Trade Association" ( AFTAL ) was formed by a group of acknowledged autograph dealers, with the intention of stamping out the market in fake items and ensuring that the customer is able to find dealers that they can trust.
Inclusion in AFTAL is proof of each dealer's commitment and professional competence. The Code of Conduct commits each AFTAL approved dealer to providing authentic items, with all the required knowledge, qualification and diligence that that may demand, and is the best possible proof any collector could have when looking to buy authentic signed memorabilia.
Simply put, there is no reason as to why any honest dealer should not become an AFTAL approved dealer, but many reasons why some could never become an AFTAL approved dealer.
What do we do?
The signed memorabilia market is now a multi-million industry, with the result that the less honest sellers will simply create those items that are most in demand. This non-authentic material is then offered for sale on websites, Internet auctions, and through retail outlets around the UK . Although easily spotted by an expert, hundreds of fake items are sold to unsuspecting collectors every day. AFTAL work hard to ensure that the Police and Trading Standards are aware of who the forgers behind the fakes are so they can take action.
Any memorabilia dealer can apply to join AFTAL, but not all applications are successful. Some "dealers" know that their ability to tell good from bad would become apparent during our verification process and authentication course, and so choose not be involved in AFTAL. If your dealer is not a member, ask them why!
If you are considering spending money with a seller of autographs, would it not be safer to do business with a qualified and competent AFTAL dealer, who has to abide by a code, than one that claims to be an expert, trustworthy and established dealer, but who is not prepared to back up that claim.