Charity fund raisers are BIG events nowadays and an affluent audience after a good dinner and a few bottles of wine can raise tens of thousands at charity auctions.
I remember going to a sports dinner in rural Gloucestershire a few years ago and seeing signed and framed albums by the Who, the Eagles and Led Zeppelin at amazing starting prices in possibly the least likely place in the UK to come across this type of memorabilia.
Googling their signatures on my phone showed they were not even close to the real thing.
The Who album went for £800, the Eagles for over £1000 and the Led Zep for over £2000.
I asked the charity organisers what the deal was with the memorabilia company. They told me the memorabilia company take the first £500 of the sale and everything over that goes to the charity - the memorabilia supplier also acted as the auctioneer. £1500 (less say £200 for the framing, vinyl and a sharpie) made it a very profitable evening for him.
To be fair, how would the elderly organisers of the local hospice have a clue what was a genuine Glenn Frey or Roger Daltrey - after all, this guy was handing them over £2300 for the sale of 3 LPs?
It's a worldwide problem that memorabilia buyers need to be aware of as well including the now highly valuable autograph of David Bowie, here's an interesting US story and video of the scandal that runs into millions a year:
David Bowie signed a few guitars for his favourite charities and for special contacts/prizes etc over the years but by all accounts he was NOT a prolific signer of guitars. Below are pictured some of the worst offenders (and their prices) alongside some genuine David Bowie Autograph guitars.
The fakes are generally signed on cheap guitars - Bowie was known for gifting and signing his personally favoured guitars (Gibson, Takamine, Fender Strat, Dan Armstrong, Harptone) and occasionally, his very own used guitars. The value of a David Bowie signed guitar with gilt edged provenance is around £7000/$10,000 USD. A Bowie signed and played guitar is worth upwards of £25,000/$33,000 USD.
Probably the most desirable of Bowie memorabilia to hang on a collectors wall (they are large and draw more attention than an LP), a genuine Bowie signed guitar is a very coveted piece of memorabilia, as reflected at prices now generated at traditional auction houses.
Buyer - Beware.