Experts warn memorabilia market flooded with fake Kobe items

Sports memorabilia experts see thousands in losses
Posted at 3:53 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 19:35:40-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Emotional Kobe Bryant fans are looking everywhere to find memorabilia with his signature and sports memorabilia experts warn scammers are trying to take advantage. Even in Colorado Springs the demand for Kobe items has spiked.

"So Kobe's stuff is selling like crazy. We only have one rookie card left in the store of Kobe," said John Harding who owns John's Sports Collectibles near the Citadel Mall in Colorado Springs.

He's been in business for 22 years and says when an icon like Kobe passes away it has an instant impact on pricing in the sports collectibles market.

"Whenever someone passes away. Any great athlete or politician, whatever. Their autograph goes right up because they aren't going to be signing anymore," said Harding.

Harding says the love for Kobe Bryant in cities all over the world is fetching big bucks.

"Well people love Kobe and so even though they are paying double or triple what they would've paid last week for his autograph they want to do it anyway. They want to have a Kobe autograph and they're willing to pay $1,000 instead of $300 for an autographed jersey or something like that," said Harding.

Since Kobe's tragic death, sports collectible authenticators say they've seen items with Kobe's signature selling online for as much as $12,000 most of them fake.

"And it seems like people are getting caught up too much in this euphoria and there's only one other time in my life that I saw something like this happen and it was in when Michael Jackson passed away. And people just kind of lose their inhibition for spending money. They'll just buy anything," Said Steve Grad of Beckett Authentication Services.

Experts suggest using Pay Pal while purchasing items online because you have full buyer protection. Also, when it comes to sports collectibles you can pay $10-$15 to have a reputable authentication service validate an item before you buy it.