“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.”
Legendary Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi knew what he was talking about. Forged autographs are not limited to sports collectibles, and fans may think they are seeing something authentic, when in fact, they are not. Fans of Star Wars could fall into that trap, too. To battle those intergalactic fakes, Topps, Authenticators, Inc. and Lucasfilm announced the launch of starwarsauthentics.com.
The website will offer official photographs and autographs from the Star Wars films, including the recently released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Force Awakens. The photo images will come directly from the Lucasfilm library, and the signatures will be verified by Authenticators, Inc., which does the same service for Major League Baseball. MLB created Authenticators, Inc., in 2006 to stem the rising amount of forgeries.
That means that for Star Wars memorabilia, an agent for Authenticators, Inc., will be present to witness autograph sessions and affix serial numbers with tamper-proof holograms on the items.
David Leiner, general manager and vice president of Topps’ North American Sports and Entertainment division, said in a news release that the company “was thrilled” to collaborate on Star Wars product.
“We identified a hole in the entertainment industry, a need for certified authentic pieces for the Star Wars brand, and with this collaboration we are able to meet consumer demand,” Leiner said. “Topps excels in visual arts and printing technologies and we are thrilled to bring our expertise to Star Wars, building upon our trading card and Major League Baseball memorabilia business.”
Starwarsauthentics.com will make its debut with the sale of autographed photos of Felicity Jones, who played Jyn Erso, in Rogue One; and John Boyega, who portrayed Finn (FN-2187) in The Force Awakens. Other autograph offerings will include signatures of Donnie Yen (Chirrut Imwe), Forest Whitaker (Saw Gerrera) and Riz Ahmed (Bodhi Rook) from Rogue One; and Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) from The Force Awakens.
Paul Southern, the senior vice president of Star Wars licensing for Disney Consumer Products, told Deadline.com that his company always strives to deliver “a quality, authentic experience.”
“This new program will allow us to provide Star Wars fans with access to autographs of their favorite talent from a galaxy far, far away that are completely verified and authentic,” Southern said.
Topps is stepping out of sports authentication for this venture, but the theory is the same — making sure collectors acquire verified, signed memorabilia items. According to prices for items on the starwarsauthentic website, collectors will be shelling out between $199.99 and $1,049 (for a framed version) depending on the signer and whether it’s a solo or dual autograph. Prices for unsigned photographs are much cheaper, between $9.99 and $79.99
Other movies include the original Star Wars trilogy and prequels like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: A New Hope.
Topps has released Star Wars cards before, beginning in 1977 to coincide with the original movie. The first set contained 66 cards and had a blue border, and could be bought in packs that held seven cards. The second set also had 66 cards, but were framed by a red border. Three more sets followed (also 66 cards each), bordered in yellow, green and orange. This comes into play on the new website, as some autographed cards take on the design of those Topps cards issued four decades ago.
By the way, a good checklist resource for looking up cards from the movies is at StarWarsCards.net
As Yoda once said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Now Star Wars fanatics can do justice to their collections and try a safe way of buying collectibles from their favorite movie.