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New website values auctioned autographs


January 9, 2000 — Bidding for autographs on internet auctions can be very much like the old game show Let's Make A Deal. The consigner may offer you what's behind "Door #1" and you may think you have discovered the valuable prize behind "Door #2" but when you finally win you may discover that you're stuck with "Door #3" — or nothing at all.

At least that is the current situation with no systems to prevent forgeries and fakes from being posted alongside authentic autographs. The bidder has been left to use their own knowledge to attempt deciphering between the real prize and the empty offers.

A new website created for astronaut autograph collectors seeks to change the game to The Price Is Right.

ValuSign seeks to help bidders by publishing estimated values for currently listed auctions. Given the suggested price, bidders can make their own decision as to what is being implied as to the authenticity of a given auction lot.

Created by Russell Still, author of Relics Of The Space Race, the reference guide for space collectors, ValuSign is still a work in progress but is open for a public preview.

Presently, ValuSign only offers estimates for items that were autographed by U.S. astronauts who flew in space prior to the space shuttle (1981). The listings, which will be updated daily once the site opens, are also limited to those in four categories on the internet auction site eBay.

Throughout the website, Still includes one warning: the values presented are the opinions of their estimators and that other qualified appraisers may disagree.

ValuSign is expected to open for business in February.

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