Brian Wyatt owns the local sports retail store, All In Sports Den.
A lifelong collector of hockey cards, comic books, and jerseys, every so often an item comes through his door that isn’t the Real McCoy.
Therefore, it’s no surprise to hear about another collectables scam in the province.
Edmonton police charged 23-year-old Chandra Vinesh Singh with forging NHL star Connor McDavid’s signature on NHL merchandise.
Singh also faces charges of fraud, forging documents and false pretence.
Only in business for two years, Wyatt said scams occur more than he likes but less than most people think.
“There are certainly times stuff comes through the door accompanied [by] paperwork, but some is not from reputable companies. We carry a running list of companies that failed third party [verification].”
He added it’s important to do your due diligence when handling memorabilia.
Wyatt said he sends merchandise to an expert to verify it’s genuine.
Canada does not have an authenticator service, so Wyatt sends his items to the United States.
“[We] get items in all the time, so we pass on those immediately because we want to make sure everything here is certified. People can leave here with the confidence that [they purchased] an authentic item.”
Wyatt said buyers should guard their money and do their research before buying or selling their collectables.
In the case of Connor McDavid, for example, he has an exclusive contract with Upper Deck.
Brian Wyatt said they deal with Upper Deck when his items enter the store.
“If Connor McDavid knew that people were selling fraudulent items, I’m sure he would be unhappy about that. Connor McDavid, Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, these are all the elite athletes. Their signatures are worth thousands of dollars [and] we don’t want collectors and buyers wasting their money.”
He said vendors could face fines or imprisonment if they are caught selling fake memorabilia.
In the end, Wyatt said it’s about relationships and the stories customers share in his store.
“You should be proud of your collection; it’s a fun hobby. I love talking to the people who come into my store, seeing them leave with a smile on their face when they take an item with them, or sometimes they leave with a smile on their face just because they had a conversation here.”
The All In Sports Den resides inside the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre.