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Buying Memorabilia

(Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - How do you know if you’re really buying Halle Berry’s nail clippers? And why would you want to?

Lawyers for actress Halle Berry just sent a cease and desist letter to a Canadian auction house that was advertising a sale of Halle Berry’s personal items, telling them to cut it out. The hairbrush, the antique sofa, and the nailclippers they were offering for auction were not, in fact, ever used by Halle Berry but rather by her ex, who was offering them for sale.

In case you ever considered buying Halle Berry’s used goods – or any other collectors’ item (such as they are), you should be asking two questions:

The first is: How do I know that they’re real?

The answer to that is, if you’re buying at an online auction like eBay, there are red flags to look for to avoid being scammed. First, if the price is significantly below market – too good to be true – it probably is. Watch for the teeny little weasel words buried in the ads: Genuine suit like Armani isn’t. And unorthodox or untraceable payment methods – if the seller doesn’t take PayPal or credit cards, steer clear.

As for the second question, which obviously is: if I want Halle Berry’s used nail clippers, should I have my head examined? The answer to that is obvious.