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How to collect celebrity autographs?

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Comic book conventions by their nature have numerous industry stars in attendance. This makes them a great place for celebrity autograph-hunters, and many cons allow room for organized signings. But getting celebrity autographs can be intimidating or confusing for the uninitiated.

Celebrity Autographs at Conventions

Most of the creative talent involved with comic books artists, writers, and the like will give autographs at comics conventions. Larger cons, such as Comic Con International or Fan Expo Canada, which encompass other media like video games and movies, will invite actors and other celebrities for signings too.

Signings at conventions have become increasingly regimented, as cons, and the demand for autographs, have grown. Signings generally come in three kinds: free, paid, and ticketed.

Free signings are usually conducted for a short time at a sponsored setting. For example, a comics publisher may have some of its artists giving autographs at the publisher’s booth.

Paid signings are offered by celebrities in high demand, or by those whose appearance may not be sponsored by any publisher or studio.

The hottest celebrities may give autographs at ticketed signings only. For this type of signing, organizers hand out a limited amount of tickets to fans; a ticket allows a place in line for an autograph, which fans must then pay for as with regular paid signings.

It is possible to run into a celebrity casually and get an autograph, though this is highly unlikely at larger conventions. Those who get lucky must have a pen or marker and something to sign at hand fans without them can’t expect the celebrity to hang around while they get supplies.

Celebrity-Autographed Collectibles

Cons will often sell merchandise and collectibles featuring their biggest celebrity guests. Even lesser-known stars will at least have headshots available. Of course, items sold on-site tend to be more expensive, so cost-conscious autograph-hunters should bring their own items to signings, if it’s allowed.

Convention signings are also an opportunity to get rare collectibles signed (items impossible to get autographed by mail, for example). Getting a picture with the celebrity in question can also help with future authentication.

Getting Comic Books Signed

Comic books are obviously the most popular memorabilia signed at comics conventions. However, fans should be aware that some collectors believe a signature doesn’t necessarily increase a comic’s value (since it is technically no longer in mint condition).

For instance, the Certified Guaranty Company, which grades comics, does not consider a signature a defect, but only considers it of added value under certain circumstances. CGC representatives travel to some large cons and, for a fee, will seal and certify comic books signed on site.

Original comic-book art may also be signed at cons, and this is one area where an artist’s signature is less controversial. Many comics artists will do sketches on the spot for fans, and comic-book companies will often sponsor sketch-offs between artists as a publicity stunt.

Since conventions bring together so many comics fans and creators, they are the perfect place for getting memorabilia and collectibles signed by celebrities. But with such opportunities in high demand, fans must keep in mind how signings work to make the most of them.

Rare sports memorabilia collecting

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Find out about the rarest and expensive sports collectibles in the sports memorabilia market: valuable game use memorabilia, sports cards, and rare sports autographs

Most of the highest priced sports collectible are rare sports memorabilia. Rarity is a big factor in determining the value of a autographed sport collectables. In the context of the supply and demand formula, if a certain collectible is in demand but supply is scarce, then the higher is market price will be . Otherwise, if a particular sporting collectible is rare but is not sought-after by collectors, it would not cost much.

This article will present examples of some of the rarest, most expensive sports memorabilia.

Notice that most of them are game used sporting equipment like baseballs and baseball bats. Because they are being used in the game during important events in sports history, they could not be reproduced or mass produced unlike photos and sports cards. For example, there is only one authentic Mark McGwire 70th home run baseball and it is owned by a rich baseball fan. If you find another one elsewhere, surely that is a fake.

Examples of very expensive and rare sports memorabilia

  1. 2001 SP Authentic Tiger Woods rookie card

A very valuable sports card ,though it is not a vintage sporting memorabilia, is the autographed 2001 SP Tiger Woods rookie card. It has a grade of 10 which means it is in perfect condition and quality. This is according to the standard of Beckett Grading Services (BGS). BGS is one of the most trusted names in grading and evaluating the condition and authenticity of sports memorabilia. It has a very high standard for quality that they seldom give a perfect grade for sports items.

This makes the signed 2001 SP Tiger Woods trading card rare. In 2008, it had a market value of more than $16,000.

2. Babe Ruth All-Star Game Home Run Ball (1933)

The Babe Ruth All-Star Game Home Run Ball is probably one of the most mystical rare vintage sports memorabilia.

In July 6, 1933 at the Comiskey Park in Chicago, Babe Ruth hit the first home run in his entire baseball career. But it was not an ordinary historical event. As the baseball soared through the air, a man from the audience named Earl Brown reached for the ball and eventually he had stopped and caught it with his bare hands. The audience went wild and cheered loudly both for Ruth’s outstanding hit and for Brown’s nice catch! Brown had the ball autographed.

At an auction in 2006, the 1933 Babe Ruth home run baseball was sold together with Earl Brown’s ticket stubs, a notarized letter from Brown’s wife, and a newspaper that recorded that unforgettable game. This rare sporting memorabilia collection cost $805,000.

3. Babe Ruth Sale Contract (1920)

January 6, 1920 was a shock to all Boston Red Sox baseball fans. That day they learned that Babe Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees. And fate had seemed to turn its back from Red Sox since then. In 1921, Yankees won for the first time and this went on in 1922 and in The World Series in 1923.

Selling Ruth to the Yankees was both controversial and mysterious. Some reports said that the Red Sox owner (who was also a theatrical producer) needed the money to finance a Broadway play. On the contrary, a book tells that it was Babe Ruth’s decision to move to Yankees because it offered him higher compensation which he readily accepted (to keep up with his vice). He had an attitude problem so Red Sox had to let him go.

The Babe Ruth signed contract that proves that the Red Sox have agreed to sell the legendary baseball player to the Yankees was sold at an auction for $996,000 on January 2005. It holds the record of being the most expensive sports memorabilia document.

4. Signed First Home Run Bat At Yankee Stadium (1923)

April 18, 1923 was a milestone for the New York Yankees as it started their first World Championship Season with the opening of the Yankee Stadium. Babe Ruth had “christened” the stadium with a home-run. It had been said that that first hit and home-run had “marked the final transfer of power from Red Sox to the Yankees.”

The first home run Babe Ruth bat at the Yankee Stadium was sold at an auction in 2004 for $126,500,000, making it one of the most expensive baseball bat memorabilia in history. It was bought by an anonymous New York-based sports collector.

5. Joe DiMaggio Journal

The Joe DiMaggio diary has more than 2,400 pages and 29 volumes. It covers the New York Yankee star’s life from 1982 to 1993. Known to be reserved and shy, Joe DiMaggio expressed his thoughts more in this journal. However, he himself never written in this book very private details about his life and never spoke ill things towards his ex-wife Marilyn Monroe.

In 2007, Steiner Sports had the diary for sale with a starting bid of $1,500,000.

6. Mark McGwire 70th Home Run Baseball (1998)

Mark McGwire had always shown great potential as a baseball player and home run hitter. In 1987, he broke a single season home run record for rookies with 49 and broke another record in 1998 for his home run number 62. And he did it again, still in 1998, as he broke yet another record with his 70th home run.

Because of his outstanding records, he was hailed as the Babe Ruth of the 1990s.

In 1999, the Mark McGwire 70th home run baseball was sold for $3 million at an auction. The ball was bought by Todd McFarlane, the creator of the best-selling comic book Spawn which became an award winning series in HBO and a $100 million-grossing movie. He reasoned he is a sports fanatic and would throw his entire successful career out if he could play center field in the major leagues.

The Mark McGwire baseball holds the record of being the most expensive sports memorabilia.

A rare sports memorabilia collection

A collection of rare sports memorabilia envied by many collectors and sports hobbyists belongs to Joel Platt. Platt is the founder of Sports Immortals which aims to preserve the memories of achievements of the greatest athletes in sports history. The sports memoribilia collection is hailed by the world’s largest museum, Smithsonian Institution, as the most outstanding single collection. Other passionate sports collectors call it “a great collection” and “the finest collection vintage sports memorabilia in the world”.

The collection contains legends sports memorabilia like Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians football jersey and the athlete’s 1912 Olympic scrapbook, signed Lou Gehrig baseball, autographed boxing gloves by Jack Johnson and other boxers, etc. Platt also owns a specimen of the most valuable & expensive sports collectible, the T206 Honus Wagner baseball card.

The basics of collecting and buying sports hand signed collectibles

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Sports collectibles guide for beginners; tips on how to buy, collect, organize, and maintain your sporting memorabilia

Sports memorabilia collecting is huge money making industry and it is still growing each year. It is a favorite pastime of sports aficionados throughout the world. From kids collecting sports memorabilia of their hometown heroes to someone selling sports collectibles.

Sport memorabilia collecting is a very popular hobby. I you want to start your own collection, here are some tips on how to collect sports memorabilia:

  1. A hobby or a business venture

Decide whether you are collecting for fun or for profit. However, it is best that you start a sports memorabilia collection because you are passionate about sports rather than start collecting for money. It is more motivating to buy and maintain your sports collection if you love what you are doing. When your collection grows and you become an experienced collector, you will eventually find an opportunity for business.

  1. Decide on what autographed sports memorabilia you want to collect

Set a theme or categorize your collection. Organizing and focusing on what types of sports memorabilia to collect will help you save money, time, effort, and space.

Will you collect according to the sport or to the type of memorabilia? If possible, choose only a favorite game so it would not be hard for you to keep the interest up. For example, you can collect basketball sports cards or game worn jerseys if you are a basketball enthusiast. You can also gather sports collectibles according to team or player. Say, if you are a New York Yankee fan, you could collect only Yankee bats and baseballs.

  1. Determine the values of your sports memorabilia

Starting your sports memorabilia collection is a serious endeavor as it requires you to spend, so you have to spend wisely.

Know the values or appraisals for sports memorabilia. Make sure that you have checked on price ranges before finally purchasing a collectible item. Refer to sports memorabilia price guides in magazines or on websites. Try store hopping, whether on line or in sports shops near you, to know price disparities of the same type of memorabilia.

For example, one store may sell you a sports card for $2 while another store will sell you the same card for $2.90. This may not sound a significant difference if you buy cards individually, but when you go shopping for more, you would realize how every cent counts.

  1. Make that wish list for collectible sports memorabilia

Make a wanted list of the collectibles you want to collect and set priorities. This means you would have to plan out which sports collectibles to purchase at this point and what others to buy during another point in time.

With a list on hand, you could set your budget limit. Decide how much you are willing to spend for collectible sports memorabilia.

If you could afford it, invest on valuable and rare sports memorabilia but be sure that you only spend within how much you can buy. Save up if you want the more expensive sports items.

  1. Care for your sports memorabilia collection

Remember that collecting sports memorabilia is not only about buying but also about storing, displaying, and maintaining your collectible pieces. You would need sports collecting supplies like top loaders, plastic sleeves, and albums (for sports cards) and frames and display cabinets for other sporting memorabilia. These will help protect your collection from elements that could cause deterioration such as air, moisture, and dust.

Here is a guide in buying authentic sports memorabilia:

A.) Buy from a reputable dealer. This may be an old advice you hear everywhere but this is one of the best ways to protect your self from fakes.

Ask recommendations from sports experts or experienced sports collectors. Visit online forums and discuss about sports memorabilia shops with fellow enthusiasts. It is also encouraged that you write down the names of sellers that other collectors deem to be phonies. Vigilance is key to buying the authentic sports memorabilia from the right dealers.

B.) Look for the Certificate of Authenticity especially from third-party authentication service providers like Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). Another assurance would be a money-back guarantee (and other forms of warranties) from your supplier of sporting memorabilia.

C.) Look for licenses. There are sports memorabilia dealers or sellers which are recommended and authorized by the Sports leagues and associations like the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), or the Major League Baseball (MLB). Examples of certified collectible dealers are Upper Deck and Steiner Sports.

How to buy vintage sports memorabilia?

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Buy vintage sports collectibles
Buy vintage sports collectibles

Tips that will help you purchasing online valuable and authentic antique sports collectibles and old autographed memorabilia

Vintage sports memorabilia and collectibles are sports items that existed before the 1980s. Because vintage sports memorabilia immortalize the beginnings of sports, they also become valuable objects from history (some of them become pieces for museums).

Thus, old sports collectibles and memorabilia become in demand by many collectors to complete their collection.

Sports memorabilia collecting is a very successful industry which has both advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is, because it is a huge market, it would not be very difficult for collectors to find useful information about pursuing their hobby including tips in purchasing sports collectibles. A big disadvantage is the sports memorabilia trade becomes an avenue for widespread fraudulent practices.

In buying vintage sports memorabilia, you have to be very careful against forgery especially fake autographed sports memorabilia.

Almost billions of dollars are lost in a year in the sports collectibles industry because of the enormous population of fake sports collectable merchandise in the market.

To lessen the risks, here is a buying guide of vintage sports memorabilia:

  1. Be wise and knowledgeable.

You must back your self up with the sufficient knowledge about the sports memorabilia market. Know the characteristics of real antique sport collectibles.

In vintage sports cards for example, you have to be aware of card makers, release dates, the correct size of an authentic sports trading card (depending on the year it was produced; from 1952, sports cards were of bigger size – an innovation by candy manufacturer, Topps), the color of a photo, and other product features.

There are many collectible cards which are only reproduced and made to look old but are actually not vintage. A black and white picture or a sepia effect is not an assurance that the card existed before the 80s.

Ask a lot of questions. What do baseball stitches look like in the 1960s? What were the specifications of Joe DiMaggio’s final World Series jersey? What game-used sporting equipment did Muhammad Ali sign on aside from his boxing gloves?

See which are available for sale and which are not. There are certain rare sports memorabilia that cannot be sold because they are already owned by private collectors. But if you see them in an online auction without prior news, then you would have to think twice about the authenticity of such sporting collectibles!

  1. Make that wanted list of antique sports memorabilia

Making a list will help you to prioritize and avoid impulse buying. It is always best to spend only within your means so, set priorities. Aside from spending within the budget, it is also advised to purchase the best collectible that your money could afford.

Do not go for less quality, although you can settle for less number of collectibles to purchase at a time. Your collection will eventually grow anyway, so do not focus on quantity when you are just starting.

  1. Know where to go

Common “destination” for purchasing memorabilia online would be eBay but it turns out there are counterfeits that dwell in that auction and shopping website.

There are other reputable sports memorabilia shops online where you can visit and send inquiries to. Some of them are even affiliated to sports associations and leagues like the National Basketball Association or authorized by third party authenticators assuring you of real sports merchandise available.

It is also important that you read and gather customer feedbacks to guide you. Choose stores that specialize in selling vintage sports memorabilia for best finds and expert advice.

  1. Pay attention to terms of service from the seller

Does the dealer offer a money back guarantee? How about one year warranty? Do they assure you returns or exchange for defective vintage memorabilia? See to it that sellers do not only provide you quality merchandise but also quality customer service.

Look for a certificate of authenticity that always comes along with a specific product. It would be better if such certificate would come from a reputable third party rather than from an unknown institution or from the dealer itself.

  1. Beware of bargains

You must be familiar with price ranges and changes. Browse for a certain collectible item in different shops and see if their prices vary and have major differences. Bargains are not necessarily good finds. When the value of a vintage memorabilia seems to be less than the others, it can be too good to be true and that is risky. You might end up with a fake and you should have not wondered why it was cheap.

Here are some factors that influence the market value of vintage sports memorabilia:

Quality – the condition and quality of the item should be top priority. This is often measured by sports collectible grades. The Professional Sports Authenticator or PSA follows a 10-scale Grading Standards (most commonly used for sports cards). GEM-MT 10 for a perfect card and PR 1 for cards in poor condition.

Off center images in trading cards will decrease their value. If the memorabilia is not properly taken care of – with some signs of damage and neglect (scratches, tear, or wear) – then most likely, they would not be as valuable.

Rarity – the availability of an antique sports memorabilia in the market will affect its market price. One reason why the T206 Honus Wagner is considered the most valuable baseball card is its scarcity. There had been only 50-60 cards said to exist produced by tobacco companies. According to some stories, Wagner (who does not smoke) requested to stop the production of the card because he did not want his name to be associated with encouraging tobacco use. Others say production was stopped because he was not compensated accordingly for the advertisement.

Popularity of the athlete – the more famous the sports superstar is, the more expensive could his item get. If a player is inducted into a Hall of Fame or lined up into the World Record Breakers, the memorabilia that features him will presumably be very pricey.

Player performance – this is somehow related to the athlete’s popularity. His performances in the game would often result to his recognition, and so memorabilia that features him will be in demand.

Sports autographs – vintage sports collectibles with authenticated autographs are generally priced higher than ordinary items. It is for this reason that signatures of famous stars are forged.

Authenticity of the vintage sports memorabilia – fakes simply do not deserve any value. To avoid being a victim of fake sports autographs, you have to familiarize signature patterns of an athlete. If the letters “B” and “R” in Babe Ruth’s signature are usually bigger than the other letters in his name, be wary of Ruth autographs where all letters appear to be of the same size.

How to start your sports memorabilia collection?

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6 steps you have to follow before you start collecting sports memorabilia

Collecting sports memorabilia is a multi-billion dollar industry and it’s growing each year. It’s a favorite hobby of sports enthusiasts throughout the world. From kids collecting memorabilia of their hometown stars to businessmen trying to turn a profit, collecting sports memorabilia spans the globe.

With as little as a couple dollars, you can start a collection of your own. In this article, we will discuss how to start your own sports memorabilia collection.

Step One:

Decide how much you are going to spend on sports memorabilia and what type of memorabilia you are going to collect. There are varying types of sports memorabilia available in the sporting world today. Get a general idea of how much you want to spend and what it is you want to collect.

Step Two:

Join a sports memorabilia message board. You can visit Sports Memorabilia forums to know the lists of forums available for you. It’s also a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts and even sports memorabilia dealers in your area.

Step Three:

You should have a price guide. You’ll need a price guide to help you figure out how much each item of sports memorabilia is worth. The best price guides can be found at Beckett.com. Be sure you purchase a price guide that corresponds with the type of sports memorabilia that you are interested in collecting.

Step Four:

Start buying memorabilia by starting out with a few relatively inexpensive items for your collection. You can purchase memorabilia at card shops, trade shows or online at auction sites.

Step Five:

Display your memorabilia in a safe, dry location inside your home. If you are collecting sports cards, keep them in their jackets. The value of sports memorabilia goes down considerably if the item gets damaged.

Step Six:

Catalog your sports memorabilia collection. It’s important to keep track of your inventory, and the easiest way to do so is to use computer software built for this exact purpose.

Sports memorabilia collecting

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Sports memorabilia collecting
Sports memorabilia collecting

An introduction to the hobby of sports collectibles

Knowing about sports collectibles is just a first step in engaging to the hobby of collecting sports memorabilia and other sports collectible pieces.

While there are a lot of people who consider collecting as an enjoyable pastime, there are also collectors who see more than that.

Collecting sports cards, jerseys, baseballs, boxing gloves, football helmets, etc. can also be profitable especially for valuable, rare, and vintage sports collectibles. This article will be an introduction to sports memorabilia and other collectibles.

These two terms in collecting sports items are often used interchangeably. It is important to note that these two sports collecting jargons do have a major difference.

Sports memorabilia refers to cards, sports uniforms, helmets, and other sports items that are signed by an athlete and such signature is authenticated by a reliable and respectable distributor.

Sports collectibles are those unsigned sports equipment, cards, postcards, and other collectibles. Autographed sports merchandise which are not certified or authenticated are also considered sports collectibles.

Why do people like the hobby of collecting sports items?

  1. To show support

Most, if not all collectors of sports collectibles are huge sports fans. Collecting is a way of a person to show support to a sports superstar or to the basketball, baseball, or football team a person idolizes.

  1. To keep the momentum

Through memorabilia, action cards, photos, or those magazine clippings, you keep that nostalgic feel of the won championship, that record-breaking home run, or that legendary dunk. Sports memorabilia simply capture winning moments and immortalize them.

  1. To get connected

It is amazing how a tiny signature on sports trading cards makes you connected to that athletic star you admire. This is one reason why fans could not just get enough of autographed sports memorabilia.

Another advantage of being a sports collector is you get to meet people of same interest and passion. Before you realize it, you will find yourself in a network of both novice and expert hobbyists who would help you know more about the sports collectibles industry and help you grow your collection. There is a pool of learning in interaction.

  1. To be involved and know the sport better

More than knowing about the hobby, collecting sports memorabilia keeps you more involved of the sports itself. Many collectible sports cards do not only display images of your favorite athletes, cards also bear facts about the athlete, technical information about the sport that he plays, etc. A collector becomes a sports enthusiast.

  1. To earn or to invest

The sports memorabilia market has become a big industry through the years that is why investing in sports cards, baseball bats, hockey shirts, etc. is a feasible business endeavor. Evidences of the growing market are the online sports collectible auctions, sports forums, and online shops.

Countless pieces of sports collectibles had already been sold for thousands to millions of dollars especially if they are rare. An example of valuable rare sports memorabilia is the baseball that Mark McGwire hit for the 62nd home run in 1998 (breaking the Roger Maris’ single-season 61 home run record). The ball was sold for more than a million US dollars. A soccer shirt of Pele, the greatest footballer of all time, was sold for $ 224,000.

There are other rare collectible sports items which may not have as much value as those mentioned above, but will earn you bucks as well. All you need to do is to be very much oriented with the sports memorabilia market.

History of Sports Collectibles and Memorabilia

The history of sports collectibles and memorabilia began with sports cards, particularly baseball cards inserted in tobacco boxes. This was during the 1800s when the hype of inserting cards inside product packages became a popular marketing strategy not only in the tobacco industry but even in soaps, and later within bubble gum wrappings.

Among those promotional cards issued by tobacco companies, the T-206 Honus Wagner became the most popular even until today. It is in fact considered as the “Mona Lisa” of all sports cards and is one of the most rare sports cards.

In the dawning of the World War II until 1950, there was a halt in producing sports cards from different companies. In 1952, collectible cards came back to business when the chewing gum manufacturing company, Topps, produced sets of innovative collectible cards bearing colored portrait of a baseball player, team logo, and other statistical and biographical information.

The card sets were also larger than its earlier versions derived from the tobacco cards. Because of the innovation, Topps cards were considered the first true baseball card set. Then on, more cards were released to the market from various manufacturers.

Examples of sports collectibles today

Sports collectibles is not limited to collectible sports cards but also to collectible and autographed sporting uniforms and equipment in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, soccer, and boxing. Here are sports collectibles and memorabilia available in the market today:

  • Sports trading cards are the pioneer in the sports collectibles industry. They were the first forms of sports collectibles (as baseball cards), nowadays, these sports collectibles remain to be the favorite among sports collectors.
  • Rookie cards – there has been a lot of confusion on the real definition of what a rookie card really is. Some say a rookie card is called such when it is the first time that an athlete appears on a sports trading card. Others also believe that the first time a manufacturer features an athlete in a card, such card is called a rookie card. A safe definition of a rookie card is a card that features an athlete during his rookie year in the sport.
  • Autographed cards – are signed sports trading cards by the athlete. Generally, an autograph add more value to a memorabilia. However, signatures must be authenticated to be called as real sports memorabilia. Uncertified autographed cards are still considered collectibles.
  • Vintage cards – sports cards are considered vintage when they are produced or released during pre-1980s. Because of their age, they are highly collectible and valuable and can become even more expensive through time.
  • Graded cards – graded cards are those sports cards that were evaluated and authenticated by independent card grading services. There are many factors that are looked upon to grade a card such as centering, borders and corners, surface, condition, and eye appeal. Cards with high grades (GEM-MT 10: Gem Mint as the highest) have higher market values.
  • Game worn jerseys or uniforms – among the top ten most expensive sports memorabilia are the baseball legend Babe Ruth’s jerseys. Basketball jerseys, particularly from the National Basketball Association (NBA) today are also very widely collected. A Kobe Bryant LA Lakers Jersey could cost more than $3, 700.
  • Game used sporting equipment – game used sporting equipment may include football helmets, baseball bats, basketballs, boxing gloves, etc. Famous among sports enthusiasts are baseball bats and balls. The world’s oldest hockey stick (1850s) became recognized as the most expensive non baseball sport memorabilia after it was sold for $2.2 million in 2006.
  • Event memorabilia – this type of sports collectible or memorabilia includes tickets, programmes, and photos taken during the actual game. In football and rugby for example, it has been a tradition to buy a tournament program before entering the stadium. As these accumulate in every match, they can become collectible items. A signature of a football superstar will even add more value to this sports memorabilia (sentimental or monetary value at that).
  • Sports Bobbleheads – a bobblehead is a type of collectible doll originating in the 1950s. It usually has an oversized head attached to the body by a spring that when tapped, the head bobbles (moves up and down like a nod). This kind of doll may vary in designs – from popular cartoon characters, politicians, Hollywood actors and celebrities, or animal miniatures. The most collected are the sports bobbleheads featuring different sports superstars.

How to buy sports autographs?

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Sports autograph
Sports autograph

Tips in buying real sports autographs: Authentic autographed sports memorabilia buying guide

You would have loved to get a Michael Jordan signature or let David Beckham autograph your sports trading cards in person. The problem is, these sports superstars are very difficult to approach.

That is why, the next best option is buying sports autographs from sports memorabilia shops, online stores, auction websites, TV shopping networks, among others.

Here are some tips on how to buy sports autographs and other hand signed sports collectibles. These will be helpful so you could get the most of your money’s value and avoid purchasing fake sports autographs which are widespread in the sport collecting market:

  1. Buy what you like

You will enjoy it to the fullest, when you are engaged in a hobby that you truly go for. Always start buying sports merchandise that interest you. If you are a supporter of hockey, then focus on buying hockey collectibles and signed hockey memorabilia. If you are a basketball fan and you idolize LeBron James, purchase his autographed jerseys, sports cards, or photos. With this, you will be more motivated to maintain or make your sports autograph collection grow.

  1. Go store hopping

Before you do the shopping, do the store hopping first – and that does not primarily refer to online sports shops. As a beginner, it is important that you buy your autographed sports collectibles from sports memorabilia stores: in the neighborhood, inside malls, stalls, and others. It is advised that you see the items in person first and examine them closely. Store hopping will also be an opportunity to meet autograph dealers and sellers whom you can talk to and ask about sports autographs, sports memorabilia authentication, and other necessary information.

When you master the store shopping, then you can start buying athlete autographs online. Forged sports memorabilia may flood in the internet, but with your good dose of knowledge and experience you can avoid being a victim of sports memorabilia fraud in the web.

  1. Prepare to spend

It is very important to decide on how much you are willing to spend for signed sporting collectibles. Plan out and buy within your budget. Do not force your self buying an expensive item for sentimental value’s sake. If you consider purchasing a very valuable sports autograph, you have to save for it.

Signed sports cards are probably the most affordable sports memorabilia you could buy, depending on certain factors like rarity, authenticity, popularity, subject, and age. Famous vintage sports memorabilia, on the other hand, could be the highest-priced autographed sports items on the market. The most expensive could cost you more than a million dollars.

Talking about budget, it is a must to update your self with the changes in sports autograph values. Online price guides can help you out. Just like any industry, sports autograph prices may go up and down at no definite time intervals because of economic conditions.

  1. Join the sports collectors’ network

Being in a group composed of people with similar interests in sports memorabilia collecting greatly helps for you to know more about your passion. Try being active in a network of sports collectors where you can interact or even trade sports autographs.

Participate in online sports collector forums, go to sports autograph signings, and attend other activities where you can find and make friends with your fellow enthusiasts. You can learn effective buying strategies from the expert sports hobbyists and you can share some sports shopping experience to your fellow novice sports collectors.

  1. Be inquisitive like a detective

It may be saddening but it is a known fact – the sports autographs industry is a huge avenue for forgery and many fraudulent practices.

a. Avoid faked sports signatures

A tiny scribbled name of your favorite athlete could add a thousand dollars more to the value of an ordinary sports card or photo. Unfortunately, autograph forgers see that as an opportunity for “business”.

The people behind the biggest forgery scam in American history earned $100 million in their entire operation during the 90s. They sold hundreds of baseballs with phony Joe DiMaggio signatures, fake Mickey Mantle autographs on his pictures, among thousands of other sports memorabilia imitations. Though this scam happened in the late 90s, fake sports memorabilia is not a mere thing of the past. New fakers are active in the market, so beware.

Other forms of fake athlete autographs are: autopen signatures, sports autograph reprints, secretarials, and stamped sport signatures.

b. Get to know your seller

A background check to your sports autograph dealer may take some time and effort but it goes a long way. It is best that you buy only from reputable sellers.

There are many sports merchandise stores which are affiliated or recommended by the NBA, MLB, NASCAR, and other sports leagues and associations. To know them better, visit their websites and read magazines or books about these authorized these sellers.

c. Be skeptical about Autograph Certificates of Authenticity

Certificates of Authenticity (COA) may be important in assuring that a memorabilia is not a fake. However, there are circumstances that a COA is no less than a piece of paper. There are certificates that are only issued by the sellers themselves.

When you buy a sports autograph; look for the certification by a trusted third party authenticator such as Professional Sports Authenticator, Upper Deck, or Global Authentication Incorporated to mention a few.

Trivia: Upper Deck, a leader in sports memorabilia trading and autograph authentication does not only issue a certificate of authenticity. To assure their customers of real sports autograph, Upper Deck has developed the PenCam technology.

The PenCam is a pen that has a small video camera that records the actual signing of the autograph by the athlete on the sports item. The video is automatically saved as a digital file which will be sent to the customer together with the signed sports memorabilia that he bought.

d. Report fraudulent transactions

When you witness or become a victim of a fraudulent transaction, it is encouraged that you report the incident to the right authorities. It will be a major help in putting a stop to sports autograph scams.

  1. Act like an expert sports collector

The expert only looks for the best quality and nothing less. In buying sports autographs, always consider the quality and the condition of the items whether they are sports cards, photos, jerseys, and other sporting equipment. Take for example sports cards: the condition of the sports trading card is determined by sports card grading. It will be scaled from 1-10 with 10 as the highest. In recently produced cards, higher grade would generally give higher market value.

So be a perfectionist, just like a pro – buy only the best quality item for your money.

  1. Act like a novice sports collector

A newbie collector is most often very eager to learn everything that has something to do with his passion. If you already have acquired much knowledge about buying sports autographs and trading them, do not close your doors in learning more. Be open-minded and keep yourself updated with sports news, sports autograph value fluctuations, new standards in grading, etc.

Read about sports collectables and collecting through books, magazines, and through the internet. This website, for instance, features articles that share information about the hobby of sports collectibles, sports memorabilia authentication, sports autograph values, and other topics that may help you familiarize the sports memorabilia market.