How To Determine the Value of Sports Autographed Memorabilia

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Many factors go into determining the value of your signed collectible. Today, we look at five key areas which contribute to your signed collectible’s value.

The top factor concerning your item’s value is who authenticated it. Without authentication, your signed collectible’s value is only worth what someone is willing to pay and has no real value in the open market. But if a trusted source authenticates your item, the signature’s value increases.

There is a demand for authenticated sports memorabilia. A Michael Jordan autographed basketball authenticated by UDA is worth hundreds of dollars more than the same basketball signed by Jordan without authentication. If your item hasn’t been authenticated, I recommend contacting a third party authentication company and have them review it. There is an associated fee charged, but it is well worth it if you ever plan on selling your collectible or if you are passing it down to someone else.

Second, how good was the player? A player’s greatness helps the signature’s value in a big way. For example, Tom Brady is one of the best football players of all time. Because of this, his signature’s value is one of the highest in sports. The same holds true for Hank Aaron, Magic Johnson, and Wayne Gretzky. All three are among the greatest to play their respective sport. Player records, “Hall of Fame” status, along with world championship wins, are just a few aspects that play an integral part in a signature’s value.

Third, how scarce is their signature? Going back to the example of Tom Brady — he does not sign a lot of autographs. His signature isn’t only valuable because he’s a great player but also because there are so few authenticated Tom Brady signatures out there.

Barry Bonds’ signature, back when he was playing (and even today), was almost impossible to get. He did not attend autograph shows and would not sign at the ballparks. To many collectors, his signature is gold because it is so hard to find. On the other hand, there are players like Cal Ripken, Jr. When he played, he regularly signed at the ballparks. And, now, he does autograph shows all over the country. His signature carries value, but not as much as if it weren’t everywhere. The more he signs, over time, the more his signature’s value will diminish.

Fourth, what item did the athlete sign? Value is considerably determined by what gets signed. For instance, a signed Lebron James Jersey is worth a lot more than a signed Lebron James photograph. Helmets and Jerseys are two of the most valuable items you can get signed. Balls, bats, cleats, and gloves (to name a few) tend to maintain stable values. Signed, yet unframed, photographs are usually worth much less had their framed counterparts. Signed game-used items carry a greater value because of how limited the piece is. In the golf world, a photo typically has more value as golf balls do not sign well and are hard to read. Only a limited number of collectors collect signed visors, so the photo is a more valuable when it comes to golf.

Fifth, a player’s popularity can sway value. Derek Jeter was a great baseball player. He played for the Yankees, and the majority of the sports watching world liked and respected him — a fact that contributed a great deal to the increase in his signature’s value. During the time when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa battled to break Roger Maris’ record for “Most Home Runs in a Season,” both their signatures skyrocketed in value. Once their duel ended, the value began to drop. It dropped even further when all the drug speculation began. Jeremy Lin, when he played for the New York Knicks, was on an incredible run. As a result of his increased popularity, his signature was in high demand. He wasn’t going to be the next Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, but people loved him. Now that he’s come back to earth, and is playing at a very average level, his signature is not worth anything near what it was during that short stretch. One last example is that of Joe Montana — he signs a lot of autographs but is still so popular with fans that his signature’s value holds up.

As you can see, an autographed item’s value is determined by many factors. Not just these five, but also considerations like the pen that was used, as well as its color. Also, where the item was signed can have an effect on its value.

Hopefully, these five key areas will help you when it comes to determining the value of your signed sports collectible. And, until next time, please check out for further information, old blog posts, upcoming signings, and all your sports collectible needs.

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