Autograph Arithmetic

If you attend any large sports card/memorabilia shows where major athletes are signing autographs, I’m sure that you’re familiar with how outrageous some of the autographs can cost.  

Last weekend while attending the Philly Show, Willie Mays was scheduled to show up and sign autographs for his fans.  The cheapest price they were charging for his signature was $269.00 for any flat items.  The prices went up if you wanted him to sign anything else.  This got me thinking.  $269.00 is a lot of money just to watch someone sign a card or photograph.  You can easily pickup a Mays 2004 Topps Finest certified autographed card for less than $90.00.  Thats almost a 300% increase in price just to see them in person.  

Lets apply this information to Babe Ruth.  A Babe Ruth cut signature can be purchased online for about $4,000.00.  If Ruth was still alive today and showed up at a show to sign autographs, it would cost you about $12,000.00+ to watch him sign your item.  

Although it is fun to say you’ve met an athlete, sometimes its just better to go with the cards instead.



4 Responses

  1. Flawed logic. If Babe Ruth were alive today – his autographs wouldn’t sell for $4000. Any athlete who was alive during the certified autograph era will never have hugely priced signatures.

    Part of the appeal of a signing is going and meeting the athlete, and getting what you want signed. There has to be a premium attached to that.

    If anything – the premium goes up as the star quality of the player goes down. Tons of players whose certified autographs sell for $0.99 will have signings where it costs $20.

  2. After the fiasco with those presidential cut signatures, can you really make that claim?

    Isn’t it better to spend the extra cash and see the athlete sign your item than to have to wonder about its authenticity?

  3. I agree with Paul.
    With all the authenticity in question today, the only the one to truly know you have an authentic is to get it yourself.

    Mays may not be the best example because of his price and he doesn’t allow photos, but most atheletes do. I’ve been to shows where guys get their pictures taken with their kids. How do you put a price on having your kid photographed with your chidhood hero?

    Great topic. thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: