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Autographed Baseball Value - What Determines It?

February 21, 2018 3 min read 3 Comments

Vin Scully Autographed Baseball

It seems every week I am asked by our sports memorabilia customers, what determines an autographed baseballs value?  Here are 10 important factors.

1.) The Athlete.  Generally, the more popular the athlete, the higher the selling price.  Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Albert Pujols are generally going to sell for more than Eric Hosmer and Lance Berkman.

2.) Accomplishments.  If an athlete has won a World Series title, MVP or ROY award, or was just inducted into the Hall of Fame, that will increase the price.

3.) Certificate of Authenticity (COA).  A PSA/DNA, JSA, or Major League Baseball authentication holds a ton of weight in the industry and collector’s are willing to pay more for items with their COA.  What is JSA and PSA?

4.) World Series or MLB Ball.  An autographed World Series baseball by a player on a winning team will always be worth more than their autograph on a regular MLB ball.  Take for example this Pedro Martinez signed 2004 World Series Baseball.  Pedro was a key player, their best pitcher and 2004 was such a special year for the Red Sox (1st title since trading Babe Ruth).  One other thing to consider is Rawlings stops making the World Series baseballs 3 years after, so a 2004 baseball was last produced in 2007.

Pedro Martinez Signed 2004 World Series Baseball

Pedro Martinez Signed 2004 World Series Baseball

5.) Inscriptions.  A baseball with a special inscription written by the player, such as 2013 MVP, or 2013 ROY, or 2013 WS CHAMPS always adds a ton of value to the baseball.  On the opposite side, an inscription such as “To Matt,” will devalue the baseball.

6.) Quality.  A smudged signature or brown spotting will always decrease its value.  Or if an inscription is misspelled.   All MLB balls should be signed on the sweet spot, or if a World Series ball under the WS logo.  LEARN MORE about where to get a baseball signed.

7.) Supply and demand.  I remember right after David Ortiz won the 2013 WS MVP award, his signed baseballs were very hard to come by and the ones you did find were generally 30-40% higher than normal.   Mariano Rivera is another great example.  When he retired, his story was all over the news, fans could not get enough of Mariano.  He would do a signing every 4 weeks or so, but product always sold out right away.  The supply was there, but the demand was much higher.  As a result, companies increased his price to take advantage of the favorable market.

8.) Timing.  Buying a players autograph right after a major accomplishment (WS Championship, MVP award, HOF induction) is always going to increase the price of their autograph simply because the emotions are high from collectors and fans.  They want a piece of the action and something to remember the moment by.

9.) Dead or Alive.  Obviously, when a player dies his autograph increases.  Enough said.

10.) What an Athlete/Company Charges.  It is no secret, athletes get paid for their autograph.  What they get paid is mostly a secret.  Athletes such as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera get paid top dollar.  They are paid per autograph and more for premium items such as jerseys.  Baseballs are typically on the lower end of cost.  The more the athlete gets paid, the more the cost is past down to the sports memorabilia consumer.  Also, consider working with internet companies like us, where our overhead is much less and we can afford to sell items for less.

3 Responses

I have a World Series baseball Rawlings signed by frank Thomas what is the value of that
I have a World Series baseball Rawlings signed by frank Thomas what is the value of that

May 02, 2023

I’m very curious to find out how much a signed Rawlings World Series baseball by Frank Thomas is worth I wanna know the maximum I can get for it he is a Hall of Famer


September 13, 2019

Not to make you look bad but you had mentioned that Rawlings stopped making the baseballs for the World Series, but i did my research and that is false Rawlings is still the only supplier for baseballs for the MLB for regular season, postseason and World Series so I am curious as to how you made that claim

Charlie Cabrera
Charlie Cabrera

March 01, 2018

VERY INTERESTING STORY : I am 65 years old and came to the U. S. from Cuba in 1962 . I grew up in Miami, Florida and my father used to take me in the 60s to the " Miami Stadium " which is where the Baltimore Orioles used to do their " Spring Training ".
My father used to play baseball in Cuba with Pedro Ramos who happened to play for the New York Yankees at the time and they were good friends. We went to see the Yankees play the Orioles one day, so my father asked Pedro if he could get a baseball signed by some of the players. Although it’s a used ball Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, Bobby Richardson, Al Downing and a couple more signed the baseball. I now live in Westerly, RI. Any idea what the value of this baseball is ?

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