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Football Autographs To Buy - Do THIS, Not That! The BEST Investing Strategies

July 09, 2021 14 min read

Football Autographs To Buy - Do THIS, Not That! The BEST Investing Strategies

So football is arguably America's number one sport. Some would argue baseball, some even argue basketball, but there's no doubt, football is king as of right now and people are going to watch football and say this is my favorite sport and I want to get involved in buying and selling autographs, and possibly make a little bit of money. So it got me thinking. With all these new people coming into the hobby, what would I do if I was just getting started collecting football autographs? So that's what today's video is gonna be all about. There's gonna be three topics today. It's gonna be authentication, types of items to buy, and also what everybody wants to know is what players to buy.

So first off let's start off with authentication. I know I harp on this all the time in all of my videos. I feel like I should just copy and paste these into this so I don't have to keep repeating them, but it's worth noting on every single video. As far as football autographs go, my preferred authentication, and this is in no particular order, would be companies like Fanatics Authentic, JSA witness authentication, PSA DNA witness, and also Beckett witness are also solid ones. Tristar is another really good one. Of course Panini and Upper Deck also do football players as well, but ninety percent of the  football autographs out there are going to have a JSA, Beckett, or PSA witness, and of course Fanatics kind of mix in there. So that's kind of the big four. If you stick to those big four you're doing pretty darn good for yourself from an authenticity standpoint.

Now types of items to buy. If you've seen any of my football videos you know that I am huge on specialty helmets, and with football the full-size helmet is absolutely king. Yes jerseys sell very well but helmets are absolutely the way to go when it comes to football stuff. So first off you want to make sure that when you're buying something, that you think it's cool. That way somebody else might think it's cool and they might actually buy your item. What I'm going to be recommending below is based off of all of my experience and also my sales data as well. So this is not something I'm just winging it for you, this is based off of what actually sells in the industry.

So with the full-size helmet you can go with replica, you can go with the authentic ones, that's entirely up to you. My rule of thumb is when I'm paying more for the autograph than the actual helmet I'm gonna go ahead and upgrade that helmet to an authentic one. Take for example Tom Brady. When he was doing send-ins he was a thousand dollar autograph. The autograph is more expensive than the actual helmet so I'm gonna go ahead and upgrade that to an authentic one. For a hundred dollars or less for autographs I'm gonna get on replica helmets and then $200 or more ones I'm typically getting on authentic full-size helmets. Also something to keep in mind too is the Amp specialty helmets like the Blaze and the Eclipse. These ones are going to be iconic because they are kind of, in my opinion, the short print runs when it comes to full-size helmets. They've only been made for a couple years. There aren't that many out there. Collectors really enjoy these items and I think those more so than the standard full-size helmet are ones that are going to be going way up in value. So definitely, if you can find specialty helmets I would definitely go that route. They're going to be holding their value very well.

Jerseys of course are popular, just keep in mind about 90% of the jerseys you see out there are these custom jerseys, meaning they're not officially licensed. They have no logos on there, no branding whatsoever. It's just a red jersey for example. So when you frame it you really can't tell the difference, however if you're wanting something to go up in value over time I always recommend going with the officially licensed jersey. Nike is the company that makes them right now. Of course Reebok has made them in the past and also Wilson. So if you can find some older school players like an old school Reebok Tom Brady jersey, which is a very cool item.

Let's talk about the jerseys that are available for football. Nike of course makes three different types of officially licensed jerseys. They have the game version, the limited version, and then also the elite version. The game version is about the $100 retail one that's just screen printed numbers. It's for autographs. It's not bad, they pretty much offer them for most players. I would personally start off with the limited version which is the $150 jersey. That's the sewn on numbers. Allows for the best autograph possible and then for some of the higher end players like Tom Brady or even Mahomes every now and then they do offer elite jerseys. Those retail somewhere around $350 so take the same example for the helmet. If you're paying more than $350 for this autograph or really even $250 or so I may consider getting them on an elite jersey. If your goal is to buy something that's going to be going up in value I would stick to those full size helmets, the jerseys, and even Super Bowl footballs are pretty good. Definitely would be sticking with those type of three items.

Items to avoid. It's usually obviously the cheaper items, so mini helmets, 8x10 photos. I am a big fan of photos that are of a significant event so if you can get a bigger size like a 16x20. For example there's a great one out there of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning kind of hugging after a Super Bowl. That one dual signed by both of them is something that I’ve seen going up in value. So photos can go up in value, you just have to find the right one. Hopefully there's an iconic image of some hall of famers or an iconic play with hall of famers, that's what I would stick to as well.

So the moment everybody's been waiting for. The players to buy. So let's look at some data real quick. Now this is not an apples to apples argument, it's kind of more of an apples to green apples kind of or argument. You'll see what I mean here in a second. This data is from Market Movers. This is where I pull all my card data from, but it's going to be relevant to the autograph industry and I'll tell you why here in a second. So this is the all the football cards for the last 90 days that have sold, and this is total dollar sales amount. Eight of these top nine players are quarterbacks. That's the theme you're gonna see here. This is mainly just your standard card but the autographed card in the trading card industry kind of go hand in hand for the most part.

So we all know the NFL and in the NFL the quarterback is the dominant position. They are the face of the of the league. I guess you could argue right now that Patrick Mahomes is the face of the league. So the quarterback is obviously super important and from an investing standpoint this is the way to go. So my recommendation for you if you're just getting started, yes there are multiple ways to invest in autographs, but if you're just getting started I like to keep things really simple. My strategy for you is to go ahead and invest in just quarterbacks. Eventually once you get kind of a little more experienced you can start investing in other positions, and this is not to say guys like Randy Moss and Jerry Rice and Chase Claypool aren't going to make you money, they will, but this is just to keep things really simple for that new person.

I think quarterbacks just really cannot go wrong from a standpoint of investing. So running backs I tend to kind of stay away from just simply because their shelf life is so short in the NFL. They're in one week and they're out in the next week and they're always getting traded on teams. If you get like a signed jersey of a player and then they change teams then it's not worth anything. I tend to stay away from defensive players for the most part and the reason being is they just don't get the same notoriety as the offensive players because they're not scoring touchdowns. Guys like Dion Sanders for example, who have a little bit of flair who are still in the media limelight, they do continue to sell, but for the most part I stay away from defensive guys. Going back to the running backs too, yes you can make money on guys like Barry Sanders and Walter Payton. Guys like that, but again that's for down the road when we get a little bit more experience in the industry.

So quarterbacks, which ones are we going to be investing in? That is the big question. Now I tend to invest in mainly current quarterbacks and here's why. If a current quarterback has let's say a $200 autograph right now and they go and win a super bowl, what do you think happens to that $200 autograph? It goes up in value. With retired players, they're done playing, obviously they're not gonna have a chance to win another super bowl. They've probably been signing more autographs now that they're not playing. Take for example Joe Montana. His pricing is pretty much cemented in stone right now. His pricing isn't going to be going up 30% in one year, it just doesn't happen as much as you see it with current players. So that's what we're looking for. We're looking for quarterbacks who have the potential to win another super bowl.

So which of the current players am I recommending? Number one is a no-brainer. I've talked about him on this show a thousand times. I feel like we really get to know each other, me and Mr. Patrick Mahomes. To me he is still extremely undervalued. I don't understand why this guy is not a thousand dollar plus helmet and a thousand dollar plus jersey already. He's kind of in that seven to nine hundred dollar range now, but again Super Bowl champion and Super MVP. He's the only guy that's playing right now that has a chance in my opinion to be better than Brady and be better than Montana, and those are the two guys that people consider most to be the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Super Bowl MVP and he also has a great team around him which is paramount when it comes down to investing in quarterbacks. He's got Kelsey, he's got Hill, so they've got a really good chance to get to continuous Super Bowls which is a huge thing in the industry. You want to be picking quarterbacks who are on good teams, hence all those people that bought Sam Darnold or Daniel Dones are not paying off right now. Not to say they can't, but I want you guys to start making money right now. I don't want you guys wasting money on these rookies.

So let's start investing in solid guys who are in really good teams right here. Number two. This guy you don't really hear talk too much about in the autograph market and I don't know if it's because he's way up in the northwest there, but Russell Wilson is another undervalued guy. They've got a really solid team this year, they just lost to Arizona last night in an overtime game so they're five and one right now, but I think a guy like Russell Wilson has got a chance to possibly get to another one or two Super Bowls. Pete Carroll's a great coach. They've got a great team up there plus with Mahomes in the AFC they don't have to go through him. They just got to go through guys like maybe Aaron Rodgers which could be challenging. Obviously he's still going to have to go through Murray as well. I just think he's really undervalued. I mean they got $499 for an eclipse full-size helmet. He signs those with the green paint pen, oh it's just a nasty looking helmet. I love it when they do it with those green paint pens on there, but I think he's just undervalued right now. He wants a Super Bowl so there’s a chance to go up 25% or 30%.

Number three and I'm putting him on this list kind of reluctantly. I really like the guy but I don't know if he's got a chance to win another super bowl. I think he's got a decent shot though, better than a lot of these other players. Aaron Rodgers. I put him mainly on this list for a couple reasons. Number one he plays for the Green Bay Packers which is an iconic franchise. We all know I'm big on buying players that are on iconic franchises, big fan bases, and they tend to go up in value over time as opposed to being on a team that's not so great. He's won a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP already. They're having a pretty decent year so far so a lot of things could change here, but he doesn't have to go through Patrick Mahomes which is another big plus. He does have to go through us and Russell Wilson but we'll see if he wins another Super Bowl. Definitely a guy that's gonna be going up 20% to 30% easily and he doesn't really like to sign. He does kind of one signing a year or so. Do I see him going up tremendous amounts of value? No, but I see him going up a lot more than a lot of these other guys.

Number four on my list, Tom Brady. It's really hard to see him going up in value even more. I mean he's the guy that's kind of the trend center for new pricing. He just signed that new exclusive deal with Fanatics so just an fyi with authentication, you're going to start seeing a lot of Tom Brady stuff right now that does not have the Tristar authentication. I don't think this is gonna happen, I really don't, but if he does win a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay, holy Toledo that pricing is gonna go way up. I mean it is just insane. They're starting to play pretty well, anything can happen in the NFL, but listen, Tom Brady is along with Joe Montana. The top two quarterbacks in my opinion out there. Is he going to be going down in value at any time? Absolutely not. You want to make sure you get them on premium items and whatnot, but it is expensive. Make sure you save up for that, but Tom Brady's not going down in value. He's about as safe a bet as anybody on this list. It's a big chunk of change but he's a pretty safe bet.

So what players are on this list that maybe haven't really cemented their careers yet that I could potentially see going up in value over time? Well Justin Herbert's going to be on this list here of course. I really like this kid. I like his playing style. Plays in Los Angeles. If they can get a decent team going and getting to the playoffs I can see him going up. It's a little more expensive than I would like right now and his eclipse full size is $349. It's a little bit expensive for him. You can find obviously cheaper items for him on the mini helmets, but again I try to stay away from those when it comes to an investment standpoint. Big downside is he's got Mahomes in his division so that's going to be a big challenge to him. You watch Mahomes play you and you're like, “wow that guy knows how to play the position.” I think Herbert's kind of one of those guys.

Also on this list is a Cincinnati Bengals quarterback. I can't believe I'm saying that. Same thing with Herbert here. I like Joe Burrow. What's going to make Joe Burrow go up in value, and it's really just one thing right now, if he gets the Bangles into the playoffs. If he gets them into the playoffs he is going to be like a godsend. So that's the really only short-term thing I see of him going up in value. He's a very expensive autograph. Of course he's a Fanatics guy right now so they can tend to keep the price kind of high. You're looking at somewhere around 700 bucks or so for an authentic helmet which I think is really priced high, but again I would just keep an eye on Joe Burrow. See how the Bangles are progressing and if they can get into the playoffs and have a couple consistent years in the playoffs. They've got a tough division there with Pittsburgh and whatnot, but I can see him going up in value. He's a Heisman trophy winner too which is always a big benefit and he came from a big time program there in LSU as well.

So here's some notables that I left off and I'll tell you why. I'm not a big fan of the dual threat quarterbacks. I just think that the chance for injury is just so high so that's why I've left guys off like Lamar and Jackson. Murray could be decent, he's got to go through Wilson of course, but they got a pretty good team. I'd like to see how he plays for a year before I go out and buy something on him. Really anything can happen on this league and he just beat Russell Wilson last night so I don't know, he's just a little too short for me as far as from a stature standpoint. I kind of like the bigger quarterbacks just because they can take a little bit more pounding and stay in the league longer, but he is a Heisman trophy owner. Something to keep in mind on whether or not you want to pull the trigger.

Another guy you probably don't pull the trigger on just yet, Drew Lock. He could still potentially be a decent quarterback. He's got to stay healthy for a full year to be able to make a full decision on that. Right now I would stay away from him as much as possible, it just seems like that Broncos franchise right now is just kind of in disarray. Granted he hasn't been healthy but they have picked up some solid tight ends and wide receivers, so they do have some talent there for him. It just depends on whether or not he's there to use that talent. I would probably wait until he has a full year under his belt and then kind of make a decision from there. He may be overpaying a little bit to some extent but that way you can at least get an idea if he's going to be decent. He's going to have to play Patrick Mahomes twice a year. I just don't like that one.

Deshaun Watson, I mean the Texans suck. I mean he's a great player and if the Texans were playing better I'd be all over it. I thought they were getting really close to a Super Bowl with their team last year  but you got to be on a good team to invest in them and Deshaun Watson, right now, is not on a good team.

Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders. Unless they win a Super Bowl he ain't going up in value. It's Derek Carr. I don't care what Las Vegas Dave says, he's not going up in value unless they win a super bowl. Also he’s got to play Patrick Mahomes twice a year, another big downfall there.

So here's another little caveat. If I were to invest in a retired player I'm gonna give you two of them right now. Number one is another Chiefs quarterback, Len Dawson. Bit of a shocker here, I know, but he doesn't sign much anymore. He's getting up there in age, I think he's 85 right now. A Super Bowl champion and MVP and with renewed interest in the Chiefs because of Patrick Mahomes and they want a Super Bowl there's going to be a lot more fans looking for Len Dawson's autographs. So he's getting up there in age. I definitely will be picking up some quality stuff on him. Your only option on him for jerseys is probably going to be those custom jerseys. I can't see anything out there with officially licensed stuff on him, but if you can find a nice throwback helmet with Dawson with maybe the Super Bowl MVP inscription, man I'd be all over that.

Also Bart Starr. Now it's been about a year since he's been deceased but again he played for an iconic franchise in the Green Bay Packers. A Super Bowl champion and hall of famer as well. I just saw a Super Bowl football of his for 900 bucks or so. I think that's a pretty good price right there. Keep in mind he was a Tristar exclusive for a long time so I would be looking to pick up stuff with a Tristar authentication on Bart Starr, but I don't see him going down in value anytime soon. Neither one of these two guys here.

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