However, if you're considering purchasing signed sports memorabilia online, there are some important steps that you need to take to ensure that your autograph is authentic.
Just like when buying anything else online, there are some things to look for to make sure you get that perfect, authentic autographed baseball.
There are also things you can do to protect and preserve your memorabilia for years to come. After all, you aren’t just buying a knick-knack or toy, but instead, your little piece of history.
What to Research Beforehand
When you're in the market for baseball memorabilia, there are a few things that you'll need to research before you buy that first ball.
How do you know that you are getting the real thing? It’s not always easy, but there are three important things to look at, and become familiar with, to ensure that you are buying an authentic autograph.
You'll need to master price points, brush up on your baseball history, and make sure that you can recognize the signatures of the specific players you're interested in.
Know your Prices
The first step in buying any kind of sports collectibles, is to make sure that you have done your research on the average prices of the specific autographed baseballs that you're considering buying.
Keep in mind that these prices can be influenced by the condition of the ball, the certificate of authenticity (COA) it comes with, the success of the season, and of course, by the popularity of the player that signed it.
Price checking several sites and becoming familiar with the average price range of the player you are looking for is an important 1st step. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples, items with the same COA and condition.
As a bona fide baseball fanatic, we know that knowledge of the history of the game and being able to spout off random facts about every World Series game from the past fifty years is something you pride yourself on.
When you're on the hunt for autographed baseballs, this is the kind of knowledge that will serve you especially well.
Still, no matter how much you think you know about the team or player, we suggest brushing up on the history of the specific baseballs you're thinking about buying.
This will help you to understand which items will likely appreciate in value over the years, which game balls are the rarest options, and which teams have the most historical value based on the year you're buying. If you can only afford to buy one baseball, you want to ensure that you've made the best investment possible.
For example, if a player has won a World Series MVP award, having their autograph on an official World Series baseball from that year will be more valuable than a standard MLB baseball.
Recognize Specific Signatures
To make sure your autograph is 100% authentic when you're shopping for a signed baseball, make sure you've researched what the athlete's signature actually looks like.
For example, what does a Pete Rose signed baseball look like? How does Vin Scully usually do his autograph? What distinctive characteristics does a Nolan Ryan signed baseball have that would help you to determine if the autograph is authentic?
You should also take a look at the overall placement of the autograph. Be aware of where your favorite players preferred to leave their signatures. Usually, they're signed on the "sweet spot", but be aware that those with signatures placed there may be more expensive.
Additionally, you should also take a look at the type of baseball that the signature has been placed on. Is the baseball an official American League Ball? Do these baseballs match up with the team or league at the time of the signing? While an unofficial baseball may still show a legitimate autograph, if you want a truly authentic experience, we suggest looking for baseballs that are from the official league.
Even more important than that or what COA an item comes with, what the actual autograph looks like is THE driving factor as to whether an autograph is authentic or not. After all, you are buying the autograph, not the COA it comes with. Get to know that player’s autograph before purchasing.
Unfortunately, up to 90% of the sports memorabilia sold online is thought to be not genuine.
When you're investing your hard-earned money into autographed baseballs, you want to ensure that you've done everything you can to make sure your item is authentic.
While there are certain steps you can take to spot fake signatures, when all you have to go on is a picture online, that can sometimes be easier said than done.
This is why buying autographed baseballs from a trusted online dealer is essential. Having a personal relationship with someone who can not only sell you an authentic autograph, but also teach you and show you how and why your autograph is authentic is priceless.
First of all, these dealers are much more likely to provide a guaranteed “Certificate of Authenticity” that has been independently verified by a third party.
In general, you should look for COAs from trusted sources, like PSA/DNA, James Spence Authentication (JSA), or Beckett Authentication Services (BAS). These companies not only authenticate autographs already signed, but also witness signings firsthand.
Make sure that you ask the dealers you're considering buying from who has issued their certificate of authenticity, and how they came to find the piece of sports memorabilia in the first place.
Ask them how long they've been in the business, if they have any verified online reviews, and any other questions that will help you to feel more comfortable making your purchase. Even conducting a quick Google search will help you to determine the satisfaction of past customers.
Buy From a Dealer With a Clear Return Policy
Any time you buy anything online, always make sure that company has a return policy that is clear and posted online.
Ask them about any kind of guarantees or warranties they offer and be sure that you understand whether or not you'll be able to return your autographed baseball and get a full refund on your purchase if for some reason you are unsatisfied.
Now that you have a better understanding of how you can find authentic autographed baseballs, here are some things you can do to both display your purchase and keep safe for years to come.
Get the Right Accessories
Of course, how you choose to display your autographed baseballs depends on the overall size of your collection.
If you only have a few of them, then a transparent baseball display case will likely be your best option. However, if you're investing in a larger collection, you may need to have entire shelving units installed so that you can line them up in a row.
Finding the right accessories is incredibly important because they can help you to better protect your investment. Take a look at the materials that your baseball display case is constructed from. Use only high-quality options that are completely free from leaks or holes.
Your top priority should be protecting your autographed baseball. How do you do that? Easy! Follow these quick steps.
While shelving units might be an efficient way to store multiple items, we suggest leaving them in individual cases for the best possible protection. Also, you can enclose the entire shelving unit in a temperature-controlled glass case.
Finally, you should make it a point to consider the overall design and attractiveness of your baseball display cases. Is there a specific kind of base design that appeals to you? What sort of shape would you like for your case to take? Would you like for the case to be completely transparent, or would having a solid-colored background make things pop more?
These are all things to think about when you're choosing your cases.
Go With What You Love
Above all, when you're in the market for autographed baseballs and other kinds of sports memorabilia, you should purchase the items that speak to you the most.
Sure, it can certainly be tempting to go for the items that you know will likely have the greatest return on your investment, but it's important that you spend your money on the items that you find interesting.
Remember, sometimes having a great story to go along with your signed baseballs can help to increase its value, too!
Especially if you're considering passing down your memorabilia from generation to generation, you want to look for items that will hold sentimental value in the future.
Hopefully this guide to buying autographed baseballs online has helped you to better understand some of the most important things that you need to be on the lookout for when making your purchase.
Remember to do your research ahead of time, only buy from trusted and reputable dealers, and make sure that your items come with a certificate of authenticity from a trusted 3rd party company.
Once you've purchased your baseball, make sure that you've taken the necessary steps to preserve it for many years to come.
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