Like any other hobby, collecting autographs requires a certain level of passion, commitment, and smarts. Of course, you also have to enjoy doing it. What helps make the process of collecting autographs a positive one is knowing how to best approach it.
As someone who has been gathering graphs on and off since childhood, I thought it’d be a great idea to pass on some of what I’ve learned about participating in this incredible pastime.
Find Your Favourites
There are always a ton of autographs in the market, no matter what you’re looking for. Some people are into athletes, while others prefer chasing signatures from musicians and movie stars. Then, you have those who like to colour a bit outside the lines and chase graphs from political figures. No matter what you’re into, it’s important to focus on the type of autograph that gets you the most excited. If you’re a giant Toronto Maple Leafs fan, stick to those signatures. If you love singers from ‘80s hair metal bands, a signed Dee Snider photo can be found. Narrowing down your search to focus on your favourites will not only make your hunt easier, it’ll also save you money and space in the long run.
Know Who You’re Buying From
There are a lot of people in this world that you can buy autographs from. With that being the case, please zone in on making purchases from reputable dealers, retailers, or auctioneers. If you consider making a sizeable purchase from a fellow collector, make sure there’s a quality certificate of authenticity attached to the item. If there isn’t and you want to roll the dice, be extra cautious about the autograph’s legitimacy, who you’re buying it from, and the price you’re being charged.
Pursue In-Person Opportunities
As easy as it is nowadays to shop for autographs online, there are often opportunities to meet some of your favourite athletes and celebrities at shows, co-ordinated in-store signings, or even at public events (i.e. games, concerts). Yes, lineups and crowds can be tedious to deal with, but every now and then it feels pretty rewarding to meet and receive an autograph from someone you admire. When you do this, though, please don’t be weird. These individuals may be way better at shooting a puck, or singing a song than you, but they too are human. Be kind, respectful, and gracious.
Look Out for the Legends
If you want your collection to standout and perhaps achieve a high monetary value down the road, seeking out autographs from legends, or legends-to-be, is a very smart move. Many sports Hall of Famers appear at public signings after their careers are over, so getting in on that action isn’t too tough. Where it gets tricky, however, is projecting an athlete’s career trajectory and hoping for greatness. If you guess right, an early, modest investment in an autograph could lead to a big profit down the road if and when you choose to sell parts of your collection.
Pricing and Condition is Everything
Buying autographs can get expensive real fast. So, if you’re making the investment, it’s wise to analyze any purchase price you encounter and determine if it’ll not just make sense to you now, but also later. Like gambling, play within your limit. What’s more, if you are shelling out your money on autographed memorabilia, keep an eye out for condition of both the signature and the item in which its been written upon – both matter. There are exceptions to this rule, for sure, but a great rule of thumb is to try your best to get an optimal autograph on a pristine piece of merchandise.