Cashing out on Tiger?
March 16, 2010 11:41 AM   Subscribe

How does one sell an autograph?

I have a somewhat unique autograph* that, due to current events, might be somewhat more valuable currently than later (although this is also debatable; ALL RIGHT FINE IT'S TIGER WOODS).

I have not decided to sell it, but might. But frankly, I have no idea how one would go about doing it. I've googled it some, but don't feel like I've learned much. Should one use a dealer? How would you find one? How does the industry authenticate such things? Are there recognized experts in this field? There would have to be, right? Is this even a valuable autograph? I really don't know the answers to any of these questions.

*Relevant details: it's a big fat autograph on the program for the 1996 US Amateur, which Mr. Woods won immediately prior to going pro. I know it is authentic because my wife (who was working at the tournament) got it at the time herself.
posted by norm to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
Check eBay. If there are other things that had sold or are up for auction, you can get a loose feel for that market. If you choose to use eBay, describe it with as much detail as you like, since it's really up to the buyer to decide if it's "real."

I don't know of any "industry" when it comes to autographs. I'd think it's really up to the buyer to decide if it's real or not. I mean, I have an autograph from a book author, and I remember seeing him sign books before and after mine--the sigs themselves looked quite different from the same hand.

The most important thing to remember about auctions is that an item's actual "value" is equal to how much someone is willing to pay, and that is all.
posted by Ky at 11:45 AM on March 16, 2010

I have bought and sold autographed items on ebay. I didn't get an exorbitant amount for what I sold. I didn't pay a lot for what I bought ($40 seems to sound right). The item I bought came with a certificate of authenticity, which I thought was pretty cool.

Autographed items are pretty common now and don't usually command high prices. You could always list it on ebay with a minimum required price and if you don't get it, then you don't have to sell it. As Ky says, the value is only what someone will pay for it.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 11:48 AM on March 16, 2010

I have actually checked eBay from time to time for about the last three years, and can't really say that anything too similar has sold. I did see another US Am signature up a few years back with a buy it now price in the $1500 range, but I didn't see if it actually sold or at what price. Is there such a thing as an eBay results aggregator? That would be quite useful.
posted by norm at 11:49 AM on March 16, 2010

If you log in to your ebay account, you can click advanced options next to search and check the box for completed listings. I'm not sure how far back it goes.
posted by lakerk at 11:58 AM on March 16, 2010

Some signings come complete with a certificate of authentication. But for after-the-fact authentication, there are authentication services and autograph specialists who can certify signatures. I don't know of any who are better than others, so I won't link to any Google search results to avoid boosting their credentials, and for all I know, the majority of them could be frauds.

I imagine you could post it on eBay, list the story of how you got the signature, and perhaps link to similar signatures for your own pseudo-authentication. Or you could sell it to a sports collectors shop, where they'd give you less than your potential, but they would have their own authentication services, and you'd have your money.

As for eBay sales results collectors, the only one I've seen was for Depeche Mode stuff on a DM fansite, and I think that was done by hand.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:59 AM on March 16, 2010

Sad to say, your wife's word is worth nothing in this case. For all the buyer knows, she's a figment of your imagination.

To make this autograph actually valuable, you need to get it authenticated by a well known service like PSA/DNA (for $100 in this case). The dilemma is that it really don't seem like many of these are selling on eBay. Someone got $1000 for a signed Hooters menu, but run-of-the-mill programs seem to go for less than $100. OTOH, this is not a run-of-the-mill program, so it might be worth the gamble of getting it authenticated.
posted by smackfu at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2010

Years ago I got a Will Smith autograph on my crew badge for a music video shoot. I looked into selling but decided to keep it. It's now sitting in a frame and is just kinda cool to have. So ultimately I gain more value by having it then money I would have made selling it.

Just something to think about.
posted by UMDirector at 12:29 PM on March 16, 2010

I would hold onto it for now- such collectors items are only worth as much as people are willing to pay for them (even if estimated value is higher, if you can't sell the item for that amount, you're still going to feel you are out money), and given the economy right now, you're less likely to get what you expect.
posted by questionsandanchors at 1:41 PM on March 16, 2010

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