How do I authenticate and sell baseball memorabilia?
December 9, 2013 3:57 PM   Subscribe

A couple of years ago I met Joe Torre, totally outside of a baseball context. He graciously gave me two signed baseballs, with no fanfare, just reached into his pockets and came out with two balls wrapped in tissue paper saying, "Want some balls?" Well, yes, of course I wanted them, and I took them home and socked them away thinking that someday—maybe when he was inducted to the baseball hall of fame—I would sell them. Well, Joe's been voted in, and I'd like to explore the best way to put my memorabilia on the market. I'm curious how to go about that.

The balls aren't authenticated; there's no certificate or trophy case or anything to go with them. I think he just grabbed some he had laying around his house before giving them to me. Do I need to get them authenticated or anything before I try to sell them? And where should I look to sell them? What other things do I need to watch out for or be knowledgeable about when it comes to this? I've never sold any memorabilia before. Thanks!
posted by saguaro to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total)
If he walks around grabbing balls out of his pocket and gives them to people, there might not be that great a demand. As far as value, it seems eBay is a good place to look.
posted by Cuspidx at 4:11 PM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

An autographed ball will have some value, although probably not nearly as much as you might think. Any reputable dealer in sports memorabilia should be able to authenticate the autograph. He has signed enough stuff that there are plenty of examples of known Joe Torre signatures to compare against.
posted by COD at 5:27 PM on December 9, 2013

There are two major services that offer autograph authentication for a price, PSA/DNA & JSA. You send them your memorabilia, and they send it back with a letter of authentication (or rejection). After a cursory search for baseballs signed by Torre, it looks like the authentication fees might not be worth the trouble. Also, you obtained them from the person who signed them (but you didn't witness the signature, right?) so there's not really much doubt, from your perspective at least, that it's a genuine autograph.

Not sure how you would convey that to a potential buyer, though. COD's got a good idea with visiting a reputable local dealer.
posted by carsonb at 6:47 PM on December 9, 2013

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