Sports Memorabilia

OK, as some of you know I’m getting married in August. I’m trying to think of something unique as my groomsman gifts.

A few of my groomsmen are sports nuts, and I thought I’d check into sports memorabilia. i.e. signed balls, etc.

This question could also fall under IMHO, but I feel like I’m actualy for factual advice, so I’m starting here. Mods please move it if you need to (uh, not that you need my permission :slight_smile: )

How do I find out if a dealer is reputable?
Is there anyway to go wholesale?
What other advice do you have?

If it matters any…
My best man lives in Dallas, and would probably really go for anything Cowboys related or Ranger, or UT for that matter. One of my brothers is also a Cowboys fan, and a big Oklahoma Sooner fan as well. My other brother is Oklahoma State Alum, and would probably really dig something related to O State (Barry Sanders signed something?)

I can’t answer our main questions, but you’ve reminded me of something I learned when I interviewed a guy who was travel manager for the Cleveland Indians in the late 40s/early 50s. He told me the players would often have a big stack of photographs, mitts, balls, whatever the club wanted them to sign for fans. To get it done quicker they’d drag over anyone handy and have them sit around all signing the same name to the items (The players did this individually, this was not club policy.)
Ever since I heard this I’ve been extremely suspicious of so-called “official” autographed memorabilia. I think the only way to be sure any of it is real is to witness the player signing it himself. I wouldn’t even buy somthing like this otherwise. The chances of fraud are just too great.

Yeah, I’ve heard Charlie Hough was big on doing that; which is too bad because he was one of my favorite baseball players of all time. Anyone that plays pro baseball, and smokes cigarettes between innings is OK with me! :slight_smile:

In a former life I personally signed autographs as Hulk Hogan. And, no, other than being a white male I have nothing in common with the Hulk. It was kinda fun though.

So I’d be real cautious about buying anything supposedly personalized from anyone nowadays. If the price is nil, who cares if it’s real; but if hey want big bucks, forget it.

Then again, if the recipient believes it’s real, does it truly matter what its true history is? He don’t know, you don’t know, and odds are the guy you bought it from don’t know either. Setting aside the moral issue of supporting counterfeiting, isn’t ignorance bliss in this case?

I was actually thinking the same thing. If I give a gift, and the owner assumes it has some value, and he keeps it, then for all intents an purposes it has that value. If he goes to sell it, and finds out it’s a fake oh well.


As noted, forgeries are very rampant in the sports world. On top of that, fake certificate of authentication’s in combination with the forgeries usually go side by side.

My recomendation is that if your serious about buying autographed sports memoribilia is to look for items that are PSA/DNA. PSA is recognized as the premeir authenticator and grader in sports cards. Recently they have moved into grading and authenticating autographs.

Another service is Beckett Sportscards. They also authenticate autographs but I think they are more in the autograph card side.

You can google psa/dna to take a look at their website

There were several stories in the media a few months ago, it is now suspected that 75% or so of all autographs are forgeries…they even interviewed some of the guys who were responsible for it, they would hire an expert forger, who would sign item after item(including Babe Ruth, Gerhig, DiMaggio, etc), then send them off to authenticators who pronounced them genuine…I’ll see if I can dig up some links.

IIRC, some of the stuff even made it to Upper Deck, and got inserted as prized in packs of cards.

sorry, the 75% number is off, this article says the FBI number is 50%…this is the first article I found when googling, so I’ll just link this one, even though it is from the Packers board.

You may want to hit a card show or two. They sometimes have signing sessions, where, for a fee, you can watch the guy sign the item before your eyes. Might be tough to get people from several different specific teams at the same time, but you could maybe get each groomsman an item signed by a big name player…who wouldn’t like, for example, a baseball signed by Nolan Ryan?

We have several pieces of sports memorabilia, almost all of which are authentic. I can’t vouch 100% for the Mantle signed bat because I bought it from a dealer, but on every other piece we either know the player, witnessed the signing or had another person witness the signing.

Nice of you to consider the idea, though. So much better than a beer stein or Zippo lighter for your groomsmen! :slight_smile:

Oh, I meant to ask you… are you saying you were employed by Hulk Hogan as an autograph signer?

With a decent plotter and a scan of an authentic signature, good luck picking out the fakes, at least on flat surfaces.