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Old 09-22-2009, 04:05 PM   #1
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Default A Guide to Autographed Baseballs

A Guide to Autographed Baseballs
By Richard Mueller

An accomplished professional journalist, Richard Mueller has covered major pro, college, high school and amateur sports for over two decades as a sports anchor/reporter/writer

The autographed baseball has been around since before the time of Babe Ruth. It was Ruth, though, who turned collecting them into a national pastime.

Ruth signed tens of thousands of balls in his life and by the time he joined the New York Yankees, putting one's name on a ball with an ink pen was popular with fans who wanted a souvenir of an admired team or player. Back then, there was no real monetary value attached. Times have changed!

Autographed baseballs can be extremely valuable, but most really don't carry a huge dollar figure. The most valuable balls are the single-signed baseballs from Hall of Famers. Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, Koufax, Clemente and the like are always sought-after. Even current day stars like Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter and Ichiro are valued at $150-250. They're hard to get because their popularity makes it hard for them to honor so many requests, even at the ballpark.

Single-signed Ruth balls sell for $3000 to as much as $50,000, depending on condition. Most generally sell for $10,000 or less. Many suffered wear from age or mishandling over the years and some include lesser known players, which actually de-values the Ruth signature a bit. The Babe's competition comes from players of his era who signed only a small number of baseballs or from deceased Hall of Famers who passed on long before the baseball memorabilia craze really kicked in during the 1980s.

Team-signed balls are also popular, especially those from World Series winning teams. Yankee balls from the days of Mantle, DiMaggio and other greats carry significant value. However, they're also prone to 'clubhouse' signatures. That's when a batboy or other club official forged the name of a famous player who didn't want to be bothered. The signatures can be very similar and easily fool a less knowledgeable person. Ordinary team signed balls from the 1950s-70s generally sell for $50-500 each. Again, condition and authenticity is important.

If you think your ball may have value, it's best to have it authenticated by professionals who will give their letter of opinion for a set fee. Make sure you choose a reputable authenticator. Read up on which ones to trust.

Don't leave an old autographed baseball sitting in the open, with no protection. Buy a holder for a few dollars and keep it enclosed as often as possible. Balls attract dirt and smudges easily. Don't put any liquid on the ball.

SignatureBaseballs offers tips and information on collecting autographed baseballs. You can find out about some valuable baseballs that have been sold recently and also shop for signed baseballs by team on the site.

Sports Collectors Daily#@-#@Sports Collectors Daily

Article Source: Richard Mueller - Expert Author
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