How to get the most money when you sell your sports autographs

Let's say you're an established sports autograph collector. 

You may find yourself with duplicates. Or pieces you'd like to upgrade to better quality signatures. Or your tastes may change: from boxing to golf. 

Collecting is a wonderfully organic hobby. It can change and grow as you do.

So many collectors naturally become traders. 

Even if you never intended to buy for investment value alone you can find yourself needing to maximise the value of your treasures as you sell. 

And how do you do that?

How do you get the most money when you sell sports autographs?

Read on, and I'm confident you'll have a better idea than you do now.

A Brazil football shirt signed by Pele

This shirt is the perfect setting to add value to Pele's autograph.

Selling sports autographs: fundamentals matter 

In everything we publish on autographs we promote one message above all:

Authenticity matters. 

And proving authenticity matters just as much.

Make this your watchword when you buy. And use it to your advantage when you sell. 

Certificated authenticity guarantees are great. We provide them with everything we sell. 

As is provenance.

This might include proof of signature: a photograph for example, or a signature sitting on a very specific document, like a match ticket.

You should also make sure you preserve all documents related to the autograph, it's sale, and ownership.

Personal connections to the signer are great. Staff and family members obviously have access to signatures and may sell them. Make sure that relationship is evidenced.

A history of sales by respected autograph traders is also a good sign. Any auction house worth its salt will do a proper authentication as part of a sales process. You can add this to your evidence. 

It's about rarity

We won't patronise you with a beginner's guide to supply-and-demand economics.

You already know that rare items are more valuable than commonplace ones. 

It certainly guides your own collecting.

And you should emphasise rarity as you try to sell autographs.

Don't neglect the other side of the equation though. My great grandfather's signature is rare. And completely valueless, because nobody wants it (apart from me).

Lionel Messi's signature on a Barcelona number 10 shirt
Lionel Messi's celebrity transcends his sport, there is enormous demand for his signature.

Rarity is one thing, but it only comes into play when demand exceeds supply. 

So, a football player whose signature is rare, and who had a short, unsuccessful career with Manchester United may well attract demand from that huge fanbase. 

More so, than a player of similar status who only played for Bristol City. Sorry Robins fans.


And this brings us to who you are selling too.

And how you reach them.

You can go through dealers, of course.

They - as we do - should have the knowledge and connections to get you to the people who want your autographs. 

Because an autograph is only worth what a buyer will pay for it.

A buyer you can find.

Will Tiger Woods and his former caddy Steve Williams ever sign another glove like this? Probably not. 

As a sports autograph enthusiast you should know where to find fans who share your passion. There's nothing to stop you posting about your Tiger Woods autograph in golf forums. 

Bear timing in mind too.

Sadly, the death of a public figure massively increases interest in their life and the value of artifacts from their life.

So do anniversaries. Or records being broken. 

Really, any media coverage is grist to the seller's mill. If you'd like to sell, say, a Babe Ruth autograph, and you can list it, or be talking about it in a baseball forum, as his birthday on February 6 passes there's a chance they'll be press coverage around too. 

A signed photograph of Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth is attractive to American buyers, but much less well known in the UK.

Using your tools 

Most of you who sell privately online will do so via big reselling sites like eBay.

We advise people to be cautious when buying autographs from those sites. 

And that's because it is possible to fall prey to scammers there. 

So if you're selling in those venues, use them well. 

Make sure your reputation is unsullied. 

Answer messages quickly. Provide good quality images. Share all the information you have. Describe things accurately. If there is damage, describe it and back it up with an image. 

When you sell, send your items out quickly, well-packaged. 

Decide whether you want a quick sale, using a "buy now" option, or you can take the time to wait for an auction, which is likely (but not guaranteed) to get you a better price. 

If you do go for an auction do some research on similar items to see where you should be setting your reserve. 

Make some cash right now

Condition is an important determinant of price too.

So, right now, even if you don't plan to sell them, go and have a look at your collection.

Is it well stored? 

You should look at temperature of 35-65°F (1-18°C) and relative humidity of 30-50 percent according to the Smithsonian Institute. 

Each item should be in its own acid-free envelope. And if you have a lot of them you should store them vertically so there's no pressure from stacking. 

Start here to make money when you sell sports autographs

We're here to help if you want to sell autographs.

Many of the best prices are made in private sales. 

That means contacts. And a good reputation in the industry. 

If you're selling then drop me a line on or call +44 (0)1534 639 998 and we can go over the terms we offer. 

And, of course, if you're buying we have some beautiful pieces for you to consider for your collection of sports autographs. Take a look here now. 








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