Reminiscing about the past.
We all do it, especially with collectibles. How many times have you heard a fellow collector talk of fortunes he has passed up over the years.
"If I would have bought those McGwire rookies in 1994, I would be rich now."
"I thought that a PSA 10 Jordan rookie for $3,000 was too much two years ago...now it's worth $40,000!"
The sob stories are inevitable when it comes to collectibles, but why not avoid them? There is an obvious trend forming in the world of sports collectibles. If you join the movement, most likely you'll enjoy the upside that vintage autographs has to offer.
Since the invention of the pen, autographs have been the desire of millions of people, who were in search of a sort of momento, something to remind them of their idols. At first, these scraps of paper, letters and balls were valuable mostly in sentimental terms. But the years passed, as did those famous personalities, and these autographs became valuable in a monetary sense.
As the sports collectibles market emerged from its infancy into a thriving industry, the value of these autographs have increased, along with the number of counterfeits. Now collectors are faced with a difficult situation: Should they purchase an autograph of their hero?
Let's say for instance, Babe Ruth, a man who changed baseball and even American life. A person who is more of a folk hero than an athlete (Don Mattingly, former N.Y. Yankee star, thought Ruth was a comic book character). Just imagine an autograph that was actually held by George (aka Babe), signed by his own hand, and given to an adoring fan. What a great collectible!
Hang an autographed picture in your "House of the Babe," and you can bet that every person who ever enters your domain will go out of his way to admire such an item. Don't get me wrong -- cards are great -- but if you want to get that "tingly-chill-like-feeling" down your spine when you look at a collectible, or want to watch your friends get giggly and giddy while viewing a piece of memorabilia, autographs are the way to go.
The problem is, with value comes counterfeiting - lots of counterfeiting. This single factor has hurt the autograph market for years. It has kept buyers from purchasing desired autographs, due to a fear that their hundreds or even thousands of dollars would be going to buy a forged signature.
But times they are a changin'...
With the formation of PSA/DNA, the third party verification service, which employs a handful of the greatest sports autograph experts ever, collectors can now rest at ease. No more buying a nostalgic piece that turns out to be a fake -- as long as it's been verified by PSA/DNA, your pocketbook is safe. And with the recent sale of a Babe Ruth autograph baseball at a record-shattering price of $55,660, it appears that pocket books won't be doing much rest in the future.
Folks, now that autographs can be deemed authentic, expect massive price jumps over the years to come. A hammer price of $55,660 for a Ruth ball is a monster price in today's terms, but with the mainstreaming of collectibles due the Internet revolution (started principally by eBay), and a few years time, the collector who purchased this ball will surely be looking back laughing:
"I should have bought five!"