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Old 12-26-2017, 05:39 PM
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clydepepper clydepepper is offline
Raymond 'Robbie' Culpepper
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Default Autographed Card Question: How Important is Legibility?

I stay away from autographed cards altogether unless they are authenticated by a known third party like PSQA/DNA or Topps Certified. I realize that this is not at all foolproof, but I view it as fairly safe from my perspective at the bottom of the 'food chain of knowledge' with regards to autographed cards.

My question is this: How important is legibility? I would think if you can ready the name, it's a plus...but, as players get older, their autographs change...Lord, I know mine own has reached 'chicken scratching stage.' Do you shy away from signatures of older players? Two that come to mind are Willie Mays and Warren Spahn.

Any sincere tips are appreciated.


I'm sadden whenever I see the latest group of Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects as their's is a generation on the brink of loosing the ability to sign anything legibly. I'm guessing a lot of that has to do with bulk signings which must be difficult to endure.
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Last edited by clydepepper; 12-27-2017 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 12-26-2017, 06:08 PM
Topnotchsy Topnotchsy is offline
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To me it's less about legibility and more about whether it looks similar to regular signatures from that person. Many players like Stan Musial saw major deterioration in their ability to sign before their passing, and while it is great they still signed, I'd much prefer a version that is more standard. (Of course in some cases a player's autograph changed over time, like Mantle's. For player's like that I prefer an earlier version, even if it is not the most recognizable version of the person's signature.)
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Old 12-26-2017, 07:20 PM
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Mark70Z Mark70Z is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clydepepper View Post
[size="4"] My question is this: How important is legibility? I would think if you can ready the name, it's a plus...but, as players get older, their autographs change...Lord, I know mine own has reached 'chicken scratching stage.' Do you shy away from signatures of older players? Two that come to mind are Willie Mays and Warren Spahn.

Any sincere tips are appreciated.
Iím unsure if Iíll be much help, but you offer up some good questions and itís an interesting topic. I really only collect one player currently, but Iíve picked up quite a few other Oriole player signed items as well through the years of collecting.

How important is legibility? Very important for me in regard to autographs. Look at the old school players vs. the modern; night and day difference. I know thatís a blanket statement and Iím sure there are a few exceptions, but the large majority are less then desirable in my view. I donít think I could collect a modern players autograph, even if I really liked their play, if they just had a scratch as an auto.

Typically a players autograph does change over time, which is understandable, so I typically try to find early examples. While I have a ton of Brooks Robinson autos a couple months ago I started an autographed run of his regular issue cards (unsure why I havenít done this sooner) and trying to locate vintage, pen signatures. If you use the two examples you mentioned, Mays and Spahn, both have very nice autographs when you find early examples.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:52 AM
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I'm pretty appalled by the signature's of today's athlete. I'm sure it's because today's athlete is asked for their signature more than the athlete of yesterday, but I have seen some atrocious signatures even at a paid signing. There are player's like Mariano Rivera, who takes pride in their signature, but when you get a check mark or an x for an autograph the player should be ashamed. Give me a legible autograph any day.

Mike
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:23 PM
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Gary Dunaier Gary Dunaier is offline
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At Citi Field, player autographs are included as part of the scoreboard graphics, enabling all fans, not just collectors, to see that many of today's players have horrible, illegible signatures.

I wonder if players sign legal papers (contracts and such) the same way they sign their autographs.


(Photo taken August 23, 2017. © Gary Dunaier. Link to upload on Flickr.com: here.)
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:57 PM
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Name the autograph...
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Old 01-02-2018, 10:08 AM
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:34 AM
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In my view, all autographs are not created equal ó far from it. I place the highest value on a clean and legible fountain pen signature that was done in the 1930s, and the least value on a sloppy Sharpie signature that was done in the 1970s or beyond. In many cases, I consider cards in the second category to be simply defaced by someone's writing. If you can't read it, and there's nothing artistic about it, what's the point? Penmanship was once an art form. Now it's like a crude tattoo ...
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:35 PM
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the answer is of course, it depends.
There will always be a premium for signatures that are of a better quality. The price difference between the good vs bad signature is what changes with volume and what item is signed.
For a player where there are truckloads of examples, the nicer the sig, the higher the price. As the number of examples drops the importance of the quality drops, but there is always some bonus.
Additionally the specific player and item signed also factor in as a rare baseball card might drawn a premium from set collectors regardless of the sig quality.
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:05 PM
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Some guys may just have crappy handwriting and you have to take what you get.

What's kinda scary in some sports, like boxing, is that the damage the sport can cause to the motor functions of the retirees can make for some really rank later signatures from relatively young men. Compare a signature from Sugar Ray Leonard or Tommy Hearns 20-30 years ago to today's and the contrast is startling.
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