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  #1  
Old 06-25-2022, 12:32 PM
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Default Small rant on the state of signings nowadays

I want to preface this by saying I fully understand that people have the right to charge whatever they want for their signature, it's a free market economy after all.

For the life of me though, it's mind boggling how expensive getting a players autograph is now. Especially from most of the people in the upper echelon of the sport. Everyone seemingly has exclusive contracts with Tristar or Fanatics and charge an arm and leg for everything. I understand that "$10 in 1985 is X today" but even adjusting for inflation the prices are absurd. Never mind children being able to get something signed by their current favorite player or a legend of the game, I don't know how adults afford this.

There was an article in the LA Times in the 1980's detailing the prices of signings and how they were getting "out of hand," which I linked below:

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-...-92-story.html

But even then it states that:

"During a recent show at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, patrons paid $20 each for Mantle, Williams and Muhammad Ali autographs, $11 for ex-Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax and $10 for all-time hit leader Pete Rose"

Those five names alone are absolute legends of the sport, even adjusting for inflation, you're talking about 50 dollars a head for Ali, Mantle and Williams. Nowadays? If you want a Jersey signed by Tom Brady, you have to get it through Tri-Stars exclusive set up and it will run you at least 1K. If you want Joe Montana to sign something with Tom Brady's auto already on it he's charging $1500. I understand it's become a business but this isn't affordable at all. And sure some people will pay these prices but you feel for the masses out there that can't afford to drop a thousand dollars just so they can get something signed by their favorite athlete. Where do we go from here?

Rant over, slightly larger than I planned, but It needs to be said!
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2022, 12:36 PM
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It is pretty sad and a complete joke how much they charge. I get it, but some casual fans would like an affordable piece of history from a legend and they literally can't. I have so many items I would love to add some special athletes to, but no way in hell I'll pony up that kind of money.
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2022, 12:37 PM
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People will charge what people will pay.

If there is a line at $195, the price may go to $250.

Like most things, a large % of the folks on line for autographs are not fans of the player or collectors but just looking to turn it around and make a buck on eBay or somewhere else.

Used to be a quirky thing some fans did. Now it's a business model.

Last edited by Snapolit1; 06-25-2022 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 06-25-2022, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by HOF Auto Rookies View Post
It is pretty sad and a complete joke how much they charge. I get it, but some casual fans would like an affordable piece of history from a legend and they literally can't. I have so many items I would love to add some special athletes to, but no way in hell I'll pony up that kind of money.
My sentiments exactly. There are certain items I would absolutely love to have signed. And don't get me wrong there are current and former players that are still affordable. You even get guys like Bobby Hull that in my opinion, does the right thing. I think he only charges $60 for Jerseys which in this market is incredibly cheap.

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Originally Posted by Snapolit1 View Post
People will charge what people will pay.

If there is a line at $195, the price may go to $250.

Like most things, a large % of the folks on line for autographs are not fans of the player or collectors but just looking to turn it around and make a buck on eBay or somewhere else.

Used to be a quirky thing some fans did. Now it's a business model.

I would agree Steve. It was something nice to have and collect, and now it's become a complete business model. I understand why too. It is, what it is.
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Old 06-25-2022, 01:25 PM
BillyCox3 BillyCox3 is offline
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Don't even get me started.

And for $1500 or whatever it costs for Tom Brady, he can take the time to write every letter. He should have to take calligraphy class and write like Gene Lillard every single time. Every single inscription. Every little nuance should be perfect. If there's even the slightest blemish, it's a do-over at his cost.

The tired excuse of "kids aren't taught cursive in school anymore" doesn't apply to that old man.
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Old 06-25-2022, 02:15 PM
carlsonjok carlsonjok is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapolit1 View Post
People will charge what people will pay.

If there is a line at $195, the price may go to $250.

Like most things, a large % of the folks on line for autographs are not fans of the player or collectors but just looking to turn it around and make a buck on eBay or somewhere else.

Used to be a quirky thing some fans did. Now it's a business model.
This is pretty much it. Autographs have been a business for a decent amount of time now and it isn't the athletes that have created that business. They are just trying to capture back some of the value in their name. To a certain extent, their signature is their intellectual property.
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Old 06-25-2022, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by carlsonjok View Post
They are just trying to capture back some of the value in their name. To a certain extent, their signature is their intellectual property.
I feel like that certainly can be a fair assessment for players who played long ago, when salaries were nowhere near what they are today. But for someone like Mike Trout for an Example to charge $700 for a signed baseball when he is sitting on a $400 million dollar contract, it just rubs me the wrong way a little. Especially with his signature. Looks like a random scribble!
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2022, 03:04 PM
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So why not get an autographed Montana card for $100 instead? Leaf just put a whole bunch on the market through their Art of Sport release.

Or $300 for a Trout auto card? You don't have to pay to get items signed. You can get their autograph much cheaper if you choose to.
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2022, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swarmee View Post
So why not get an autographed Montana card for $100 instead? Leaf just put a whole bunch on the market through their Art of Sport release.

Or $300 for a Trout auto card? You don't have to pay to get items signed. You can get their autograph much cheaper if you choose to.
John,

I think you bring up a good point, I was referring more to having the experience of having them sign an item of yours in person, or maybe having them sign an item of significance for you. The counterargument would be that your paying for the experience + them signing an item of your choosing, but I still think the prices have gone a little haywire. The idea you presented is a very cost friendly one though.
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  #10  
Old 06-25-2022, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
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John,

I think you bring up a good point, I was referring more to having the experience of having them sign an item of yours in person, or maybe having them sign an item of significance for you. The counterargument would be that your paying for the experience + them signing an item of your choosing, but I still think the prices have gone a little haywire. The idea you presented is a very cost friendly one though.

Thing is, if you are paying for the experience, i.e., paying for the actual face-to-face thing, why aren't mail-in signings less expensive?

If you're actually there and meeting the player in person, then maybe I could see the expense, but if you're just mailing in an item to be signed, or getting a signed ball or photo that the promoter provides, then it should be substantially less expensive. It is not less expensive. All the major promoters charge the same amount for the autograph, whether it's obtained in-person, or via mail-in.

Steve
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  #11  
Old 06-25-2022, 07:44 PM
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I agree that the prices are crazy and that's the reason I've slowed way down collecting newer players. Too much for me.

But let's take Joe Montana for instance: The OP stated: "If you want Joe Montana to sign something with Tom Brady's auto already on it he's charging $1500." Now lets look at what collectors are paying for a PSA 9 Joe RC. PSA's price guide is showing that card at $1925. So I ask, which is crazier? A collectible that Joe himself handled and signed that you got to witness, or a piece of cardboard with his picture and sharp corners?

Either way, both prices are set by what folks are willing to pay. And I don't think that folks shelling out thousands of dollars for cardboard photos of dead ballplayers have room to criticize folks shelling out thousands of dollars for autographs.

BTW, I collect and enjoy both cards and autos.
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  #12  
Old 06-25-2022, 07:57 PM
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At the last National in AC I paid the $95 or whatever it was and got a nice 8x10 glossy with Darryl Strawberry. We chatted for a few minutes about the addiction work he does and I told him stories of watching him play. Didn't even get an autograph. I loved it. Was giddy like a small kid. If there are one or two people at the National this year I have a strong connection with I would happily do the same.

I'd pay a few bucks to get a photo with Mike Tyson but I don't believe he's coming this year.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve D View Post
Thing is, if you are paying for the experience, i.e., paying for the actual face-to-face thing, why aren't mail-in signings less expensive?

If you're actually there and meeting the player in person, then maybe I could see the expense, but if you're just mailing in an item to be signed, or getting a signed ball or photo that the promoter provides, then it should be substantially less expensive. It is not less expensive. All the major promoters charge the same amount for the autograph, whether it's obtained in-person, or via mail-in.

Steve

Last edited by Snapolit1; 06-25-2022 at 07:58 PM.
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  #13  
Old 06-26-2022, 10:16 AM
mr2686 mr2686 is offline
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I don't think I can add too much to what's already been written. At one time I was going to get every living HOF'er (from the time I came back to the hobby in the mid-ish 1980's in my hardback HOF book and on single signed balls. Several of the current crop of members have priced me out (oh I can afford them, I just won't pay those stupid prices). I've just decided to pick up the reasonable players, finish my existing projects (if possible), matt and frame and be done with the whole mess. I have plenty of stuff to sit in the middle of and enjoy with a cold one.
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Old 06-26-2022, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mr2686 View Post
I don't think I can add too much to what's already been written. At one time I was going to get every living HOF'er (from the time I came back to the hobby in the mid-ish 1980's in my hardback HOF book and on single signed balls. Several of the current crop of members have priced me out (oh I can afford them, I just won't pay those stupid prices). I've just decided to pick up the reasonable players, finish my existing projects (if possible), matt and frame and be done with the whole mess. I have plenty of stuff to sit in the middle of and enjoy with a cold one.
Mike I'll build off what you said, I believe it was Ted Simmons who was charging literal peanuts for his signature before his Hall of Fame induction, and then his prices instantly became higher the moment after he was inducted. I commend you for getting as far as you did. What year in the Hall of Fame did you stop collecting?
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Old 06-26-2022, 03:43 PM
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Jack Morris and Tim Raines were also next to nothing pre-induction. Both Baines and Raines were free TTM when they felt like signing (and I don't recall ever having a single request from anyone looking for their autographs). There was definitely more overall collector demand for Morris and Simmons.
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:09 PM
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I almost shat myself when I saw Mariano rivera was charging 350 and auto. I jokingly asked, how many are left. They were already sold out.

As long as the fools are lined up, priced will surge.
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Old 06-26-2022, 05:38 PM
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It's all about the Benjamins. There's a burgeoning market in graded signed cards, especially rookie cards and rare cards. The numbers are truly staggering in some cases. Case in point, this 2013 Upper Deck PMG Tyson with autograph:



$58,800.00 at Goldin.

The base card is rare: UD made 125 numbered sets and gave them to employees as a bonus. About 1-2 a year are sold. Until a few years ago it would run you about $500 for a Tyson. Even now, you can get the card for under $5K. Get one and have it signed, it has a massive multiplier, even without dual grading. It makes it worthwhile to bite the bullet and pay up. There are lots of cards like that. Koufax's RC sells for a fortune dual-graded, so he now charges over $3K to sign it, and he sells out every time he offers a private signing. Jabbar's handlers justify four-figure up-charges for signing his RC based on what they think PSA will grade it.

What's even worse are reports that some guys won't sign their RCs or specific issues any more. This used to be a rare thing; now it is increasingly commonplace. I suspect they are trying to create a perception of rarity over certain cards that they can sign and give to family members as investments.

Then there are the rare items that you just have to get signed at whatever the cost because they are (nearly) irreplaceable...and you think they will sell for a bundle if offered. I am going to spend well into three figures to get Dr. J to sign this 1971 Virginia Squires team issue at the National:



An impossible item signed by a legendary player, again, cha-ching if I want to sell it.
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Old 06-26-2022, 10:28 PM
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What's even worse are reports that some guys won't sign their RCs or specific issues any more. This used to be a rare thing; now it is increasingly commonplace. I suspect they are trying to create a perception of rarity over certain cards that they can sign and give to family members as investments.
I think one of the reasons players have stopped signing RCs is the liability of handling the higher graded examples. Say I bust out a PSA 10 Mariano RC, send it to him to sign, and then when I get it back signed send it back to PSA for a dual grade. But the card comes back a 9 or even worse an 8. The promoters don't want to deal with that scenario/liability.

I know, craziness. We've come to this bc of the TPAs grading scale where the difference between an 8 and a 10 can't be seen with the human eye or more often than not is determined by chance - which day was it graded, by which grader, etc. And 'collectors' are lining up paying the crazy prices based on this foolishness.

BTW, I love the Dr. J photo. I used to go watch VA Squires games with my dad and have a few programs, team photos, etc from those days. Good times.

Those photos were taken in the Hampton Coliseum where my daughter just had her HS graduation earlier this month. Opened in 1969 and still standing 53 years later.
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Last edited by Bigdaddy; 06-26-2022 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 06-26-2022, 11:22 PM
mr2686 mr2686 is offline
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Mike I'll build off what you said, I believe it was Ted Simmons who was charging literal peanuts for his signature before his Hall of Fame induction, and then his prices instantly became higher the moment after he was inducted. I commend you for getting as far as you did. What year in the Hall of Fame did you stop collecting?
It's weird but it's not a particular year that I stopped, mainly because I've always picked up autographs of players I felt would be hall of famers. Seems like this year and almost every year prior I have at least one of the players that has gone in (most of the time when they were much cheaper to get). I just won't be going out of my way to spend $350 on any of the living members. When you look at it realistically, most of us won't be able to get all the hall of fame members (living and dead) anyway, so no big loss. What really hurts is when you need a player for a team signed project and you pretty much have to spend the money so that you can complete it.
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Old 06-27-2022, 07:21 PM
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At a recent Sandy Koufax signing, if memory serves (can't find the site now), he was charging $3750 to sign his '55 Topps card.

WHAT. IS. THAT.
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Old 06-27-2022, 10:01 PM
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The players are not charging anything for an autograph. They are paid an appearance fee for the time spent at the event. There is a physical limit to how many can be cranked out, and most promoters are trying to maximize their return. That is why some shows you would get whisked along, or "no talking, no pics, no personalization, etc. At least that was how it was back when I helped at shows. I remember one promotor "Ramada KOP?) ranting about "losing his ass" on Warren Spahn and Bob Feller, because despite the instructions, they spoke or took pics with anyone who asked, lol.

Had to pay them another hr to clear the line, but they signed a couple of dozen balls for him as a sort of apology. While they talked to each other.

Not sure if all the specific items and prices come from players or agents now, but wouldn't surprise me if it is still just an appearance fee and the jacking up is done by the companies.
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Old 06-27-2022, 10:09 PM
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Donít go bringing common sense to the scenario. It sidetracks the rants.
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Old 06-28-2022, 04:22 AM
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From what I read about the Koufax signing he donated most if not all his share to charity
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  #24  
Old 06-28-2022, 04:44 AM
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Default rant about autos

I'm a bit late to this party. My view coincides with a lot of those expressed
already. It's a facet of collecting that I don't generally involve myself in, that
has been essentially ruined. The notion of meeting a favorite player (doesn't
need to be HOF) and expressing gratitude or fandom has been largely
rendered nonexistent- there is little charm left at "official" signings. And
don't get me started on "signatures" that look like an EKG readout...

One thing- a commenter mentioned that signatures could be construed as
intellectual property. I'm not wearing a black robe and wielding a gavel as I
type, but I respectfully disagree. At best, the signature is "property" they
coyly and willingly sold at an incredible "per hour" wage. At
worst, it just became the "property" of the person who bought it and the
signer- who almost certainly doesn't care post payment- just forfeited it.

I do have autos that I obtained personally or have incredible provenance to
verify are genuine. One of my favorites cost me $5- Dawn Wells in her
classic "Mary Ann" costume in black and white glossy. The inscription reads,
"Rescue me". Perfect

Trent King
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Old 06-28-2022, 04:44 AM
carlsonjok carlsonjok is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven View Post
I feel like that certainly can be a fair assessment for players who played long ago, when salaries were nowhere near what they are today. But for someone like Mike Trout for an Example to charge $700 for a signed baseball when he is sitting on a $400 million dollar contract, it just rubs me the wrong way a little. Especially with his signature. Looks like a random scribble!
Coming back to this a bit late, but a great philosopher once said "Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king. And a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything."
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Old 06-28-2022, 01:16 PM
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Short story. I was looking through my autograph collection a few weeks ago and came across my Ron Cey autographed rookie, 73 Topps. I thought why not see if I can get Schmidt's and Hilton's autograph also - sounded good. I first checked for Schmidt's signing. I found where he was doing an in-person signing and you could also send in the item. I forget exactly the amounts, and I'm sickened to look it up again, but he was charging let's say $250 for a simple autograph (no inscription, etc.). The price for him to sign his 73 Topps was about 2-3 times higher! I couldn't believe it! I quickly erased that thought from my mind and decided it wasn't happening. This thread made me remember how horrible I thought that was. If you're paying x amount for a simple autograph - what does it matter what he/she is signing! Same amount of time, etc.
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Old 06-28-2022, 01:51 PM
mr2686 mr2686 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlsonjok View Post
Coming back to this a bit late, but a great philosopher once said "Poor man wanna be rich, rich man wanna be king. And a king ain't satisfied till he rules everything."
I bet that great philosopher went out and proved it all night, too. LOL
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1960 Pirates autographs...Complete
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1971-1975 A's Playoff/WS roster autos...Complete
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  #28  
Old 06-28-2022, 04:27 PM
BillyCox3 BillyCox3 is offline
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Originally Posted by gonefishin View Post
Short story. I was looking through my autograph collection a few weeks ago and came across my Ron Cey autographed rookie, 73 Topps. I thought why not see if I can get Schmidt's and Hilton's autograph also - sounded good. I first checked for Schmidt's signing. I found where he was doing an in-person signing and you could also send in the item. I forget exactly the amounts, and I'm sickened to look it up again, but he was charging let's say $250 for a simple autograph (no inscription, etc.). The price for him to sign his 73 Topps was about 2-3 times higher! I couldn't believe it! I quickly erased that thought from my mind and decided it wasn't happening. This thread made me remember how horrible I thought that was. If you're paying x amount for a simple autograph - what does it matter what he/she is signing! Same amount of time, etc.

It wouldn't hurt to know that Hilton died several years ago. Will likely make you scrap the entire idea, which isn't the worst notion in the world.
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  #29  
Old 06-28-2022, 05:08 PM
gonefishin gonefishin is offline
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It wouldn't hurt to know that Hilton died several years ago. Will likely make you scrap the entire idea, which isn't the worst notion in the world.
I stopped looking after researching Schmidt, so I was not aware that Hilton had died. I just now pulled the card and checked it - I'll settle for "The Penguin's" autograph only.

I do have a Schmidt autographed card that he signed during his playing days, 75 Topps. He did sign it on the back of the card, but it's in pen, legible and was free.
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  #30  
Old 06-29-2022, 10:49 PM
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Topps206 Topps206 is offline
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The Joe Montana/Tom Brady thing is the most egregious I can think of for charging for signings. Peyton Manning and Terrell Owens have unbelievable prices, with Peyton starting at $300.

I don’t like how some prices have raised. Thomas Hearns was going to be $40 at a show, but that was March 2020 and COVID shut it down the day before the event. He was $60 two years later.

I just got Sidney Moncrief for $50, though I think he was going to be $40 at that same show, too.

Not a signing, but at the show I was at earlier this month, as a Sports Illustrated collector, LeBron’s Sports Illustrated signed was priced at $5,000.
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  #31  
Old 07-01-2022, 10:19 AM
tha-rock tha-rock is offline
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Hey gonefishin...

That "back signed" 1975 Topps Schmidt is a rubber stamp. I've seen the same thing before.
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  #32  
Old 07-01-2022, 11:55 AM
gonefishin gonefishin is offline
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I never gave it much thought and never really examined it. Do you have a picture of the stamped card you're talking about? I'd like to see it.
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  #33  
Old 07-02-2022, 08:03 PM
5-Tool Player 5-Tool Player is offline
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Hey gonefishin...

That "back signed" 1975 Topps Schmidt is a rubber stamp. I've seen the same thing before.
+1......rubber all the way. : (
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  #34  
Old 07-03-2022, 11:31 AM
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rjackson44 rjackson44 is online now
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At a recent Sandy Koufax signing, if memory serves (can't find the site now), he was charging $3750 to sign his '55 Topps card.

WHAT. IS. THAT.
Jarrod lol
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  #35  
Old 07-03-2022, 01:57 PM
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At a recent Sandy Koufax signing, if memory serves (can't find the site now), he was charging $3750 to sign his '55 Topps card.

WHAT. IS. THAT.
I think at one point over the past few years, a Koufax signing was running $600 but I could be wrong. The steep price jump is incredible. I understand that he was doing some sort of partnership with a charity, but that's still an absurd number.
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  #36  
Old 07-04-2022, 12:09 AM
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The signed rookie card business has skyrocketed. As a result, the promoters or the players themselves (like Jabbar on his website) have recently (within the last year or so) set much higher prices for getting the signature on the player's rookie card. A few years ago it didn't matter which card you were getting signed, but it now does. And, the costs are high as hell.
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  #37  
Old 07-04-2022, 09:04 AM
BillyCox3 BillyCox3 is offline
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Originally Posted by Jewish-collector View Post
The signed rookie card business has skyrocketed. As a result, the promoters or the players themselves (like Jabbar on his website) have recently (within the last year or so) set much higher prices for getting the signature on the player's rookie card. A few years ago it didn't matter which card you were getting signed, but it now does. And, the costs are high as hell.
Yes, and it's hilarious to see when promoters try this upcharge tactic for certain players. One promoter has an upcharge for Bill Nahorodny to sign his RC! You have to be kidding me! Besides the obvious reasons making this silly, Nahorodny is about the nicest man you could meet in the game and is a willing, free autograph signer if a person takes the time to write to him.
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  #38  
Old 07-06-2022, 01:15 PM
Bcwcardz Bcwcardz is offline
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My parents thought Pete Rose was too much at $15 back in 84-85. My Mom got his auto for free in the early 70s. Different times I guess. I remember when Joe Montana went to $150 some years ago and I thought that was crazy. If I get to meet the player I guess you can justify the price. If itís just a signing where you mail the stuff off, no way. People were paying over 1500 for a Robert Downey Jr auto with inscription and it was a mail away deal. Iím sure it sold out too.


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