I take it that you have come here to see if investing in autographed sports & entertainment memorabilia is a good idea? WE THINK SO. Are you looking for ways to maximize your money by investing in something fun and exciting? You have come to the right place! We are going to discuss in this post why it is a profitable idea and some good options to start your search!
STEP 1: HOW DOES THE BUSINESS WORK?
The sports memorabilia industry is a very unique industry and most people associated with this line say "there is no industry like this one". The reason being is there are so many factors that go into pricing these items. Some include: is a player/person active or retired? Does this person sign many items? What is the quality of the item signed and the condition of the signature? Did this person try to avoid signing this type of item ( a bat, a guitar, an album) so eventually when they did, later on, they could cash in on this? These are some of the examples you need to look into. Authenticity is also a major factor. As we have stated in our prior Authenticity post, the biggest component of value with any autographed collectible is who certified the item as Authentic. Anyone can print out a Certificate of Authenticity and claim there is a money back guarantee in the future if the item fails authenticity but good luck trying to find that company. Trying to prove something is actually authentic could cost you thousands and thousands of dollars to prove forensically. We recommend sticking with the top autograph memorabilia companies in the industry including Steiner Sports, Upper Deck Authenticated, Fanatics Authentic, Inscriptagraphs, PSA/DNA, MLB Authentication, James Spence Authentication, and Tristar Productions. To gain the full value of whatever investment you make, make sure it is backed by a Memorabilia company you can trust that has a reputation in the industry that is of good nature. We recommend avoiding all items that do not carry certification from these companies mentioned if you want to be safe.
Lastly, whether a player is deceased or alive unfortunately is a big component to values as well. If someone is deceased you can't get any more. If they are deceased they are automatically worth more money, right? WRONG!!! The celebrity or athlete could have signed 3 million items in their lifetime (not-exaggerated) and therefore there is most likely a surplus and values will stay low until the foreseeable long-term future. It all comes back to principles of supply and demand if a person died and didn't sign much then most likely you are making a wise buy if you can get the price low enough, if they signed a lot and not many unique items out there, avoid and look for the next item.
STEP 2: WHAT ARE THE RIGHT ITEMS TO BUY?
The best advice we can give you is stick to what you know and do not go out of that area until you have done your research. If you are a Football fan and love it and know all the players, stick to football until you understand how the different sports work with memorabilia. Always the biggest names in the sports or movie you are looking into are going to carry the biggest price tags because hey, that is who people want hanging up on their wall. B-Listers seldomly can carry a higher price tag but there could be a reason for this to look into this particular individual before you go throwing money into an item. This industry is based on Supply and Demand just like every other industry in business. The more that is out there of a player or an item, the less valuable it is worth. As you begin your research, look for something that you cannot find much of, search the internet or even better look on eBay as it is the marketplace for autographed memorabilia in the world. Type in "Michael Jordan Signed USA Jersey" or "Gene Simmons Signed Guitar" and see how many are out there of this item. The only way to compare apples to apples is also to check into authentication. You might find the Gene Simmons Guitar is $799 with authenticity from Johns Celebrity Signatures Unlimited and $4999 from someone with a PSA/DNA certificate, stick to the PSA certificate and compare that certificate to other ones with mention of the authentication companies we stated above. That is the only way to do it. If there are 25 Gene Simmons signed guitars on eBay and only 3 of them have either a PSA or James Spence Authentication certificate, that means you are going against 3 guitars and not the 25.
Some items we like to take interest to that are more personal and very few existing are signed contracts, game used collectibles (with proper paperwork from authentication companies mentioned above), personal hand signed letters, multi-signed items that relate with each other (Michael Jordan / Scottie Pippen Signed Basketball, The Beatles Signed Letter, Wizard of Oz Cast Signed Lobby Card). These are some great examples of items that would see more profitability long term in the collectibles market. Some examples of over flooded items and limited value include: Magic Johnson Signed Lakers Jersey, Paul Hornung Signed Items, Pete Rose Signed Baseball and B/C-List Athletes or Celebrities that sign autographs to make a living.
STEP 3: "THE ROOKIE" FACTOR
THIS IS THE BIG ONE! You can either make a lot of money or lose most of it. Rookies can be your best buy for one reason, they are new and unproven. Rookies can be your worst investment for one reason, they can bust out. This is a touchy area you really have to know your stuff on. Some of the best investments you can make is investing in a no-name athlete that you watched in College and believe he will be a big time in the Pros. Wake up call to them and to you, PROS ARE PROS FOR A REASON, THEY ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD AT WHAT THEY DO! Yes, occasionally you as a fan can outsmart a coach or a scout because you see something they do not in a player. Also, one player on one team might do great in one coach's system and bad in another. It's a touchy subject because there are so many uncontrollable factors that apply to investing in rookies. Players can get traded or released in their first season or sit the bench for 2 seasons and then finally get their time to shine and take advantage of the opportunity and rise. If you are right and you invested in autographed photos of a rookie that no one has ever heard of from Middle Tennessee Tech State and the veteran Running back goes down with a torn ACL and he gets his time to play and performs well, hey there will be a lot of interest from fans that want to own an autograph of that person. You could have invested in 10 signed photos of that player at $12 each and in an hour that the same photo could be going for $300 depending on how great their performance went. You could also take your $12 photo and hoping that player will play a little in his rookie season and just does not do well and gets released. You can pretty much kiss your 10 photos at $12 each down the toilet because people want signed items from players that currently play for the team he is doing well with. For example, you can have Marshawn Lynch signed Bills photos available and he left for the Seahawks and did great for them, the same autograph on the Bills may go for $25 and if he is wearing a Seahawks uniform you can be fetching $175 a signature. YES, the same signature, just a different jersey he is wearing.....we can not make this stuff up!
GIVE IT A TRY! As many successful billionaires have said when they started their companies up, the risk is worth the reward! We suggest getting your feet a little dirty and find a player or two that has already been drafted to a team that may or may not be starting at their position that you think would do great and can be a superstar one day. Don't invest too much to start out but try it and see if you can get the hang of it and maybe do well for yourself. You will not get everyone right so expect some sort of either or a loss or breakeven point but after let's say a year's time evaluate how you did with sales and see if you made some money. We would love to hear!
STEP 4: "ESCALATORS"
A huge component in addition to differentiating the value of a similarly signed collectible is the uniqueness of the item. Inscriptions they are called, this is when a person writes out a phrase, statistic or quote about themselves or a role they played (i.e. HOF 2000, Hall of Fame 2004, "Do You feel lucky Punk?, Do Ya?", 5x Champs, Academy Award Winner, "Luke, I am your Father" 2x GG Winner, 2013 Champs). These inscriptions could escalate the value of an autograph anywhere from 20-30% higher depending on the inscription. If it is an iconic quote that Kate Winslet wrote on the Titanic movie poster that reads "Jack, I'll never let go" and you can't find any other item that this person he wrote this inscription on, you may have something even more valuable as much as 10x the current asking price of the normal Kate Winslet signed Titanic Poster.
STEP 5: EMOTIONS!
Number one rule of business, take your emotions out the game, your favorite teams, players, etc. Think smart, think money. WE SUGGEST: Do not get all caught up in the fuss and hype of the number one draft pick in the draft or the new starting rookie point guard for your team, these players bust out far too often especially for the higher prices you will pay. Example: Robert Griffin III coming out of Baylor had his prices through the roof as the number 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft and a Heisman trophy under his belt, there was high demand and people paid premiums. Just a couple months later you would find your Robert Griffin III signed Helmet that you paid $450 for almost completely worthless and hard to even give away. Stick to the more unique items of established players and celebrities like Academy Award Winners and Hall of Famers. There is an established fanbase for these people and they already have all their accolades and accomplishments fulfilled.
STEP 6: CLOSING
At the end of the day, all these items are as valuable to whoever the one behind the bank account is willing to pay. Hopefully, with this valuable expert advice you just received, you may be able to get a better understanding of why the sports memorabilia market may be a wise decision for making investments with. This informative post offers you insight into how the market works with autographed collectibles. Make wise choices everyone. If you have an item you believe is valuable and you are looking to sell your item, give Inscriptagraphs Memorabilia (inscriptagraphs.com) a call at 1-844-474-4633 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org so we can give you a quote!