Collect Autographs for Profit | How To Make Money From Collectible Autographs

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Collect Autographs for Profit

Copyright © 2015-2019, All Rights Reserved. Written by Ethan Lambert

No part of this content can be transmitted or reproduced in any form including print, electronic, photocopying, scanning, mechanical or recording without prior written permission from the author. While the author has taken utmost efforts to ensure the accuracy of the written content, all readers are advised to follow information mentioned herein at their own risk. The author cannot be held responsible for any personal or commercial damage or loss caused by relying on the provided information. All readers are encouraged to seek additional professional advice when needed.

“None of my other investments give me the joy that autographs do because they make me feel that I am holding a piece of history in my hands.”

Malcolm Forbes, Forbes Magazine

If you switch on Bloomberg TV right now, you’re bound to see different experts analyzing the three traditional investment areas, i.e. property, stocks and bonds. Even if your knowledge of these three isn’t much to begin with, their concerned expressions and heated discussions are enough to convince you that they’re not worth your money. This is especially true after the latest economic crash proved their instability.

Because of the volatility of traditional investments, experts sought alternative tangible investments, deeming autographs, rare stamps, art, classic cars and even memorabilia as the new, profitable streams of investment.

The popularity of these further rose due to advantages such as:

Just think – you could be joining the ranks of Bill Gates (rare and classic paintings collector), Tony Blair (coin collector), Johnny Depp (rare, first edition books collector), Angelina Jolie (Banksy artwork collector), and Arnold Schwarzenegger (vintage watch collector). Sure, each of these people on this list is a millionaire, but even an Average Joe can start his/her own autograph collection within a few days.

One collection you can definitely start regardless of your budget is an autograph collection. Considered one of the oldest type of collections as it dates to the days of Ancient Rome, autograph collection continues to fascinate over three million individuals worldwide. In addition to being timeless, the finest-quality autographs have shown a strong 15.86% growth rate per annum as per PFC40 Autograph Index’s reports. What further makes them worth your time, effort and money is the growing fascination with history and celebrities, transparency of pricing, ever-improving authentication methods, and rise of companies which specialize in this field and offer lifetime guarantees. However, the main reason investors collect autographs is the satisfaction of investing in something they’re passionate about.

If you’re interested in history, significant people, celebrities and, of course, the idea of making a profit, this resource will guide you on building your own collection of autographs. By the end of this eBook, you’ll discover where to start from, how to protect your investment, and finally how to sell it for a generous profit that will easily push you towards the ranks of the millionaires we’ve mentioned above.

Autographs are marks left by legends and top achievers in the fields of arts, literature, military, sports or sciences. In ancient times, these signatures were regarded with reverence. The Athenians displayed the original manuscripts of famous poets and playwrights in their temples. The Greeks are also the first civilization to start collecting manuscripts; Aristotle’s work was left to his successor Theophrastus after his death in 322 BC, who later willed them to Neleus. The latter took the writings to Scepsis where they languished in a cellar because his heirs didn’t see any value in them. It wasn’t until the 1st century BC that these manuscripts saw the light; Apellicon of Teos discovered and purchased these before returning them to Athens.

Inspired by the Greeks, the Romans too started collecting manuscripts and housing them in extensive libraries in their villas. In fact, the Roman elder Pliny has a collection that would have been valued at a million dollars today.

Around 1400 years later, the first autograph albums were compiled. However, their purpose was different as they only stored autographs of the owner’s friends and acquaintances. As a result, it became a popular fad in the student and gentry communities. It wasn’t until the 17th century that autographs were collected for interest and historical passion. French Minister Antoine Lomenie de Brienne collected 340 large volumes of manuscripts, which became the basis of the French Royal Library. From France, the fad of collecting autographs expanded towards England and all the way to America where it became a mania by the late Victorian era. And the rest, as you know, is history.

If these numbers encourage you to start investing in your own autograph collection, this chapter will help you get your feet wet in this very lucrative field.

Autographs are one of the best collectibles you can invest in and profit from because of a long list of reasons, including:

Autographs have exhibited over 20% growth rate per annum. This is because this type of investment isn’t affected by the economy. The Financial Times reported that autograph sales in 2009 were quite healthy. Further confirming this fact is Frasers’ key performances in 2008-2009, which is detailed in the table below.

Autographs are termed as wasting assets, i.e. they have a limited time and, therefore, decrease in value over time. As a result, they aren’t included in inheritance or capital gains tax calculations.

The Baby Boomer generation, which is estimated to be 80 million in the U.S alone, has a higher disposable income and the time necessary to start collection seriously. As this generation is in charge of 80% of the world’s wealth, rest assured that you’ll have paying buyers who are ready to take your collection off your hands.  

By adding autographs to your investment portfolio, you’ll gain more personal control over allocating and preserving your wealth. You can even manage the whole process yourself, boosting your confidence while tackling your finances.

There are hundreds of service providers that can guide you on how to collect and store autographs and other collectibles.

Studies show that collectors from China and Russia are interested in owning autographs of iconic western figures. With more emerging markets joining this list daily, expect a large buyer base in addition to baby boomers.

If these reasons pique your interest, the next section will help you master the important terms autograph collectors use to get you started quickly.

As a new autograph collector, you need to be aware of the terms and abbreviations used in the industry. Only then you can avoid being conned by forgers and others aiming to benefit from your ignorance. So here are some terms you should learn first:

Another thing to learn before venturing in the world of autograph collection is the autograph price index, which tracks the values of the world’s most sought after autographs over a specific period of time. While there are different autograph indexes, only two are considered reliable. The first of these is the PFC40 Autograph Index. Compiled by Paul Fraser Collectibles, this index tracks the value of 40 of the world’s in-demand autographs since 2000. The prices listed there are for fully authenticated, quality signed photos after assessing dealer and auction sales.

The other autograph index is the Frasers 100 Autograph Price Index. This one is designed to provide a measure of the overall market performance, allowing you to measure individual increases within the autograph market. It’s also one of the best for collectors with rare and highly desirable items from all major collecting areas.

Before investing in any autographs, you need to ensure their authenticity. Luckily, authenticating an autograph isn’t as difficult as you may expect. In fact, all you need to know is the following 10 steps to determine on your own whether the potential investment is worth your money.

Begin with the idea that an autograph isn’t authentic until proven so. This will allow you to disregard representations of sellers as well as ignore sales pitches.

As strange as this step may seem, it can actually help you authenticate an autograph. For instance, if the document is from a reliable collection or dealer, it would probably have an identifiable history in the form of invoices. However, proving provenance isn’t always easy, especially in the case of letter. So, you need to carry out the other steps in this list.

Compare the autographed documents you want to buy with published authentic signatures. You can also take a look at non-autograph resources to compare handwriting samples and ensure authenticity.

Remember that the production, physical makeup and sizes of paper have changed over the years, so assess authenticity through these. For instance, in the times of Washington and Franklin, paper was at least 8 x 10 in. Therefore, if you get a letter from that era, it may be unauthentic if it’s smaller in size.

You can’t asses authenticity based on similarities because penmanship was a popular practice until a few decades ago. By understanding how the handwritings of a certain era are different, you can detect forgeries. Another important aspect is noticing the distinctive characteristics of someone’s handwriting. For example, Babe Ruth’s “e” was known for a jaunty sideway tilt while Lincoln wrote his name on three planes. Luckily, these are difficult to forge, so you can use them to authenticate autographs.

Authentic autographs won’t feature lumpy or odd-shaped letters since they’re naturally written. If you notice that the letters seem labored or drawn with care, this “asset” isn’t worth your time or money.

Autopens use a real pen and real ink to draw autograph replicas. Used since the 1940s, these devices have been a real problem for autograph collectors since they rely on a template created by the celebrity to make their autographs look authentic. To determine whether the autograph was penned by an autopen, compare it with a presumptive autopen example. If you have nothing to compare your potential collectible against, look closely for signs of shakiness or little deposits of extra ink at the beginning and end of name or at breaks.

If the autograph was made on the behalf of the celebrity, they too will be in similar fashion and much neater just like in the case of autopen autographs. You should also find out how to distinguish authentic signatures from secretarial ones. For instance, Lyndon B. Johnson added a dot under the “b” whenever he signed a document himself whereas Jefferson Davis’ wife added a period whenever she signed for her husband. As for stamped signatures, you can identify them by their light blue or purple ink and flat, washed-out look. Some also have air bubbles throughout or even tracks of ink where the pen line crosses another.

Facsimiles are created to honor a person or event, promote businesses, or impress friends. Unfortunately, their aged look and high quality can fool most people. To avoid becoming the victim of fraud, look for crossover indications, tiny air bubbles that appear as white flecks, and differences in the ink used for typing and signing the piece.

Learn as much as you can about the details of the media, writing styles of individuals and eras, price (using the autograph price index), and historical anachronisms. These can help you detect fake pieces before wasting your money on them.

While authentication is used to determine an item’s genuineness, an appraisal will assess its value. However, you’ll need to prove that the autograph is genuine before adding a price tag to it. Once your assessment is done, you can hand over the autograph to professional appraisers. To ensure that you get the best value for your money, consider the following tips.

Discuss the cost of the appraisal process early. Keep in mind that how much you pay depends on the time the item requires to be examined. You may also need to cover the appraiser’s travel expenses if required.

Now that you’re aware of the basics of collecting autographs, it’s time for you to move on to the next stage: buying autographs. To ensure that you don’t take a second mortgage on your home just to get the autographs you need, the following section will detail methods that won’t stretch your budget while ensuring you more money in the bank in the future.

You shouldn’t waste another moment without collecting autographs and paving your way to riches. Take Malcolm Forbes for example; he began collecting autographs at the age of 15. In 55 years, up till his death in 1990, he owned an extensive collection of 4,000 presidential autographs and manuscripts.

Steve, 47, and Jeffrey, 20, Woolf have been earning their livelihood by collecting autographs Two of 50 full-time professional autograph in-person collectors, they make a six-figure salary by selling signed photos to celebrities’ fans. However, they invest long hours every day in an effort to catch celebrities and coax them into signing pictures or memorabilia. If you’re willing to follow in their footsteps, follow the tips detailed below.

As obvious as this may seem, you need to know a little about the celebrity you’re about to meet. After all, nothing can be as embarrassing or awkward as being called out for not knowing his or her last film.

If you spotted someone you believe is a celebrity, ask them whether they’re really who you think they are. There have been many instances where regular people were mistaken for celebrities. Meanwhile, you need to remember that certain celebrities look quite similar. Take for instance Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Elijah Wood (Frodo from Lord of the Rings). In an interview, Radcliffe said, “Once time, while signing at a premiere in Japan, someone handed me a photo of Elijah Wood to sign. I had no time to explain in their language that that wasn’t me, so I just signed, ‘I’m not Elijah Wood. Love, Daniel.’”

If you don’t live in California or New York, your chances of bumping into a celebrity may not be as big as you would have liked. However, you can use the newspaper or online tabloids to know who’s coming to your town. Some may even be coming there for a concert or a meet and greet; regardless, you’ll get the autograph you need. If nothing of the sort is planned in your area, check with your local film office or even IMDB for film shoot locations near you.

You should go prepared. In addition to a camera, bring along a photo or CD of the celebrity and a sharpie (preferably blue). If you don’t have a CD or photo, be creative by bringing something creative such as a chef’s hat for a celebrity chef. If you don’t have access to these, bring a double-sided blank index card and have them sign it for you.

Show up to where the celebrity will be or will perform at least three hours early. This is especially true in the case of concerts since you can get an autograph during sound checks. Another advantage of reaching early is finding the backstage entrance and understanding the ins and outs of the venue. Finally, you get to choose the prime spots at the barrier, avoiding being trampled by others.

Waiting won’t be easy, but you should learn patience unless you have an inside source. Patience will definitely keep you sane during long waits, especially if the celebrity may decide to sign after the event.

Etiquette is one of the important aspects of meeting with a celebrity. In addition to respecting his or her privacy and treating them with dignity, you should abide by the following while collecting autographs in person:

Be calm and resist celebrities while they’re eating, conducting business or spending time with their families. Again, be patient and wait for a good opportunity to request a signature.

If you’d rather not wait outside in hopes of catching a celebrity or if you don’t think someone will be coming to your hometown soon, you’re welcome to shop for autographs online. eBay is considered one of the best places to get these precious signatures. Not only does it allow you to search for whatever you want in different categories such as Collectibles or Entertainment Memorabilia, but it spares you from spending days outside a venue or waiting for the mailman. If you’re planning on buying your autographs from eBay, stick to the following tips to find profitable ones and get the best value for money.

Though it would have been easier for you to find all the autographs you wanted in a single category, you’ll need to search across multiple categories such as the Sports Memorabilia and Cards portal. This is where your search skills matter. For instance, for a Marilyn Monroe signed photo, you can type the term ‘Marilyn Monroe photo signed’. However, you may get more results by typing in terms such as ‘Marilyn Monroe Autographed Photo’, ‘Marilyn Monroe Autograph Photo’, ‘Mary Lyn Monroe’, and ‘Marilyn Monroe Sign’. You can also use the ‘*’ symbol after ‘sig’ and ‘auto’ as many people misspell signature and autograph respectively.

When buying an autograph, you need to know exactly what you want, especially in regards of whose signature you want and on what type of item. This will make your search easier and ensure that you make an educated choice. After all, you’ve already done your research on the matter and know which items are best for you.

As mentioned earlier, you need to consider the seller’s reputation before dealing with them. Carefully review their feedback to see if they have a bad history. You should especially focus on comments discussing the certificate of authenticity or the signature itself. To further ensure that all bases are covered, contact former buyers to determine whether they’ve really been conned.

Going through purchases made by the seller will provide you with insight. For instance, if some of their latest purchases were autographed items, this would mean that they’re serious collectors. If they’re reselling the treasures they found on eBay, you can track the original seller to determine whether you’re getting real signatures rather than forged ones.

Find out about the seller’s personality and professionalism by sending them a question in a message. Even if you don’t have a question about the autograph, make one. Based on the seller’s answers, you’ll get several hints on how the seller is and whether you should trust them.

Find out whether or not the autographed item comes with a COA. If so, which company provided it? If the company already has an established relationship with eBay, it’s definitely worth your trust. However, there are other authenticators as well, some more reliable than others. Therefore, make sure to use your best judgment while reviewing COAs.

You need to check the source or history of an item to determine its authenticity. Go back to the basics of authenticating items and carefully ensure that the autograph is worth the money demanded. Just make sure to avoid items that were obtained in ‘lots’ or ambiguous ‘estate sales’. Also, ask for the date or story related to autographs collected at card shows or signings.

Always pay attention to return policies and their details. If the seller is auctioning an authentic signature, they won’t have trouble offering a full refund if you’re not satisfied. This usually confirms authenticity since they wouldn’t be offering their personal assurance if otherwise.

Getting autographs in person or via eBay are bound to require money at one time or the other. However, you can get an autograph for almost free by opting for a through the mail (TTM) autograph. Basically, you need to send a letter of request (LOR) to the celebrity asking that they sign the item enclosed, be it a photo, card or even a ball. This process entails a lot of waiting since celebrities are bound to be busy.

Now you may consider sending your request via email. Unfortunately, the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ fits perfectly here. For the sake of convenience, you may quickly type an email within three minutes.

However, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re entitled to a response let alone an autograph. So if you’re serious about generating income through collecting autographs, make sure to put in the time and effort into an actual letter.

So to ensure that your request doesn’t end in the bin, consider the following recommendations.

Before starting, create a list of autographs you want based on either your personal preferences or their future potential. However, be realistic; don’t aim to collect hundreds in one go as that could mean thousands of dollars spent on mail.

After creating your list, find out which celebrities will be willing to sign autographs through mail. You can check through forums where autograph collectors share insight and experiences, especially when it comes to emailing famous people you have on your list. If they accept mail requests, find out what his or her address is. There are many sites such as Fanmail.biz that can actually help you find addresses and assess how approachable the celebrity is. If you don’t find an address, consider the next best thing. This can be the studio or club which the celebrity is currently associated with. This would usually mean keeping tabs on actors’ filming news to ensure that your request reaches the right studio.

If you’re wondering what to send the famous individual, remember to only part with what you can lose. Sending TTM autographs are usually a gamble, so don’t send through your favorite jersey, expensive rookie card, or vintage memorabilia.

Though you may believe tracking the celebrity to be the hardest part of TTM autographs, writing the actual letter is what confuses most collectors. Should it be brief and to the point, or a couple of paragraphs long and heartfelt? Now most collectors believe that the best letters are three paragraphs long, encompassing the introduction (who you are and how big a fan you are), why you are writing along with your request, and a conclusion where you thank the celebrity for their time and wish him or her the best for the future.

Regardless of what you write, make sure to keep it personal. The following is an example to inspire you:

If you’re considering a typed letter, think again. A hand-written letter is more personal, therefore capable of improving your chances of obtaining a signature. However, if you can’t produce one, use a printed template and hand sign it.

If you don’t know how to properly send through your letter, your efforts will go to waste. So abide by the following checklist:

Another way of getting autographs for free is through free draws. As rare as these may be, you shouldn’t hesitate to include your name in similar draws or contests regardless of how slim your chances may be of winning. However, you’ll need to be patient and accept the fact that you can’t win every time. Luckily, you have the other methods detailed here to help you through.

One of the least expected places to find signed items is your local thrift shop. The editor of Autograph Magazine once hit the autograph jackpot when he was alerted of a sports memorabilia donation only to find six signed photos, of which some were on plaques.

“I was thrilled when I saw a Certificate of Authenticity included with a photo of former Duke University basketball star and NBA player Bobby Hurley. The C.O.A. was from Field of Dreams, a sports memorabilia company that operates in many malls. Hurley’s in-person signature compared to the one from Field of Dreams looked very similar. The photo features Hurley in his Sacramento Kings uniform and it’s signed in silver paint pen.”

Renowned organizations helping autograph collectors have their own programs and directories, connecting future autograph investors with dealers, as well as other professionals. Those who have their own websites can actually give you a peak at what you can get from them.

However, keep in mind that registered providers won’t necessarily guarantee authenticity. While your odds of finding something rare and unique are relatively high, you shouldn’t let your guard down. Always authenticate their offerings yourself. If you do find something out of the ordinary, report your findings to have the dealer remove from the list and help others.  

British singer Robbie Williams once said,

“My dad sent Frank Sinatra a dollar bill to autograph, and when it came back, signed, he had it framed: it was always up on the wall in whatever flat we were in.”

There are thousands of people who would love to do the same if you have an autograph worth their time. To ensure that your collection is one people would be willing to pay thousands of dollars for, rely on the following tips as well as the rules mentioned so far.

To master the art of collecting autographs for a profit, you should learn about what your predecessors did. Check out the collections of Ray Rawlins, Charles Hamilton and others. Also read about how they created their collections as that will familiarize you with the complexion and pitfalls of what you plan ahead.

Collecting autographs can become very frustrating, especially since there’s a lot of waiting and rejections ahead. This is why you need to focus on things that excite you as they’ll make your autographs fun and more rewarding. Besides, they’ll inspire you to create an effective marketing pitch, easing the way whenever you decide to sell.

Invest in one great piece of memorabilia instead of ten conventional things. Quality is one of the factors which your buyers seek, but make sure that you aren’t pressured to spend more than you can afford.

You may be more excited about fads and who’s currently hot. However, consider investing more in individuals whom people are genuinely interested.

For instance, while Jennifer Lawrence may be of value in the present, she won’t be able to bring you the same amount Abraham Lincoln or Einstein could.

If you decide to invest in letters, documents or manuscripts, you’ll be able to ensure more value in the future. Unlike signed memorabilia, these documents have some context and usually tell a story of sorts.

A reputable seller should always be your first choice. Not only will he or she be qualified to authenticate the autographs they sell, but they’ll spare you from relying on third-parties that probably don’t know what they’re doing despite claims of otherwise.

Always, always, always be cautious while purchasing simple signatures and un-inscribed signed photos and books. These may be ineffective investments or downright forged.

If a game is coming up and you plan on getting a few autographs from your favorite players, you should be aware of a few things.

If you’re getting a nicked baseball signed, give it a firm by far from aggressive rub down with an eraser to make it look fresher. Just avoid going against the grain of the leather to prevent scuff marks. This eraser will also be a great tool if you have glossy cards since it can ensure a better, clearer signature that won’t end up streaking.

While signatures made with blue sharpies are highly in demand, you need to make sure that the autograph actually stands out rather than blend into the background. If the photo or card you’re using has a dark background such as black, blue or red, use a silver sharpie.

On the other hand, black sharpies will work marvellously on black backgrounds or jerseys. However, if you’re using a pen, only use blue since black ink is bound to fade very quickly. You can also select the thickness of the pen’s nib, ensuring that your signatures don’t disappear before you sell them off.

After buying your autographs, you need to learn how to preserve them before showing them off. The next two chapters will teach you everything regarding these two aspects.

Now there are a few exceptions to this analysis, but these are related to three factors: uniqueness, importance, and true rarity. For instance, had the Washington letter been addressed to the Continental Congress and had a historical decision penned in it, it would have been unique and extraordinarily important.

Therefore, it would have been desirable regardless of its condition. As for true rarity, autographs that fall under this category are usually uncommon but nice to find. For instance, if you find an autograph of Christopher Columbus or Shakespeare, its condition won’t be factored in its price since such a signature is a news-making event.

After learning about the importance of storing autographs, you need to start protecting your valuable assets right away. Traditionally, there are three ways for storing autographs: sleeves, binders, and protective cases. Tips related to each are listed throughout this chapter.

One of the most common methods for storing autographed photos and cards is sleeves. However, instead of poly vinyl chloride (PVC) sleeves, always opt for polyester. PVC sleeves are bound to harm your collection due to a ‘plasticizer’ added to its mix.

This element retains the flexibility of the sleeve, but acts as a solvent on the ink of paint pens and metallic markers. As a result, the signature is bound to disappear and you’ll end up with a distorted image. On the other hand, polyester is stronger and more durable. Though costly, it’ll protect your autographs, especially if you opt for Mylar polyester.

Two other options to avoid are ‘copy safe’ sleeves and ‘top loader’. Copy safe sleeves are designed for the office market. Many believe that their name also indicates that they’re idea for safely storing photocopied items rather than valuable autographed photos or cards.

Similarly, top loaders shouldn’t be used for storing autographs despite being perfect for transporting newly signed photos. These hard plastic sleeves where the top edge is open shouldn’t be used for storing autographs because photos and cards will end up sticking to top loaders, especially if the former are newly developed while the latter are newly manufactured.

Aside from choosing the best type of sleeves, follow the suggestion below to protect the condition of your valuables.

Ideally, you should only have one photo or card per sleeve. However, if your collection is expanding and your current storage is limited, two photos back to back should be your maximum. In this case, place and acid- and lignin-free divider.

Most images contain these two chemicals, which is why the paper is bound to turn yellow. Having images back to back will age the photographic paper twice as much, turning your valuable image yellow quickly. Therefore, adding this divider will prevent your valuable investment from losing its worth.

Rather than going through the hassle of wasting one A4 sleeve per item, get an album that contains special multi-pocket sleeves. These may cost more, but at least you won’t be hassled with dividers and the need to air images multiple times a year.

Your skin has a lot of oil and other excretions that can damage your autographed photos and cards once transferred to them. Your own fingerprints will compromise your valuable assets and lower their value if you can’t remove them later. So get yourself a pair of cotton, lint-free gloves from your nearest photography store.

The best binders for storing autographed paper-based media are four-ring binders. Two-ring types may be okay, but they won’t provide support to the sleeves, forcing them to sag along with your photo. As a result, your image may be damaged in the process.

However, you should ensure that your four-ring binders aren’t made of cardboard or covered in PVC. The first material will sag and bend, causing more trouble than you wanted. Meanwhile, PVC will corrode the ink and affect the quality of the medium.

To ensure that these binders effectively protect your photos and signatures, here are some tips for you to follow.

Most collectors tend to store their folders on the bottom edge or flat against the shelf or table. However, the best method for placing these binders is by allowing the sleeves to hang down.

Filing your autographs in the usual manner is bound to cause the photos to detach themselves unevenly from the rings, causing small marks or creases to appear on their edges. On the other hand, storing folders with their spines at the top won’t cause the same damage as the weight of all the sleeves will be distributed evenly.

Another benefit of storing folders this way is preventing dust from making its way into the sleeves. In the traditional position, dust will fall down through the top. Yet storing the folder the other way will protect your autographs from elements that can scratch the media, such as dust, mold spores, and even dead skin.

The best place to keep your folders in should be well ventilated to prevent excessive warmth or relative humidity from affecting your investments. You need to also ensure no light; direct or indirect sunlight is bound to harm your autographs on the long run.

If you plan on getting signed memorabilia such as baseballs, sleeves and binders will be useless. In this case, you need to protect your signed gems in protective cases made from UV filter glass. Though more expensive than traditional glass, it protects the item and the signature from the full glare of the sun as well as indirect light.

As a result, both will last for long. Now you’re welcome to opt for other protective boxes, but glass displays are actually better because they allow you to flaunt what you have collected.

Other tips to remember while using glass cases are listed below.

Regardless of whether you’re handling a signed photograph or a guitar, always handle your investment with gloves to prevent oils from your skin or fingerprints from compromising its value.

Keep the glass cases away from young children who may be fascinated by your memorabilia. You can always have special rooms designated for storage to ensure full protection.

You should never skimp on glass displays; square or ball-shaped Plexiglas or acrylic holders are the best you can get for your collection. As daunting as the initial price may be, remember that whatever you’re paying today will only be a fraction of what you can make with your autograph.

While storing is important for preserving your investment, you need to take care of presentation as well. Why this aspect is important is explained in detail in the next chapter along with important tips to safely flaunt your investment, especially before selling it.

In most cases, preservation and presentation go hand in hand. For instance, by storing autographed balls in glass displays, you can also show them off without worrying about their value or condition.

On the other hand, such as in the cases of photos and cards, you’ll need more than a four-ring binder to wow your customers and sell your autograph off. Through the following lines, you’ll learn more about the importance of presenting your autographs effectively and how to frame them.

There are many reasons why you should invest in presenting your autograph collection. However, the first of these is you yourself. You see, you may have stepped into this world to boost your investment portfolio with profitable investments, but it’s your passion that’ll help you through.

The question is: how can you motivate yourself towards building your collection if you don’t see what you have accumulated so far? True, you may have binders and sleeves which you can flip through, but these won’t be as effective as framed displays or glass displays.

Good presentation is also important for your future buyers. Most people judge the book by its cover, especially since the amount of care you put into preserving and showcasing your autograph indicates how valuable it may be.

As a result, buyers are bound to take a better look at your collection. Using a good display will also be helpful in this regard. Your buyers will be able to look at their future investment without worrying about affecting their value. Besides, you’ll be able to show one piece at a time, sparing the rest of your collection from being exposed to the elements or human hands.

In the previous chapter, you learned about glass displays for storage. These are just as effective for displaying certain signed memorabilia such as balls and musical instruments.

However, you’re better off framing your autographs if they’re on paper-based media or wearables such as jerseys. To ensure that this procedure effectively showcases your collectible while preserving it for years to come, here are some valuable tips provided by Matt Raymond from Autograph University and Jake Johnston from Big Picture Framing.

Now that you’re reading this line, you’re ready to start your own collection. However, in order to profit from what you have been accumulating, you need to learn about the next phase of your autograph investment journey.

Though you may have embraced collecting autographs as a hobby, you need to remember that this is mainly means for making a handsome profit. Therefore, after collecting and storing autographs, you need to sell them.

In order to part with your autograph collection and make the profits you were promised of at the beginning of this guide, take your pick from the following three options.

Selling to another collector means that your autographs will have a new owner who appreciates your valuables as much as you do. Unfortunately, selling to a collector is a very difficult option because you won’t easily find someone who exactly wants what you own.

Even if you’re lucky enough to find one, there’s always a chance that the collector may not be willing to pay a fair price. After all, they too will be guarding their profit. Besides, collectors take their time to approach one another, so you never know when someone may be ready to pay more.

Selling through an auction is one of the best ways of drawing a large pool of potential buyers. You also get to connect with more than portfolio owners since serious collectors and hobbyists also use this option.

However, by opting for this selling method, you need to be flexible in regards of time. The auctioneer is highly unlikely to offer your material for sale the minute you want it off your hands. It may even be months between sales.

Moreover, it may take four to six weeks after the auction before you can get paid, or longer if the buyer stalls paying the auction house. In the meanwhile, you’ll be burdened by extra costs such as cover insurance and storage.

There are numerous advantages for selling through a dealer, including the ability to sell at the price you state (or at least for a fair price), zero fees or obligations on your part, and instant payment. Your dealer may also authenticate your autographs, work around your financial expectations, and produce a detailed catalog highlighting your collection.

However, the biggest benefit is that you’re in control. Not only can you get the price you’ve always wanted, but you get to enjoy a longer time frame for selling. Just keep in mind that your valuables must be re-sold, so a dealer will pay a percentage of the retail value.

If you want to cut out the middle man, avoid selling through eBay and save more, build a personal autographs selling site. However, this option entails extensive marketing, a feat that would require money regardless of whether it’s handled online or offline.

Considering the fact that you don’t have to abide by any rules or regulations in the process, this option may prove to be a great one for novice collectors. Creating a personalized site is also advantageous for individuals with a large collection which they want to sell at a relatively slow pace.

Regardless of which of these methods you choose, know that you can actually earn more by learning a few pointers such as the ones listed below.

You need to find out how well certain autographs perform over the span of years, which is where the autograph price index comes in handy. You should also factor in certain aspects that influence values such as the condition of the autographed item.

In order to successfully market your autographed valuables, take several photos and use them to attract buyers. This will help you filter out non-serious buyers and spare others’ time.

To further make these photos effective, complement them with a short yet detailed description. You should especially mention the source of the autograph and any stories related to obtaining it.

After a buyer’s payment has cleared, make sure to ship their purchases as soon as possible. The ideal shipment duration is within three days of the payment clearing. Just make sure to carefully package the item to avoid damaging it during transit.

Also, to ensure a buyer for life, provide a tracking number which they can use to find how long their shipment may take.

Regardless of which method you’re using to sell your autographed memorabilia, you need to include a COA. Without this, your sale won’t go through as quickly as you want.

If you need money, you may end up settling for a price much less than what you deserve. Therefore, prove that the item is truly worth what you state and collectors or buyers will buy from you.

One of the harsh realities of autographed photographs and memorabilia is that the ink is bound to fade with time. Even if you have properly framed your valuable signed item or placed it within a special case, the weather or exposure to light is bound to affect it if you’re slightly negligent. Scared for the sake of your investment, you may consider darkening the signature to make it visible again. However, you should NEVER retouch the autographs.

Retracing the autograph means that you’ve changed it, devaluing the object. You see, collectible signatures are only worth hundreds and thousands of dollars when they remain as written. Even if you restore a tear in a photo, your buyers may think twice before investing in what you offer. Moreover, you’re bound to disclose any damage or restoration at the time of sale. Aside from being unethical, choosing to hide this aspect will ruin your reputation and prevent your other collectibles from being sold.

Now this doesn’t mean that you should give up just because the ink started fading. According to Joe Orlando, president of authentication service PSA/DNA, autograph collectors will accept a light photograph provided that the signature is pure. “As long as it’s there to the naked eye, there is eye appeal,” he commented. So don’t start searching for DIY guides on how to restore autographed paraphernalia or entrust your valuables to a restoration professional.

Choosing to collect autographs is going to prove to be an extremely profitable decision for you. However, keep in mind that you should always be open to learning to collect an exemplary collection and gain the generous profits you’ve always wanted.

Another thing you should always remember is to be patient and avoid hasty decisions. Never buy or sell in haste unless you absolutely have to, which is usually the case only 5% of the time.

Finally, be realistic to yourself and honest with others. Don’t make decisions because you “believe” you can. Similarly, don’t trick others into buying useless pieces that offer no value because that will always reflect badly on you and your reputation as a seller.

In an effort to be the comprehensive guide for all new autograph individuals, we have covered all the aspects related to this form of investment. If you’re interested in learning more about the aspects we’ve covered through the pages above, you can use the websites of the following for more information.

Copyright © 2015-2019, All Rights Reserved. Written by Ethan Lambert

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