Rare sports autographs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAutograph sports memorabilia collecting guide about famous and valuable rare sports autograph available in the sports collecting market

It can be easy for sports collectors nowadays to acquire an autograph from their favorite athletes with the presence of sports memorabilia stores and sports autograph signing events and shows. However, there are also some athlete’s signatures which are quite hard to find and are more valuable.

Rare sports autographs are those that are difficult to acquire but are highly desirable by sports memorabilia collectors.
Mickey Mantle Sports Autograph: One of the most important and rarest sports autograph in the sports collecting hobby is Mickey Mantle’s. The Mick, as he was fondly called, rarely signed autographs during his career.

Because they are in demand, scarce sports autographs are generally more expensive. The rarity of the athlete’s signature could be associated with age (as in antique sports autographs) and the athlete’s signing preference.

Scarcity can also be relative to the desirability of such signature (when supply of autographs could not meet the demand from hobbyists).  Here are examples of rare sports autographs:

Rare vintage sports autographs:

Babe Ruth rare signature

The signature of baseball legend Babe Ruth is considered the most important sports autograph in the sports collecting hobby. About two of the most expensive sporting memorabilia of all time bear Ruth’s signature with values ranging from $500,000 to more than $1 million.

The autographs of the Bambino were often changing during his entire career: in the early years, he would sign as Babe Ruth with the first name enclosed in quotation marks.  This practice ceased in the late 1920s. At times, when it comes to checks or documents, he would sign with his full name George Herman Ruth or with GH Ruth.

Babe Ruth was never reclusive in signing autographs during his time. But despite his numerous signed items, the supply simply could not cater to the great demand for Babe Ruth sports autographs.

Muhammad Ali sports autograph

Another very significant autograph in sports history is Muhammad Ali’s signature. Ali was a three-time World Heavyweight Champion and was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated in 1999.  Because of his change of name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, there are two versions of his autographs with the first signature being rarer.  When Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, signing autographs was becoming hard for him.

Though he still signs a few autographs once in a while, the supply of his signature is always not enough for all the sports collectors who desire for his autograph.  An autographed Muhammad Ali belt was sold at sportsmemorabilia.com for almost $11,000.

Barry Bonds baseball Sports AutographMickey Mantle sport autographs

Mickey Mantle is a National Baseball Hall of Famer and his signatures are among the most important and rarest sports autographs, during his professional career, he rarely signed autographs nor answered mails for his fanatics. More so, his death in 1995 had also appreciated the value of his sports autographs with the fact that his signature will not increase in number anymore.

Because of the scarcity of his signatures from the market and at the same time, the great want of collectors to buy his hand signed sports collectibles (despite his signature being pricey), the Mickey Mantle autograph is heavily forged.

A Professional Sports Authenticator certified autographed Mickey Mantle Bat could cost around $10,000 in the market.

Modern rare sports autograph:

Tiger Woods signature

One of the rarest sports autographs in the present sports collecting market is the Tiger Woods sports autograph.  With the title as World No. 1 Golfer and being the highest-paid professional athlete for 2008, Woods is truly the most popular athlete today.  In effect, his signature is one of the most wanted athlete’s signatures. It is also one of the most forged signatures that though Tiger does not sign on golf balls, you would see many so called autographed Tiger Woods golf balls auctioned on the web.

Tiger Woods seldom signs autographs in public and instead exclusively signs for Upper Deck. It is his way of protecting fans from buying fake sports autographs from uncertified dealers.  He encourages collectors to purchase signed items of him only from authorized stores such as Upper Deck.

Because of Tiger’s current status of fame and the rarity of his signature, autographed items of Tiger are among the most valuable rare sporting memorabilia in the modern times.  A hand signed sports cards featuring Tiger Woods was priced more than $16000 in 2008 while an autographed game worn shirt could cost you more than $25,000.

Michael Jordan sports autograph

When it comes to basketball, only one name is hailed best of all time – and that is Michael Jordan. More than being a good player too, Michael is known to have an extraordinary charm that makes him well loved by his fans.   Because of this popularity, Michael Jordan autograph is believed to be among the most sought after and important rare sports autographs at present.

Sadly for many supporters, Michael would not and could not easily sign autographs in public because of the commotion it could create risking the safety of his fans and himself.

For many years, Jordan exclusively signs for Upper Deck. He also signs for fans in more peaceful events like his charity golf tournaments.  Michael Jordan autographed basketball could be worth almost $2000 while a signed Jordan jersey may cost around $6,000.

Barry Bonds sports autograph

Major League Baseball outfielder, Barry Bonds, is not only known for his record of seven Most Valuable Player awards but also for being a reclusive signer of autographs. He was considered one of the worst modern era players when it comes to signing for fans.  Though this often disappointed his supporters, there are collectors who are happy about his reluctance towards autograph signings.

The rarity of Bonds’ signature makes his signed sports collectibles more valuable.  A framed hand signed autograph of Barry Bonds is priced at around $5,000 in an online sports shop.

Triple Signed Memorabilia

To pay tribute to three greatest athletes alive, Upper Deck had released the Legends of Sports display piece hand signed by Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods.  It is a framed art print that illuminates a black background.  The price of this limited edition sports autographed memorabilia was $7,000.