Lets start off with the old fashion way, in person autographs. Nowadays, you can go to shows that have current and former athletes who sign for a fee. Some are pretty reasonable prices while others are out of this world. The more popular and the more rare the more expensive. Always remember that because if your getting a "to good of a deal", it may not be authentic.
If your going to a game always bring something easy for the players to sign. A baseball, ticket stub, picture or even a baseball card. My favorite autograph obtained was of course Derek Jeter, but I've been lucky a few times to get others. Here are some of the things I got autographed while at a Yankees game.
|I got to ask Jeter for an autograph which is really rare to get one like this.|
This is now what this ball looks like because I used a sharpie.
|As you can see the sharpie tends to run its ink as time goes by.|
Johnny Damon I think is one of the nicest guys out there. He will always try to sign for the fans.
The best way to get these autographs are the following:
-Get to the stadium as early as you can. Players tend to sign more during warm ups and batting practice then any other time. They will never sign during a game and rarely sign after.
-Look around and see where the players are entering and leaving the field, I hang out by the dugout because no matter who it is, its the only way back in.
-Be polite when asking. These guys will not sign if your rude and pushy.
-Never throw anything at them to sign, unless they tell you or made eye contact with them. You'll lose your chance at an autograph and so will the other people around you.
-Don't be greedy. They know if they signed something for you already.
-Finally, say thank you.
While I'm sure I will not be selling any of my stuff in the near future at least I can be sure that it was pass authenticity when the time comes. Here are some places that will authenticate your autographs.
Professional Sports Authenticator
James Spence Authentication
Now the next type is TTM or through the mail autographs. This aspect of collecting is limited to what you can get signed. Some guys have a fee or request donations for their charities and some do it for free.
All you need are the following:
-Address of the players ( you can send it to the team address or if your look it up their home address on different website that may provide them).
-Self addressed stamped envelope( so that they can return it to you)
-item to be signed ( usually a baseball card is best. Very simple and cheap to ship).
-and of course the stamp.
Right now, it would probably cost you a total of $1.80 excluding the card you put it.
Always remember that once you ship it, there is a high probability that you will not get it back but there have been occasions where you will be get a nice surprise.
Best time to send them out is before or during spring training. Players have more time and less stress during this time.
And finally the most expensive is purchasing online or memorabilia stores. This is probably the trickier ones if you do not purchase from a reputable place, but if you do purchase always get a COA "certificate of authenticity" from one of the mentioned above. Always be careful when purchasing from eBay, cause there have been a few sellers who have tried to trick and sell people who do not have knowledge in collecting. Here is a sample of a "COA"
My favorite website or company is Steiner Sports. They may be expensive but at least your getting good quality on your purchase.