eBay Autographs: An Overview

When used properly, eBay is a great source for autographed items. Sellers many times auction multiple items as parts of lots and the site can be an inexpensive way to quickly build a collection. However, like anything else, prospective buyers need to exercise caution in shopping for eBay autographs. It's important to do your homework to increase your chances that you’re purchasing the real deal.

The first thing collectors should do is decide what type of autographs to collect. Photos, 3X5 index cards, trading cards, jerseys, and equipment are all popular choices, but there are plenty of other options as well. Sound simple enough? The fact is that there are thousands of autographed items on eBay and it’s extremely easy to become confused. Once you decide what you’re looking for, you can narrow things down quite a bit.

ebayeBay’s site is generally easy to navigate and use. Before browsing, however, it’s important to note the distinction between hand-signed/original autographs and replica autographs. Replicas are copies of hand-signed autographs and, as you would expect, are much more inexpensive. When purchasing autographs, most buyers prefer original signatures. If hand-signed, original autographs are your choice, always make sure you are not bidding on items that are replica signatures. Such items should be clearly marked by the seller to avoid confusion.

eBay autographs are categorized into more than 20 different areas covering a variety of sports including baseball, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, golf, soccer, and more. Many of these categories include several sub categories where a user can search what types of autographs for which to look. For example, in the baseball category, buyers can search autographed baseballs, bats, jerseys, photographs, and more.

Once you start browsing for autographed items, one of the first things you might notice is that some are authenticated while others are not. There are several authenticators out there, but eBay recommends a few reputable ones including James Spence Authentication and PSA/DNA.

As eBay points out, authenticators cannot determine ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ that an autograph is real without witnessing it being signed in person. Multiple authenticators may even have different opinions. But the three authenticators listed by eBay all have good reputations and if purchasing an item that has an accompanying letter from one of these three entities, there’s a good chance that the item contains an authentic signature.

Other authenticators should be approached with caution. It doesn’t take much for an individual to start an authentication company and such companies can be run by a sole person without much experience. When relying upon another authenticator that isn’t well known, your chances of purchasing an authentic item may greatly decrease.

Autograph grades refer to the condition of an item. For example, an item in mint condition would be considered to have no major flaws and a clear, bold, signature. Flaws can include creases (in photographs or cards), faded or smudged signatures, stains, or other visible defects. The fewer the flaws, the more valuable an item generally is. Premiums can also be placed on vintage items that are found to be in mint or near-mint condition because the older the item, the chance generally decreases that it is without flaws.

Once you’ve found an item to buy, there’s one final decision to make – should you use the “Buy It Now” feature (when applicable) or bid, hoping to win the item. The “Buy It Now” feature allows you to win an item outright without the need to bid against others. If you have an item in mind and a price you are comfortable paying, this may be a good option. However, if you don’t mind a little competition, many times you can purchase eBay autographs for a bit less by waiting it out and bidding against others. A good rule of thumb might be to use “Buy It Now” when you are concerned about losing an item to another bidder. If the item is in your desired price range, you may choose to select that option.

JOHNNY ODUYA AUTOGRAPHED-SIG​NED 2013 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS CHAMPS PUCK 2
JOHNNY ODUYA AUTOGRAPHED-SIG​NED 2013 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS CHAMPS PUCK 2
$19.76
Time Remaining: 30m
Buy It Now for only: $19.76
MIKE PIAZZA SIGNED NY METS 8X10 PHOTO AUTHENTIC AUTOGRAPH WITH MLB HOLOGRAM
MIKE PIAZZA SIGNED NY METS 8X10 PHOTO AUTHENTIC AUTOGRAPH WITH MLB HOLOGRAM
$149.99
Time Remaining: 30m
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Ozzie Newsome Cleveland Browns SIGNED 8x10 Photo COA!
Ozzie Newsome Cleveland Browns SIGNED 8x10 Photo COA!
$40.00
Time Remaining: 30m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
 JASON FRASOR TEXAS RANGERS SIGNED 2013 CARD TORONTO BLUE JAYS CHICAGO WHITE SOX
JASON FRASOR TEXAS RANGERS SIGNED 2013 CARD TORONTO BLUE JAYS CHICAGO WHITE SOX
$5.00
Time Remaining: 30m
Buy It Now for only: $5.00
MATT WILLIAMS  CLEVELAND INDIANS   ACTION SIGNED 8x10
MATT WILLIAMS CLEVELAND INDIANS ACTION SIGNED 8x10
$14.99
Time Remaining: 30m
Buy It Now for only: $14.99
COREY DICKERSON COLORADO ROCKIES SIGNED AUTOGRAPHED ACTION 8X10 PHOTO W/COA
COREY DICKERSON COLORADO ROCKIES SIGNED AUTOGRAPHED ACTION 8X10 PHOTO W/COA
$18.98
Time Remaining: 30m
Buy It Now for only: $18.98
TRAVIN DURAL LSU TIGERS SIGNED 8X10 PHOTO W/COA #1
TRAVIN DURAL LSU TIGERS SIGNED 8X10 PHOTO W/COA #1
$41.99
Time Remaining: 31m
Buy It Now for only: $41.99
JACK MCKEON  CINCINNATI REDS   ACTION SIGNED 8x10
JACK MCKEON CINCINNATI REDS ACTION SIGNED 8x10
$14.99
Time Remaining: 31m
Buy It Now for only: $14.99
BEAU BENNETT SIGNED PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 2016 STANLEY CUP JERSEY LICENSED JSA COA
BEAU BENNETT SIGNED PITTSBURGH PENGUINS 2016 STANLEY CUP JERSEY LICENSED JSA COA
$199.99
Time Remaining: 31m
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Keith Acton SIGNED 91/92 OPC O-PEE-CHEE card PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Keith Acton SIGNED 91/92 OPC O-PEE-CHEE card PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
$1.74
Time Remaining: 31m
Buy It Now for only: $1.74
Bumgarner / Posey / Cain / Sandoval / Romo 5X Autographed 16x20 w/ MLB Hologram
Bumgarner / Posey / Cain / Sandoval / Romo 5X Autographed 16x20 w/ MLB Hologram
$499.99
Time Remaining: 31m
Buy It Now for only: $499.99
PETE SCHOUREK  PITTSBURGH PIRATES    ACTION SIGNED 8x10
PETE SCHOUREK PITTSBURGH PIRATES ACTION SIGNED 8x10
$13.99
Time Remaining: 31m
Buy It Now for only: $13.99

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