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.

Jim Haslett Indiana PA Signed College Football HOF Helmet Buffalo Bills
Jim Haslett Indiana PA Signed College Football HOF Helmet Buffalo Bills
$75.00
Time Remaining: 30m
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Adam thielen Autographed Minnesota Vikings Replica Football W/ TSE COA
Adam thielen Autographed Minnesota Vikings Replica Football W/ TSE COA
$81.00 (19 Bids)
Time Remaining: 30m
S.I. Sports Illustrated June 23 1980 Jack Nicklaus Signed Magazine Global
S.I. Sports Illustrated June 23 1980 Jack Nicklaus Signed Magazine Global
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Jeremy Newberry Signed San Francisco 49ers 8x10 Autographed Go Niners Photo #3
Jeremy Newberry Signed San Francisco 49ers 8x10 Autographed Go Niners Photo #3
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Rare! CHYNA WWE Unofficial Unsigned Bootleg Promo 8x10
Rare! CHYNA WWE Unofficial Unsigned Bootleg Promo 8x10
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Rare! TRISH STRATUS WWE Unofficial Unsigned Bootleg Promo 8x10
Rare! TRISH STRATUS WWE Unofficial Unsigned Bootleg Promo 8x10
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Rare! TRIPLE H WWE Racing Reflections Official Unsigned Promo 8x10  HHH THE GAME
Rare! TRIPLE H WWE Racing Reflections Official Unsigned Promo 8x10 HHH THE GAME
$9.99
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Antonio Margarito Autographed Mexico Boxing Glove with Fight Plaza COA
Antonio Margarito Autographed Mexico Boxing Glove with Fight Plaza COA
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"Jumping Johnny" Wilson signed autograph 5 x 7 mag photo Harlem Globetrotters
$10.99
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AL FERRARI deceased 2016 signed autograph 3x5 index  STL Hawks Chicago 1955-64
AL FERRARI deceased 2016 signed autograph 3x5 index STL Hawks Chicago 1955-64
$9.99
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JULIUS
JULIUS "Dr. J" ERVING signed First Day of Issue Philadelphia 76ers
$29.99
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RON NELSON signed autograph  3x5 index ABA Miami Floridians 1970-71
RON NELSON signed autograph 3x5 index ABA Miami Floridians 1970-71
$5.99
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