Collecting Autographed Footballs

Autographed footballs are among the most popular types of signed memorabilia.  They can be used for entire teams, themes for individuals. When it comes to the signed  football, a variety of options exist.

Size

Signed Jerry Rice footballRegulation size footballs are a popular option, but because of their size, they can be fairly bulky items if you want to display several in one location. A nice thing about standard size footballs is they are large enough to accommodate signatures from an entire team.

For this reason, some fans choose to collect autographed footballs with a particular theme. For example, a collector may secure an autographed football signed by a particular quarterback and his favorite receivers, a team's All-Pro players or Hall of Fame members.

However, larger footballs aren’t for everyone. If a collector has a particularly large number of footballs, it may be easier and more feasible to collect miniature signed footballs. These take up significantly less space and are still an attractive option.

Material

Standard footballs used in NFL games are leather and this can make it difficult to secure clear signatures. While it’s not impossible to obtain a clean signature on an all-leather football, other options exist. Autograph footballs are an option for collectors wanting to obtain signatures. These special balls designed specifically for obtaining autographs have either one, two, three, or four white panels and are perfect for getting signed. While these balls are still usually made of leather, the panels are not ‘rough’ with the bumpy exterior, allowing for clean signatures.

Some collectors are hesitant to use these partially white or all-white footballs because they don’t look exactly like the ones used on the field, but the signatures are unmistakably clearer.

Team Footballs

Team-logo  footballs are becoming more popular and are a great item to use when having a ball signed by an entire team. These balls generally feature a small screen printed or stitched team logo and the ball might utilize panels in the colors of that specific team. The ball may even include other extras such as a printed roster or team schedule from a particular season.

Team Accessibility

Football is a unique sport in that its training camps give fans easy access to the team. Camp lasts for a few weeks and many players and coaches will sign autographs for a significant amount of time before and after practice each day. Because the players many times stay and live onsite during that time, it’s also more convenient for them to stay and pass out a signed football or twenty as opposed to after a game when they may be rushing to get home.

Camp is an ideal place to have your football signed – especially when trying to have a ball signed by multiple players. The entire team is together and a media guide or yearbook with all of the players’ numbers is an easy way to spot and identify your targets.

Signed Bart Starr footballHall of Famers

Collecting footballs signed by Hall of Famers has always been popular.  Long term, these are the best bet to hold their value since performance is no longer a factor in the equation. While it can consume space, single-signed footballs are often the best way to collect for future value, although team signed balls are also excellent and those featuring players who are forever connected by performance (Joe Montana and Jerry Rice for example) or legendary teams (Super Bowl winners) are also desirable.

Inscriptions

Many collectors pay a little extra to have a player sign a football with a special inscription like "Super Bowl MVP" or "1989 rushing champion" or simply "HOF" to indicate they are a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  It adds a nice touch to the ball.

Buying Online

If you don't have easy access to the team, buying online is an option.  Many star players have arrangements for private signings with memorabilia companies where you'll often get a clean, attractive signature done in a relaxed setting.  You can use this link to get 20% off at Steiner Sports by using the code SPORTS20 at checkout.  You can also find fully authenticated autographed footballs on eBay (see below).  Be certain you're buying from a seller with good feedback.  Many companies which specialize in autographed items also sell on eBay in addition to their own websites.

There are many different ways to collect signed footballs – it’s simply a matter of deciding which is best for you.

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