What Determines the Value of an Autographed Baseball?

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes signed baseballs worth a certain amount of money? How one baseball can go from costing you $20 or even getting it for free, but end up costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars? If you have been a baseball collector or are a prospective collector, these questions will certainly come to your mind at one point or another. A lot of times people get autographed baseballs from “no-name” players and they never think that the ball will be worth anything. A lot of times people get autographs from “hot shot” players or prospects that are supposed to end up being in the hall of fame and they think these balls will be worth a lot of money in the future. The thing is, it is hard to really say what a ball will end up being worth in the future because, well, no one can predict the future.

Connie Mack autographed baseballThere can be a few factors that determine the value of a signed ball and those are usually the performance of the athlete. But, there are other factors that can be involved when it comes to these values and they can be easy to overlook. Sometimes beginning collectors overlook these factors and end up getting rid of baseballs that could end up being worth a lot of money in the future.

These factors include milestones of, either individual players, teams, ballparks, or even the MLB itself. Whether the ball is an official MLB ball and if it was the type of ball used during that player’s time, has a lot to do with it. Believe it or not, there are people out there who sell fake MLB balls, so be on the look out for those. The condition of the ball, meaning the physical condition, has to be either good or original. Remember, just because the ball has scuffs does not mean that the ball is not worth anything, the scuffs could be from when the player hit the ball or something similar, making the ball actually worth more.

Additional factors include where the player signs the ball, the “sweet” spot of the ball is the best place to get a ball signed. Believe it or not, there are players who refuse to sign on the sweet spot, either for superstition reasons or because they have an exclusive autograph contract with a memorabilia company that won't let them sign there for anyone else.

With regard to vintage signed baseballs, whether a player lived a long time also factors in, especially with regard to Hall of Fame players. Those who lived a long time ago and died relatively young, like Christy Mathewson, are among the most valuable autographs in existence because there simply aren't that many out there, as one of our earlier posts proved.

Although these may not be the only factors that determine the value of an autographed baseballl, they are definitely some important ones that you should look out for if you plan to continue to collect.

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Comments

  1. joyce whitehead says

    I have a team autographed baseball from the late 40 or early 50. The problem is that only I can certify this, as the ink is faded to the point that it is virtually unreadable. I guess that ink not ball point was used. Is there any way to get the ink to be legible?

  2. janet alvarado says

    I have an autographed baseball from 1976 or 1977 cardinal team. Lou Brock is signed on the sweel spot. I am trying to find out the value of the ball.

  3. admin says

    None that I know of. A very knowledgeable fan or collector might be able to make enough of them out to identify the team but in that condition it’s not likely to be worth very much unless it would happen to contain a late-life Babe Ruth signature or be a championship Yankees ball.

  4. Eddie Hep says

    I’m trying to determine the value of an unique signed baseball. The baseball is signed by the all the Umpires (6) from the 1961 World series.
    Thank You

  5. Johnny Deddens says

    I have 2 signed balls and was wondering what they are worth. 1st: @ 1971-72 Atlanta Braves signed by the whole team, including Hank Aaron and Joe Torre.
    2nd: @ 1972-73 Chicago Cubs signed by the whole team including Ernie Banks and Leo Derosha(spelling?)
    Both balls are 100% authentic and I have had then since the dates above and was there when they were signed. All signatures are in good shape and readable.

  6. Johnny Deddens says

    I’m not sure my dates above are correct. The Braves ball may be late 60’s and the Cubs ball may be 70ish??? I was very young, 3-5, when my dad got me these balls.

    cubs ball also has Rick Monday, Don Kessinger, Fergie Jenkins, etc…
    Braves ball also has Phil , etc…

  7. admin says

    Hard to say on that…probably not a ton of interest just with the umpires but a guess would be $250-300.

  8. Attilio says

    I’m an Italian baseball fan. I’d like to buy a Joe Dimaggio autographed ball… I don’t understand why baseballs that seem very similar have so differents prices… from 2000$ to 250$. thank you e sorry for my english

  9. Danny Such says

    I have a ball autographed by all hall of famer’s. The ball was signed by each former player at a company sponsered golf outing in the late 80’s. The signatures are all in blue point pen, very legiable. The ball has the name of the event on it with no official manager league stamp on it. The signatures on the ball are listed below in no particular order.

    Harvey Kuene
    Johnny Mize
    Bob Feller
    Lou Brock (sweet spot)
    Brooks Robinson
    Ralph Houlk
    Early Wynn
    Enos Slaughter
    Jim Bunning
    Joe Morgan
    Ernie Banks

    and 4 or5 others that I can’t make out the names

  10. kevin Hawley says

    Does the Type (Brand) of an Autographed baseball effect the value significantly? Example, I have an Authenic Autographed ball by Mickey Mantel. I supplied the ball which is a “Wilson A1010” Premium leather. If this were say a Rawlings, would there be much of a change in value? My ball & the Autograph are in Pristine condition.

    Thanks,

    Kevin

  11. admin says

    Kevin,

    Official baseballs (exact models of those used in MLB games) carry a premium over other balls, yes.

  12. Josh says

    I have a small but somewhat valued collection of signed baseballs, but one I was not sure what to think of it or the value. Its a official national league baseball, very mint with Frank Sinatra’s autograph, and the other side, WB007650. Im not sure how to look up the serial number on it, or the value. Can you help??

  13. Josh says

    I also have a 1988 whole team signed autographed baseball by the minnesota twins, given to me by my friend Johnny Moses, who played for them at the time. I realize this is a year after they won the world series, but has some of those great twins non the less.

  14. admin says

    Try contacting a sports memorabilia auction house on the Sinatra ball. I’m not familiar with that one.

  15. Noel Painter says

    I hav e ball signed by the following: mickey mantle brooks robinson,willie stargell, jim lefebere,tony conigliaro billy williams tim mccarver and I believe rick reichardt. I’m guessing it was signed at a late 60’s or early 70’s all star game. Any idea as to value?

  16. admin says

    Really depends on the condition. It’s too bad it’s not a full team ball from one of the clubs in the A.S. game. With Mantle, Stargell and Conigliaro (all deceased), there is some value–probably several hundred dollars–but hard to say without seeing it.

  17. Wes says

    While going through a pile of back-basement junk at my parents over the weekend, we found what we’re pretty sure is an official American League baseball signed by the 1936 New York Yankees baseball team. Lou Gehrig’s and mgr Joe McCarthy’s signatures are clearly seen on the sweet spot, and other players (Red Rolfe, Johnny Broaca, Lefty Gomez, Bump Hadley, Ted Kleinhans, Pat Malone, Johnnny Murphy, Bill Dicky, Frankie Crosetti, Don Heffner, Tony Lazzeri, Roy Johnson and more) can be seen around the ball. One side is very faded, so we cannot tell if Joe DiMaggio’s signature is possibly present there (1936 was his rookie year, I believe). I live in the Washington DC area – where can I take this to get it authenticated, and if found to be authentic what would it be worth approximately? Thanks.

  18. admin says

    It’s really hard to determine value without seeing the ball. Much will depend on whether Joe D is on the ball and its condition. If you’re interested in selling, I’d suggest an auction company. You can contact me at [email protected] and I’ll try to assist. They should be able to handle the authentication should you decide to put it in the auction which would save you the fees and hassle. You could certainly do that yourself as well, however.

  19. says

    I have a baseball that was passed down from a famliy member on my wifes side (Johnny Klippstein) who played on the 1959 World Series Champions Dodger team that has the following 16 signatures on it. All but one of the sginatures are very clear and the baseball appears to be in good shape. Was looking for an estimated value?

    Art Fowler
    Carl Furillo
    Charlie Neal
    Clem Labine
    Duke Snider
    Dom Demeter
    Don Zimmer
    Danny McDevitt
    Gil Hodges
    Johnny Podres
    Norm Larker
    Rip Repulski
    Sandy Koufax
    Stan Williams
    Wally Moon
    Walter Alston

  20. admin says

    It looks like Drysdale and a few others are missing? I’d put the value of this ball, depending on condition and that the signatures are indeed authentic, at around $500-600.

  21. Jake says

    I have an old ball with various signatures some I can make out are bob logan, joe moore, eric mcnair, and gil english, also wayne bradbury I think, along with a few others I can’t make out, tried to research these guys and I don’t are where they ever played together, Do you think it hold any value? Thanks.

  22. anthony says

    i have a yankee ball signed with 25 names such as mantle,maris,berra,ford kubek,howard, boyer,richardson,turley,blanchard and others wondering what the value is thank you.

  23. Robert says

    I have a Yadier Molina signed ball from last year, at an outing down here in Puerto Rico. The interesting part is that he signed the ball at the sweet spot and then added some additional stuff I cannot understand: something like GG, some six to seven numbers similar to a date (not the signed date) then the letters ASG, and some additional numbers. Any idea what it means and if this is common? Also, does it affect the value?

  24. admin says

    That’s actually really nice. Sounds like he added his All Star game appearances and maybe some other stats. Yes, it will increase the value somewhat. Players usually ask for extra money at shows to sign inscriptions like this.

  25. audrey lingle says

    I recently bought a autographed ball from 1962 and the hole yankees team signed it the guy I got it from was there when it was sighed the balls in pretty good condition what would a extimated value be on this ball.

  26. Dorothy says

    I have a circa 1933 -35 Cincinnati Reds ball signed by Kiki Guyler, Ival Goodman,ERnie Lombardi, Harry Craft, Lee Grisson, Lonnie Frey, Johnny Vandermeer and Paul Ddrringer. It is in good condition and all signatures are pretty clear. How do I find out the value of this ball.

  27. says

    Just wanted to let all the collectors out there know about the most fun you could ever have collecting autographed baseballs.
    Do your homework and gauge how well your local minor league players will perform for the year. Then, get a minor league ball for about $10 and get some free autographs of the best players at the game. I’ve done this for years and when you make the right guess as to which players will make the pros, that autograph means all that much more to you. It’s like playing major league scout.
    Teach your kids this game and about how to ask for autographs courteously.
    It’s usually helpful to know something about the player’s college or high school career and ask them about it to pave the way for a positive autograph experience. The minor league level is a perfect way to start. Have fun!

  28. jennifer widener says

    my great great uncle is art fowler. he is from my mothers side. i have a baseball my great granmother gave me he was her brother and it is signed but in print, and has washington dc printed on it also. any value or anyway to find out if he signed this ball. my mother said that he probably only knew how to print?

  29. admin says

    If it’s the Art Fowler who played baseball in the 50s, I don’t believe he had any issues signing his name. Generally printed baseballs don’t have much value unless it could be proven this was from an historic event or game.

  30. JACK WORKMAN says

    I have a ball from the 1976 reds team(I believe according to reasearching roster) however Tony Perez signature is not on it.All other Elite players signatures are on the ball. Any idea on value of this item??

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