Autographs Getting Cheaper?

One of the casualties of the recession could be the softening of the autograph market. While some of the guests at the National Sports Collectors Convention come with hefty price tags, a walk around the convention floor shows prices have dropped.

One dealer is offering Pete Rose autographed Adirondack bats for $59. You’re almost paying more for the bat than the autograph of the all-time hits leader. Rose is an autograph factory, but it’s still a little shocking. Baseballs autographed by Nolan Ryan balls for $79. Rose baseballs for $39. Gigantic Ryan-Ventura fight photos, signed at around $100. Namath a little more. Rose 3 for $100. We’re talking sports bar sized color glossies. Other autograph specialists’ tables seemed pretty quiet.

I’m still surprised at how few dealers take credit cards. I know there are costs involved but it seems to me if you’re doing even six or seven shows per year and selling online that you’re probably leaving more money on the table by turning down willing buyers who come with plastic. Or, like me, who come with cash but prefer to come home with enough money to tip the shuttle bus driver.

How much does it cost for a booth at the National? Most average sized spaces go for around $1000, but you might have to factor in display case rental, electricity and other amenities. At least hotel rooms in Cleveland aren’t expensive.

Here’s the schedule for the National convention:



2012-Cleveland (again)

Sorry, west coasters.