If you’ve collected autographs or browsed for them online, you’ve probably seen the white paneled footballs and basketballs that are designed with graphers in mind. They were created over 25 years ago by Rob Hemphill, who at the time was building his young business in Northern California.
Working with Wilson Sporting Goods, Hemphill’s idea was a hit. He later helped create an autograph-friendly boxing glove.
Hemphill has been a fixture in the sports memorabilia industry through his company, National Sports Distributors and his store in Petaluma, CA. He’s held countless autograph signings—public and private—with numerous athletes over the years and still counts Jerry Rice and Joe Montana as business partners and friends.
The business is a family affair for Hemphill, who tells some stories about his autograph sessions with Muhammad Ali and how he forged relationships with athletes in this story at Petaluma360.com.
It’s among the holy grails of hockey memorabilia but the puck Wayne Gretzky shot for his 1,851st career point, breaking Gordie Howe’s record, has been the subject of some discussion over the years.
Ironclad authentication by the league was many years in the future when Gretzky scored against his former Edmonton Oilers teammates to break the record in October of 1989.
There seems to be some contention over what exactly happened to the puck.
The National Post dove into the story in Monday’s edition.
Heritage Auctions’ Make Offer to Owner (MOtO) service, a proprietary program in which clients make anonymous offers to purchase items previously sold at auction, enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2017 as sales surged to more than $10 million. Seven of the top 10 lots sold during 2017 were sports collectibles and memorabilia.
Buyers of items can re-list them through Heritage, making them available to others after a certain time period. It’s worked out well for some buyers of high-end auction items who were able to flip them for a nice profit after several months.
Among the deals made was for 1964 American League Most Valuable Player award from the Brooks Robinson Collection, which sold for $202,000, marking a bump of nearly 24 percent over the original auction price.
- A 1902-11 W600 Sporting Life Honus Wagner – Street Clothes SGC 60 EX 5drew $135,000 – an increase of just over 38 percent from the auction price
- A 1909-11 T206 Piedmont Walter Johnson Portrait PSA Mint 9, which sold for $125,000 (up 61 percent)
- The 1986 World Series Last-Out Baseball from The Gary Carter Collection realized $120,000, an increase of more than 67 percent
- A 1905-10 Honus Wagner Game Used Decal Bat, PSA/DNA GU 8,which went for $110,000, an increase of 119 percent
- A 1932 U.S. Caramel Babe Ruth #32 PSA NM-MT 8brought $110,000, up from $83,650
- A 1909-11 T206 Sweet Caporal Ty Cobb (Red Portrait) SGC 88 NM/MT 8 drew $65,000, an increase of more than 50 percent