Someone asked me about buying autographs at baseball games.

How safe is it?

What should you look ?

What should you watch out for?

What about prices?

Are there particularly good stadiums and particularly bad ones for it?


Tags: buying autographs at baseball games

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I'll look for it next time I'm at a game. I suspect that while authenticity isn't as huge a concern, prices - like everything else at a game - are too high.

This isn't baseball, obviously, but during my last visit to Lambeau Field several years ago, I did notice the Packers Pro Shop had some authentic signed books from current and past players (AJ Hawk and HOFer Jim Taylor). They were the book retail price.

Now that was one heck of a deal.

Fenway has a huge memorabilia store on Yawkey way, no doubt about authenticity but prices are very high.

Is the Fenway store a team-owned store?

Are all team memorabilia stores at stadiums team-owned or so they bring in vendors, too? 

Has anyone seen forgeries offered by vendors at baseball games? 

Some are owned by the team and other are concessions. Dodger Stadium, Anaheim Stadium and Staples Center all have memorabilia stores called Art of the Game. They are operated by a third party. However, my understanding is that autographs and game used items are provided by the team. The concessionaire does produce the presentation of the items. As you would expect, 95% of the items are associated with the home team. I have never seen anything for sale in either the stores at Dodgers Stadium or Anaheim Stadium that would cause any concern regarding authenticity. I have also never seen a single item that was priced in the same universe as the market price ($999 for a Mike Trout Autographed ball). I'm sure the concessionaire pays a pretty penny for the concession and I wouldn't be surprised if the team also gets a good chunk of sales. Like anything else in a ballpark, you're paying through the nose. 

In Tampa (technically St. Pete) they have a team store with game-used and other signed memorabilia. The prices are high but no doubt about authenticity.

At their Fan Fest every year they hold a "yard sale" where they sell some game used items for much cheaper.

I haven't heard of a team outsourcing the autograph sales to an outside vendor. It wouldn't make much sense to me, either. You run an increased risk of a lawsuit via fraud, take in less profit because you give the dealer a cut and you have less control on customer satisfaction, etc. Plus, you own the team so acquiring the merchandise shouldn't be an issue.

A lot of the big name players have their exclusive memorabilia contracts in place, so if you, as the team, want to sell the autographs of your star players, you have no choice but to go through their memorabilia/signing agents.

That's one of the reasons why the prices on the stuff is so high--a fair amount of it involves the players, agents, etc. taking their cut.

Baseball, and even sports in general, aren't unique in that. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Gift Shop sells signed photos of Buzz Aldrin that are sourced from paid commercial signings, for example. The prices reflect the staggered mark-ups, but people still buy them.

The Mets have a store inside Citi Field where they sell memorabilia.

The strangest thing to me is that the game-worn jerseys are available off the rack, as opposed to being in a display case where you have to ask to see it.  For example, this Matt Harvey game-worn jersey...

...which has an asking price of $2,500.  You can take it off the rack yourself for a close-up look.

But I'm not complaining.  Makes it easier for me to take pictures.

That's wild!

I agree with the general consensus. Everything at Citifield is pretty overpriced. You can do better through private collectors and eBay (certified, of course.)

I didn't know those jerseys on the racks were gamers. Crazy, man!

Some of the jerseys the Mets sell in their Amazin' Memorabilia store at Citi Field are, indeed, jerseys that were actually worn by players during actual games.

But they also have jerseys on those same racks that are described as "team issued." Major League Baseball officially defines "team issued" as follows:

Team Issued is a designation by an independent third-party authenticator who attests that the item was issued by the Club to its clubhouse. This designation is not intended to determine use of the item in any capacity.


So someone looking to buy a game-worn jersey has to be careful and check the tag to see if it says "GU" (game used) or "TI" (team issued), because they're mixed together.



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