I would love to say that every autograph I own wasn't paid for. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. The reality in dealing with athletes and celebrities is that they are entertainers, and they are part of a huge business. They would be fools not to charge for their time to sign autographs for their fans. They are also charging because businesses are using their name to make a profit for their own endeavors.
With that said, I'd like to comment on the pros and cons of paying for the autograph.
1. Most athletes are not accessible. This is an opportunity to meet your personal favorite celebrity, athlete or hero. I know I never would've met Hank Aaron, Willie Mays or Bill Russell if I didn't pay to see them.
2. The quality of autograph is almost always better at a paid signing. The promoter will have the correct writing utensil and the athlete/celebrity will sign a full autograph vs. the cut signature that some are known for.
3. Promoters will offer deals for multiple players. Most promoters offer player packages so that you can acquire more autographs for less money.
4. Promoters will have the most updated merchandise or signature moment items for purchase. I have worked merchandise tables for years and fans are always clamoring for the most updated photos that others don't have.
5. You know the autograph is real and should be able to have it authenticated instantly (authentication tickets range from $3 - $6).
1. The price. Unfortunately, the price for current athletes, especially in the baseball world is too high. The way the market works is that current players, some on steroids or caught cheating, can get more money than current hall of famers. Pricing can also be confusing because the average collector doesn't understand the difference between regular, oversized or premium items.
2. You might get 10 seconds with the athlete. For a popular player such as Kevin McHale, who appeared in Burlington, he had over 400 people in attendance. We had to push people along quickly. It took 8 of us at the front of the line to keep it moving.
3. Photos with players will rarely happen. Some players, especially on the older side, have poor eyesight and cannot handle the flashes. Additionally, the line takes much longer to get through if everyone wants to take a picture.
4. There will be a line, even for the C list person. I have never been to a public appearance, in which an athlete didn't have at least 30-40 people looking to purchase an autograph for them.
This upcoming weekend, November 5th - 7th there is a great show featuring the 1975 Red Sox, Patriot Hall of Famer, John Hannah and some of the current Bruins. All athletes featured are at great price points. I highly recommend you check out the link below with the appearance and pricing information. This show is very well organized and a great way to collect at a reasonable price.