Sunday, May 22, 2011

The 2nd Autograph

We all think of an autograph (legible or not) to be the person's name and maybe their number.  Most of us are happy, including myself, if we can clearly read the name, and the quality of the signature is good.  However, one of the characteristics of collecting I enjoy is adding the inscription/personalization to an item.  This can almost only be accomplished at a paid appearance or show, as celebrities or athletes will not take the time to add a name or accomplishment on the item at the park or arena. 

So what is an inscription?  The inscription can be many, many things.  Essentially, it's an abbreviated line, usually written under an athlete's name, that describes an accomplishment they have reached in their career.  Examples are HOF (Hall of Fame), maybe a nickname, MVP, a Champion, no hitter, etc...   It is also considered a personalization such as "To John, Best Wishes". 

Kevin McHale Signed Basketball, with the "3X Champs" inscription.
 Is the inscription worth it?  I say absolutely.  It will cost you, anywhere from one free inscription to upwards of $100 to add in a line.  This is the 2nd autograph part.  Agents and players will charge for the extra line because it takes time to write, it takes up as much if not more space than the name of the person, and it's considered an infrequent, yet added value to the autograph.

Dom DiMaggio autographed bat with the very rare inscription "Lil Professor".  I had to beg him to add that onto the bat. 
If you choose to invest in the inscription here are some hints.  Try to gather a themed collection of inscribed items, such as world series MVP's or no hitters, perfect game accomplishments, etc...  If you can collect a consistent set of inscribed items in any category, you will have a rare collection on your hands. Also, be creative.  Try to find a nickname of a player and have them add that in.  Maybe have a person inscribe their debut to a sport, etc....  There are many, many options to do this.

Cal Ripken Jr. autographed baseball.  He is the rare person who actually writes out the words in the inscription '2632 consecutive games".  Another rarity with celebrities.
 Lastly, there is nothing wose than a player who is asked to write a book.  I highly recommend that you request one or 2 lines at most.  If you request more than that you will pay a high price, but most importantly frustrate the person signing and they will almost always make a mistake.

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