Autographed Footballs

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Autographed footballs can pull in literally thousands of dollars each, depending on the team or player who's signed them. Team balls, especially those commemorating championship seasons, routinely fetch several thousand dollars at auction. Their stamped imitators can often command big money too, though this is generally in the low-to-mid three figures, not four.

The numbers start to rise when you factor in game balls, which are those footballs actually used in regulation. This can be slightly confusing, as the NFL will release sanctioned balls that are dubbed "official," even though they were never used in competition. By this, the league means only that said balls are the same kind that make it onto the gridiron. The valuation scale, of course, is completely different when it comes to those balls that were touched by 22 (or more) different sets of hands.

Popular Autographed Footballs

There's always a bias built into the purchase and sale of autographed footballs, or any football equipment for that matter. In baseball, few items are naturally less desirable simply because they belonged to a right fielder instead of a shortstop or first basemen. Ditto that for basketball, where a center's uniform rivals that of a guard's or forward's, at least for stars of comparable caliber.

In football, things are different. The most popular autographed footballs tend to be those carried (or signed) by running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks, not nose tackles and centers. Unfortunately, the work that linemen do goes largely unnoticed (unless, of course, they screw up), and this prejudice is mimicked in the distribution and popularity of their memorabilia. So the next time your favorite team's guard makes a phenomenal play, go out and buy his jersey, just to restore some equality to the hobby of collecting.


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