I hope this e-zine finds you doing great! I can’t believe that it is February already. Where does the year go? This issue I am going to talk about the lucrative business of selling autographs. I am even including a story about an autograph that I sold on eBay that will be in my new book coming out in April. Also, check out “USA Weekend” this Sunday — it is inserted in 660 newspapers in the U.S — and I am quoted in it. You probably get it! Tell your friends and family that you know me.
This e-zine is published twice a month.
February 8, 2006 Volume II, Issue 2
- Selling Autographs — JB Holmes the Golf Rookie
- Story #11 From Money Making Madness (a $20 Investment turns into $2,750)
- Check me out in USA Weekend this Sunday — 660 Newspapers and 23.3 million Readers
I just got back from spending the weekend in Phoenix. I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Phoenix Open. My friend Peter got Sky Box seats and we went to Saturday’s round. It was the craziest thing I have ever witnessed. It took us over two hours to get from our car to the box seats. Once we arrived at the gates, it was the strangest thing, you couldn’t bring in any cell phones or cameras. It was a record attendance day and over 169,000 people attended. Unless you are in one of the Sky Boxes it is almost impossible to see anything. Am I missing something or when did golf become such a huge spectator sport?
Anyway, we were able to see the last group of Golfers t-off at hole 16 (a par three) and one of those golfers was JB Holmes. Since we had missed so much of the golf, we decided to hang around after the tournament ended for the day. It was about 4:30 and we sat down on the grass by the driving range. I had read that after play ends, some of the pros will come out and practice on the range and that this is a great time to ask for autographs.
We noticed that one lone golfer was practicing with his coach. I went over to one of the Thunderbirds (the group that runs the tournament) and asked him who it was. He told me it was JB Holmes, the leader. I grabbed Peter and our programs and headed up to the corded-off area. There were only about 20 of us there. As soon as JB finished he headed over to where we were standing with a sharpie pen in hand. It was amazing! I had him sign both of our programs and then stepped back. Peter had him sign his Sky Box ticket, so I did the same. We got two autographs each.
Then as we were standing there I said to Peter, “Oh my gosh”, we need a photo of him signing for provenance if we decide to sell these! Luckily, he had snuck in a camera and he took some great photos. He got one of JB signing our stuff but I won’t publish that here. Here is one of him doing his practice swings.
We didn’t attend the Sunday round and as I was driving back from Phoenix I kept calling my dad and Peter to see who was winning. My dad told me that it was close until the 12th or 13th hole but then he pulled ahead and won by 7 strokes! Amazing! How exciting that we had gotten his autograph—talk about being in the right place at the right time. My dad said that this kid (23 years old) is going to give Tiger a run for his money and that I should put those autographs away in a safe place.
I just did an auction search on eBay and there are NO JB Holmes autographs for sale. There is one pass from the tournament for sale in an eBay store for $7.95 but no autographs. I watched the end of the tournament in repeats and noticed that as JB walked to turn in his scorecard, he did not stop and sign even ONE autograph. I think the ones that we have are very rare. I have decided to hold onto my autographs until he is more famous and I think that they could sell in the $200 to $500 range. It is almost like having a signed Rookie card!
Since my lucky day, I have been researching autographs on eBay. It is a very lucrative business. There were over 96,000 autographs sold or listed on eBay in the past two weeks. Do not overlook these at estates sales, in thrift stores, or miss the opportunity to get a real-life autograph. I did a spreadsheet with the data I found and here are my conclusions and recommendations for you!
Some notes about my research — I did not look at any autographed sports cards (there is too much value in the card itself) and I wanted to concentrate on items that you could buy cheaply (jerseys, books, photos) and then have them autographed by living celebrities.
I also didn’t look at any multiple autographed items. Like something all the Friend’s cast signed. I did include one double autograph because it was a similar Golf item!
Autographs on eBay Last 2 weeks 2/8/2006
|Who||Signed on What?||Price||Bids||COA||Alive|
|Ernest Hemingway||FE Farewell to Arms||$16,877.00||40||No||No|
|Robert T. Jones (Golf)||Framed Photo||$1,920.00||5||No||No|
|Walt Disney||Framed Photo||$1,436.00||6||Yes||No|
|Palmer & Nicklaus||1964 Masters Golf Pass||$299.00||1||No||Yes|
|John F. Kennedy||Gala Booklet||$251.50||5||No||No|
Conclusions and recommendations:
- Autographs from those no longer alive sell for the most
- COA (Certificate of Authenticity) seems to work best for current celebrities although I would pay for a COA from a reputable company if I had a rare autograph — it gives buyers extra confidence to bid
- Most listing that says that they have a COA does not list the company that it comes from (I find this strange)
- Living Sports Figures signatures go for more than Living actors, actresses, and singers
- If there is a chance that you are going to be close to a celebrity—has something meaningful ready for them to sign (photo, jersey, ball) and bring a sharpie
- Signatures from living celebrities on scraps of paper don’t sell for much
- Use Hand Signed in your title and reiterate that it was signed in person by the celebrity
- If you got the autograph yourself — tell the story (Provenance) and make sure you get a photo of you getting the autograph.
Finally, because this is a very tricky and grey area, here are eBay’s rules and guidelines regarding autographs:
Autographed items are unique in that they can be highly valuable but easily forged. eBay tries to keep its marketplace safe for both buyers and sellers of autographs, and has developed the following policies to protect our community members:
- Sellers may not list blank Certificates of Authenticity (COAs) or sell COAs as stand-alone items.
- Sellers may not refer in their listings to examinations or certificates of authenticity issued by the parties mentioned in the “Unacceptable Authenticators” section under “Additional Information” below.
- Sellers are strongly urged to follow the listing guidelines described in the “Additional Information” section below.
eBay may remove any listing involving an autographed item if eBay believes that the listing or item may create liability for the buyer, the seller, or any third party.
eBay may also seek a disinterested third party’s opinion regarding any listing of an autograph or autographed item. If the third party has concerns about the autograph’s or item’s authenticity, eBay may remove the listing from the site.
Here is a link to that additional information.
Here is a link to the eBay-approved list of autograph authenticators.
Please let me know your success stories with autographs!
An Autograph Success Story from Money Making Madness coming out in April
October of 2003 was a wonderful month for me on eBay. Not only did I score big at that charity sale, but I found the item that I would sell for the most money on eBay so far in my career!
It was a Saturday morning and my mom had gone back to Washington. It is always lonely to go garage saling by yourself, but I am always afraid that if I don’t go, I will miss something great—so off I went. There is a gated community here in Palm Desert that has a neighborhood sale once a year. My friend Katherine Dougherty had told me that it is amazing, so that is where I headed first.
The cars were lined up down the block waiting for the gates to open. Not a good sign. I got in line and waited my turn. Once the gates swung open, I quickly found a place to park and headed out. The first garage I entered was full of artwork. I know nothing about the artwork (and I should definitely start learning, but not today), and a gentleman was already there negotiating to buy most of it.
While he was making an offer for all the large paintings, I took a look around. Against the back wall was a Disney print. My kids (and my whole family) love Disneyland, so I asked “How much?” The man running the sale replied “$20.” The gentleman negotiating for all the paintings argued, “I already bought that—it was included with all of this.” The man running the sale said, “No, you did not.” So I said, “Great, I will take it,” and I paid quickly so that I could leave before there was a riot!
As I was walking out, the man running the sale stopped me to tell me a little bit about the print (or so I thought) that I had just purchased. He told me that he and his mother had been animators for the Disney Company in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and when his mom got sick the animation department drew this and signed the matting around the picture. It wasn’t a print after all, but an original Disney drawing! Wow! I had bought it thinking that I would give it to my son, Houston, but I decided to rethink that plan.
I spent the rest of the morning filling up my car, and when I finally headed home at about noon, the first thing I carried into the house was the Disney picture. I set it down next to my desk and looked at it more closely. I felt goosebumps rising on my arms as I noticed that there was a very big and famous signature on the top of the picture. Walt Disney himself had signed the matting!
I did a little research on eBay and found that a Walt Disney signature alone can sell for $500 to $1,000, and I had a unique piece. It was so exciting. I showed it to Houston when he got back from his dad’s house. Big mistake. He decided right then and there that this drawing was something he wanted more than life itself. I told him that I needed to sell it to pay the mortgage (this was definitely a mortgage payment) and that someday when I could afford it, I would buy him a Walt Disney autograph.
As a consolation, I took it into school and let him share it with his teacher and classmates. Mr. Carroll, his wonderful second-grade teacher, is a fellow garage-saler like myself. He got such a kick out of it!
I did a lot of research on this piece, identifying each of the signatures. I included each and every name in the listing. The description I have included here is much shorter. I put a reserve of $1,000 on this piece and was overjoyed when it sold for $2,750!!! By the way, Houston reminds me every month or so that I owe him a Disney signature. Will I ever learn?
Houston and Mr. Carroll
This Sunday, February 12th in “USA Weekend” there is an article on buying jewelry and engagement rings on eBay. I will be quoted! This is very exciting. USA Weekend appears in 660 newspapers around the country and is distributed to 23.3 million readers. I hope you are one of them!
Don’t forget to sign up for Club Mom — It is free and There are tons of great articles, free giveaways, and my articles will be posted soon!
Next eCourse Starts SoonSpring and Spring Cleaning are just around the corner! Don’t get stuck selling your castoffs at pennies on the dollar at yet another garage sale.
Sign up for Lynn’s next e-Course and be ready to cash in with eBay. Lynn typically gets ten times what you would get at a garage sale by selling on eBay. Put some cash in your pocket — not in someone else!
I am very excited to start teaching again and my next eCourse starts up again on Monday, February 27th! The best way for you to get up to speed on eBay is to sign up now for my e-course! Listen to what my students are saying about it!
‘I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the work you have put into this course. I taught at the College Level and you are one of a very few who knows how to transfer knowledge into learning -hallelujah’!!! – Cauleen Viscoff, Canada
‘My goodness, what a home run you hit with this week’s lesson! It is so full of great information that I had to go over it several times. You are an outstanding teacher; I have put some of your lessons to use this week and that saved me a few costly mistakes. Thanks again for giving us such valuable information.’ – Margaret (Peggy) McIlvain Texas
‘Just wanted to let you know I am really enjoying the lessons. As the young people would say, you have really ‘turned me on’ to this eBay thing.’ – Shirley Jones, Texas
Don’t miss this class! It is time to put your New Year’s resolutions into action.
There are still a few spots left at the early bird special. Don’t miss out! To sign up now click here. To find out more about the course, please click here.
Happy Buying & Selling!
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Lynn is an experienced eBay Power Seller, author, and teacher. If you want to know the eBay tips, tricks, and tools that Lynn uses for buying and selling at online auction click here.