What is a signed sports memorabilia item worth?

Do you own a signed shirt or other sports memorabilia item and do you want to know what it is worth? It is difficult to give an exact value, but there are 3 factors that affect the value:

  1. Authenticity
  2. Exclusivity
  3. Quality


How do you know for sure that the signature was actually signed by the athlete himself? Proof is crucial for the authenticity. You have this in 3 gradations:

  • Only based on the signature; you can say a lot about the authenticity of a signature based on comparison, fluency and style. American companies such as PSA / DNA and JSA issue certificates based on only the signature. But be aware: the authenticity can never be guaranteed 100% by this. It can still be a very professional counterfeit or autopen.
  • Based on photo proof; in particular on the online auction websites fans offer items that are signed at training complexes, hotels and airports. The authenticity of these items is often supported with photo proof. If the signature on the photo matches one-on-one with the signature on the item, it is of great value for the authenticity. If this cannot be determined based on the photo, then you should ask yourself what the value of the photo is.
  • Delivered with official certificate of authenticity; if you want 100% authenticity guaranteed, you must get an official certificate of authenticity with the signed item. It is essential that the certificate was issued by a reputed company such as GOAT Authentic, De Hand Van Maradona, Icons, Upper Deck, Steiner Sports, and a handful of others. PSA / DNA and JSA have a special "In The Presence" program that meets the same strict conditions.


How unique is the signed item? You can measure exclusivity in both the demand and the supply side.

  • Demand: How popular is the person who signed the item? You can imagine that there is a greater demand for a signed shirt from Lionel Messi than for a regular player in the Dutch Eredivisie. The more popular the athlete, the greater the demand, the higher the value.
  • Supply: how unique is the item? The shirt that Pelé wore in the 1970 World Cup final was sold in 2002 for almost 200.000 euros, since it is a unique shirt. The signed replica shirts from Pelé are available from 599 euros, since these are signed in a higher volume than one. If an athlete has died, this also has an influence. You know that nothing will be added on the supply side ever again. For example, since Muhammad Ali's death, his signed sports memorabilia have risen significantly in price.


In what condition is the signature and the signed item? That also partly determines the value. The quality is measured for both the signature and the signed item.

  • The signature; the visibility and quality of a signature is very important. Is the signature neatly set and complete? How large is the signature, and is it in a logical place? Items that are signed during a signing session generally have the best quality, because the conditions here are optimal.
  • The signed item; a signed shirt in perfect condition is worth more than a shirt in poor condition. Also the originality of the item is important: is the item original, is it a replica?

These three characteristics ultimately determine the potential value of the signed item. The final amount you get for it depends on what you want for it yourself and what the highest bidder wants to pay for it.