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Advice on selling massive inherited autograph collection

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  • Advice on selling massive inherited autograph collection

    I inherited around 500 autographed baseballs after my father's passing a few years ago, which have 700+ autographs in total. He worked at Fenway Park for over 20 years and acquired most of these in person, but some were also purchased from local collectible shops. None have any officially recognized COAs, and all that he had signed in person have an attached note of the date and story behind it. These range from the big names like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Willy Mays, Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, etc. to any player who has played on the team in the last 20 years, usually multiple times over. Celebrities who frequented the private suites are also in the collection, like Stephen King, Tom Brady, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner, Bobby Orr and the list goes on. I will be keeping a small number of the balls for myself that were my father's favorites, but the rest I would like to sell to raise some funds for my family, which was his wish.

    What I'm wondering is how to best manage a project like this? First, I don't have a great idea what the value of this collection might be. I'm worried if I bring this collection somewhere local to attempt to sell in bulk I could easily get ripped off and sell my father's collection for far less than it is worth. Alternatively, using eBay would be a massive effort in trying to sell this many balls individually, ship them, etc. not to mention the need to have them authenticated which would run into the thousands just if I had it done for the bigger names alone.

    Is there somewhere I could bring this collection to have the value assessed by an independent party first? Should I be getting the larger names authenticated for eBay, and sell the smaller names to local shops in bulk? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. This collection was everything to my father and I want to make sure I get a fair value for it.

  • #2
    If I were you, I would definitely try to contact a reputable major auction house and see if they would be interested in it. The backstory of your dad being a Fenway employee makes the collection more interesting, and I'd hope that its size would help generate some professional interest. The right place would be able to handle the authentication as a matter of course. If you had any photos of your dad meeting the players/celebrities (especially with signed balls shown), that could only help to make the authentication easier and possibly raise the value of the items.
    I'd suspect that trying eBay would not be the best for maximizing value for you with this type of collection, even ignoring the authentication costs and the time it would take you.
    Good luck!
    "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson


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