As long as memorabilia has been collected, autographs have been sought after mementos. Historians tell us that signatures of famous individuals have been prized since at least the 11th century. Autograph collecting in the United States took hold in the early 1800s. This tradition continues today in several forms, one of which is signed sports trading cards. In this post we will look at some of the favorites to win the American and National League Most Valuable Player Awards and compare the prices of their autographed cards.
For this discussion, we will focus on on-card signatures that were originally distributed in sealed packs. A word of caution, these cards can get expensive in a hurry. If you are considering spending several hundred dollars on an autographed card, do a significant amount of research before making a purchase. Even signatures that have been verified as legitimate by major card companies have been tainted by controversy. Some of the major autograph scandals in recent years have included Dak Prescott (use of an autopen), Luka Dončić (cards rumored to be signed by mother), and Lionel Messi (cards rumored to be signed by brother). Buyer beware! Make sure you know how a player’s signature should look before you make a purchase.
Ohtani is the reigning American League MVP and in 2021 became the first player ever to be selected to the All-Star game and a pitcher and position player. His start to the 2022 season has been sluggish. At the plate he has a mediocre batting average of .238 and a slugging percentage of only .400. As a starting pitcher his earned run average is over four. This is only Ohtani’s fifth season in the Major Leagues. This means that he has fewer autographs on the market than some of the other players on this list. This, coupled with his popularity in the Japanese market, makes obtaining a signed version of one his cards an expensive prospect. Ohtani’s certified autographs start at around $1,000 and are priced as high as $50,000. One of my favorite Ohtani autographs comes from the 2022 Topps Heritage set. This one runs about $1,500 as a buy it now on eBay.