By BABE WAXPAK — Dear Babe: I have a football signed by Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots. I was planning on attending an Aaron Hernandez signing and was going to use the same football. Would it depreciate the value to have the two autographs on the same ball, or should I get a separate autograph for value purposes?
Paul Ford, Merrimack, N.H.
Babe: When it comes to autographed baseball or footballs, if you're not talking about a team-signed ball, then it is best to have a single signature.
Sure, a ball signed by New York Yankees Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, two iconic Hall of Famers, sounds ideal, but the value of ball is going to be far less than the total of two single-signed baseballs.
Aside from the fact that collectors prefer single-signed balls, there are a host of reasons not to have Hernandez sign the ball with Gronkowski's autograph on it.
While the two tight ends are marquee names right now, there's no telling what the future might hold. Gronkowski is still recovering from the broken arm, while Hernandez is coming off shoulder surgery.
Even if they stay healthy and continue to put up big numbers, what are the chances the two of them will remain teammates? In this age of salary caps and free agency, the answer seems to be "not likely."
If the signatures are on one ball, you always run the risk of one of them not having a great career or not having a career with his teammate. You might end up with a ball with one desirable signature. The second signature will devalue the other.
"Having him sign a second ball is best," agreed Mike Heffner, president of http://www.Lelands.com. "It may cost a little more money to buy a second ball, but in the long run, he will be better off. Once the ball is signed by another player, the signature can't be removed."
Finally, it's best to have them sign an official NFL ball. You're not likely to come up with a game-used ball, but an official store-bought ball is the next best option.
Dear Babe: I have an old first baseman's glove that I believe is one that they could not catch the ball in but instead knocked it down and then picked it up. It has a tiny web. The markings are difficult to read. It has the numbers "604236" on it.
Bill Warner, Redding, Calif.
Babe: The number matches a Rawlings Stan Musial Glove that looks like the one you have. However, your glove is pretty worn to the point that the Rawlings name isn't visible and Musial's is pretty faint.
"Looks to be an early 1940s model," said Mike Heffner, president of http://www.Lelands.com. "Gloves (when they are used in a game by the player) command higher values when in better condition. The glove shows heavy use which puts it in the $100-to-$150 range. I would guess that if you could find an unused, mint condition example of that model, it would be $500 or more."
That said, I had another expert, Troy Kinunen of http://www.mearsonline.com, weigh in: "A late 1940s off-brand Stan Musial glove is what it appears to be. In that condition, I would guess value at about $10."
(Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or email babewaxpak(at)charter.net.)
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