Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Can you prevent stains and spots on your autographed baseballs?

Staining that is not the result of handling or storage.

I was recently looking through my autographed baseballs; mostly obtained in-person in the 1990s and early 2000s. They are all Rawlings Official American League, National League or Major League Baseballs.

I am well are of proper storage conditions and they have been stored in archival cubes in a cool, dry closet since they day they were signed. However, in a shocking number of cases, the baseballs have dark toning and stains - not typical even toning. On some, portions of the ballpoint signature have almost evaporated. This is not like UV fading, but portions of the signature are significantly lighter than other parts.

Yet, some balls stored in the same closet are still snow white.

I suspect this is the result of chemical reactions of oils and/or the chemicals used to process the leather. Perhaps depending on the manufacturing lot, the way it was processed made it more prone to the staining. It is certainly not environmental or from handling.

In my view, recently signed baseballs are like investing in a ticking time bomb. Even under the best conditions, they can fade or stain to the point of undesirability. There isn't a thing you can do to prevent it.

Now, I would not purchase a signed baseball unless it was at least 20 years old at this point. I think if you get to a certain age and the ball is still clean looking, it likely stable and will remain free of atypical spots or toning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How to remove cigarette smoke and musty smells from collectibles

If you are an avid collector, chances are, this has happened to you...

You finally find an item you've been looking for a long time. You count the days until it arrives. When it is delivered, you open the package in glorious anticipation... and then... UGH... it reeks of cigarette smoke or some other musty smell.

If it is a common item, you can return it. But, what about tough-to-find items in otherwise good condition you don't want to return?

You may be tempted to "Febreeze" it or use some other product to mask or cover up the smell. These methods typically do not work well, and you risk staining the item when spraying it with any chemical.

The key is using baking soda because it doesn't doesn't mask odor; it absorbs odor. I have used this method to successfully remove undesirable smells from books, comics and baseballs.
  1. Dump a box of baking soda in the bottom of a Tupperware container big enough to hold the item. Avoid a container that is excessively large.
  2. Put a wire rack or something in the container to suspend the item above the baking soda.
  3. Place the item in the container and seal it tight.
  4. Give it a few weeks to a month and check the item. If there is still smell, replace the baking soda with a fresh supply and give it more time.
This method should work to remove most, if not all, of the nasty smell.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Greg Marino: Watch a forger at work

Friday, July 21, 2017

Photobucket... the land of broken images

The Photobucket image sure to work its way
 into negative memes for years to come.
Photobucket recently announced that they will no longer allow third party hosting of their images unless you purchase the $399/year plan. What that means is, photos hosted by Photobucket but linked to other sites -- like blogs or chatboards -- will now have the "Upgrade your account" image unless the owner subscribes to the $399/year plan.

Uh, no thanks.

For this reason, you may see some broken images in this blog, mostly dating 2012 and before.

I understand the realities of business and I'm not complaining because it's no longer free, but $399/year seems a bit extreme. How many hobbyists and casual bloggers are going to pay that much? Especially considering most platforms now have their own image upload and hosting capability... you really don't need Photobucket anymore.

It seems to me that if they priced it at $25 a year, they'd likely get 50 times more people to convert to a paid plan versus the $399/year.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Donald Trump Autographs... be very careful!

President Donald Trump autographs may be the hottest signature on the market right now, and also the most dangerous. His campaign trail scribbles are a forger's dream. It doesn't exactly take a master forger to imitate that style. My recommendation would be to focus on his older style signatures, which you have a reasonable chance to authenticate with some level of confidence.

To further complicate the matter, there are Autopen machine signatures in the 2016 Election Edition The Art of the Deal books that were sent to donors. They are NOT authentically hand-signed. eBay is full of these Autopen machine signed books with sellers asking $300 and up. As you can see in the graphic, the signature is exactly the same in all of the books... there is no doubt these were signed by an Autopen machine.

Autopen machine signatures in The Art of the Deal.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher - May the Force be with you.

This is a post that is being done decades before its time. A very sad and premature passing.

Buying a short period after a celebrity's death is always a bad idea. Prices are over-inflated and a ton of fakes flood the market. In particular, Carrie Fisher used a secretary for mail requests, so that comes into play as well. As always, do your homework and caveat emptor.

Authentic Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill signed photo. Signed through Official Pix.
Thank you Carrie Fisher for all of your great work. You will be missed.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Removed dedication on baseball. Not looking good.

Almost a year and a half ago, I wrote about signature/dedication removal on baseballs. The signatures or dedications are not actually removed, rather, they are "painted" over by matching color and airbrushing. At the time, I wondered what would happen as the ball continued to age, but the paint stayed white? Would it look like white paint spots on a toned ball?

One thing I did not consider is that baseballs can expand and contract with humidity. Even a fractional change in size could theoretically crack the paint.

I think I found an example of what the "paint job" looks like when a ball has been expanding and contracting. Or maybe the paint wasn't mixed or applied properly.

Either way, it's a mess. And, it should cause anyone to think twice about dedication/extra signature removal.

Joe DiMaggio signed baseball with dedication airbrushed over. Note the white overspray on the red stitches.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Collecting Tip: Avoid Dented Cans

If an item is readily available in good condition, don't buy one with condition issues unless it is at a very steep discount.

Condition issues become less problematic when it is a rare or high cost item. For example, a stain won't hurt a Babe Ruth signed ball badly, but it’ll decimate the desirability of a Mantle signed baseball.

If an item is easily available in excellent condition, forget about the “dented cans.”

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Derek Jeter signed baseball

20 years ago today, Derek Jeter hit his first major league homerun and thus began a dynasty that would win four World Series over the next 5 seasons.

Where does the time go?

In my view, earlier Jeter signatures are much more appealing and desirable than the mass-produced signatures through Steiner, which seem to have deteriorated over the past few years.

Derek Jeter signed baseball