No matter where you’re reading this from, if you’re a sports memorabilia collector, you’ll be well aware that the items in your collection can massively increase in value if and when you get them signed. Even if financial worth isn’t your main priority, there’s every chance that you’d prefer your items being signed by the relevant sportsperson given a choice.
The signature itself may be challenging to get, or you might have several opportunities to meet your favourite sportsperson in person. There’s also the consideration that signed merchandise isn’t hard to come by in dedicated shops and online. However, there’s nothing quite like getting the merchandise signed yourself to know that it’s authentic, and maybe even personalised. When the opportunity arises, you need to be prepared, and an essential part of that preparation is ensuring you have a pen. Further to this, you’ll need the right kind if you want a clear, legible autograph that’s made to last and these tips will help you to turn up to any signing with the right equipment
1. Go with Brand Names for All Your Pens
Not all permanent markers are created equal, and the ones with brand names that you’ve heard of have become so famous for a reason. Sharpies will probably be the first pens to come to mind, and they are very reliable for this kind of thing. However, they are not the only major player in the game, and you can consider being open to other brands – just make quality a priority to cut out many fundamental issues when signing merchandise.
2. Don’t Always Use a Permanent Marker
Permanent markers might be your idea of a go-to pen for every occasion, but while they’re versatile and often lead to great results, they’re by no means perfect for everything. Indeed, if you want to get balls or anything else made of leather signed and wish to avoid seepage, a good old-fashioned ball-point pen can often prove the best solution.
3. Use Paint Pens on Shirts and Jerseys
Reinforcing the second point, jerseys and shirts often require another shift in your approach. Permanent markers can work although you may not see the sharpest results. Instead, consider a blue or black paint pen, which will lead to the best results – as long as you don’t plan to wash the jersey again in the future!
4. Stick with Permanent Markers on Photos
While most photos never make it any further than your phone memory nowadays, they still form an essential part of any sports memorabilia collection, and the right signature can take them from being a simple picture to a true collector’s item. Here, you want to use a Sharpie or other branded permanent marker wherever possible as the last thing you need is for the ink to fade, or for a ballpoint pen to dig into the surface.
5. Try to Stay Consistent
If you plan to keep hold of your collection, and it will only be you enjoying it with any kind of regularity, then you should still aim to keep things consistent. While you may use different pens and inks, something as simple as sticking with the right kinds of colours – blue, black and silver are often great choices – will give more of a sense of a collection rather than a random assortment of items.
6. Carry a Spare
You could lose your pen, it might run out of ink, or all sorts of different problems might occur. If you’re attending a signing, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, especially if this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Keep a backup in your bag or car so that if the worst happens, you don’t need to miss out.
7. Test Your Pens Regularly
Following on from the tip above, you need to ensure that your main pen and any backups are in good working order. Naturally, the first step is to ensure that there is sufficient ink, but that is not the only problem to keep an eye out for. You should also check tips to ensure that they are solid, consistent and shaped as they should be as you wouldn’t want a smudged signature straight out of the pen.
8. Keep Relevant Protectors with You
If you collect anything from trading cards to action figures, you want them to spend as little time out in the open if they are to last for as long as they potentially could. If you’re serious about collecting, you’ve probably got plenty of sleeves and object protectors to hand. Keep them with you as soon as you receive a new item or whenever you attend a signing so you can transfer them into a safe place as quickly as possible.
9. Stick with Bolder Colours to Avoid Fading
We’ve mentioned that blue and black ink are ideal for most of your signing needs. As well as consistency, they are also the best colours to combat fading. All ink will fade over time – some sooner than others depending on how good care you take of your items – but darker, bolder colours such as these will remain in view on your collector’s items longer than most of the alternatives.
10. Always Give Your Items Time to Dry
When you’ve followed all of the tips above to guarantee a sharp, even finish, the last thing you want to do is to smudge it by not giving it time to dry after being signed. You probably don’t want to wave your freshly signed memorabilia around in the air while a crowd forms behind you, but you should give a fresh signature the time it needs to breathe before you put it away in your bag.