Collecting signed items is not a recent thing. It's been done for decades and isn't limited to a scribbled shirt or LP from a well-known sports hero or artist. Books or documents signed by a movie star, public figure or an author can also have a high value.
A good example of this is a copy of the Life magazine about the first moon landing in 1969 signed by Neil Armstrong. Such a thing can be worth as much as € 9300 at a memorabilia auction. Another example is a lottery ticket signed by President George Washington. With the signature of the former US president on it, the small piece of paper is worth about €25,500.
The valuation of signatures requires expertise in handwriting, printing techniques and the use of autopens. Since trading in signed objects is a lucrative business, there are a lot of counterfeits in circulation. This is especially the case with signed football shirts. The signatures are now so easy to imitate that they are almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
You can already see it in the amount of the lottery ticket mentioned above; historic autographs pay much more than a signed football shirt from a player who is still active. Elizabeth Taylor, for example, will never write a love letter to Richard Burton again, but Georgino Wijnaldum will still sign stuff from time to time. You currently pay something like € 700 for a signed Maradona t-shirt on market sites. The price for this shirt will logically only go up.
Not every famous athlete or artist has many signatures in circulation. While one person regularly signs stuff, another hardly ever does. This all plays a part in determining the value of a signed collector's item. As well as the moment of signing. A football player's shirt that was signed just after an important game won will have a higher appraisal value.
A signed object does not only have value if there is one signature on it. If you have a shirt that also bears that of Koeman in addition to Gullit and Rijkaard's signature, you have a goldmine in your hands. If there are only signatures of football players who have never made it beyond the third division next to one of those names, the value will be significantly less.
Heritage Auctions appraisers are qualified to distinguish a genuine signature from a fake. For valuations you can visit our office in IJsselstein free of charge. We charge a fee for official valuation reports or certificates of authenticity. Without such a report, the resale value of your item will be significantly lower.