• Flip Weekly
  • Posts
  • Autograph Adventures, Finding Valuable Signed Memorabilia

Autograph Adventures, Finding Valuable Signed Memorabilia

How you can maximize your earnings from finding signed memorabilia in the wild.

Autograph Adventures, Finding Valuable Signed Memorabilia

My handwriting is bad, I can barely read it. I’m constantly apologizing to anyone that has to look at my scribble. I don’t feel too bad though, you know who else has bad handwriting? Every single sports star that signs an autograph. I’ve found a lot of signed memorabilia over the past few months and unless you can decipher these signatures, you’re missing out on a lot of profit. This week I want to go through these rare finds, how I validate signatures and show the type of profit that can be made. We’ve also had some user submissions and our first reader take on the weekly challenge! But first!

Table of Contents

What I’ve Bought

It was a slow weekend of garage sales for me. I had 3 on Saturday morning that I found and despite striking out at 2 of them, I did walk away from 1 with a few items for a really cheap price. All up I spent a grand total of… $10. Yep, a tenner. Here’s what I bought:

Oh look, another clock radio.

It was a sale for a family that were doing some basic decluttering and even though each item had been priced individually, putting together a “pile“ saved me some coin. Here’s the buy price and the listing price for each:

Item

Buy Price

Listed Price

Sony Clock Radio

$2.00

$27.95

Transformers Figure

$2.00

$24.95

Kath & Kim DVD Boxset

$2.00

$49.95

Woody Toy Story Figure

$2.00

$30.00

Chewbacca Huge Figure

$2.00

$20.00

Total

$10.00

$152.85

Look, I’ve said before I try and find the unusual and things that are gonna result in a 10x ROI however in the heat of the moment I’m always going to pick up items that I know will sell for a decent profit. Plus if I stuck to that philosophy I’d walk out of every garage sale empty handed. But yeah, if we can turn $10.00 into $150.00 than we can’t complain, right? A few quick reasons why I picked these items up:

  1. When you can get a good brand like Sony really cheap it’s going to sell and it’s going to hold some of its value. Definitely pick it up if you see it in the wild despite how boring they may be.

  2. Chewbacca was marked 2014 and Jakks Pacific on his foot (foot? paw?). Jakks Pacific is a really popular manufacturer of action figures and given the figure is 10 years old I assumed he would be worth a bit more than $2.

  3. This particular Woody figure I had never seen before. I usually pick up anything Toy Story if the price is right and this guy was also from 2014. Missing his hat though, apparently the dog ate it.

  4. Sealed Transformers is worth a game, the copyright dated it back to 2017 and it has a huge collectors market.

  5. Kath & Kim DVD boxset was a no brainer, it’s a popular Australian TV show and despite not being in the DVD game much I know it will sell for a pretty decent profit.

What I Sold

In the 3rd issue of Flip Weekly you saw that I picked up a Pokemon item for just $7 in a thrift store. It was a Charizard action figure and I looked up comps and that $7 item had sold in the past for $165.00 on eBay. I’m happy to report that this week Charizard sold on Facebook Marketplace for $100 + postage.

SOLD!

It was listed on eBay for $139.95 and within that short period of time it had accrued 90 views and 8 watchers. It was only a matter of time before it sold on eBay. That said, I’m happy with the sale on Marketplace not needing to deal with any eBay fees. $7 into $100 - a total of $93 profit.

The next item we have is something that I picked up from a moving sale prior to starting Flip Weekly. I arrived at this garage sale late in the day and it was one where you had to dig - if you know you know. Garage full of cardboard boxes, plastic storage units and an owner that says “everything is for sale and needs to go“. I’ve found that in this situation a lot of people “dig” surface level and then move on. I admit I’ve done this in the past. However, if you’re in this situation be aware of your surroundings and if you spot something surface level that gets your interest, than it’s 100% worth your time to dig. In this case, surface level I spotted a whole bunch of embroidered military-esque jacket patches which I know are quick sellers so that alone told me to dig deeper.

Jacket patches are incredibly popular.

Especially military style ones.

So I pull out the boxes, open up the storage containers and I’m finding some cool stuff that others hadn’t even see. The item I found is this:

Pretty cool, yeah?

This is a Street Fighter arcade fightstick for the Street Fighter video game. Basically you can plug it into your computer or Xbox and play the Street Fighter video game like you would at an old school arcade. I didn’t know they made these however here’s what I did know:

  • Video games can sell really fast if they’re desirable.

  • I hadn’t seen anything like this before.

  • It was dated 2011 on the bottom.

  • It looked like something that had the potential to sell for a bit of money (for context when I’m at garage sales I don’t usually look up items).

First off I asked for the price. They had no idea, as I said earlier they wanted everything gone and hadn’t even brought out stuff from the boxes (let alone set prices). $20? That was what they said after a bit of indecision. I wasn’t too keen on the price only because it had been in storage for a while and I didn’t know what it was worth. I wanted to bring the price down. “Do you know if it works?“ Pretty much a rhetorical question, it had been in storage for years and obviously not tested anytime recently. When they said no I had the opportunity to lower the offer to $10 as it was essentially a gamble. Done deal. Oh, and the embroidered patches? Thrown in for free, they were happy to get rid of them.

Anyway, I took it home and gave it a clean and tested it out on my PC - all of the buttons worked! In terms of comps, this is similar to what I was looking at:

2 on bid and 1 on BIN.

I saw similar comps and decided I was going to list it for an even $100 on Marketplace. As of yesterday it had successfully sold! It was a gamble from the start but we were able to turn $10 into $100. A successful flip!

2 other items that I sold throughout the week included:

$5 into $40 within a week.

$1 into $25.

If you read last weeks issue of Flip Weekly, you’ll see I was able to find the signed copy of Paris Hilton’s book for $5. It sold within a week for $40 + post. Don’t ignore the books!

The other item I sold was a DVD of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s a part of a series called Sonic X and if you find them in the thrift for a buck or two, they always going on to sell for around the $25 mark. If you’re lucky enough to find the entire set from 1-17 you’re looking at a $300 payday.

The full set. Imagine getting each DVD for $1.

Resources & Friends

I’m going to tell you about a few different issues with luxury products I’ve had in the past and how I was able to 1) avoid getting into trouble on eBay and 2) maximize my profit by confidently selling an item. Here are 2 items that I found in the wild. 1 is real and 1 is fake. Can you tell just by looking at these photos?

Philipp Plein branded t-shirt.

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan jersey.

Philipp Plein is a luxury brand (that I’d never heard of) and I guess is famous for putting jewels on their clothing. If you check out their website you will see that they sell jackets for up to $300,000(!) and if you want a t-shirt it can cost you up to $3,000. Absolutely insane! I found this piece at a thrift store and to be honest it passed all of my own checks: decent stitching, plenty of tags inside the shirt (including a 3D hologram tag) and a few other things.

I was excited but I didn’t want to sell a fake item. I came across a company called Legit Grails and they offer a whole host of authentication services including a Philipp Plein service for only $15. They’re one of the best in the game and have a library of guides for spotting fakes which is well worth the read. I bought this shirt for $7 so if it was real it wouldn’t exactly affect the bottom line. I signed up and saw there was a few different options for results including getting a verdict within 30 minutes. I opted for 24 hours and waited for the result. Then came the email:

It’s a fake!

Fun fact: they also included a PDF “Authenticity Certificate“ saying the item was fake. Not too sure why I’d ever need to prove that it’s a fake… but yeah.

Now, in terms of the real item we have a Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan jersey. I bought this from a garage sale for $10 and I asked the person hosting if it was legit and she said yes, it was bought in Texas and brought back to Australia. That said, I still wanted to check it out. In comes Legit Check by CH. Check them out here.

The cost of authenticating a Nike NBA jersey was $10 using a first time buyer promo code and the result came in just under 24 hours later. Here’s what they said:

It’s real!

So here’s what I’ll say: if you pick up a luxury item and you want to make sure they’re legit, check out these services. If there’s enough wiggle room between your bought price and your potential sale price than it’s 100% worth it just for the peace of mind. I love being able to sell my items stating that I’m completely confident they’re real and that I wont get into any trouble selling them.

User Submissions & My Challenge

Massive shout out this week to Flip Weekly reader Allison from Australia who has been able to successfully turn a $4.50 book purchase into $500 in a matter of days. Allison was visiting a thrift store in country Victoria when she came across a book that sparked an interest. After looking the book up on eBay she saw that it was selling, by itself, for around $50. After looking up comps, she was able to find the books entire series, from book 1 to book 9 and picked up all of them for $0.50 each - a grand total of $4.50! The full set was listed on eBay and successfully sold a few days later for $499 - the full asking price!

$0.50 a book, $4.50 for the series.

$4.50 into $499.00!

The series is called “The Ringing Cedars“ and is something you just definitely store in your brain and be sure to pick it up if you see it. This goes to show that you should not be overlooking books, especially if you spot the series number on the spine, it’s always worth a look!

In the 2nd issue of Flip Weekly I challenged you all to visit your local thrift store and hunt for a signed book. We had our first reader successfully complete the challenge! Damian hit up his local thrift and spotted a really cool piece - I’ll let him tell you the story.

I took on your book challenge and found one. Funnily enough, it was the first book I picked up. It was a signed copy of Ray Martin's autobiography. I know it's not a world famous name, but an Aussie icon none the less. It cost $3. I don't think it will fetch much, but if I can get $10-15 for it, I'd be happy.

Damo

Journalist Ray Martin’s biography.

Most awarded star of Aussie TV.

I wanted to take a moment give massive props to Damo. Not so much because he found a kick ass book, but because he took on the challenge. It takes a certain kind of person to take on a challenge and have a go at something they haven’t ever done before and then to go on and succeed is an awesome achievement. Well done mate.

For everyone else, here’s my challenge for this week:

I talked about visiting a garage sale this week and spending only $10. I want you the reader to visit a nearby garage sale this weekend and spend $10 on items that you think will sell for a profit. If you’re in Australia, check out Garage Sale Finder Australia for your closest one. If you’re not in Australia? Try Facebook Marketplace or any other relevant classified website.

You honestly never know what you’re going to find at these garage sales. As I talked about in Issue #3, I was able to turn $20 into $1,000 within 24 hours - there is nothing saying you can’t do the same. I did it with pure dumb luck, you now have some knowledge because of Flip Weekly (heh) so why not give it a shot?

Autograph Adventures, Finding Valuable Signed Memorabilia

Since starting my reselling journey I’ve come across a fair amount of signed memorabilia. I’m not sure if it’s just a fluke, if it’s always going to be like this or I’ve just gotten really lucky. It may be that I’ll never across anything with a signature ever again. Regardless, finding the item is just the first step. Next you need to identify the signatures if you want to maximize your profit. Let’s go through what I’ve found and how the autographs were deciphered.

Fully signed AFL football.

A bunch of hard to decipher signatures.

They spread right across the football.

This was sitting on the table at a thrift store at the end of November 2023 with people passing by without even a glance. The ball was deflated, covered in signatures that look like graffiti and had a $20 price tag. Staff didn’t know who signed the ball or what team they were from - they just through it out and were happy if they got a twenty dollar note for it. I took a gamble and brought it home. I attempted to decipher the signatures but to be honest I was useless. Want to know my secret weapon to deciphering signatures?

It’s Reddit. Were you expecting AI or something more advanced? Nah mate, it’s old school human crowd sourcing. Anytime I’ve found an item that has a bunch of signatures and I’m unable to work out who wrote them, I’ve jumped onto the relevant sub-reddit and humans have come to my aid. If you’re unfamiliar with Reddit… it’s basically just a forum made up of thousands upon thousands of different communities called subreddits. AFL has its own subreddit, each team has its own subreddit, you get the picture. I had no idea which team had signed the ball so I posted on the regular AFL subreddit asking for some help and within a few hours not only had the team been identified, every single signature had been deciphered. So what was the result?

The result was that if the staff at the thrift store knew what they had it wouldn’t have been priced so low. The ball was from 2012 and it belonged to a team named the Sydney Swans. Makes sense considering I found it in Sydney. 2012 happened to be the year that the Sydney Swans won the AFL Premiership. What a score, selling the ball just got a whole lot easier.

I put the ball up for sale on November 23, 2023 and it sold 2 weeks later for a 900% ROI. Take a look:

$20 into $200.

The reason I was able to sell the ball for such a high price is because of the story behind it and the only way we get the story is by figuring out who had put their markings on it. In hindsight it probably could have sold for even more but I’m not one to complain about such a great return on investment in such a short amount of time.

Learning from this sale, I found my next item and priced it astronomically high and have yet to sell it. Let’s see what we have:'

That’s a lot of signatures.

I came across this item in the thrift with a pretty hefty price tag. I wont disclose it just yet as it’s still for sale but once it’s sold you’ll hear all about it in the newsletter. This is a jersey from a Rugby team called the NSW Waratahs. The jersey by itself has sold comps for $200.00 and current active listings as high as $300.00. However, this is fully signed. Once again, I jumped onto Reddit, this time in the Rugby subreddit and everyone was happy to help and in fact were in awe of the piece. It didn’t take long for people to work out who the signatures belonged to and after that it was just a matter of listing. I realized a few things:

  1. There is nothing else like this on the market.

  2. It’s unique, it’s essentially the only one of its kind.

  3. The right buyer is out there and I should shoot for the moon.

So I did and it was listed for an even $1,000. It’s high, yes, however with sold comps of the jersey with no autographs going for $200, I don’t think $1,000 is out of the question. Will it sell at that price? Maybe, you better stay subscribed to Flip Weekly to find out.

With all that being said, if you ever pick up an item that has signatures on them, do everything in your power to get them deciphered. Autographed memorabilia sell when a story is attached to them and the only way you can tell that story is by working out the signatures.

Here are 2 more random items I’ve found that have been autographed:

Signed NRL Eels hat. Sold for $40.00.

Signed Wallabies football. $100.

What’s To Come

Flip Weekly is just getting started and there’s so much more to talk about. I want to talk about the $1 toys that I’ve found that are sold almost instantly for $50+. I want to talk about a unique item where if it glows, it’s basically money in the bank. I want to talk about my experiences haggling at garage sales and both positive and negative interactions with other sellers (the time another seller slapped me!) and lots more.

Thanks so much for reading, I’ll see you again next week.

Mat