Collecting Signed Footy cards is a passion of many footy supporters of all ages. In recent years eBay has made this hobby a little bit more accessible and economical. Hopefully this guide will make any collector an expert in improving their collection within those nasty surprises.
1. Read the descriptions properly.
Before you bid on anything on eBay you need to read everything in the description and actually understand what the seller is describing. You would be surprised how many people do not do this simple thing. Sellers have particular selling conditions that you need to adhere to and payment methods that they do or do not accept. With signed footy cards, sometimes a seller will add in the description of the condition of the signature.
A good example of this is with regards to the 2006 Select AFL Champions cards and to a lesser extent, the 2006 Select AFL Supreme cards. These cards are especially prone to smudging and bubbling. Most reputable sellers will let their potential bidders know if the signatures on their cards are sub-standard. If the condition of the signature is not obvious from the photo then ask the seller. Most sellers are quite happy to answer questions about their items. Beware of sellers who do not answer your questions with regards to the condition of the signature if photo is unclear.
2. Pay close attention to the photo provided.
When buying a signed card it is very important that you have a clear photo to see what you are buying. If the photo provided is blurry then basically you really have no idea what condition the signature is in. It is important that the card is in MINT condition too but essentially it is the signature that you are ultimately buying. Ask the seller to provide a clearer photo if you cannot see the signature properly.
3. Shop around and compare.
Believe it or not some AFL players sign items differently. This is not to say that something is fake but some players have some unique quirks. For example, Nathan Buckley will only signed footy cards with his initials. With other items such as team jumpers or even photos his signature will be extended. Sometimes a player might be in a hurry and will sign a shortened version of his signature. It is wise not to be impulsive and compare the different signatures on different cards to see what is around. There are some dishonest sellers out there who just want to make a quick dollar and will fake a signature on a card so compare the signature with others on eBay as well as completed listings. Feedbacks will also distinguish an honest seller from a dishonest one.
4. Postage and handling.
Make sure that pay attention to how your card will be posted to you once you have won a signed card. Cheap is not neccesary better. A good seller will take care with postage of the items and this will be evident in the seller's feedback.
Hopefully this guide has been helpful to your decision making processes in selecting which cards you bid on and make your card collecting more enjoyable.