Getting an autograph used to be something pretty difficult to do. There were ways to obtain one, but all required a bit of work. You could wait next to the training facility or arena and wait for a player to come out, look for card show or team organized signings, or you could mail something off in hopes that the item you sent would be returned with an autograph. Nowadays, all you have to do is look on eBay, and you can easily find most autographs you could ever want - and if it's on a trading card, it probably has certification on it so you can feel good about its authenticity. So why get in-person autographs? Is it worth the time and hassle?
I would say 'yes' to getting in-person autos whenever possible. To me, there is nothing like actually meeting a player and having him or her sign something for you. But you have to keep in mind that the item you get autographed is for YOU... and really not to re-sell. I have found that in-person (IP) autographs really don't go for too much on eBay or other online sites anyways. There is too much a question if it is the real deal or not. A lot of these autographs can be had for far less than $20... but like I said, you are taking a risk with its authenticity.
When I meet a player, I try not to have them sign cards. I have already have a ton of autographed cards, and I don't feel they are particularly special. They are cool... don't get me wrong... I love collecting cards, but I guess having a bazillion Sharks autographed cards really dulls the whole auto'd card thing for me. If I could have my way, I would love to get a photo of me and the player signed, and hopefully personalized to. That would have so much 'value' to me. No, not monetary value, but emotional value.
Since I've become a Kings season ticket holder, I've had more access to player signings. In fact, after I type this article up, I'm going to meet one of the newest Sacramento Kings rookies at a signing. Unfortunately, I won't be able to have him autograph a photo of him and myself, but I do have a photo that I took that I would like him to sign. That's pretty cool too.
My suggestion for getting IP autos is to make it as personal as possible. Also, getting players to sign unique items is also fun! Jerseys and other equipment are great pieces to have signed. In fact, one of my favorite signed items is the pink hockey puck that we got Jason Demers to sign a few years back. It was pretty funny having him autograph that thing. The look on his face was priceless!
What do you think of IP autos? Have you met players and had them autograph things? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments section below!