Baseball autographs are a tangible link to the national pastime. Whether you're seeking autographs for collecting or reselling, it is important to choose the best pen to ensure legibility and protection from fading, bleeding, and discoloration. The best pens for baseball autographs are based on the type of item being signed, since different pen types react with materials differently. There is a right tool for every job and, similarly, a best pen for every baseball autograph.
A baseball is one of the most popular items to have autographed, but if the right pen is not chosen, the signature will not age well. Permanent markers should not be used on any baseball. Leather baseballs are porous and the ink in a permanent marker will bleed over time. A common ball point pen works best. It will provide a clear signature that will not bleed. Blue ink is preferred by the majority of collectors because black ink can fade to purple over time.
Paper goods such as baseball cards, index cards, or glossy photos are best signed with a medium fine point permanent marker or felt tip pen. Black permanent marker is most commonly used. A crisp, long-lasting signature will be produced with a permanent marker or permanent felt tip pen. Allow enough drying time for the ink to set properly so it does not smear. This is especially important on glossy photos.
Bats, Helmets, and Cleats
Increasingly popular for collecting and displaying are autographed pieces of game equipment. Permanent markers work very well on bats, helmets, and cleats. It is common and popular to use silver or gold metallic permanent markers for autographs on these items. Paint pens are another alternative, but they can clog and have a strong odor that causes some signers to refuse to use them.
Uniforms and Gloves
Uniforms and gloves can pose a problem with pen selection. A synthetic jersey autograph normally looks sharp with a medium fine point permanent marker, but if the jersey is a natural material like cotton or wool, bleeding can occur. For natural material jerseys, a ball point pen is still the best choice. Gloves are also tricky because the oils used to break them in can clog ball points, but permanent markers can still bleed. The finest point permanent marker is best in the palm area of a glove, while a ball point pen works well along the backside of the finger area.
- autograph ball image by Richard Kane from Fotolia.com