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Signing a Golf Tee is Hard to Do

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
August 21, 2005

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Dear Babe: I have a golf tee autographed by Sam Snead. It is a regular-sized tee and it is signed along its length - "with love your pal Sam Snead." There are also some numbers on the cup of the tee. They are "12," "300" and "yd."
Ken Murphy, North Andover, Mass.

This is a new one. I just can't imagine anyone being able to sign a tee. I have no idea what the numbers might be unless he hit a 300-yard drive on the 12th hole somewhere.

I checked with both Mike Breeden, a Tuff Stuff columnist and autograph expert, and Dave Berkowitz, owner of Golf's Golden Years in Palatine, Ill., and a collector and dealer since the 1980s. They said it might be worth $50-$75 - if it's actually signed.

"I'd like to see someone try to sign a standard golf tee. I can't think of too many things that would be harder to write on," Breeden said.

Berkowitz agreed, saying "I just tried to sign a tee, pretty tough to do," Berkowitz said. "I believe it would be a very hard item to sell because it would not display well and you would probably need a magnifying glass to see what is written. Demand is much more important than rarity." Considering how small all the writing is, you need to consider that it might actually be a printed facsimile signature. In that case, it would have little if any value.

If it's a real signature, it's worth $50-$75 if you can find a buyer. Snead signatures aren't rare. Most collectors would be looking for something that would be much easier to display.

Snead died in May 2002.

"I saw him about a year before he died and he was having trouble signing anything at that point. I'd have to assume that this was done many years ago," Breeden said.

Dear Babe: When we lived in New York, my Dad gave me a baseball that he treasured. Some of the names signed in blue ink include Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, John Mize, Gil McDougald, Ralph Houk, Billy Martin, Jim Coleman and Bobby Brown. I've kept it in a Plexiglas container, so that it has been protected and it looks the same as when I first got it. Dad gave me the nickname Mickey in honor of Mantle because of my involvement in women's baseball.
Louiseann "Mickey" Richter, Evans, Ga.

Mantle and DiMaggio were only together in 1951, right in the middle of the Yankees record-setting run of winning five World Series in a row between 1949 and 1953. It marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. As such, it has a lofty spot when it comes to Yankees team-signed baseballs. If it's really nice, it would fall in the $6,000-$9,000 range. An average ball would be worth less.

Dear Babe: I have an autographed Mickey Mantle baseball that I got several years ago at a local department store signing.
Matt Engel, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Now that the forgeries have made their way through the marketplace, single-signed Mantle baseballs are on the rise, said Mike Gutierrez, owner of in Arizona. It looks like top value these days is as much as $700. Of course, that's for a bold autographed on an official American League ball signed on the sweet spot.

Dear Babe: I have an autographed Red Sox baseball, probably from the late l940s. Recognizable signatures include Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams and Mel Parnell. Some others are not so legible but they are all signed in person and in ink.
Jack Peabody, Indio, Calif.

If you are sure that was late 1940s, it's probably 1948 or '49, since Parnell came near the end of the 1947 season. A team-signed Red Sox ball from those years is probably worth around $1,000, said Phil Castinetti, owner of in Everett, Mass., a suburb of Boston. Of course with faded signatures, the value of your ball is going to be less than that. Even it's from the early 1950s, the team didn't change much, so that should be the value. The only factor that could change the value is if the ball was really from 1954 or 1955 and had Harry Agganis' signature. He was a New England prep star who came up the BoSox in 1954 and then died suddenly from leukemia in 1955. Baseballs with his signature command a premium.

About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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