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  #1  
Old 07-12-2020, 01:39 PM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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Default Fading Autograph Question

So, one of my favorite things to collect is signed baseballs. I limit my collection only to ROMLBs and normally prefer balls signed in blue ink.


I have a dozen balls from Braves players housed in a UV frame on my wall and have noticed that one of the balls has faded significantly over the last several years. See photos below...top photo was taken in 2014 and the bottom photo was taken today.


Looking at all the balls in this frame...three look different to me. Most notable is the John Smoltz (second row from bottom-right) which in 2014 was very bold and today it's very faded. This ball was purchased online and has a JSA authentication. The other balls that have faded a bit are the Dale Murphy (top left) and the Phil Niekro (second row from the top-right) which show minor loss of boldness. Both of these balls were obtained TTM and these as well as a handful of other balls signed with the same batch of Bic Pens have shown similar loss of boldness. The remaining balls look exactly as they have always looked and all have been stored under the same conditions.


Now, my question. Is it fair to assume that the culprit here is the pen used? If is was simply a light exposure issue, I would assume all the balls would show fading...but only a couple do (and two of them us pens I have found faded in different conditions). The only anomaly is the Smoltz ball as I do now know what it was signed with. Is it same to blame the pen here? If so, what can I do to reduce this risk in the future? When buying a ball, what should I look for in the ink?


Thanks.





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  #2  
Old 07-13-2020, 09:14 AM
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I have same for hundreds of balls. Got Ryne Sandberg in person and auto completely disappeared in 3 years. Best advice that always surfaces is OMLB, blue ball point pin, touch only seams, no direct sunlight. Otherwise expect to loose some to fading or browning (even in a box in a dark closet.)
I have no idea how folk with super high dollar balls protect their investment.

Last edited by Case12; 07-13-2020 at 09:16 AM.
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  #3  
Old 07-13-2020, 10:23 AM
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It sucks, and I've dealt with this on balls too. There's no easy way around it...I've lacquered a couple balls I know I'll never sell but that's likely not recommended.

Honestly your best bet here is to pull that one out and stick it in a drawer, and get another Smoltz ball for the display.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:39 AM
mr2686 mr2686 is offline
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You can use a UV case, make sure it's on a OMLB, use a blue pen (bic med pt is my preference) and never touch the darn things, and still you can have this problem. Some of the problem, I believe, is the fault of some of these modern baseballs (Selig and after). Not sure how the hide is being treated, but it seems to be an intermittent problem. For this reason, I have a hard time investing any further in signed baseballs. I will get a few more to fill up the remaining spots in my cases, but I'll probably rely on older baseballs to get that done.
The other solutions I've thought about, is taking a new ball and (using gloves) wipe them down with a terry cloth rag (something a little rough but not enough to rough up the ball). May not do anything, or may allow the ink to adhere to the ball better. Just something to try.
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  #5  
Old 07-13-2020, 10:58 AM
packs packs is offline
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I find it's usually the ball and not the ink. Some baseballs are just bad. I've found Bobby Brown balls to be the worst. If it's not the signature being eaten by the leather it's the leather turning brown. I have more than a few Brown balls that have random brown spotting all over them.

Last edited by packs; 07-13-2020 at 10:59 AM.
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  #6  
Old 07-13-2020, 11:18 AM
pclpads pclpads is offline
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All the signed BB's I have obtained were IP at shows by the signer. Never bought any at auctions. Haven't attended any shows in 20 years. All the balls have been in a dark, humid free closet in a covered plastic display case, no sunlight exp. I don't handle them. Now, most of the sigs are history. The blotches on the stained Aaron in the pic are similar to many of mine. Leads me to think that tannins used in the rawhide are the source of the light brown oil stains and the faded pen ink. As a result of this, i no longer buy or have signed, any BB's. Money wasted, like a lot of things in this hobby. Some day, I'll likely put the whole damn lot in a curbside bag for the Goodwill.
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Old 07-13-2020, 11:31 AM
tazdmb tazdmb is offline
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To the OP-Were those balls ever exposed to sunlight/UV lighting?
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Old 07-13-2020, 02:40 PM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tazdmb View Post
To the OP-Were those balls ever exposed to sunlight/UV lighting?
I don't believe so. The balls are housed in a framed case and the plastic is rated to shield out 98% of the UV light. It is on the wall adjacent to the window...but the window nearly always has the blinds drawn. I will bet that I don't have the window blinds open more than 50 hours a year.

I have lived here for 5 years and that is how they have always been displayed. Most haven't changed...but a couple have.


Last edited by CamaroDMD; 07-13-2020 at 02:41 PM.
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2020, 03:26 PM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
I find it's usually the ball and not the ink. Some baseballs are just bad. I've found Bobby Brown balls to be the worst. If it's not the signature being eaten by the leather it's the leather turning brown. I have more than a few Brown balls that have random brown spotting all over them.
The balls have issues are all Selig balls.
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2020, 04:11 PM
Klrdds Klrdds is offline
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Many issues can be the cause ,but I believe in your case the case is still too exposed to light , temperature and humidity no matter what its UV rating is.
Also the balls themselves can be a problem especially how they were handled prior to signing . I agree with Mike , in that the type of pen is important .I always get baseballs signed in Medium blue ink from new Bic pens for current players , and I've used them for over 30 years with no problems. But I also believe that Selig and Post -Selig baseballs have a slightly different finish on them as well.
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Old 07-13-2020, 04:15 PM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klrdds View Post
Many issues can be the cause ,but I believe in your case the case is still too exposed to light , temperature and humidity no matter what its UV rating is.
Also the balls themselves can be a problem especially how they were handled prior to signing . I agree with Mike , in that the type of pen is important .I always get baseballs signed in Medium blue ink from new Bic pens for current players , and I've used them for over 30 years with no problems. But I also believe that Selig and Post -Selig baseballs have a slightly different finish on them as well.
Do you think it's light from the window...even with the blinds closed?
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Old 07-13-2020, 05:14 PM
Michael B Michael B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroDMD View Post
Do you think it's light from the window...even with the blinds closed?
Look at the light coming in in your photo. That is quite a bit. If this is an easterly or westerly facing window go in the room when the sun is hitting that side of the house and you will have your answer. If that is your only choice for where you display you may wish to consider black out curtains. Alternatively, you could hang dark curtains, on a 'U' shaped rod and use velcro to attach the edges to the wall. If you go with curtains I would use a single curtain, hang the rod very high on the wall so that the frill at the top touches the ceiling. The curtain should hang 8 -12 inches below the sill and extend 4-6 inches past the sides of the window. It is not perfect, but it is a solution. If you keep it closed when the sun is on that side of the house it will also keep out a lot of heat. My bedroom window faces the morning sun and has blinds. I did not want to hang curtains so I use an old dark blue duvet cover hanging with push pins. It keeps out a lot of light and heat. I have a hook so that I can pull it aside when I need light and it is cooler.
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2020, 05:23 PM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael B View Post
Look at the light coming in in your photo. That is quite a bit. If this is an easterly or westerly facing window go in the room when the sun is hitting that side of the house and you will have your answer. If that is your only choice for where you display you may wish to consider black out curtains. Alternatively, you could hang dark curtains, on a 'U' shaped rod and use velcro to attach the edges to the wall. If you go with curtains I would use a single curtain, hang the rod very high on the wall so that the frill at the top touches the ceiling. The curtain should hang 8 -12 inches below the sill and extend 4-6 inches past the sides of the window. It is not perfect, but it is a solution. If you keep it closed when the sun is on that side of the house it will also keep out a lot of heat. My bedroom window faces the morning sun and has blinds. I did not want to hang curtains so I use an old dark blue duvet cover hanging with push pins. It keeps out a lot of light and heat. I have a hook so that I can pull it aside when I need light and it is cooler.
This is a southern facing window. So, it really never gets direct sunlight. But, I do live just about the 45th parallel so the sun is always on the northern part of the sky as it passes overhead.

Curtains would be an option for sure. Do you think it's the light from outside or inside? There is an overhead light but it uses LED bulbs. I can't imagine that plays much of a role.

I want to expand this collection so I need to protect it as best as I can.

Last edited by CamaroDMD; 07-13-2020 at 06:05 PM.
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  #14  
Old 07-13-2020, 07:00 PM
mrmopar mrmopar is offline
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That is scary to think, but I believe it can happen to paper items too. I do not collect baseballs, but have a couple dozen I have picked up for one reason for another. I will go to my death still complaining about the certain UD Sweet Spot balls that faded. Aside from several Garvey cards that have faded almost to nothing, I am victim of a Mike Marshall glove card /25 that is bleeding/fading into nothing. Had I known or had the slightest clue, I would have paid extra for the baseball versions. They seem to have survived. The gloves, at least mine, are not!
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Old 07-13-2020, 07:42 PM
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It can definitely be the ink too. I had a Perfect Game ball signed by 18 pitchers. Only one player faded a lot over a few years and of course it had to be Koufax which cost me $400. The rest held up much better.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:01 PM
Klrdds Klrdds is offline
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Looking closer at your photo I see fading and / or spotting on all the baseballs except Mathews , Glavine and Uecker . Also they show different types of ink size and quality . I’d move that display to a better place , and not worry about the curtain issue unless this is where you wish the display to be . It’s a nice display that I have seen many times being near Atlanta with various Braves players ,and replacing the faded baseballs wouldn’t be difficult or expensive if you wanted .

Last edited by Klrdds; 07-13-2020 at 09:02 PM.
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  #17  
Old 07-14-2020, 07:22 AM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klrdds View Post
Looking closer at your photo I see fading and / or spotting on all the baseballs except Mathews , Glavine and Uecker . Also they show different types of ink size and quality . I’d move that display to a better place , and not worry about the curtain issue unless this is where you wish the display to be . It’s a nice display that I have seen many times being near Atlanta with various Braves players ,and replacing the faded baseballs wouldn’t be difficult or expensive if you wanted .
Unfortunately, I have very limited space to display this so I'm sorta stuck where it is. It's display it here or nowhere. If the belief is that the proximity to the window is a significant part of this issue, than black-out curtains would seem to be the best fix.

As for the balls themselves, the two photos posted were taken using different cameras, lighting conditions, and angles. Looking at them in hand, I can tell you that the Chipper, Justice, and Spahn (especially Spahn) were always lighter on the ball and using a different kind of ink. To my eye, if these have changed over time it's been minimal. The Cox was always weak at the top of the signature but it may have weakened slightly further. The Andruw Jones, Mathews, Aaron, and Glavine look to be exactly as they were the day I purchased them. The Hank Aaron ball has always had a light brown spotting to it. The first photo masked it pretty well but it has always been there and looks unchanged.

The Uecker was not in the frame during the original photo but was added a short time later. Has probably been there for 4+ years. It was a TTM auto using the exact same type of ball and pen as the Murphy and Niekro. My intention was always to round out this set with a Greg Maddux ball (in Uecker's place) but it just hasn't happened yet. My intention for now is to actually get a bigger frame of the same type and do a more diverse collection of balls. So, I want to make sure they are protected.

Last edited by CamaroDMD; 07-14-2020 at 07:25 AM.
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  #18  
Old 07-14-2020, 09:06 AM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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Just as an experiment. I decided to see how much exterior light was coming into the room from the window. So, I turned off the light in the room, closed the door and shut off the computer screen...this was the result.

This photo was taken at 7am today. This is a southern facing window so the sun is to the NE and never passes directly in front of this window. Despite this, I think this is probably more light than is ideal. Again, the case claims to filter out UV light but doesn't quantify that in any way. So, I don't know how much faith to put in that.

I feel like black-out curtains might be a good idea.

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Old 07-14-2020, 09:50 PM
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Buy some of these (or similar product):

https://www.amazon.com/Trasfit-Chang...55136017&psc=1

Put them in the case under the glass and take it out in the sun to see if they react.

It will give you an idea you how effective the UV blocking glass is.

Last edited by PhilNap; 07-14-2020 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 07-15-2020, 09:29 AM
CamaroDMD CamaroDMD is offline
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The more I chat with different people...the more I am beginning to learn that baseballs in general can be finicky. Some will fade without any apparent reason. I have a ball for instance that was signed 6 years ago. The player wrote a bunch of stats all over the ball on all sides and signed it. It was been in a UV cube on a shelf and the writing has faded on all sides equally...not just what was exposed to light.

But, that being said, I do think UV light is part of my issue here. I took out all the balls from the frame and photographed them individually (to document the collection) and two balls that I had signed had an interesting pattern. I have noticed that the balls that I had signed have tended to fade a bit in general. But, the Dale Murphy ball is much stronger on the left side of the ball and the Phil Niekro is much stronger on the right side...the fading is less in these areas. See below:





After I noticed this, I put the balls back in the case the same way they were and I looked at the case standing in front of the window. The darker areas of those signatures were covered by the frame. I took a photo (bare in mind, the balls were put back in the frame so they might be slightly rotated differently but they are all in the same place):

The Murphy is top row left and the Niekro is the second row from top far right.



So, I think there is a double issue here. I think UV exposure is playing a role but I also think some of the balls had bad ink/ball condition.

I think curtains are a good move to at least remove the UV issue. Any thoughts?
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:57 PM
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I have over 150 plus signed baseballs and have stopped getting balls signed due to the fading problem. Some signatures are as strong as the day the ball was signed, others not so much. As others have mentioned the problem is due to a number of issues. Ink and how it reacts to the leather. Heck it might get down to the diet of the cow. Perhaps the way the hide was tanned or even cut. The pressure the signer exerts to get the ink into the hide. How the ball was handled. As big as he is, Gaylord Perry signs very lightly which is death to a signature. The signatures in my collection that are fading are Dale Murphy, Gary Carter, Gaylord Perry, Bob Horner (completely gone) and Bud Selig. All were in person. As much as I like the way a signed baseball displays it has been awhile since I've had a ball signed.
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Old 07-16-2020, 10:00 PM
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I would get the curtains to block out the sunlight at least during the morning time or when the sun light shines in the most. I am now displaying my balls away from the windows.
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by packs View Post
I find it's usually the ball and not the ink. Some baseballs are just bad. I've found Bobby Brown balls to be the worst. If it's not the signature being eaten by the leather it's the leather turning brown. I have more than a few Brown balls that have random brown spotting all over them.
true, but the Bobby Brown balls hold their ink. If they have not started to spot like a raccoon by now, they probably won't. Most of the balls from Haiti were prone to toning, due to the bad water used in production. It had nothing to do with the signatures fading off the ball.

ANY SELIG ball with a bic blue pen, given any light whatsoever, will eventually fade completely off the ball PERIOD. Brown balls hold ink like nobody's business....even with moderate+ sun exposure. I have a great experiment where I display 30 balls in a UV glass case, none of them great. They are all in UV ball cubes.

There were 5 selig balls & 25 brown. 20 pristine brown balls. None of the brown balls have toned anymore than when they were signed in the 1980's. All 5 selig balls that were graded 9.5-10's have the autographs that have completely disappeared. Mays, Berra, Ryan, McCovey and Ripken...BA BYE!
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Old 07-19-2020, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuddjcal View Post
ANY SELIG ball with a bic blue pen, given any light whatsoever, will eventually fade completely off the ball PERIOD. Brown balls hold ink like nobody's business....even with moderate+ sun exposure. I have a great experiment where I display 30 balls in a UV glass case, none of them great. They are all in UV ball cubes.
Interesting. I will have to check whether the signed balls that are fading are Brown, or Selig issues.
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Old 07-22-2020, 07:40 PM
JRS123490 JRS123490 is offline
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I agree with one of the above posters. It's probably 80-90% the ball. Direct sunlight sure as hell doesn't help and contributes a ton, but there's no rhyme or reason on whether baseballs bleed, fade, spot, tone etc..It's a complete crap shoot whether the ball will hold up over time. That's exactly why I stopped doing them. Have had too many good guys turn to complete garbage. They look the nicest, but are also the riskiest. I have had baseballs signed 15 years ago that look almost like they were signed yesterday, and I have baseballs where the signature completely fades or explodes within a year or two.
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Old 07-22-2020, 07:41 PM
JRS123490 JRS123490 is offline
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I should also note, I only got ROMLB's signed and never displayed in direct sunlight. Some still faded.
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Old 07-23-2020, 05:41 AM
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In the photo that you took with the lights off, you can see that the outside sunlight is casting a shadow on the case your balls are in. That surely means sunlight is getting to the balls.
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Old 07-15-2021, 10:32 PM
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Darn! Just when I was going to start collecting signed baseballs again I saw this thread! Looks like no matter how you dice it, signed baseballs fade overtime!!
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