The hobby has tons of autograph bargains, especially if you're willing to branch out. Unlike sports card autographs, big-name movie and TV stars don't often sign for a ton of different sets. This makes their autograph cards relatively tough to come by. They're also quite stable in price over the long-term, with more potential upside than downside.
While there are no guarantees that any of these cards will indeed go up in value, entertainment autographs hold up well against their sporting counterparts, particularly those that are attached to a popular franchise like Star Trek or Marvel. Although it's possible, it's not likely that anyone is going to lose a significant amount on any of these cards at their current prices. So with plenty of potential rewards and not a lot of risk, here are some cards worth getting.
As much as it hurts me to type it, Mad Men isn't going to last forever. The cable hit and critical darling has kick-started several careers. As far as trading cards go, the actor likely to benefit the most is Christina Hendricks. The stunning actress is fast becoming a red-carpet favorite and paparazzi target.
When a 2002 Topps Dark Angel Jessica Alba autograph sells for more than $400, the $40-60 that a 2006 Inkworks Firefly Christina Hendricks autograph brings is a bargain. With the excess Inkworks stock finally starting to dry up following their collapse a couple years back, there's a strong likelihood that this card will slowly start creeping up.
Taylor Kitsch stock is rising in Hollywood. This really shouldn't be a surprise to the 18 people who know him as Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights. Although a set for the show would have been great, it was never meant to be. However, a supporting role in the blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine was enough to get Kitsch to ink some cardboard.
Released by Rittenhouse in 2009, the Taylor Kitsch autograph has been stable at around $40 since its release. Look for that to go up in the near future as he has starring roles in three major films in 2012. First up is the lead role in the Disney film, John Carter. That's followed up by Battleship in the summer and Oliver Stone's Savages in the fall, which also stars John Travolta. Although John Carter isn't the blockbuster Disney hoped and Battleship looks a little iffy, Kitsch should still eventually emerge as a legitimate force in Hollywood. When that happens, this card could soar.
For the past couple years, Amanda Seyfried has been one of Hollywood's "it" girls. And while she has yet to prove herself in a leading role, Seyfried continues to get more chances. Back before her breakout role in Mamma Mia!, Seyfried had a major role in the first season of Veronica Mars. In turn, she was included on Inkworks' loaded autograph checklist. Selling for as low as $20 in the past, they are now hovering around $50. Given that the hobby devours autograph cards of attractive young actresses, this will be a bargain if Seyfried is finally able to breakthrough in a major hit.
The patriarch of one of a Hollywood dynasty, over the years Martin Sheen has appeared in such films as Apocalypse Now, Gandhi, and the long-running TV series, The West Wing. Sheen also has a key role in The Amazing Spider-man. Sheen's signature was included in 1999's Babylon 5 Profiles from Fleer/SkyBox and currently goes for about $30. Unfortunately, the image on the card makes him largely unrecognizable. Still, it's a bargain for someone with such a prolific career.
Like Sheen, Peter Fonda is also a member of one of Hollywood's biggest families. His career also started in the early 60s. Best known for starring and co-writing Easy Rider, more recent roles for the legendary filmmaker include parts in 3:10 to Yuma and Ghost Rider. Fonda has appeared in both Pop Century sets with basic versions going for about $30.
J.J. Abrams is one of the few people working behind the camera today collectors might actually be excited to get an autograph of. Sorry to all those producers and writers out there. We appreciate (most) of your work, but outside of guys named Speilberg, Lucas and Scorsese, there aren't many that collectors are clamoring for.
This is one of two Abrams autographs available. The other, from the 2009 Star Trek movie, sells for $175-200. While Alias isn't nearly as big or mighty as the Trek Universe, Abrams' autograph from the show's first set is a bargain at $35-40. Unless you're building the set, is a Star Trek logo really worth the extra $150?
In retrospect, Inkworks' first Alias set is loaded. Not only are there signatures from Abrams and Jennifer Garner, but it also has People Magazine's "World Sexiest Man for 2011." While that may not be a selling point to many card collectors, it is a recognition that Bradley has entered mainstream superstardom. Although Bradley has yet to carry a blockbuster on his own, he has been a standout in several huge movies over the past several years, including The Hangover and The Wedding Crashers.
Over the past year or so, the card has crept up from $20-30 to its present going rate of around $60. Should Bradley finally breakout on his own, he'll find himself in Hollywood's top-tier. If that happens, the card will shoot up further.
Through the 1960s and 1970s, Mary Tyler Moore was one of TV's biggest stars. She had a main role in classic the classic sitcoms, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Simply put, Mary Tyler Moore is an icon, which makes the $25-30 that her 2012 Press Pass Essential Elvis Autograph is going for seem like a steal. As of now, this is the only set her autograph appears in.
The last decade hasn't been the best for Christian Slater. But that doesn't take away his status as a Gen X icon. With starring roles in several iconic late-80s and early-90s movies, including Pump Up the Volume, Heathers and True Romance, his place in Hollywood history is set. 2011 Rittenhouse Star Trek Classic Movies: Heroes & Villains finally brought a Slater autograph to the hobby.
This card's a bit of a dark horse, but the price is so low that it's hard to ignore. When Inkworks first released Veronica Mars: Season 1 back in 2006, Greenfield was probably the least desirable autograph. That hasn't changed much with the card still selling for around $5. However, Greenfield's star is rising with a major role in the new hit sitcom, New Girl, where he plays the sleazy Schmidt. While everyone else takes a backseat to Zooey Deschanel, his presence is still on the rise, even in the shadows. While this card will likely never go for tons, the couch change it's currently going for is certainly a deal.