At some point in our lives we have all collected baseball cards or pictures of soccer players. It was a ‘serious matter’ when you were a child, eager to complete your collection, and it is still so now. Because sports memorabilia items can be a good investment, as long as you know the rules of the game! Here are some expert tips on how to invest in sports memorabilia
Choose a ThemeInstead of randomly buying items from different types of athletes, try to choose a theme to create a good collection. This will help you decide which memorabilia items to spend your money on, and will make your collection more valuable. You can choose to collect memorabilia in honor of a specific athlete, such as Mike Tyson or Usain Bolt, or you can bet on specific American Football Hall of Fame memorabilia. Rugby, soccer and baseball memorabilia can also be great collector’s items. You might come across a particularly fantastic item, such as this 1970 Panini album signed by Pele, which sold at the Catawiki sports memorabilia auction for just over £12,000.
Some people are reluctant to buy sports memorabilia from very famous athletes. It’s always good to be unique and original, but remember one thing when investing in these sporting goods: the classics never go out of style. A baseball signed by Babe Ruth will always be valuable, and will probably become even more valuable over time. The most valuable signatures sold at Catawiki are currently those of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, Roger Federer and, of course, Muhammad Ali. In soccer, they are those of Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo and soccer legend Johan Cruyff. And in motor sports, it is those of Valentino Rossi, Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna who shine most brightly.
It might be really rewarding to calmly consider which sportsman or sportswoman you are going to collect memorabilia from. Do your research: check out which male or female athletes who are rumored to quit soon have left a great legacy. This might be a good time to start collecting autographs and other items, as their legacy will not change, but the demand will certainly increase once the athlete stops playing! Other occasions can also influence this demand: some are predictable, like winning a championship; others are not, like the death of a sports figure.
If you collect sports memorabilia as an investment in the future, it pays to buy items that are in perfect condition or have ‘museum quality’. Generally, the value of the items in perfect condition can only increase, so the quality of your sports items is a significant factor for the future value of your collection.
Another way to invest wisely is to look for unusual memorabilia items. For example, Tiger Woods is not known for being an enthusiast when it comes to signing memorabilia for fans, so a golf ball signed by him is very valuable due to its scarcity.
Fake autographs are a real problem in the world of sports memorabilia collecting. A certificate of authenticity (COA) can ensure that an autograph is genuine, but it cannot always be guaranteed. For this reason, certificates issued by the world’s most respected organizations, such as PSA/DNA, Upper Deck, Becket, and JSA, are considered the most reliable by collectors.
Thus, collecting sports memorabilia can be a great investment if you know what items to invest in. But above all, it is an incredible feeling to own a baseball used by Babe Ruth or to wear a glove once used by Mohammed Ali. Keep an eye on our weekly sports memorabilia auction to start your own great and fascinating collection, or register here to become a seller and start making money on your own sports items.
Imagine owning an antique baseball signed by Babe Ruth, a Ted Williams’ bat or Mohammed Ali’s autographed gloves. Or perhaps, if you are a sports fan you are looking for a bobblehead from your favorite player. If you are a dedicated collector or a casual hobbyist, you will find sports collectibles suitable for any online store
If Yankee Stadium souvenirs fill you with nostalgia or NASCAR racing makes your heart beat faster, then you’ll want to take your favorite sport and collect what you enjoy, at the sports memorabilia portal, cards and Fan Store. Take a few minutes to think about your favorite teams and players and what kind of autographed items interest you before you start your collection – get creative!
500 Home Run Club: photo, card, autograph or miniature of each of the 20 members of this exclusive club of hitters who take it out of the stadium.
3,000 Batters Club: Roberto Clemente, Cal Ripken Jr. and Hank Aaron are just some of the players in this elite club of 26 members.
Teams: Maybe your loyalty is in a team: collect autographs, photos, pins, accessories. The challenge is to include every member.
Award winners: focus on the great award files such as Olympic medalists, Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Golden Gloves or the Stanley Cup.
Hall of Fame: the “best of the best”, build a strong and valuable collection. If you want to aim high, the halls of fame are the way to go.
Individual players: honor your favorite players by making their belongings your treasure.
There are several classifications for the belongings of a famous person, for example: old and modern.
Autographed items: balls, bats, gloves, cards and anything else that can be signed. Look for clean surfaces, clear signatures and certificates of authenticity. The most valuable autographed items are those of today’s sports. Be sure to examine eBay’s autographed item policy before you bid on or buy an item.
Sports Cards: Check that sports cards have sharp corners, smooth surfaces and are well-centered. Signed cards may be worth more. The most valuable cards are the starter cards.
Equipment used in the game: bats, balls, jerseys, shoes, racquets and other equipment currently used by an athlete during a game can be extremely valuable.
Equipment sweaters and other accessories: Look for sweat stains, genuine wear and tear, and evidence of hard play on accessories.
Stadium Items: Seats, turnstiles, neon signs, benches and other stadium items can be valuable and hard to find, especially if they are classics or historically significant.
Ticket stubs and programs: Look for ticket stubs and programs for major tournaments, games and world series.
Bobbleheads: Collect bobbleheads with large heads. Complete sets are valuable. Look for clean ceramic items in excellent condition.
Boxing gloves, belts, suits: harder to find than most sporting goods, a boxing set can be worth a lot.
Pins: you will find pins of all sports on eBay, classic and modern. Collect the complete sets.
Pennants: signed pennants in perfect condition are especially valuable.
Handwritten letters: handwritten letters can be rare and valuable if they are authentic.
Cereal boxes: classic Wheaties are the most popular cereal boxes. Look for protected boxes in plastic display cases.
It also considers articles of the best brands of manufacturers such as:
Upper Deck: cards, signed baseball memorabilia and unsigned sports collections.
Topps: baseball, soccer, basketball and field hockey cards.
Steiner: signed memorabilia, authorized collectibles, showcases and sports photos.
Mounted Memories: showcases, guaranteed authentic memorabilia and signed items.
Mitchell & Ness: Classic sports sweaters, hats and other sports clothing and accessories.
Beckett: Sports collections and authentication and sorting services.
Donruss: sports cards.
Look for authentic pre-certified collections that have been examined and declared genuine by the respective expert. Recognizes the authenticators of objects of sports interest:
Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA): PSA is an independent organization that evaluates the authenticity and quality of sports cards using a 10-point rating scale, then stamps the holder with a forgery-proof seal, along with the certification test.
PSA/DNA Authentication Services (PSA/DNA): Professional Sports Authenticator, PSA/DNA classifies and authenticates bats, signed items and other sports collections. Compare autographs for sale with genuine autographs shown in their database by subscribing to their online autograph service. PSA/DNA also has the online “QuickOpinion” program that allows potential buyers to have their listings reviewed for a minimal cost. Within 24 to 36 hours PSA/DNA will respond to you with one of three opinions: “probably genuine”, “unlikely genuine” or “can’t give an opinion”.
Global Authentication Inc. (GAI): Global Authentication sorts and sells sports cards and memorabilia, autographs, and a variety of other authenticated historical documents and items.
Beckett Grading Services (BGS): BGS is affiliated with Beckett magazine and also uses a 10-point scale. What makes BGS unique is that it also offers a second rating for corners or edges. eBay also combined with Beckett to develop a “Value Guide” for sports cards, available on Beckett’s website.
Sportscard Guarantee (SGC): The SGC rating scale starts at 10 (bad) and goes up to 100 (pristine).
Remember: eBay does not examine the quality and authenticity of the listings. It investigates the item you are interested in and any information about the authenticity before making an offer or purchasing an item.
The value of your collection depends largely on its condition. The value of an item can increase over time, so protect it from wear and tear that can reduce its value. You can find a full range of storage and display supplies on eBay that will keep your collection safe.
Supplies to consider are:
Acrylic Showcases: Acrylic showcases provide the perfect storage for balls, gloves, hats, sweaters, and other items.
Baseball bat cases: Baseball bat cases are usually made of wood and acrylic.
Folders and sleeves: Folders and sleeves allow you to store and display your cards.
Card Holders: Card holders protect your most valuable cards.
Storage boxes: Plastic or cardboard boxes protect and store large numbers of cards.
Once you know what types of sports collectibles you want, go to the sports memorabilia, cards and fan store portal and click on a category link. Options include pre-certified authentication, original autographs, autograph-reprints, cards, fan accessories and souvenirs, items used in games and more.
Walking through a sports memorabilia convention is like being in a time tunnel. Most short, emotional journeys take us back to those places we miss and remember fondly. Sometimes the objects present us with legends or allow entrance to mythical events.
I am not a professional collector or a scholar, I just like to walk through those corridors and shake hands with the ghosts of the past. I recently had the opportunity to be in one of them in Baltimore. From time to time I buy a few things and would like to share with you both what I have learned and the mistakes that are often made in this strange and even complicated world.
The first thing is to be patient and not try to acquire everything we want in one week; this is meaningless and destroys the very essence of the hobby. A good collection is like a puzzle and the interesting thing is to collect the loose pieces. That process can take a lot of time, energy and money.
It is essential to establish a general strategy from the beginning. It is impossible, unless you have an unlimited budget, to acquire all the desired memorabilia when you are talking about millions of available things. It is best to focus on one player/athlete or a small group of players/athletes. Collecting Mantle, Clemente, Marichal or Aparicio is much more complicated and expensive than other players with at least the same importance in our memory. Make that selection according to your interest and not based on external recommendations. In the end it is your time tunnel.
After having the objective, a lot of research should be done to try to identify what you want to collect, be it cards, autographs, gloves, bats, magazines or uniforms.
The next step is to find the memorabilia and this is the most fun part. There are several ways to do this such as going to conventions or stores, buying items on eBay, buying envelopes in stores or getting autographs at the stadium.
In the case of playing cards, the state of preservation is crucial and avoid acquiring them unless you can see them and have them in your hands. There are companies such as PSA or Beckett that certify their condition based on a scale of 10 (best) to 1 (worst). A card in perfect condition (10) can be worth several times more compared to one in excellent condition (5). If you use eBay, only trade cards that come with a recognized rating.
In the area of autographs there are many forgeries and it is better to avoid investing a lot of your capital unless they come with certificates of authenticity or so-called card inserts. Another option, if it is your passion, is to get the signatures in person at some show or directly with the player.
Finally, all the memorabilia acquired should be stored as carefully as possible and in the different packaging or materials specially designed for it in order to maintain its value. Experts are increasingly demanding on this point.
These are just some recommendations, but the way you do it is your own and the idea is to enjoy it. Now I present you with a list of some of the most interesting items found in our visit to the Annual Sports Memorabilia Convention in Baltimore.
Few people know that from 1959 to 1968 the famous Topps company produced several series of cards in Venezuela thanks to an agreement with a local company. These lots, in some cases parallel editions, are expensive because they are scarce. Here we can see an example of the value of some of these cards.
Almost all of the Bambino’s objects are for display because they are too expensive. Here is a signed ball and a uniform that has the distinction of being the most expensive sports object in the world, having been purchased for more than 4 million dollars.
One of the athletes who most arouses passion in collectors for going beyond sport is Muhammad Ali. Here is a photo of the shorts used in the famous fight with Joe Frazier called “The Thrilla in Manila”. It was another exhibition item.
Recently a person found in an attic the largest and best known collection of E98 cards. They were promotional pieces that were given with candies in 1910. The whole lot was negotiated during the convention for more than half a million dollars. Here are some pictures.
The surprise of the event was this promotional poster of the Norton-Foreman combat held at the Poliedro of Caracas. Not many were made and most were destroyed so it is a very valuable piece.
The rich and powerful collectors of the world are capable of buying anything you put your mind to, no matter how much money you have. Spending millions of euros for a chrome or a t-shirt may seem, certainly and not without reason, crazy, but the truth is that there are people willing to do it. The prices of the objects -especially in the baseball- are really spectacular, treating these gadgets that once had practical use almost as real works of art. What is the most expensive sports memorabilia ever sold?
1- Babe Ruth sweatshirt: 4,415,658 dollars (3,459,810 euros) If there is one sport that moves money in American auctions, it is baseball – Americans’ pastime. This piece of memorabilia, bought in 2012 and belonging to one of the legendary figures of the sport, an icon of the New York Yankees in the 1920s, is especially noteworthy. It seems that this was the oldest piece of clothing of the sportsman known as ‘El Bambino’.
2- James Naismith’s baseball rules: 4,338,500 dollars (3,313,746) The original 1891 rulebook held the record since 2010. A real museum piece.
3- Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball: $3 million. The ball was acquired by the illustrious comic book writer Todd MacFarlane. After proving that the batter used steroids, however, it seems that today it is not worth more than a million.
4- Honus Wagner Baseball Card: $2.3 million. Throughout his career, the player was opposed to having his image printed, since he disagreed with the tobacco ads that decorated the cards (and which influenced youth consumption). That’s why, unlike all his colleagues, only 60 copies of his card were made, making this 1910 souvenir a real collector’s item.
Nine of the top 20 sports memorabilia items sold are linked to the “Bambino”. And here comes number 10. It’s the bat he hit the 500th home run of his career with 90 years ago, in 1929. The Madero will be auctioned.
We’re estimating it’s worth just over a million dollars, from a conservative point of view,” David Kohler, president of SCP Auctions, the firm organizing the auction, told USA Today.
The bat that Ruth shot her first home run with at Yankee Stadium in 1923 was sold in 2004 for $1.265 billion. Ruth gave her friend, New York Mayor Jim Rice, the bat for her home run 500 in the 1940s. The auction opened Thursday and closes December 14.