How To Navigate The Complicated World Of Sports Memorabilia

By Ryan Bologna

Whether it is the standard jersey and hat, most sports fans own a couple of pieces of memorabilia. Some have rooms full of gear, and it seems like everyone gets into collecting for a different reason. It is important to know your motive for buying a certain piece or attending an event. It can be intimidating if you are new or just looking to buy one item. Here are the different reasons why people are into collecting sports memorabilia and how you can approach buying items the right way.

The first reason is obvious. People love sports, and buying things like jerseys, helmets, or cards is enjoyable to them. Whether it is the nostalgia an item creates for a person or the uniqueness of an item, people value these pieces of memorabilia for personal reasons.

That brings us to the other reason people buy sports memorabilia, which is to make money. Like with many other collectibles, you can expect people to buy items with the intention of selling them for a higher price.

There is a big difference between standard memorabilia and card collecting. When you go to a convention for sports memorabilia, cards will be one of the most common items you will see. It is much easier to determine the value of a card because collecting is the sole purpose of that item. So manufacturing determines how rare, and in turn how valuable a certain card is.

It is more subjective when it comes to items like jerseys or hats. There are a multitude of factors that go into it, like if a specific item was used in a game. Some of the most important factors can be the specific athlete the item relates to, the era they played in and their historical and cultural significance. Other factors include whether the item alludes to or was used in a famous play. A signature increases the value significantly as well.

Knowing how items are authenticated is really important to avoid being ripped off. The most reliable method is called photo matching. Experts use photos and videos to identify marks like creases or stains that happened during a specific event. If you are buying what is said to be game-worn gear, make sure you or someone has verified the item with photo matching. Going to events like the National Sports Collectors Convention could be a good way to avoid scams. Goldin Auctions is seen as reliable as well.

When you decide what item you want to buy, you should know how to keep it in good condition. It’s important to get the right display case for your item. Acrylic cases are good for these purposes because they are cheaper and more durable than glass, and they give UV protection. If you want an extra level of protection, you can insure your items to protect them from loss, damage or theft. Collectors often purchase insurance plans for items they expect to travel with. Someone who is just going to keep their items in a secure spot in their home might decide against insurance, but the peace of mind can’t hurt.

The sports memorabilia scene can be intimidating. When you are going to an event for the first time, or just looking to buy one item, these are important factors to remember. Someone who does not have much knowledge in this scene could be an easy target for scams. These tips can help you avoid that.

Photo Credit: Michel Curi

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