The world of sports collectibles
The world of sports memorabilia isn't just for avid fans of a particular team, event, player or sport —because the values of sporting collectibles can increase dramatically over time and reach high dollar figures, it also attracts investors. Authentic sports memorabilia is prized not only for its historical significance, but also for its rarity and sentimental appeal.
Popular Types of Sports Memorabilia
Game items, sports cards and stadium memorabilia are the three most common and popular types of sports memorabilia. Some people also consider sports autographs to be a form of collectible, but this is more applicable when the autograph graces a related item rather than just a blank sheet of paper.
Some of the game items that are considered collectible are game-worn jerseys or game-used equipment, particularly if it's autographed. For example, a football that was used in Super Bowl III is likely to have some value to collectors, but a football used in that game which bears Joe Namath's autograph will command a much higher price.
Sports cards are perhaps the best-known type of sports collectible on the market. While the sports card craze may not be what it once was, older cards and the rookie cards of Hall of Fame-caliber players still hold their value very well.
Finally, stadium memorabilia may become available when a venerable venue is due to be replaced by a new arena or stadium. For example, when old Yankee Stadium was torn down, seats became available for purchase. While they aren't expected to dramatically increase in value over time, they are a strong sentimental reminder of the House that Ruth Built and would be a welcome part of any baseball fan's memorabilia collection. Typically, parts of stadiums are sold off during a sports memorabilia auction held by the venue's owner(s).
Valuing Sports Memorabilia
Whether you're going to sell or buy sports memorabilia, it's imperative that you know how to value a particular piece so that you command or pay a fair price. Typically, the age, rarity and condition of a piece are the primary determinants of its value.
When it comes to autographed sports memorabilia, especially autographed sports cards, there are varied schools of thought: the first suggests that authentic autographs always increase a card's value. However, purists say that any markings on a card, even an autograph, detract from its overall condition and therefore lower its value. If you are seeking a particular sports card as an investment piece, it's probably safer to get a non-autographed version; however, if you're a dedicated fan who's less concerned about the card's value, then an autographed version adds sentimental value.