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Sports memorabilia

History of Sports Memorabilia Collecting

There is a diverse market for antique sports memorabilia. After all, there are sports fans across all generation and there is a wide range of sports to choose from as well. 

The history of sports memorabilia collecting started as old as the history of sports itself. When sports became an organized form of competition, it was then when the collecting culture began.

You can find antique sports collectibles that range from popular to bizarre. Indeed, you can collect sports trophies, cards, and even old sports items from popular sports personalities and athletes. 
If you are able to authenticate and provide documentation for these antique items, you could potentially command a high price for these items.

Antique sports collectors do so due to their emotional connection to the sports and their favorite sports teams. In addition to the connection with the favorite sports teams, there is also a decorative appeal to these collectible items. 

In auctions, the sports items that generate the highest bid are ones that have a distinctive feature or those linked with high-profile associations or history.

Want to know what your antique sports memorabilia are worth? 

You can start with our comprehensive guide so you can find out how these items are valued.

Types of Sports Memorabilia

When talking about sports memorabilia, there are plenty of them in the market. There are a variety of sports memorabilia collected by fans from all over the world. This is your list of sports collectibles to choose from:

 

Football apparel and souvenirs

NFL or National Football League is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world. Therefore, there are plenty of NFL apparel and souvenirs that avid sports fans can collect. 

The most popular NFL apparel collected includes jerseys, shirts, jackets, hats, watches, and key chains. Super Bowl memorabilia and gear, in particular, are highly in demand. There are also some NFL items that are used as home décor such as team banners, flags, signs, posters, and car accessories.

 

Larry Bird shirt

Basketball apparel and souvenirs

The NBA is the world’s biggest basketball league and also the most popular. Hence, you will find plenty of NBA apparel and souvenir items that are valued at a high price in the market, such as jerseys, jackets, caps, t-shirts, posters, cards, and more. If you can get NBA sports memorabilia linked with some of the greatest players in the NBA, you can also get a higher value for those. Some of these players include Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and so on. Apparel items that are associated with these players can cost a lot!

 

Baseball apparel and souvenirs

Just like NFL or football, baseball is also a popular sport worldwide. The MLB (Major League Baseball) is one of the most recognizable leagues in the world. Some of the most popular baseball items include baseball bats, batting helmets, bobbleheads, jerseys (autographed and game-worn), t-shirts, vintage photos, throwback jerseys, posters, and prints.

 

Racing apparel and souvenirs 

Racing fans are not as widespread as basketball or football fans; however, these are also loyal and die-hard fans. Hence, they are willing to pay a huge chunk of money to get their hands on rare souvenir items from their favorite racing teams and personalities such as Indy, Formula 1, or NASCAR shirts, jackets, caps, photos, posters, and other forms of souvenirs.

 

Boxing memorabilia 

Boxing is one of the globally popular types of sports. Hence, it comes as no surprise that boxing fans would clamor over rare and antique boxing items such as autographed boxing gloves, match posters, or any items linked to boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Frazier, and more.

 

 
There are a few other classifications of sports memorabilia that fans from all over the world are willing to pay a high price for. Some of these include hockey apparel and souvenirs, golf apparel and souvenirs, horse racing souvenirs, tennis apparel and souvenirs, soccer apparel and souvenirs, and cycling souvenirs.
 
In general, if you own any of these sports-related items that are antique, you should have an expert look into it so you can determine its worth:

  • Autographed items
  • Team jerseys or apparel
  • Ticket stubs
  • Bobbleheads
  • Game-used equipment
  • Sports cards
  • Pins
  • Handwritten letters

How Do You Know Your Antique Sports Collectibles’ Worth?

In the succeeding sections, you will learn in more detail about the factors that can affect the value of your antique items.

While antique pieces do have an innate value in them, this value can fluctuate depending on other factors such as the brand of the sports memorabilia (typically used for assessing apparel, jerseys, caps, or other antique sports collectibles that can be worn), its authenticity, any history or provenance, and the overall condition of the collectible piece (this is why it is important to know how to care for your antique items).

Dodgers baseball shirt sold on auction

1956 SANDY KOUFAX AUTOGRAPHED BROOKLYN DODGERS GAME WORN HOME JERSEY (MEARS A9) – THE HOBBY’S ONLY FULLY AUTHENTICATED, UNALTERED JERSEY WORN BY KOUFAX IN THE HALLOWED CONFINES OF EBBETS FIELD!

Sold for $414,279 on http://scpauctions.com

Authenticity of Sports Memorabilia

If your antique sports item is not graded or certified authentic, you need to have it authenticated by a third-party expert before you can sell it. You can find an expert appraiser that can evaluate your items for its rarity and history. However, there are also certified sports memorabilia authenticators. Here are some of them:
 
Professional Sports Authenticator

This is an independent organization that is capable of grading and authenticating your sports collectibles. They have a 10-point scale and the quality of your items can be graded that way.

Beckett Grading Services

This one is affiliated with Beckett magazine, which also uses a 10-point scale like the PSA. BGS is unique though as they have a secondary rating for specific antique items like cards. They use secondary evaluation by checking the corners and edges of sports cards.

Global Authentication Inc.

This organization is specifically concerned with grading sports memorabilia such as trading cards, autographed items, and other documents that have historical value.

What Constitutes Valuable?

There are thousands of sports memorabilia out there – even old and antique ones. But how do you ensure that yours is of real value? Essentially, any sports memorabilia that is manufactured before 1969 or any date that is older is considered valuable. There are also sports memorabilia that are manufactured at a later date that are considered high value because of their rarity (or ones that are considered limited edition). If you own a piece of sports memorabilia and you cannot determine its actual value, it is best to look for an expert antique appraiser who will look into the item on your behalf.
 
In general, these 3 factors can affect what your sports collectibles are worth:

  1. The team to which the sports items are attributed to can determine the worth of sports collectibles. Apparel associated with popular teams command a higher price than the less popular ones.
  2. Sports items that are linked with award winners can also get higher value in the market. This award can be from any aspect of the sports such as an Olympic medal, Most Valuable Player Award, Rookie of the Year award, and so on.
  3. Hall of Fame players and memorabilia associated with them can also make a strong case for an expensive price tag. They add a major boost to your sports memorabilia collection.

Caring for Antique Sports Collectibles

Antique sports memorabilia are considered rare since they are typically manufactured in small quantities. If you are lucky enough to get hold of these items, you need to take proper care of it (especially if you intend to sell it). The condition of a sports memorabilia can significantly cause its value to go up. On the flip side, an antique memorabilia that is in poor condition will not be as valuable as ones that are well cared for.
 
In order to preserve the antique items, you need to follow these 5 easy tips on how to care for and protect your sports collectibles:

  1. Put them inside acrylic display cases. This type of display case is a good investment if you are a serious collector. It can also display a wide range of antique sports memorabilia in your possession such as sports cards, caps, jerseys, gloves, and balls, among other things. As a bonus, these cases allow 360-degree viewing of your items on display.
  2. Enclose them in a binder or sleeve: This method of storing your sports memorabilia is better suited for specific types of items, such as sports cards. It is also a popular way to preserve other antique items such as sports jerseys.
  3. Frame them: Putting your antique items in a frame is another great way to preserving them. This is especially useful for valuable collectibles such as autographed items, unique photographs, pennants, or anything that isn’t meant to be worn.
  4. Place them in storage boxes: Another easy way to protect your antique sports memorabilia is to place them inside storage boxes. This is best suited for valuable collectibles that are not put on display.
  5. Use card holders. This particular method of storing antique sports collectibles is best suited for vintage cards.

Where to Appraise Sports Memorabilia

If you want to buy antique sports memorabilia online, it is important to know what the value is through the expertise of a fully licensed appraiser. You should never buy or sell antique items without being checked by an antique appraiser. If you are a buyer, it is one way to ensure the authenticity of the vintage sports collectibles. If you are a seller, it will enable you to determine the closest estimate of the market value for the said sports memorabilia.
 
When it comes to antique sports memorabilia, you can find antique appraisers at Mearto. Make sure to exploit this opportunity to get maximum value on your vintage items.
 

Sports memorabilia found in realised prices

Mar 25, 2017
Sports Memorabilia, Muhammad Ali, NULLA Wanted ManNULL
Description: American, 20th century. NULLA Wanted ManNULL, monochromatic photograph, signed to lo...
Mar 11, 2017
Sammy Sosa Signed Baseball, Sports Card, and Photograph.
Description: Sammy Sosa Signed Baseball, Sports Card, and Photograph. 1990s. In original Mounted ...
Mar 10, 2017
1961 NEW YORK YANKEE AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO COLLAGE
Description: 1961 NEW YORK YANKEE AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO COLLAGE, H 30NULL, L 26NULL:The signed photos...
Nov 21, 2016
Collection of Vintage Baseball and
Description: Other Sporting Memorabilia including a 1946 World Series official program signed by ...
Nov 02, 2016
Vintage Sports Memorabilia Including a Mickey Mantle Signed Baseball, Mark McQwire Base...
Description: Vintage Sports Memorabilia Including a Mickey Mantle Signed Baseball, Mark McQwire B...
Oct 19, 2016
Autographed Official Program for Chicago Cubs 1965
Description: Official Program of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field vs. the Milwaukee Braves. June...
Oct 19, 2016
Collection of MLB Player Autographed Photos
Description: -8 x 10 color photo print montage of Mike Schmidt with autographed signature. -8 x ...
Oct 19, 2016
Grouping of NY Yankees Autographs
Description: Collection includes: -8 x 10 color montage print of Joseph Paul NULLJoeNULL DiMagg...
Jul 31, 2016
SIGNED WILLIE MAYS BASEBALL W COA
Description: Rawlings Major League Baseball signed by Willie Mays. With certificate of authentici...