How to Start Your Sports Memorabilia Collection

It is fascinating to see how much something can grow in value over the years. Such is the case of sports memorabilia collections, which has grown into a lucrative industry indeed. What may appear as game stubs and worn seat numbers to some people are actually priceless artifacts that can fetch over thousands of dollars. This puts into perspective just how much people would be willing to pay for mementos from their favorite teams and personalities.

This being put into place, do you play a particular sport, follow a particular team, or is a fan of something in the sporting community? This may mean that you’re ready to start your own sports memorabilia collection. However, this is not as simple as buying off old ticket stubs from eBay or other auction brands: you need to know the basics, as there are many dupes in the market. Here’s everything you need to know about starting your collection.

Defining Terms

Traditionally, the term “sports memorabilia collection” denotes items that were signed by athletes, such as balls, bats, jerseys, photos, trading cards, and other related sporting equipment. They had to be signed by an athlete before they become valuable.

However, the term can encompass sports collectibles, which can simply be items that are directly associated with a particular athlete, sporting event, team, or sporting venue. It can be signed by the athlete, worn by the athlete, or even actual stadium seats and event programs and tickets. The list can go on.

Those who start their sports collections usually fall into the following categories: football, hockey, baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, tennis, boxing, stadium/venue, and event memorabilia. On the other hand, some people would mix categories, such as football memorabilia comprised of signed helmets, footballs, and jerseys; and stadium/venue memorabilia, where a particular team has played during a momentous game.

Whatever the case, a sports memorabilia collection showcases sports collectibles, or sport-related items that are desired by collectors, which would then tend to have a huge payoff after the years. However, the majority of sports collectibles would require a Certificate of Authenticity (COA), or a document that verifies the authenticity of the items you are purchasing. Without it, some individuals can make knockoffs of particular items and call them “authentic,” which new collectors would then purchase for a premium without realizing that they are being duped.

The majority of sports collectibles are purchased through sports auctions, where collectors would bid against other potential buyers to earn the item. The price of a sports item would depend upon its rarity; basically, the fewer similar items there are in the market, the more expensive it would get.

Starting Off

Now that you know the basic terms utilized in a sports memorabilia collection, it’s time to start hunting for collectibles. Here’s what you need to get started.

Find your niche – First things first: determine what you want to collect! With the many categories in the market today, you want yours to be valuable and truly unique. However, it is also something that you should be passionate about, and you would enjoy sharing with others.
To help you choose where to look, consider the following:

Favorite sport OR team – You can choose to collect every sports memorabilia from a specific sport (for example, all collectibles about football) or wilt down your niche by choosing a particular team (for example, everything about Dallas Cowboys). By choosing to focus on a particular theme, you could then narrow down the list of items you want to collect.

Type of item – From narrowing down the general theme of your collection, you can now focus on building it. Do you want to collect just specific items (such as signed baseballs or football jerseys), or do you want to collect everything about the particular team or sport? You can even start your collection based on just a player, a sporting event, or award. This way, you would have a clearer vision of where to start shopping.

Find reputable sources – This is where it gets tricky. Given that it can be very difficult to source authentic sports memorabilia (for example, the football used for the first NFL game), you have to be very careful where you decide to buy. Some websites would promise that they are selling authentic items, but cannot give you an actual COA. You would want to find a reputable source to make sure you are getting your money’s worth. Aside from going to sports leagues/associations, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) or the National Football League (NFL), you can also turn to websites such as Biltmore Loan and Jewelry. These sites have experts working round the clock to ensure the authenticity of their items and more.

Stay focused – Now this is where it gets interesting: the actual collection! You now know what you are looking for and where to get it. It is, therefore, imperative that you remain focused on hunting down what you are looking for, and not to be sidetracked by the many other items that are available. Focus on the quality of the items you are bidding on or try to purchase. Remember, a mint condition of a rare baseball card is always better than a battered copy of the same card. Just remember to keep the best items in your collection for yourself, and if you see something similar but is in a better condition, then buy that and sell your old one.

Tell everyone – There is nothing like spreading the news that you are collecting sports memorabilia, and getting referrals from friends and loved ones. For example, you could be casually talking about being a fan of The Cowboys and your colleague would suddenly remember that he has a signed jersey from his grandfather. You will never know what sort of good surprises you may find if other people are keeping you on their mind when they spot a particular item related to your collection.

With these tips, you are on your way to creating your very own sports memorabilia collection. Remember to always verify the authenticity of the items and to have fun while you build your collection!