Sports Memorabilia


rachelAthletes are superstars in this country. We pay the best of the best hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars and spend millions of dollars on merchandise each year. Vintage sports memorabilia is also popular in this country. Each year our shop fields at least a dozen calls about selling baseball cards. Typically we refer the callers to stores specializing in sports cards. Those stores will know better the value of the cards than most general antiques and collectibles dealers. That being said, buyers of sports memorabilia may still want to scour general line stores in hopes of finding bargains.

What kinds of sports memorabilia are Americans accumulating these days? This genre of collecting is huge – so much bigger than baseball or other sports cards. It includes antique fishing lures, athlete autographed items, Bobble-heads, golf bag tags, lapel pins, pennants, sporting event memorabilia, team memorabilia, tokens, and vintage sporting equipment – that simply scratches the surface. Celebrity athletes come and go and the value of correlating merchandise ebbs and flows with their popularity. When an athlete retires or dies, prices on related collectibles may go up as demand rises. This is true with other famous people as well. On the death of Whitney Houston, Sony reportedly raised the prices of one of her albums knowing that fans would clamor for it. Some buyers purchase at this time thinking that they are making an investment. It is possible that the value of these items will increase over several decades, but they are also likely to go down in price once the buzz surrounding the event fades. This is especially true of common items. Michael Jordan is definitely an exception to this rule, and there are others. According to eBay’s Pulse page “Michael Jordan” was one of the top ten eBay search terms in the Sports Memorabilia, Cards and Fan Shop on Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 17, 2012. Several Jordan items listed on eBay currently are priced at thousands or tens of thousands of dollars; some have sold for as much.

The value of sports memorabilia comes down to rarity, authenticity, condition and in some cases provenance and age. Plan to use a reputable specialist when selling rare sports collectibles. Do some cursory research to determine if you need a specialist for valuation or authentication. For sports cards, tickets, and autographs as well as graded baseballs and game used bats, take a look at the SMR online price guide at For information about fishing related collectibles, contact The National Fishing Lure Collectors Club. You can visit the club website online. If you are interested in learning more about current news in the sports memorabilia hobby, you might like the website Sports Collectors Daily. Of course you can always check out collectors books at your library or buy them at your favorite bookstore. Above all enjoy the sport of collecting sports memorabilia.

Rachel Glenn is part owner of Rachel’s Attic Antiques and Collectibles in Dandridge, Tennessee and has been dealing in antiques and collectibles for eleven years and selling online for eight years.

Source: Rachel Glenn