How to Make the Best Long-Term Autographed Investments

Posted by Andres Gonzalez on

Signed sports memorabilia is one of the most popular investments a collector can make. Who doesn’t want the allure of a signed baseball by Mickey Mantle or a signed jersey with Michael Jordan’s name in their collection? However, the problem with collectible investments is the same as with all investments. There’s no safety in the market, and finding just the right investment can be a real challenge. Fortunately, here are some tips to make just the right call. 

The Danger of Investing in Young Players

The challenge with signed sports memorabilia is that it’s a frequently fluctuating market. A player may have intense heat one day, and an injury derails their career the next. Young players have careers filled with risk, from suddenly snapped hot streaks to trades that limit their wins. 

There’s also an undeniable speculator quality to investing in younger players. Trying to spot the next LeBron James is a dream, but it rarely pays off. What you wind up with is an overpaid item for a player few, if any, people remember. All investing is a gamble but investing in the next superstar is one of the riskiest.

Still, there are advantages to short-term investment. If you have signed sports memorabilia of a player in a hot moment, there’s an advantage to rapidly flip that item onto the market. Dealers even often specialize in such rapid trades. With the right timing, a signed jersey at a player’s hottest moment is an acceptable short-term investment.

What to Look for in a Long-Term Investment

Longer-term investments in sports memorabilia rely heavily on time.

For one, there’s a real advantage to going with players whose careers are complete. With their careers complete, the value of these players is set, and the market is stable. A sudden bad week won’t lower Wayne Gretzky’s legendary run. This isn’t to say players who are still active can’t be safe investments, as a player like LeBron James has proven his value over his years of playing. But those are exceptions, and generally, it’s safest to go with a concluded career. 

It’s also easy to assess the statistical value of these players. A simple analysis of the stats of a player like Karl Malone shows a legendary run but, in the absence of championships, a lesser value to his items than perhaps a Kobe Bryant-signed basketball. Statistical value provides a rare genuine number to go on in the often highly subjective collectible market.

There’s another significant number: the number of items available in the market for deceased players. Generally speaking, while there are new authenticated items at times, the market is reasonably set on the number of items from players who have died, as they can’t sign anymore. For this reason, an item signed by a deceased player is arguably the safest investment.

Sports Integrity knows the value of a good investment. We offer everything from jerseys and playing equipment to toys and photos, both signed and unsigned, from some of the greatest athletes ever. With a wide range of materials, we’re proud to provide you with the perfect collectible today

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