Although sports and professional athletes have been admired by fans for centuries, it wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century that the demand and price of sports memorabilia began skyrocketing. People began to have more money available for saving and investing in collectible items, allowing for sports memorabilia trading to evolve into the multi-billion dollar industry we know and love today.
From signed baseball cards to jerseys worn by sports legends during record-breaking events, the world of sports memorabilia is diverse and expansive. Many people enjoy collecting authentic sports memorabilia as a way of honoring their favorite teams and players. They can feel a sense of connection and pride in owning a piece of sports history. However, some collectors recognize that certain sports memorabilia also carries incredible financial significance.
A single item could be worth millions of dollars depending on various factors. This makes sports memorabilia a highly lucrative investment for those with patience and a keen eye. Let’s take a closer look at why sports memorabilia can be a good investment for collectors and their portfolios.
Difference Between Memorabilia and Collectibles
Before diving into the specifics of investing, potential collectors must first understand the difference between memorabilia and collectibles. Memorabilia items are identified by their association with a person or team at a specific moment in time, with various factors significantly influencing their price tags.
Anything from sports equipment to trophies can be memorabilia, and often no two pieces are alike. Collectibles are described as mass-produced items for the purpose of collection. Sometimes, they may hold value after they’re no longer sold but are seldom worth more than memorabilia.
Factors That Influence the Value of Sports Memorabilia
Many elements substantially impact an item’s price tag. Serious investors research each component before deciding whether an item is worth the purchase price or patiently waiting for the ideal time to sell it.
Which Player or Team is Associated with the Item?
One of the most influential aspects of sports memorabilia’s value is the player or team connected to the item. For instance, Tom Brady is commonly referred to as one of the greatest quarterbacks of the NFL. Anyone holding signed football helmets featuring his autograph will receive large payouts if they choose to sell them in a couple of decades.
Was the Item Worn or Used During a Major Event?
Memorabilia worn or used during significant sporting events are a part of sports and cultural history. These items are also one-of-a-kind, making them substantially more valuable than purchased items later autographed by an athlete. Signed footballs that were used in the Superbowl and autographed by the winning quarterback will always sell at a higher price than purchased footballs autographed by the same athlete.
What is the Condition of the Item?
Arguably the most prominent factor influencing the price of an item of sports memorabilia is its condition. Like many other investments, sports memorabilia gains much of its value over time but can lose it just as quickly if the items are not properly preserved. Discoloration, weathering, stains, and any damage to the item not caused by wear and tear from in-game usage can harshly affect the item’s price.
For instance, one of the most expensive signed baseball cards ever sold is Mike Trout’s 2009 Bowman Chrome SuperFractor Rookie Card. The card was the only one ever made with a 1/1 serial number, and Beckett Grading deemed its condition a Mint 9. Its nearly pristine condition combined with its rarity and Trout’s success in baseball makes this card one of the most coveted baseball cards in the world.
Reasons to Invest In Sports Memorabilia
“Investing” is a term not often associated with sports memorabilia. However, the demand for items autographed, worn by, or used by legendary players continues to escalate, making these items an exceptional investment opportunity.
They’re Unique Items
High-ticket sports memorabilia are rare and exceptional items that earn more value after they’ve been authenticated by experts such as JSA, PSA, and Beckett Grading. Whether they’re signed baseball cards or autographed equipment like signed footballs, a certificate of authenticity proves the item’s legitimacy and rarity, earning a considerable return on investment.
Their Value is Exponential
The right memorabilia preserved in excellent condition continues to appreciate as the years pass. Since so many factors can influence an item’s price, there’s no telling how much it can increase in value. However, experts report that the value of sports memorabilia considerably increases after a player retires or passes on after leaving a jaw-dropping legacy.
You Can Use Them as Collateral
Signed baseball cards and other trading cards have exploded in value, with record-shattering sales occurring within the last five years alone. This has captured the attention of businesses in the lending industry. Many lucky collectors that own high-value memorabilia may need funding for major life events and don’t wish to sell their items. Now, they have the option to use their memorabilia as collateral for loans and monetize their assets without having to lose ownership, as long as they meet the terms of their loan agreement.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing
Collecting sports memorabilia items is an exciting opportunity with many benefits for a collector’s passion and pockets. Similar to trading on the stock market, there are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing which sports memorabilia to invest in. The following are some tips to help make a well-informed decision.
Research the Players
Many collectors purchase sports memorabilia from current athletes in hopes of receiving a large return on their investment in the future. However, simply buying items from current popular players does not guarantee their value will increase significantly over time. Research to ensure the athletes have built up a considerable legacy in their sport. Additionally, if the athlete is rumored to retire soon from the game, their sports memorabilia will increase in value sooner rather than later.
Look for Well-Preserved and Authenticated Items
When purchasing sports memorabilia as an investment opportunity, their condition heavily affects their value. Well-preserved items with certificates of authenticity are always worth more over time. Keep an eye out for sports memorabilia in pristine condition with a “mint” grading from expert authenticators. Maintaining the condition of these items ensures collectors receive a substantial return on their investment when they decide to sell in the future.
Buy from Reputable Sellers
Since the dawn of the internet and the domination of online shopping, replicas and forgeries passing as genuine have become a massive hurdle for sports memorabilia collectors. Though it is possible to find authentic signed baseball cards on eBay, collectors run serious risks purchasing any item that appears legitimate through online marketplaces. Luckily, sports memorabilia retailers offer collectors a safe option for finding the right items from a trusted source.
At Sports Integrity, collectors can purchase autographed sports memorabilia from signed football helmets to game-used items with peace of mind. We are proud to offer an authenticity guarantee with each item, so our clients know they’ve invested in genuine memorabilia. Start your sports memorabilia collection and investment journey with Sports Integrity.