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Sports memorabilia refers to collectables associated with sports. Types include equipment, trophies, sports cards, autographs, photographs, etc.
A multi-billion-dollar industry has grown up around the trading of sports memorabilia.Individual items can be valued in the millions of dollars. For example, a T206 Honus Wagner baseball card was sold for $2.8 million in 2007. As a result, fakes have become a serious problem.
Items that have been in direct contact with a famous athlete can have significant monetary value. Game-used items such as the ball, which Mark McGwire hit for his 70th home run of the 1998 season, sold for $3 million.The most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold, a New York Yankees baseball jersey worn by Babe Ruth during the 1920 season, sold for $4,415,658 in 2012. In 2016, the ten most valuable sports cards and memorabilia sold for a record-setting combined $12,186,294.
Autographed pieces of memorabilia are usually more valuable than non-autographed items. Items that have been personalized (i.e. "To Mark," Best Wishes Travis," or "Happy Birthday John") can add sentimental value. Collectors who are interested in purchasing sports memorabilia often look for a certificate of authenticity. Several companies have developed systems to prove the authenticity of game-used or autographed memorabilia, and collectors will generally seek out dealers that offer a lifetime, money-back, authenticity guarantee.
The value of a signed item will generally be relative to the profile of the signer and the scarcity of similar items. When a high-profile sports star dies, the value often rises as there will no longer be an opportunity to get more. For example, the death of Muhammad Ali in 2016 raised both demand and prices for signed Muhammad Ali memorabilia.
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It could be said that collecting sports memorabilia goes back to the first decades of the 20th century, when many people would collect baseballs from baseball games and many asked Babe Ruth for autographs. As years passed and many other sports stars joined their sports, memorabilia collectors also began to broaden their horizons.
When the NBA, MLB, NHL and NFL began selling their jerseys in stores during the 1980s, game used jerseys also became a hot item among sports memorabilia collectors. Former NBA player Dennis Rodman was famous for taking off his jerseys and throwing them to the stands after his games were over. Michael Jordan is probably the basketball player whose memorabilia is most sought after by collectors.
The highest price fetched for a football (soccer) match worn shirt is $224,000. The shirt belonged to the legendary Pelé, who wore it during the 1970 World Cup final in which Brazil went on to win.
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Collectors like to look back in time when they are finding sports memorabilia. Items such as John L. Sullivan and Jack Johnson fight posters have sold well before. There is also a boxing glove signed by Sullivan, Johnson, Ruth and many Hollywood stars and American Presidents that has sold for a lot of money before. This glove is now on display at the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Other popular items in sports memorabilia are "game-used" items. Game used can refer to an item worn on the field during a game, worn during the pregame, or by a player on the bench. These can include jerseys, pants, caps, helmets, gloves, shoes, or even sunglasses. Game Used can also refer to bats, balls, turf, flags, or other items used by a player on in the stadium. In NASCAR, and other forms of automobile racing, the metal from the cars, the tires, the driver uniforms, and the crew uniforms are popular collectables. Concrete from the various racetracks are also popular. Trunks (shorts or pants), used by popular boxers such as Greg Haugen in boxing fights are also popular and sometimes sell for 100 dollars or more.
In Europe, football (soccer) memorabilia is the largest market, with high-profile players shirts, boots and photos in demand.Event programmes from rugby union and football (soccer) matches are also highly collectable.
A collectable is any object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector. There are numerous types of collectables and terms to denote those types. An antique is a collectable that is old. A curio is a small, usually fascinating or unusual item sought by collectors. A manufactured collectable is an item made specifically for people to collect.
Autograph collecting is the practice of collecting autographs of famous persons. Some of the most popular categories of autograph subjects are presidents, military soldiers, athletes, movie stars, artists, social and religious leaders, scientists, astronauts, and authors.
A trading card is a small card, usually made out of paperboard or thick paper, which usually contains an image of a certain person, place or thing and a short description of the picture, along with other text. There is a wide variation of different types of cards. Modern cards even go as far as to include swatches of game-worn memorabilia, autographs, and even DNA hair samples of their subjects.
A baseball card is a type of trading card relating to baseball, usually printed on cardboard, silk, or plastic. In the 1950's they came with a stick of gum and a limited number of cards. These cards feature one or more baseball players, teams, stadiums, or celebrities. Baseball cards are most often found in the U.S. mainland but are also common in Puerto Rico or countries such as Canada, Cuba and Japan, where top-level leagues are present with a substantial fan base to support them. Some notable baseball card producing companies include Topps, Upper Deck Company, and Panini Group. Previous manufacturers include Fleer, Bowman, and Donruss. Baseball card production peaked in the late 1980s and many collectors left the hobby disenchanted after the 1994-95 MLB strike. However, baseball cards are still one of the most influential collectibles of all time. A T206 Honus Wagner was sold for $2.8 million in 2007.
Non-sport trading cards are a particular kind of collectible card designated as such because trading cards have historically prominently featured athletes from the world of sports as subjects. Non-sports cards are trading cards whose subjects can be virtually anything other than sports-themed.
The Upper Deck Company, LLC, founded in 1988, is a private company primarily known for producing trading cards. Its headquarters are in Carlsbad, California, United States.
The Bowman Gum Company was a Philadelphia-based manufacturer of bubble gum and trading cards in the period surrounding World War II. It was founded by Jacob Warren Bowman in 1927.
T206 was a tobacco card set issued from 1909 to 1911 in cigarette and loose tobacco packs through 16 different brands owned by the American Tobacco Company. It is a landmark set in the history of baseball card collecting, due to its size and rarity, and the quality of its color lithographs. Several of the cards are among the most expensive sports cards ever sold.
Baseball Hobby News was a United States-based news-oriented magazine about the field of baseball memorabilia collecting. Founded in 1979 by the husband-and-wife team of Frank and Vivian Barning, who served as editor and publisher, respectively, the magazine was published on a monthly basis until 1993.
Jersey cards or Costume cards are baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and other sports collector cards that have a small piece of the featured player's jersey in the card.
The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card depicts the Pittsburgh Pirates' Honus Wagner, a dead-ball era baseball player who is widely considered to be one of the best players of all time. The card was designed and issued by the American Tobacco Company (ATC) from 1909 to 1911 as part of its T206 series. Wagner refused to allow production of his baseball card to continue, either because he did not want children to buy cigarette packs to get his card, or because he wanted more compensation from the ATC. The ATC ended production of the Wagner card and a total of only 50 to 200 cards were ever distributed to the public, as compared to the "tens or hundreds of thousands" of T206 cards, over three years in sixteen brands of cigarettes, for any other player. In 1933, the card was first listed at a price value of US$50 in Jefferson Burdick's The American Card Catalog, making it the most expensive baseball card in the world at the time.
Barry Halper was an extensive collector of baseball memorabilia who had been a limited partner owning about 1% of the New York Yankees. During the auction of Halper's collection, Sotheby's Auction House called it the "World Series of Sports Auctions."
An insert card is a card that is randomly inserted into packs of a sports card offering. These insert cards are not part of the regular numbering system of a set of sports cards and they tend to have a unique design. Another term for insert cards is chase cards. Insert cards either have their own numbering system. Insert cards are found less frequently than base cards. Autographed cards, memorabilia cards and parallel cards are also classified as insert cards. Insert cards are randomly inserted into packs at a specific ratio. A 1:24 ratio specifies that on average one of every 24 packs will contain a card from that insert set.
Tristar Productions, Inc. promotes sports collectible events, distributes autographed sports memorabilia, and manufactures and distributes trading cards. The company was founded in 1987, in Houston, Texas, by Jeffrey R. Rosenberg. At Tristar's collectors shows, current and former sports players autograph memorabilia. The organization distributes trading cards for organizations including Minor League Baseball and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Futera is a trading card publisher founded in 1989. It is a privately owned company, its main markets being Asia, Europe, Australasia, US, with commercial and operational bases located in SE Asia, print and distribution facilities in UK/Europe and Asia-wide, and its headquarters in Dubai.
Brandon Steiner is a sports marketer. He was the founder and former CEO of Steiner Sports now owned by Fanatics. He is currently the founder and CEO of CollectibleXchange and The Steiner Agency. He and his family live in Scarsdale, New York.
Sports figurines are collectible statues of professional athletes that are usually made of plastic. They come packaged with a stand and can be connected or removed from it.
The Major League Baseball Authentication Program, or MLB Authentication Program, is a program run by Major League Baseball Properties, the product licensing arm of Major League Baseball, to guarantee the authenticity of baseball merchandise and memorabilia. The centerpiece of the system is a tamper-resistant security tape (sticker) with an embedded hologram. Each sticker carries a unique alphanumeric code. The sticker is affixed to all game-used merchandise and memorabilia, while information about the item is entered into a computer database. Between 500,000 and 600,000 items are authenticated each season.