The Ultimate Guide to Identifying Collectible Sports Memorabilia

The Ultimate Guide to Identifying Collectible Sports Memorabilia

Posted by The LRD Community Team on Apr 25th 2023

Those that like to browse local sports memorabilia stores might consider starting a memorabilia collection of their own. With so many sports and eras to choose from, people can create a unique collection of vintage sports apparel and other memorabilia. For those new to collecting, they can learn more about how to identify collectible sports memorabilia, start their collection, and what can be done with the collection in the future. Many collectors opt to donate their collections to support a good cause. As Proverbs 19:17 reminds us, "Those who are gracious to the poor lend to the Lord, and the Lord will fully repay them."

Different Kinds of Sports Memorabilia

The sports apparel industry encompasses a wide variety of items. Sports memorabilia that famous players autograph becomes even more valuable. Many collectors like to focus on a particular sport, athlete, team, or type of item. The collection's worth will increase when there is a common theme among the items. Sports memorabilia collections can include:

  • Jerseys
  • Trading cards
  • Equipment, such as helmets, balls, or bats
  • Apparel
  • Photos
  • Venue items

Identifying Collectible Sports Memorabilia

For those looking to begin collecting vintage sports apparel and memorabilia, there are a few things to know before beginning. Great gear doesn’t just show up in a collection. It has to be sought after and appraised to verify its authenticity. Local sports memorabilia stores are a great place to start. After deciding what to collect, more attention can be given to finding the right pieces for the collection.

People decide to collect for different reasons. Some might love a specific team or player and enjoy finding pieces from their careers. Others might collect with the intention of donating the collection to charity. Whatever the case, collectors need to know how to identify worthwhile collectible sports memorabilia to create the best group possible. Continue reading to learn more about starting and building a collection of authentic sports collectibles.

1. Choose the Collectibles

The first step in creating a sports memorabilia collection is to decide what to collect. Taking inspiration from the list above, choose what kind of collection to build. When deciding on collectibles, it’s essential to create a theme for the items selected. This will make the collection more valuable as time goes and help narrow down which collectibles to search for.

2. Join a Forum

Hebrews 13:16 tells us, "Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices." Many collectors are willing to share their knowledge with others who have taken up collecting. Those who are new to the game can learn more about the sports apparel industry and the nuances of collecting vintage sports apparel by:

  • Joining a forum
  • Following a blog
  • Getting advice from fellow collectors

These avenues make it simple to gather information and connect with like-minded individuals. Anyone new to collecting will appreciate receiving free advice about this new hobby, and it can help them to avoid scams or overpay for items.

3. Find Reputable Dealers

The hunt for the right pieces for a collection can be thrilling. However, not all sports memorabilia is authentic. Finding a reputable and trustworthy dealer will ensure the collectibles are genuine. Many dealers offer a money-back guarantee and often certify the items they sell by an independent, respected authority. Collectibles that have been authenticated by the Professional Sports Authenticators or James Spence Authentication can be counted on.

If collectors find items at a flea market, garage sale, or antique sale, it’s crucial to have the items authenticated to verify legitimacy. Purchasing from a reputable dealer eliminates this step and ensures the items purchased will in fact add value to a collection.

4. Avoid Fraud

Fraud often occurs in the world of sports memorabilia. It’s helpful to know the average prices for items in a collection to avoid losing money. For example, some athletes have contracts with memorabilia retailers, meaning autographed products can only be sold through that specific company. Collectors who are aware of the price of a signed jersey by their favorite player can avoid buying a fake that’s being sold for less than what the athlete typically sells for.

Those who want to grow their collection should research prices and autograph contracts to avoid being scammed. Losing money to fraud isn’t ideal, especially for those trying to expand their vintage sports apparel or memorabilia collection.

5. Be Patient

Collections won’t grow overnight. It’s vital to stay patient when building a sports memorabilia collection. Not all pieces will be readily available or easy to find. Collectors may have to travel to find what they’re looking for. Others might wait years for a specific piece to come on the market. To create a collection with value, a collector might need months, years, or even decades.

6. Grade and Appraise the Collection

Part of having a collection means taking care of it. Keep an inventory of the compilation and ensure it’s stored safely. Collectors should also consider having their collection graded and appraised regularly. An appraiser will be able to determine how much the collection is worth. When a reputable authentication service reviews the items, they become even more valuable.

Donating Authentic Sports Collectibles

Those collectors who have already created an established collection might be interested in selling or donating. Charities are often looking for great gear to sell and help fund their nonprofit. Giving clothes to charity, or even authentic sports collectibles, can help local organizations with their mission. It’s an easy way to give back, especially for those who already have a sports collection.

Clean Out For A Cause is a straightforward way to give great gear to a cause. All donors have to do is request a free box, fill it with sports apparel or equipment, and ship the donation back to Locker Room Direct. All kinds of equipment and clothing are accepted. Funds go directly to Uncommon Sports Group and help with providing Christ-based leadership training and opportunities for youth.

Make a Difference With Collectible Sports Memorabilia

Collectors will surely appreciate how easy it is to make a difference with their collection. Buying authentic sports memorabilia doesn’t have to just be a hobby; it can also be a way to help the community. For those who have an established sports memorabilia collection, consider donating gear to a great cause today.