Most Valuable Selling Sports Memorabilia

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Sports memorabilia collecting has become something of a hot topic, with a number of rare item going for phenomenal sums. In times of economic uncertainty and high inflation debasing currencies, savvy investors look to alternative assets to invest in.

Some buy gold and rare whiskies, but a growing number are investing in rare sports memorabilia. Some of the selling prices are staggering. Take a look at the top 10 highest priced sports memorabilia items sold either at auction or privately.

Headed by the famous Mickey Mantle baseball card from 1952, many of these are US based, but the market is truly international, with Maradona’s infamous ‘Hand of God shirt’ making the top list at number 3. The jersey, from the 1986 World Cup match which saw England getting knocked out of the competition, sold for a staggering $9.28m (€8.67m).

There are no signs of the trend stopping, so what should you look out for? Aside from checking through your parents’ or grandparents’ loft for that hidden gem, here are some tips on collecting sports memorabilia from Peter Johnson, CEO at online store Firma Stella. 

“Super rare items keep popping up on programmes such as Antiques Road Show, Flog It and Bargain Hunt. A historic football trophy or medal or a rare football shirt. I remember a few years ago, someone brought in what the valuer considered to be the first ever football programme from 1867.

It was for the Youdan Cup, held in Sheffield and was valued at £8,000! I have been collecting signed sports memorabilia all my life, but it’s incredibly rare to find something this valuable hiding away in a relative’s loft, but by all means get up there and take a look!” 

Most Valuable Selling Sports Memorabilia

LOS ANGELES – July 5, 1992: Baseball star Mickey Mantle appears at the Sports Autograph Trade Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center

If you are not lucky enough to stumble across something like this then the next best thing is one of the many modern collectibles available to buy, mostly online. “Be careful with online auction sites,” said Peter. “While they appear to be regulated, they really aren’t, and there is a big market in fakes.

If you buy from an online retailer like us, then the items come with a lifetime guarantee and a numbered certificate of origin. We also supply provenance where we have it, either in the form of a photo of the actual signing or a video if we’re able to get it.

Above all, buy what you love, something that creates a special connection between you and your team, your favourite player or a particular moment in history. Take that Maradona shirt; half the world saw that goal and every Englishman in the land disputed it! There’s a reason the shirt went for so much as it represented such an iconic moment in sporting history.”

Whatever you decide to buy, whether it’s a rare Stephen Gerrard shirt, a Lewis Hamilton helmet or a Greg Norman club, look after it, as the best memorabilia will rise in value. As you can see from the above chart, the best items go for the most, and if you can’t afford the best then start small and build up. Signed photos can be bought for a few pounds and if the signed shirt has to wait a few years, then so be it!  

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