Sports memorabilia

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George Brett's pine-tar bat, along with Mark McGwire's body armor

The term sports memorabilia usually refers to a souvenir, memento, keepsake or token of remembrance that is directly connected to a famous athlete, sporting event or personality. These items are generally collected by fans that find sentimental and/ or monetary value of the item(s).

Monetary value[edit]

Items that have been in direct contact with a famous athlete can have significant monetary value. Game used items such as the ball in which Mark McGwire hit his 70th home run of the 1998 season sold for $3 million.[1] The most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold at auction was a New York Yankees baseball jersey that was worn by Babe Ruth during the 1920 season.[2]

Autographed pieces of memorabilia are usually more valuable that 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 certificate of authenticity. Several companies have developed systems to prove authenticity of game-used or autographed memorabilia, and collectors will generally seek out dealers that offer a lifetime, money-back, authenticity guarantee.

History[edit]

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 onto win.

Popular items[edit]

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 collectibles. 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.

Event programmes from rugby union and football (soccer) matches are also highly collectible.

References[edit]