8 Tips for Building a Sports Memorabilia Collection

Thinking about starting a sports memorabilia collection? You’ve come to the right place. Anyone with a passion and love for sports can become a sports memorabilia collector, and Hollywood Collectibles is the perfect place to start if you want to begin assembling a collection of sports gear and antiques. It’s always a good idea to begin by laying out a plan of action before you jump right in and start spending money. Developing a plan and sticking to it is the key to building a great collection and having the most enjoyable collecting experience.

Define the Basic Sports Collecting Terminology

Being in constant confusion over collecting terms and definitions is a hard way to go about your collecting experience, especially with the competitive nature of the hobby. This is why it’s important to begin by learning the basic terms and definitions before you start collecting. The following terms and definitions and even more can be found at sportsmemorabilia.com. For an extended list of secondhand shopping terminology, abbreviations, and definitions visit the Treasure Hunter’s Glossary of Flea Market Lingo and Yard Sale Terms.

Sports memorabilia – an item that is directly associated with an athlete, team, sporting event or sporting venue. For example: sportswear worn by the athlete, autographed photos, event programs or tickets, or actual stadium seats. Sports memorabilia can also refer to any items that were signed by an athlete, even if the item is not directly sports related.

Sports collectible – any sports memorabilia that is sought after or desired by collectors.

Sports memorabilia collection – a gathering of collectible sports memorabilia or sport related items.

Sports auction – a non traditional method of buying sports memorabilia and collectibles that involves bidding for items and competing against other potential buyers instead of purchasing online or through a catalog.

Sports collection – a group of sports items put together to build a personal collection. For example: a group of baseball cards, autographs, photographs, or sports magazines.

Certificate of Authenticity (COA) – a document that validates or verifies the authenticity and genuineness of the item you are purchasing.

Autograph – someone’s authentic and true signature.

Lithograph – a special printing process that produces a poster-like look.

Display case – a place in which to store and showcase your collectibles that keep your memorabilia free from dust and fading.

Vintage memorabilia – those memorabilia items and collectibles that are considered to be rather aged or of a specific past time period (See Antique vs. Vintage vs. Retro).

Photomints – a collection of commemorative items put together with complimentary matting, banners, and/or coins, framed for hanging and often sold as limited editions.

Glossary of Sports Collectible Terms | Heritage Auctions

Choose a Theme and Don’t Stray From It

Now that you know the basic terms associated with collecting, it’s time to choose a theme. Your collection should reflect who you are as a sports fan and where your passions lie within that genre. Below is a list of some options to get you inspired to find your own sports niche and create your collection theme.

Favorite sport – baseball, football, hockey, basketball, golf, nascar

Favorite team – LA Dodgers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Rangers

Favorite athlete – Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Stan Musial

Type of item – basketballs, baseballs, jerseys, cards, gloves, posters

Specific club members – hall of famers, team managers, announcers

After selecting a theme you may need to do some more narrowing down. If you’re interested in collecting cards, for example, there are many different types of card collections to choose from.

Selecting a theme is an important first step because it will help you stay focused on your goals as a collector and it will narrow down your options to make your shopping experience easier. Many online vintage sports stores like Hollywood Collectibles, for example, make your shopping experience simple as you are easily able to narrow down your search by theme. With a numerous variety of theme options, Hollywood Collectibles gives you a large selection of items all across the board from both major league and college sports to celebrities.

How to Start Your Sports Memorabilia Collection | Biltmore Loan and Jewelry

Decide on a Price Range and Create a Budget

After you have chosen and narrowed down a theme, the next step is to create an overall budget for your collection and to choose a reasonable price range to stay within when shopping for each new piece. Setting a price range for yourself will help you determine what type of memorabilia you are going to collect if you haven’t fully narrowed down your theme yet. A price range will also prevent you from making any impulse buys as well as help you stay on top of your finances while you build your collection.

Whether you are going to set a price range for each item or not, a budget is a must for any type of collector. Budgeting will allow you to purchase the items you want without breaking the bank. Just like every other aspect of life, it’s necessary to incorporate your hobbies in your budget so you don’t go overboard on your spending. Setting a reasonable price range with a responsible budget with help you choose the best items for your personal collection by narrowing it down to the items within your specific niche. It is too often that we forget to budget for things we enjoy. Make room for your new sports memorabilia collection in your budget before you begin so you can collect confidently and responsibly without hindering any other aspects of your life.

Is Your Hobby a Budget Killer | Forbes

Do Your Research and Ask Questions Often

Wade Trade Possible

You can never know enough in this hobby. That is why it is important to consistently do your research and ask questions whenever you get the chance. Always have questions prepared or ask on impulse when something comes to mind, whether it’s about a seller, an auction house, or the items themselves. Everything is important and in this hobby especially, knowledge is the key to success.

In today’s digital age research is a simple and it is a must. The internet offers more information to collectors today than ever before, so take advantage of that! When it comes to shopping, always always learn about the item before you buy it. Talk to experienced collectors, sellers and dealers and read articles and guides to help you find the facts you will need before you decide to make a purchase. Learn about the history of different items and find a third party service that will help you discover the authenticity or grade of an item. Certain collectibles will require more research than others but no matter what your theme is or what your interests are, you will be happy you took the time to ask questions, read articles, and increase your knowledge.

Vintage Sports Memorabilia Q and A | Sports Collectors Daily

Buy From Sellers Who Have a Good Reputation

Amazing Deal on Dwyane Wade “FLASH” Basketballs

After narrowing down your general theme, deciding upon your price range, and doing the necessary research you will be ready to begin shifting your focus toward collecting. The first thing you need to do is gather names of reputable sellers who sell within your price range or along with your budget. Rich Altman, for example, the founder and owner of Hollywood Collectibles is a seller with a highly qualified online store and a brick-and-motor store located in Dania Beach, Florida. Rich has a high reputation for selling authentic COA certified memorabilia and he is highly educated on the history and development of collecting.

Whether you are attending an auction, shopping online or browsing flea markets make sure you do your research on potential sellers before purchasing from them. You want to be sure that you are buying from someone who will not only sell you good authentic merchandise, but also someone who will share their knowledge with you and help you learn more about your collection. This is why Rich Altman, along with many other talented hobbyists, would be a great influencer for your collection. A good seller will not hesitate to help you sell or trade the item once you are ready to let it go. You need to find sellers and dealers who are willing to build relationships with you. And there are people out there who will do just that, so don’t settle for anything less.

Authorized Dealers | PSA Cards

Think About How Much Space You Have for Storage and Display

For a limited time Hollywood Collectibles presents Cal Ripken, Jr. signed baseballs for just $109.00

Don’t make the common mistake of buying more than your home has space for. This may seem like an easy to avoid issue that you wouldn’t need to think about, but even with a solid budget it is very common to overbuy especially when you are collecting items you love. Knowing how to properly utilize space is really important for collectors who wish to display their items in their home. If you are collecting larger items that you wish to display consider making or purchasing shadow boxes for sports memorabilia. If you think you might need more space than just the walls, racks and shelving are a good option, like hanging bats on bat racks instead of placing them in a wall frame or shadow box. Make sure to choose the most efficient display options for your collection and get your display insured to protect your collection from any accidents or damages that may occur.

If you are the type of person that would rather keep your items stored away safely instead of displayed, its best to store your collectibles at a bank or install a large safe in your home. This is a smart route to take considering the high and increasing value of most sports memorabilia and vintage collectibles.

Sports Memorabilia Display Cases | Hollywood Collectibles

Buy the Highest Quality Items You Can Afford

There is nothing wrong with searching for a good deal, and being a bargain hunter is okay every once in a while. But the truth is and always will be, “you get what you pay for.” With this being said you should always buy the highest quality items you can afford. If you don’t follow this rule you are likely to find poor quality and unauthentic items that will be disguised as genuine ones. While you should always buy sensibly and responsibly and stay within your budget, consistently buying the best quality you can afford is the way to collect successfully.

This rule transfers back to the importance of creating a budget. Make sure your budget is fairly flexible just in case you run into a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” but understand when it’s okay to be flexible and when it’s not. It’s extremely important that your collecting budget is based off of income that is truly disposable so that your hobby doesn’t cause any unnecessary financial pressure on you or your family.

You should also consistently evaluate how changes in the quality of collectible items on the market may affect your goals as a collector. Sometimes certain items will satisfy you even if you don’t have the highest quality version of those items, but other items may not. In which case you would need to purchase the highest quality you can afford for your collection. You may be fearful that the value of some items may not be important down the road, which could be true. Because even if the item loses its monetary value, it could offer sentimental value to someone else later, this would make for a simple and valuable trade for both parties.

Top 10 Treasure Hunting Tips for Cool Sports Memorabilia | Forbes

Collect from the Heart

Hank Aaron

Many hobbyists have a true passion for what they do. For the extremely passionate collectors it can be difficult to shut that passion down, especially when they are intensely looking for a specific desired item to fill a missing piece of their collection. Don’t go overboard buying out of emotion. Emotional buying tends to cause over buying and breaking your budget. This can be avoided if you stick to your original plan which includes sticking to your budget and staying within your price range.  With that being said and understood, you should still let your heart be your guide in your collecting. You are the one that knows what you love and what decisions will make you happiest while also staying within reason and keeping you sane. So go out and collect those items that really express your passion and love for sports and have fun while you do it!

A Comprehensive Guide to Collecting Sports Memorabilia | Sports Memorabilia

10 Tips for Building a Collection | PSA Card

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