Sports Memorabilia Buying Guide

Memorabilia. Defined as “objects kept or collected because of their historical interest, especially those associated with memorable people or events.” Whether your existing or envisioned memorabilia collection will hold high-value acquisitions, deeply personal mementos that bring you joy or is a mix of both, shopPOPdisplays is launching a series for collectors and keepers on the blog.  No matter your motivation, we’re offering things to consider when collecting, along with recommendations for how you might want to display and preserve your treasures, once you amass them.

Coins courtesy of Ebay

Memorabilia Buyer’s Guide and Display Tips

To start, we’ve gathered five pieces of guidance alongside sports display advice and items from our collection of display cases for memorabilia to help accessorize your mantle, office, man cave, or investment portfolio.

Self-described lifelong fan and sports “super lawyer” Irwin Kishner’ advice regarding sports collectibles is as follows, “People should only (invest in memorabilia) if they enjoy it…”

Signed Minnesota Twins Baseball
Baseball signed by the Minnesota Twins, 2010 Wikimedia Commons contributors


Anything signed

The rule of thumb for signatures is to seek out legitimate, reputable third-party verification. Otherwise, if you did not watch the principal put his or her John Hancock on it, you might not have an original. Professionals and experts agree, do not overspend unless the autograph can be guaranteed. Before buying, do your homework. There are all sorts of guides and recommendations about what to look for, how to spot fakes, and anticipated reasonable offers based on scarcity and condition. If you’re buying something valuable…

…make certain you’re getting your money’s worth.

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From eBay, this guidance, In the world of autograph collecting, only the genuine signature of a celebrity is of any value. Determining whether the signature is authentic, however, can be tricky. A signature is a personal identifier. Just as moods and emotions affect how a person projects himself or herself to the world, a signature is affected by those same moods and emotions. Thus, many people’s signatures vary over the years (or even over the course of a day). A rushed or tired signature looks different than one signed by the same person when energized or calm.

About the only way to be certain that an autograph is authentic is to see it being signed.

There are companies claiming expertise in certifying the validity of signatures, but recent guidance suggests that their findings should be considered opinions rather than certifications.

Prevailing Wisdom for would-be Memorabilia Collectors:

1. In general, players sign baseballs in neat, horizontal rows. While signatures may be randomly scattered, those are more likely to be the hallmarks of stamped versions.

2. Never fall in love with the item, whether or not it is an investment,  either before you buy or later. Setting your heart on owning something strips you of all objectivity regarding its value. Don’t fall in love with it. If you don’t care because you must have it, it doesn’t matter. If it does matter, buyer beware.

3. One thing is certain; the GOATs (Greatest Of All Time) will always appreciate. Premiere athletes and entertainers along with historical figures, always increase in value over time. Just confirm that what you’re buying is real, or conversely, love it enough so that it doesn’t matter. As an example, despite its quality, this damaged signed check by Abraham Lincoln while serving as the 16th President of the United States would still be considered priceless.

Lincoln signature memorabilia
LINCOLN,_Abraham_(signed_check) by National Museum of American History (in the public domain)

4. Buy, sell, and trade solely with reputable entities. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

5. Your most valuable items may be your own or those of people you love. They deserve premium treatment and featured placement in any collection. Let us help you preserve and display your memorabilia, whether it’s museum-quality, or first in your heart.

And finally, this.

Dad’s cap…” the hat brings back great times we shared together and how lucky I was to have him.” Image courtesy of a customer, used with permission.

Corona Cap