Can You Make Money From Sports Memorabilia?

Can You Make Money From Sports Memorabilia?


Can You Make Money From Sports Memorabilia?


If you’re a big sports fan, you may be aware already that collecting sports memorabilia, such as trading cards, signed jerseys, and other game-used items, can be a fun and exciting hobby. But did you know that there are approximately 200 million collectors worldwide who are spending accumulated billions of US dollars for rare sports memorabilia? 

Yes, collecting rare sports memorabilia is a multi-billion-dollar industry that won’t be slowing down any time soon. If you find that hard to believe, here are a few examples:  

  • Baseball memorabilia is one of the most sought-after collectibles that many collectors are trying to get their hands on. One specific baseball relic is Babe Ruth’s 1919 New York Yankees signed contract.

    Babe Ruth is one of the most iconic baseball players in American sporting history. On his first season with the Yankees in 1920, Ruth got 54 home runs, making him one of the greatest players of all time. Oh, by the way, the contract sold for USD $996,000 at a Sotheby’s auction back in 2005.  

  • Another highly regarded sports memorabilia is Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves. Ali used these gloves during his first match with Floyd Patterson in 1965, where he beat Patterson by a technical knockout on the 12th round. The gloves sold for a whopping USD $1.1 million in 2021.  
  • Going outside of iconic athletes, recent news regarding a rookie basketball card floated around the internet. Why? Well, let’s just say that this NBA card sold for USD $4.6 million in March 2021. The trading card was a 2018-19 National Treasures Luka Doncic Auto Logoman 1/1, which is a basketball card with Doncic’s signature with a jersey patch embedded in it. And there’s only one of it in existence.  

Despite being new to the NBA, Luka Doncic has shown great promise as a basketball player. For this reason, many are expecting Doncic NBA cards to rise in value as the player lives up to people’s expectations.

So, the short answer–yes, there’s money to be made in acquiring and selling rare sports collectibles. However, there are caveats you must take into account before you start investing in sports memorabilia.  

What Collectible Should You Sell 

At this point, you may be asking yourself, how do these items rack up in prices over the years? The simple answer is supply and demand.  

Since many people are trying to get their hands on collectibles that relate to their favorite sports teams, athletes, or games, there’s going to be a massive demand for these items that are very limited in supply.

If you’re thinking of investing in sports memorabilia, it’s better if you choose one specific type to put your money into. This is how other dealers conduct their business. They pick a lane and stay on it to become the ‘go-to’ person or expert for that specific type of collectible. 

Choosing a genre or niche item also helps you eliminate competition. Since there’s a lot of money involved in this business, expect that there’s going to be plenty of competition. 

In terms of what you should invest in, there’s plenty to choose from. Trading cards is one of the most popular and profitable niches in sports collectibles. Signed, game-worn jerseys, like those from Thiago de Mattos, may also be one of your options.  

Find A Reputable Dealer 

One of the biggest challenges you may face when starting a sports memorabilia business is finding reputable suppliers. As mentioned earlier, high demand and low supply are what make this industry extremely lucrative. That being said, there’s also a lot of bootleg copies circulating in the collecting community. Hence, you need to be cautious when sourcing your inventory. 

When finding the right dealers, make sure they can provide necessary documents about their business, especially their items. Don’t hesitate to look for certificates of authenticity when going into a deal.

Equally important is educating yourself in spotting fake sports memorabilia. You can find how-to guides online to spot fakes, as well as forums dedicated explicitly to sports collectibles.

Know The Value Of Items 

Each collection differs in value, depending on the rarity, age, condition, and perceived value. That’s why it’s important to research before buying any collectible. 

If you’re in it for the investment value of sports memorabilia, make sure you know the correct price before you close the deal. Ensure there’s enough room for profit and the potential of the item to rise in value over time.  

Safekeeping Your Inventory 

Last, but certainly not the least, make sure to store collectibles in an environment where you can maintain their condition and safety. Some of these items may have come from the 1900s, therefore, their materials’ integrity may not be as durable as before. Take note that any damages that occur to these vulnerable materials will lower the value of the sports memorabilia. 

If you’re just starting, you don’t need to rent out a commercial storage space. In your home, dedicate a clean area that’s free of dust, extreme heat, sunlight, and moisture.  


As you can see, collecting sports memorabilia is an exciting hobby to do and a highly profitable business. Follow these tips if you ever plan on investing in sports memorabilia.

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