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Sports Collectibles: How to Choose With Your Heart But Buy With Your Brain

Some people are lucky enough to love what they do for a living, being able to make money and have fun.  Others adopt hobbies that also provide them with pleasure and a supplemental income.  Such is the case of those who collect sports memorabilia.  While it’s fun to find and secure items from favorite players and teams, a number of collectibles hold a lot of extrinsic value.  Here’s how to buy with your heart as well as your brain.

Unchartered Waters

Some outlets are predictable.  Of course, you’ll find collectible items on eBay, advertised in the local newspaper, and offered by people via Craigslist, but if you’re serious about finding rare items, you need to discover unchartered waters, such as flea markets, garage sales, etc.  The obvious sites and destinations are likely to charge more because the true value of memorabilia is realized.  Those that are ‘getting rid’ of items at a flea market or garage sale may not be savvy about prices or the business of memorabilia and just want to make some quick cash.


Handy Smartphone

Who doesn’t carry a smartphone around with them these days?  However, it would be a blunder to leave it behind when shopping for memorabilia.  A quick search on your smartphone can help you gauge whether you’re getting a deal or ripped off by those selling cards, pins, jerseys, etc.  Not sure about the price, do a search on eBay and see what other sellers are charging.

Quick Cash

Large-scale suppliers accept credit cards, but not every small-scale antique shop takes them.  Also, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to secure an item with your Visa card at a yardsale.  Therefore, always bring cash along with you.  It’s especially useful as a bargaining tool.  It’s a lot easier to negotiate a price when you can flash some cash in front of the seller’s eyes.

Bartered Deal


Of course, if you’re a collector or have cards of your own you can try and barter for memorabilia rather than pay cash.  How much is your Kris Bryant rookie card worth?  Find out and use it as leverage when dealing with other collectors.  You may find that some dealers rather swap memorabilia, especially if something of yours is hard to find, versus accepting cash.

Gut Intuition

Of course, somebody has to win the lottery, but as millions of lotto ticket buyers can attest, there are a lot more losers.  Therefore, use your intuition when stumbling upon a great deal.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.  A lot of swindlers await those who are ready to get fooled by a great deal.

Skipped Autographs

While a number of signed items may come along with a certificate of authenticity, plenty of collectors are disappointed to find out a signed baseball, puck, helmet, etc is worthless.  Master forgers exist, and some suppliers don’t provide money-back guarantees or a way to find them after the sale.  If it’s not certified by DNA or JSA, don’t buy it.

Robert Duncan is a sports fanatic. Baseball, soccer, cycling, and motor sports, he loves them all. He has been a collector since a young boy and enjoys spending his weekends hunting for collectibles when he’s not watching the game.

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