A Guide to Owning a Piece of MLB History
- Updated: October 18, 2013
The baseball memorabilia industry is a billion dollar global market that offers fans a way to collect their memories through the purchase of autographed baseballs, jerseys, bats, photos, and more. Fans can not only own a piece of history that makes for an emotionally valuable family heirloom, it also allows fans to connect with childhood heroes. From a monetary perspective, the memorabilia industry offers collectors a potential for big returns on their investment, which, unfortunately, has led to a number of issues regarding forgeries.
Fraudulent sellers are to blame for casual memorabilia collectors and purchasers inability to trust when purchasing an autographed item. Although forgeries continue to exist, the best way to avoid buying unauthentic items is through education. When purchasing baseball memorabilia, there are several important factors to consider in order to ensure the genuineness of the signature and its likelihood to increase in value. The most significant element to consider is third party authenticator. Third party authentication services like PSA/DNA and JSA are two of the most widely recognized and trusted services in the industry due to their reputation and knowledge regarding sports autographs. Additionally, manufacturer authenticators, like Mounted Memories, Steiner, and Upper Deck all guarantee the presence of a witness present at every signing. Once a buyer can trust the authenticity of the signature, their reason for acquiring the piece weighs heavily on the rest of the decision. As a collector looking to add value to their collection, big names in sports with impressive career achievements are most likely to increase in value. Memorabilia signed by current players, like Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols, are likely to increase in value due to their accolades, but the risk of future scandals or controversies that can cause their autograph to deplete in value. On the other hand, a piece autographed by a baseball legend, like Mickey Mantle, is worth significantly more due to the inability to produce more products with the former athlete’s signature. Whereas, an item of sentimental value may not feature the signature of a league’s top athlete, but instead a childhood icon or family favorite. Other factors to consider are features of the collectible, which include signature location, special inscription, and authentic or replica products, that don’t necessarily hinder its value but rather offer options to align with different buyers’ preferences.
Major League Baseball memorabilia is among the top two leagues in sales and the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold was even an MLB collectible; a Babe Ruth game-worn jersey that was purchased for over $4.4 million. Click here to shop for authentic baseball memorabilia and other sports collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.com.