Investing in Autographed Sports Memorabilia

A common question I am often asked is related to investing in autographed sports memorabilia.  What items should you buy?  What player?  What sport?  Is this even a good idea?  I cover all those topics today.

 

    • I would advise against using sports memorabilia as an investment. The industry takes a few years to understand the market, what tends to go up  or down in value.  Sports memorabilia, does go up in value, but not nearly as consistent as a good growth stock mutual fund would over time. It is much more reliable to invest in the stock market than sports memorabilia for that reason. With that being said, I know many of you like to buy autographs for the potential resale value down the road. So, if I were in your shoes and had a few bucks to spend and wait on a few autographs to go up in value, what would I buy? Please note, this list isn’t going to cover everything.  There are many different types of items you can buy. I am just going to focus on a few that seem to be the most popular. Also, for the purposes of this topic, I will just focus on baseball. Of course, football, basketball, and hockey are also highly collectible items as well.

    • Game used items. This is a no-brainer as an item used by an athlete tends to hold its value and can be extremely rare, depending on the item. Items from a specific game can also increase in value very quickley.  Game used items that are autographed and inscribed the date of use will also add value. 
Derek Jeter Autographed Game Used Baseball
    • Which athletes should you get?  I definitely would focus on stars, Hall of Famers, perennial all-stars, etc..  As much as you may like the short stop for the Kansas City Royals, 90% of collectors probably have no idea who he is.  So focus on the bigger names. 

      Mariano Rivera Autographed Baseball

  • Vintage autographs, especially autographed baseballs. Guys like Babe Ruth, Roger Maris. Very rare guys like Thurman Munson, Roberto Clemente, etc… These can be very expensive for obvious reasons, but these are the guys every collector wants to get their hands on. There will always be a high demand for them.  Of course, make sure you get an item that is certed by PSA, JSA, or Beckett.

    Beckett Authentication
  • Baseball cards. I know this is an odd topic as most baseball cards (post 1980) are not worth crap.  Some of the 1970 ones and prior do have a higher value. Yes, some of the current ones like those Ohtani cards were going for a pretty penny.  But for consistently going up in value, some of the earlier baseball cards pre 1980s can be decent investments.  
    Derek Jeter - BJ Upton Signed Baseball Card

  • Buy rookies. This can be hit or miss of course. But, if you can find a rookie like Mike Trout or Aaron Judge, for example that commands a high price now (but wasn’t before), those can shoot up quickly in value. Also, you will have the added value of it being a rookie year signed piece, which of course will never be a flooded market as they are only signed during one year.

  • What would I stay away from? Autographed photos seem to not hold as much valuable as some of the premium items (jerseys, bats, etc). I wouldn’t get run of the mill items either.  For example, a Mike Trout signed baseball might be cool, but those are everywhere. A Mike Trout game-used item, now you have something cool and hard to find. I definitely wouldn’t invest in any custom or non-licensed jerseys either.