How to Value: Sports Memorabilia

Learn about valuing Sports Memorabilia, with ValueMyStuff and our collectables experts. In this article, our experts will guide you on what to look out for.

Sports Memorabilia

By and large, sports memorabilia have very little intrinsic value as objects but get their worth from their association with people, places or particular events. Trophies are sometimes an exception to this rule, as are works of art, but in general unless made by a particularly well-renowned artist or silversmith, these items will be considered primarily in their sporting context. Do not be surprised to see a rare cigarette card sell for more than an unremarkable silver trophy in this market!

Valuing Programmes and Almanacks

The programmes of all major sports leagues and tournaments will have some passionate collectors, it is the rarity of the programme and prestige or historical significance of the event that give a programme its value. Naturally, the number of programmes and other mass-produced print media out there for any event is unknown and appear periodically as they are discovered in people’s attics. Unfortunately, in addition to the formulaic nature of programmes, this has meant copies are often made and sold as genuine, especially for momentous games such as the first Wembley FA Cup final in 1923. Cricket and Tennis are known for their annually-produced almanacks detailing the year’s events; Wisden’s Cricketers’ Almanack and the Ayres’ Lawn Tennis Almanack are both valuable in extensive or complete collections. As with all printed antiques, condition, in particular of the binding, has a great influence over its value.

Valuing Antique Sports Equipment

The best-selling pieces of sports equipment are always those with greatest significance to the sport, either through their design or their association with a great player or event. Unsurprisingly, for a sport such as baseball or cricket were the design of bats and balls has changed little over the years, it is signed items, r those with a personal association that command high prices; the value of a mid-19th century baseball from the earliest days of the sport would pale in comparison to a ball used in the 1932/3 ‘bodyline’ ashes. Early examples of equipment from sports such as golf or tennis, however, where the design of equipment has changed greatly over the last 150 years, attract more interest. For example, the very earliest lawn tennis racquets from the 1870s had an asymmetrical head inherited from the sport of real tennis. Design is usually the giveaway as to the age of this sort of equipment, but many golf clubs are stamped with a maker’s name on the head.

Valuing Sports Novelties and Collectables

Novelties and collectables are often including in collections of other sports antiques, and in many cases such as collectible cards form the basis of collections as well. Novelties and collectables come in all shapes and sizes from figures to jewellery to post cards and cigarette cards. Most examples of novelties and collectables are not high-value pieces but some, in particular featuring colourful designs that exemplify the period they originate in, have an additional decorative appeal which can raise their value. Quality signed photographs can sometimes also draw on this appeal. Some items such as golfing advertising figures have a known collecting niche and as such command a premium.

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