What is the Best Way to Find the Value or Price on Autographed Sports Memorabilia?By
For trading cards most collectors commonly refer to their trusty Beckett guides to find the prices on their favorite sports cards. For memorabilia however, finding out what the item you have is worth can be a little more difficult. Beckett has done away with their “Beckett Elite” guide which covered a lot of auction house memorabilia. Also gone are features in “Beckett Sports Card Monthly” publication on memorabilia. And while they are still contemplating getting back to providing analysis on this major aspect of the hobby, there is nothing set in stone as of yet. This leaves collectors in a quandary in terms of what the best ways are to find the value and price on their autographed sports memorabilia items.
When fans are looking for the value on something I hate when someone says in response, “It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.” Well obviously that’s true, but certainly there have to be tools that let me know what something like this is currently selling for and how many “someones” may be interested in it. We probed customers, talked to partners and discussed tactics with internal staff to come up with the best ways to find values on sports memorabilia and here are some of the best resources we found to check values on memorabilia.
Completed Auctions on eBay
- You can get real time, up to date pricing on what similar memorabilia items are selling for.
- Quick and painless way to get a fell for value.
- It usually doesn’t really give you a feel for the difference in price between authentication brands. For example a UDA Tiger Woods autograph 8×10 would have a premium value to a Tiger Woods 8×10 that was signed at a golf tournament and then authenticated.
- It doesn’t really give you a feel for an apples to apples comparison and as most items are different, especially with regard to condition, that can cause discrepancies on your self-appraisal of the piece.
- Platform tends to have a flea market or garage sale type feel on the memorabilia side with lots of odd items that quality pieces are lost with and frequently that leads to a lower sale price. People are generally willing to sell items here for a loss over a traditional store environment which cheapens the likely true value of a piece.
- Many people are hesitant about making a major purchase for memorabilia on eBay as they want to work directly with the manufacturer or re-seller so with less bids, comes lesser prices and a deflated evaluation.
Visit your Local Card Shop
- This is the route I would take because you are really dealing with the experts who live in this world day in and day out. Make sure to visit an Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer so you know you are working with a partner who is knows quality memorabilia items.
- By working with a local shop, you have the benefit of taking into account which region you are in. For example, a Brett Favre UDA autograph piece is going to sell better in Wisconsin than it would Florida. These shops get that and realize how much of a different that is to the value.
- They may be able to assist you in a sale or trade as they know a lot of customers, including ones who might be interested in the piece. You may also be able to work out a consignment deal with them where they show the piece off in their store and if it sells at a price you agree to, you can in turn share a small cut of the sale with them.
- You do have to lug the piece to a hobby shop so make sure you are careful during the transportation of the item. There would be nothing worse than taking it to get a feel for the price and damaging it along the way. Additionally, make sure to call ahead to see if there is someone at the shop at that time who could help with an appraisal like this.
Go to a Show
- Larger shows like the National Sports Collectors Convention have a ton of auction houses in attendance running a ton of auctions and they also have autograph pavilions where you can get a feel for what athletes are charging for their signature. Maybe take some photos of your items and just ask around as every major expert is there!
- This may actually be the best way to do it, but the big problem is these larger shows are usually just 1-2 times per year and there is significant costs tied to traveling to them and getting tickets.
Comparative Shop through Sites Upper Deck’s Online Store
- It gives you a good feel to see what the current retail price is on memorabilia items.
- There is usually a strong variety of items to give you a feel for the value.
- You are not going to find older items on these sites usually.
- The pricing you see doesn’t take into account special promotions the company’s may run which may decrease the price a bit more.
- These usually are a very good resource as there are usually a lot of “lots” sold that you can use to get a feel for current market values.
- There are so many auctions and auction sites, it can be very overwhelming trying to find a similar item in all these sales.
- They will usually talk up the sales of a few pieces that brought big bucks, but finding details on every sale can require a little more digging based on the company.
- Their main focus is creating excitement for new auctions so there are not always a focus with these companies on creating a historical database of what items sold for.
PSA’s Sports Market Report – This is one of the better platforms I have actually used myself. We talked to Steve Sloan who is the director of marketing at Collector’s Universe about their platform and he had this to say:
“PSA’s Sports Market Report, or SMR, is built upon data derived from direct submissions, private sales and actual auction results, making it a great compass for both buyers and sellers in determining market values for PSA-certified items. Plus, as an added bonus, we’ve provided links to actual, live eBay auctions into our listings so collectors can have direct access to ‘real time’ pricing.”
- It’s a free platform and is very user friendly.
- You can see real time auctions easily.
- It gives you a good immediate feel for price on items signed by particular athletes.
- Did we mention it is free?
- It doesn’t show everything unfortunately. So more unique pieces may leave you still scratching your head.
And that really is the biggest problem collectors face when they have really unique pieces they are trying to get pricing on. Collectibles that are extremely limited or 1-of-1 type items can be very difficult to price because you just don’t know how many people may be in the market for something like what you have. This is especially true when it comes to collectibles from Upper Deck Authenticated because producing innovative and different items is what we do best. Therefore, comparing items like these to a 16×20 photo or jersey is not an apples to apples comparison and premium value should be given to collectibles that are limited and unique like these.
I know for sure there are more resources than this, but would love to here from you on what you use to get a feel for values and pricing on memorabilia. Let us know what you use in the comment section below.