Sports Memorabilia

From nostalgia to big business

Think back to the good old days when you were a little kid, and someone bought you a pack of baseball cards. You know, the one with the bubble gum. Most kids wanted it for the gum, but others wanted to see if they won the lottery and got a card of their favorite player.

I was that kid, I wanted nothing more than a Nolan Ryan, Shaq or Grant Hill card (and of course the bubble gum). Things have dramatically changed since those times. I am a grown man and sports collecting has evolved more than the dinosaurs ever did.

Sports collecting is now a booming business. If you are looking for memorabilia such as cards, autographs, jerseys or any other sports article, there are many places you can go. Most shopping malls, sports stores and many online shopping and auction sites have countless exciting pieces for every collector.

Sports fans most times seem crazy, wild and sometimes idiotic. They paint themselves up with their team's name, buy very expensive throwback jerseys, and go all out to help their team win. This is part of the reason that sports collecting is so popular - if you're an avid fan, you know what I am talking about. This is your way to connect to your favorite team. Everywhere you go you can support their colors, and when people come over they can gaze at your super sports room with all of your sports memorabilia.

As far as the most important collectibles go, rookie cards, jerseys and autographs are the most collected items. Rookie cards tend to be worth the most and are fun to collect, jerseys can be worn, hung or signed by your favorite athlete, and autographs are a surefire way to connect with your favorite star.

Collecting is no longer a hobby for children or young sports fans. The prices for sports memorabilia have sky-rocketed in the past 10 years - a pack of ball cards that once cost a quarter is now over a dollar.

Taking the kids out of this industry has allowed the grownups to play. Many have obtained a wholesale license just to purchase sports cards. They use this license to get the sports cards and various other memorabilia cheaper than the average person. Many sports shops have a wholesale license as well, which makes it easier for them to purchase and sell goods while making a profit. If you can catch a deal it will be in your favor, but you also need to worry about overpriced or fake memorabilia.

Sports continue to grow in popularity every year. With every new and recognizable face in the game, there are millions of dollars of pro sports memorabilia made and sold. Pro-sports collectibles pop up everywhere daily.

My father and I were once into collecting ball cards on a large level. It was around the time that Shaq was a rookie in the NBA. Every time we went to our local sports shop, I had to open a pack of cards trying to get another Shaq rookie. As my dad took this hobby and made it his, we wound up with a closet full of cards. During this time we purchased many different cards, and I venture to say I have over 20 Shaq rookies.

The most valuable cards we have are two mint condition Jordan rookie cards, which alone could purchase a car. This hobby brought us together, and gave us something that we will always share, and once I have children all of the cards that we have will go to them. When I think about sports memorabilia I think of much more than cards - I think about the great memories I have of some of the best times of my life.

By Curtis Clontz