19 October 2022
Humans have probably been idolizing other humans for as long as mankind has existed. We idolize achievers because we admire their achievements. Secretly, most of us identify with our idols and we want to be like them. These idols or heroes come from all walks of life. They may be, among others, politicians, prominent business people, performing artists or athletes.
This hero worship manifests in many different ways. In sports, trading cards and various forms of memorabilia or collectables have become the means of expressing our admiration. Sports memorabilia encompasses trading cards, items of clothing or equipment or a variety of pennants, plaques and the like.
Is sports memorabilia a good investment? Absolutely, according to some. Others are happy to simply own a piece of their hero. It is fair to say that certain specific trading cards or collectables have significantly increased in value over the years. We'll look into this in more detail later on.
The history of sports memorabilia?
The first known sports memorabilia had a somewhat unlikely debut. Cigarette manufacturers began to insert cards into their packaging as reinforcement to protect the cigarettes. These cards featured pictures of baseball players. The first such card harks back to 1865 and featured the Brooklyn Atlantics.
These cards gradually became popular among collectors. Although you could hardly refer to the cards as a craze, their popularity grew steadily. In 1927, Jacob Warren Bowman founded Gum Inc., a manufacturer of chewing gum that was to become very popular. Alongside the bubble gum, the company also began producing baseball cards on a commercial scale.
These were the first baseball cards that were not associated with tobacco. Bowman extended trading cards to include American football and basketball as well as non-sports subjects, notably the 1938 series named Horrors of War. As such, these cards were considered by many to be the first true sports collectables.
Nowadays, sports memorabilia include a vast range of items with such as clothing, equipment, trophies, autographs, images and more. Memorabilia may represent an individual athlete or a team. An item may also be associated with a specific event, such as the ball that was hit for the winning run in a major baseball match.
Is sports memorabilia a good investment? It certainly can be. If you're lucky enough, or astute enough to acquire the correct item, you can see substantial growth. Babe Ruth's 1920-season New York Yankees jersey was sold for over $4 million in 2012.
Sports collectors in 2022?
Sports collectables have really evolved. The range of collectable items is limited only by the imagination of their creators. The popularity of collectables has rocketed and the passion of collectors has certainly not allowed itself to be left behind.
If you're sceptical about how sports collecting has taken hold, consider this. In 1980, a group of collectors met up in Los Angeles in what was to become an annual get-together of collectors. The convention has seen tremendous growth with attendance figures topping out at over 100,000 on at least two occasions.
The 42nd iteration of the gathering was held in Atlantic City in July 2022. An estimated 60,000 people attended the week-long event and all the VIP packages, all-access and early entry passes were sold out well before the start. The 2023 show promises to be a blockbuster now that Covid-19 restrictions no longer apply.
Where and how does sports memorabilia investing take place today?
From a simple and almost accidental beginning, baseball cards grew steadily in popularity. As we have already seen, the concept expanded to other sporting codes and also into non-sporting themes. People began to take their collections seriously and trading took off as collectors sought to accumulate complete sets of cards.
In the early years, collectors would have traded cards with other nearby collectors. Some may even have gone as far as advertising in newspapers or journals. Later on, interest groups formed and collectors began venturing further afield to find their prizes. All the while, though, trading was laborious, hampered by slow communication.
Towards the last quarter of the 20th century, sports memorabilia underwent a bit of a metamorphosis. This was when clothing, equipment and other paraphernalia arrived on the scene. Sports teams started selling memorabilia in stores and, on game days, at the stadium. From here on forward, the growth of the sports memorabilia market ramped up sharply.
The advent of the internet in the 1990s added more impetus. First came eBay, a marketplace that suddenly made every collector on the planet your neighbour. Then came PayPal, a seamless payment gateway that knew no boundaries and never slept.
And then, as if that was not enough, blockchain technology brought us non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The security of blockchain data all but eliminated problems with fake cards and merchandise and the digital nature of NFTs made them super tradable.
Since sports NFTs exploded on the scene, numerous exchanges have been opened all over the world enabling quick and effortless trading or investing. More and more sports teams and athletes are issuing their own collections of memorabilia. No doubt, this is the future of sports memorabilia investing.
Is sports memorabilia a good investment in the long run?
The sports memorabilia market is huge; some estimates value it as high as $33 billion annually. As with stock markets, there will always be a lot of losers tied up in this value. However, there will also always be some winners; and some spectacular ones.
Picking the winners, or avoiding the losers, is not an easy task. Knowing a few things about a particular team or athlete, or a particular item or event, may help in making a good call.
So, is sports memorabilia a good investment? With a bit of luck and research, it may well be. Rest assured, this market is likely to continue on a growth path. And, a growing market is always a good place to find hidden treasures.
Singularifty offers everything you need
To get started with a sports memorabilia investment portfolio, look no further than Singularifty. The NFT trading platform of the NextHash Group, Singularifty is a secure platform for buying, selling and transferring NFTs or any collectable digital assets. The platform offers a vast range of collectable tokens, including limited editions and drops available to any collector.
Operating under European Union regulation, Singularifty offers peace of mind for seasoned investors and newcomers alike. For rookies, the platform offers step-by-step guides to make their foray into sports memorabilia investing as painless and stress-free as possible. Everything you need is here, just a few clicks away.