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How to Find Sports Memorabilia at a Discount

Updated on April 23, 2018

The many fans passionate about their home team or interested in the greats of their favorite sport have turned sports memorabilia into a booming business. Having a signed photo, jersey, ball, bat, or other literal piece of the game is a concrete way for fans to own a piece of history. Unfortunately, this popularity contributes to two of the worst aspects of collecting sports memorabilia: inflated costs and fraud. This leaves dedicated fans with the question: How do you find sports memorabilia at a discount?

First of all, you need to be wary. Price alone is not an indicator that you’re getting a good deal on a particular item. One possible explanation for a low price is that the item in question is far from rare: for example, a signed photo by a particular football star or up-and-coming baseball phenom may be inexpensive because the market is flooded with them. A less savory explanation is that a piece of memorabilia up for sale may be an out-and-out fake. Before you let your excitement spur you into buying that too-good-to-be-true find from some random private seller on the internet, slow down. Purveyors of fakes count on your heart overruling your common sense.

You can avoid the threat of fraud and fakes by sticking with reputable dealers. The key is that you’re working with someone whose business is dependent on their track record for delivering authentic goods. However, the flip side of this is such businesses are usually well aware of what their inventory is worth on the open market. If they are retail establishments, this means that they’re unlikely to give significant discounts, especially on high-demand items such as mint-condition rare baseball cards. You may catch the occasional sale, but don’t rely on these sources for your best deals.

Auctions are likely to be your best source for below-market prices on sports memorabilia, as long as you’re dealing with an established auction house that vets the items they put up for bid for authenticity. Depending on the source, you can find high-quality memorabilia for auction without a reserve price (a minimum amount the seller requires before the item can be sold. As when you’re considering any type of sports memorabilia purchase, you’ll want to do some research to confirm that the price is right, and to decide how high you’re willing to bid to bring home that signed bat or stadium seat back, but auctions offer some of the best opportunities out there to get a great deal.

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The bottom line on getting the best price on sports memorabilia is not to get carried away by impulse. You’ll enjoy what you do purchase much more when you have the satisfaction of knowing you did your homework and really did get the best possible deal on it.

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