From World Cup final match balls to Olympic medals and pin badges, as sports fans, we’ve collected millions of items over the years.
Those keepsakes often range in value depending on the name or year attached, and memorabilia from sporting legends such as Mike Tyson, David Beckham, and Michael Jordan all come with a hefty price tag.
With the market continuing to grow, bagging yourself a signed souvenir from your favourite player or athlete will cost you hundreds or even thousands of pounds. This is because the items are unique, nostalgic, and commemorative, especially when the value may increase in the future.
Google trends data also suggests that ‘sports memorabilia’ searches have risen by 74% between 2016 and 2020. But which sports (and sporting stars) are behind the most in-demand memorabilia?
Following the recent UEFA Euros 2020, football shirt sales in the UK increased by 317% before matches even began, according to data. Those who were lucky enough to pick up an England shirt will find that they can enjoy even bigger margins as the years roll by, with an estimated 214% boost in price.
Footballer Jack Grealish also gained media traction from supporters across the world after gifting his boots to a young fan, showing just how much the prominence of a player can affect memorabilia.
More recently, a football fan’s lifetime collection of merchandise sold for more than double the estimated price at auction. With over 200 items, the supporter racked up £392,000 for the pieces he’d been collecting for over 60 years – including medals, caps, official match pennants, and vintage jerseys worn by Sir Bobby Charlton and Bobby Moore.
The United States has a career-shaping and diversified society when it comes to sports, with most high schools and colleges requiring all students to study the course.
The top three most popular sports include American football, basketball, and baseball.
The most expensive Super Bowl ring is the XXV from 1991, when the Buffalo Bills walked away a bit sore after the New York Giants took the glory by one point in a 20-19 win. Lawrence Taylors’ ring is worth $230,000 (£167,000).
As with most sports memorabilia and items from history, it’s not always how old the piece is, but who once or currently owns it.
The Olympic Games have produced some of the finest sports memorabilia over the decades, featuring pin badges, medals, and torches, and the London 2021 games were particularly popular.
Torches from the competition are currently being sold on eBay ranging anywhere between £2,500 to £4,000 – with those signed by contestants including British diver Tom Daley, ramping up the price further.
Medals rarely come up for sale as they are likely to be the most prized possession for any athlete who wins one. The record sum paid for an Olympic medal is £1.1million for a 1936 Berlin gold once belonging to American sprinter, Jesse Owens.
If you’re new to collecting sports memorabilia, you may want to join a forum or blog dedicated to collecting these types of items. It’s a good way to gather insights, connect with other collectors, and talk to people who share your passion and can help you build a collection of your own.