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Tiger Woods may not have finished The Masters in the position he was hoping, however, his famous irons from the “Tiger Slam” era sold for $5.1 million over the weekend. That is 8 TIMES what they sold for in 2013. While Woods won’t be cashing in on his former clubs, someone is.

The sports memorabilia industry is part of the collectibles market, which currently has a global value of $370 billion.  There are over 200 million people who are collectors of various types in the world today. About 33% of global collectors have purchased, owned, or previously owned at least one sports memorabilia collectible. Market says the collectibles market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.7 percent during 2022 to 2031.

man holding baseball crads

(Photo by Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Why Do People Collect Sports Memorabilia?

There are a few reasons as to why someone might invest their money into sports collectibles. In addition to the lack of confidence in the dollar, some collectors are looking for additional assets to devote funds. With disposable income, these people look to NFT’s, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and sports collectibles as an alternative source for investing.

In the world of collectibles, sports memorabilia is by far the most popular. Michael Jordan, who played in the “Flu Game” in the 1997 NBA Finals, had his shoes recently sold at auction for over $100,000. People are purchasing sports memorabilia of their child hood heroes. Some of these items conjure memories and emotional nostalgia which is very powerful.

Finally, investors might choose collectibles as a way to quietly mask money.

soccer star showing autographed jersey

(Photo by NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP via Getty Images)

What Are The Most Popular Sports Collectibles?

If you’re considering collectibles as a new venture, you have to know what and who sells.  Trading cards are still a dominant force in the sports memorabilia market with over 98% of sports collectors spending time collecting trading cards at some point in their lives. Individuals like Eli Manning, Michael Jordon, Peyton Manning, Mickey Mantle, and Tom Brady are all top athletes to collect.

Team leaders are The New York Yankees, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bulls. Retired and deceased athlete memorabilia are the most valuable. Autographed collectibles don’t always raise the value of an item. Unless you have witnessed an athlete sign something or it has been certified, trusting autographs may be risky.  The most expensive item of sports memorabilia sold is a 1920 Babe Ruth game-used jersey, valued at $4.4 million.

From trading cards to magazines to game worn apparel, the sports memorabilia has been an industry in the United States which has seen slow and steady growth since 2011.

picture of a graded sports illustrated magazine

Photo Credit: Casey Daniels, Emmis Communications

Where Can You Buy Sports Memorabilia?

With the constant flow of retiring and new emerging superstar athletes, this market isn’t slowing down. Even during the pandemic, sports collecting grew. As long as there are sports, there will be sports memorabilia generated.

The internet has created a platform where anonymous sellers can inexpensively advertise their items to millions of buyers throughout the world without meeting them in person. Golden Auctions, Heritage Auctions, and E-bay are all places to locate your favorite athlete collectible and own a piece of sports history. Auction sites will offer graded and certified items.