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Investment Demand Skyrockets for Vintage Sports Memorabilia

Investment Demand Skyrockets for Vintage Sports Memorabilia

Just last week someone asked me who was more popular James Cagney or Humphrey Bogart.   My thought is simply to look at what people are willing to pay to own a piece of their history.     For example, a James Cagney autographed photo will sell for about $100, whereas a Humphrey Bogart photo will sell for $3000-5000.   Now, part of that is supply.  Bogart didn’t sign as prolifically as Cagney.  However, it undeniably also represents a more intense demand by collectors.

It is no secret in the world of collectibles that vintage sports memorabilia enjoys intense demand from the most serious collectors and investors.    The mind-boggling, skyrocketing prices paid at auction for the most rare sports artifacts appear to have no end in sight anytime soon.    Last week again proved that those who have the financial ability are willing to pay anything to own a piece of sports history.    And, even if you are not a sports fan, it doesn't hurt to have knowledge of what drives consumers to such extraordinary levels of financial disbursement.  Here are a few highlights of what the wealthy have an open wallet policy for .....

-  1911 "Shoeless Joe" Jackson Game Used Rookie Bat.   No need to go into the historical details of Joe Jackson.  You know him, you know the story that led to the demise of probably the greatest baseball player that ever lived.  
    And so does the Ultra-Lucky collector who paid just under a Million Dollars, $956,000 , to own Joe's game used bat from his 1911 Rookie Year!

- 1964 Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) Fight Worn Gloves from First Liston Bout.    He was the greatest.  And he proved it more than once.  There is a reason why Muhammad Ali was voted Sports Illustrated Athlete of the CENTURY in 2000.   If I had an extra million dollars , this is the treasure I would want to own, his worn boxing gloves from first Sonny Liston fight.  However, someone beat me to it and shelled out $836,500 for these historic, museum quality relics.

- 1923 New York Yankees World Championship Watch Presented to Babe Ruth.  One of the Babe's personal prized possessions, his personal 1923 World Championship pocket watch.  This would be my second choice, just incredible!  And I’m jealous of the guy who now owns it, for $717,000.

- The popularity of the “Mick” seems to continue on a trajectory with no end in sight.  1956 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game Used & Signed Home Run Bat.  The only Mantle bat with definitive attribution to his 1956 Triple Crown campaign!   And a collector paid $430,300 to own such an intimate piece of the “Mick”.

-  1931 Lou Gehrig United States Passport  (Carried by the Iron Horse during the 1931 Tour of Japan). No surprise that there was a collector frenzy to own a rare genuine artifact once belonging to Lou Gehrig.   Lou represented more than what a great baseball player is suppose to be.   His 1931 passport sold for $262,900

-  1927 "Babe Comes Home" One Sheet Movie Poster.    When classic sports and Hollywood merge there is often a collision of two markets competing for their respective treasure and the result is a premium paid for this gorgeous lithograph to promote this early Babe Ruth film. And.   the $83,650 paid
shows some collectors will not sleep until they own it.

Whatever you collect, there is no denying that choice collectibles are no longer just a craving of genre specific collectors, but now also serious and SMART investors.

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