Starting Your Football Memorabilia Collection: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re a football fan looking to get started in football memorabilia collecting, there are several important factors to look at when shopping for autographed football memorabilia items. From deciding on a theme you’d like to build your collection around to choosing autographed items, buying football collectibles depends on strategic planning and execution.

Pictures, cards, helmets, footballs, jerseys and other football equipment autographed by an athlete and sold by a reputable distributor are considered sports collectibles or “memorabilia.” No matter how much you know about football, it’s still important to learn about the sports memorabilia industry before you start purchasing collectible items. You want to know how to do your research, find quality sources for your items and take good care of your purchases.

Choose Your Focus

When starting your first memorabilia collection, you need to determine a central theme to focus your collection on. With all the football teams to choose from, it’s important to narrow down to a specific niche. You may choose to collect a specific item such as signed footballs and get ahold of as many as possible from different athletes across different teams. On the other hand, you might have a favorite team you’re highly knowledgeable about, and you can focus on collecting various items from the team’s players. You can even narrow it down to one football athlete and build your collection around pieces signed by them.

Create Your Budget

To get started, you want to know how much you’re able to spend. It’s easy to make impulse buys in the sports memorabilia industry, and maintaining a budget can help you make smart decisions about what to collect. Starting with a small budget that grows over time can help you through the beginning phase while you’re learning about the industry and learning to make good buying decisions.

Do Your Research

The more research you do, the better buying decisions you can make, and in turn, the more profit you can earn from your collection. Equipment that has been used in a game is more valuable than mass-produced items like pictures and bobbleheads. It’s always better to collect items from a team or athlete you know well. However, you also want to make sure the items you choose are ones the rest of the football memorabilia industry hasn’t already exploited.

Choose the Right Sources

When it comes to buying, you want to find certified football memorabilia distributors. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t get suckered into deals that sound too good to be true; you may end up buying a fraudulent signature. If you’re trying to save money, focus on emerging or rookie players. You can also find athletes who went to the same college as you or came from your hometown and get your autographs from them directly instead of purchasing from a dealer. Be sure to grab a picture of the athlete signing your item to document the signature’s authenticity.

Preserving Your Pieces

After making an investment, you want to preserve the condition of the item as best as you can, even if it means making another investment. When damages occur, the value of your item declines. Don’t wear your signed jerseys if you want to keep them in mint condition. Whether you’re collecting football cards, footballs or helmets, be sure to buy display cases to keep them in.


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This is a post by Lindsay Haskell who is a content writer specializing in health, beauty, fitness, and alternative medicine. She maintains a blog about mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality called Magnetic Mama.

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