I may not be an expert when it comes to reading the stock market, but what I’ve learned from afar is that it’s best to buy shares before an entity begins to skyrocket. Thus, if you’re well-researched (and a little bit lucky) your modest early investment could eventually lead to a substantial return.
In the sports memorabilia spectrum, I believe the biggest role of the dice a person can make is investing in rookie player memorabilia. Here, many investments are motivated by exceptional minor league accomplishments, draft positioning, franchise strength, career stat projections, current player comparables, not to mention the most dangerous thing of all: hype.
Thanks to these factors, those creating and/or selling rookie player memorabilia have the ability to price these items (in some cases) at or above the level of proven stars and hall of famers. Several factors go into this, of course, with supply and demand likely the biggest influencer.
As a collector, it is your job to determine what you think, or hope, a certain young player will become. Then, it’s important to figure out if you think the price you’re paying now will prove itself to be rewarding in the long run. By that I mean you must consider whether or not money can be made off of this item in the future, when or if you choose to sell off pieces from your collection.
Speaking from Experience
Over the past few years, I have made a select number of rookie player purchases that I hope will work out in the long run. Midway through his rookie season, I spent just under $200 on an autographed, framed photo of Auston Matthews. Around the same time, I put down $50 on a Mitch Marner autographed London Knights puck. In January 2018, I met Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and invested about $50 in an autographed 8×10. All came from reputable sources and all are authenticated. Of course, I truly hope all of these investments pan out in the long run, as I think I got all three items for a very respectable sum.
That said, I am also aware of the risk. Sport is a very physical thing and people get hurt. Sometimes, injuries can keep a player off the field for weeks, or months, before a triumphant return. However, serious injuries can also result in a player never reaching expected heights, or a career ending prematurely.
As a human and as a fan, I hope talented young players stay healthy strictly for the sake that they’ve devoted so much of their lives to realizing such a career. You never want to see a dream snuffed out early.
From a collector’s perspective, though, I can admit that when Matthews or Marner take a hard hit, or when Guerrero Jr.’s 2019 spring training is cut short due to injury, my mind also goes to whether or not these incidents will harm the value of my investments in them.
This, unfortunately, is the inherit push-and-pull that comes with purchasing rookie player memorabilia. For years, maybe even 20 of them, you’ll have to hold your breath and hope that an athlete remains healthy, stays productive, and doesn’t end up on a team that squanders his or her potential to win.
In Comes Down to This
By no means am I advising anyone to avoid getting in on a young player before memorabilia prices escalate. All I am hoping to communicate is that you understand the risk and feel comfortable riding the rollercoaster – it can be both terrifying and exhilarating.
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