Whether you are a beginner or have been collecting for years, finding autographed memorabilia is rewarding and fun, if you know where to find the good stuff. Although some people may disagree and say it’s more fun to be on the hunt than to find cool stuff. Either way, all you have to do is put your mind to it and look…you may be surprised at what you find.
Know What You’re Looking For
One of the first steps toward finding the kind of items that you are interested in is to understand what it is that you are on the hunt for. For example, if you are looking for a football signed by OJ Simpson himself, you might have a harder time getting a hold of that than you would if you were to find items that are signed by active NFL players such as Aaron Rogers or Richard Sherman.
In any event, if you are searching for memorabilia that is from whoever at any time, it is great too. The one thing to understand is that memorabilia can be something signed by a huge sports hero, or an unknown athlete. If you have something signed by somebody, it can definitely count as autographed memorabilia.
Some of the best places to find hidden gems are garage sales. You never know what you might find that has been hidden in somebody’s garage for years. Sometimes family members spend a lifetime collecting memorabilia that other family members don’t know anything about, then they pass away and leave behind a stellar collection of fantastic collectibles.
Whether it is a garage sale, or an estate sale the best way to see what they have is to show up to the sale and look for things that might be of value, at least to you. Basketballs, footballs, baseballs, gloves, Texas shirts, or whatever could have a genuine autograph.
Some great ways to find garage sales are:
- Craig’s List
- Garage sale locator website
When you visit these kinds of sales pay close attention to any sporting gear that they may have out for sale. Baseball bats, hockey sticks, and even golf clubs may have autographs on them from former players.
Another great way to come across great memorabilia is to pop into your local thrift shops and see what they have available. Although some thrift shop staff know how to spot things that have value, it is not uncommon to find great stuff on the shelves of those stores.
Just like garage sales and other private types of sales it is a good idea to go into the sports section and take a close look at everything that is there. You never know what you might find.
In addition to searching through the sports items, it can be very productive if you take a look through all of the tee shirts that they have. You never know until you look whether or not there is an officially signed jersey or tee shirt hidden somewhere in the racks.
Another goldmine opportunity is to visit a flea market and take a look around at what is available. Many people that want to sell their stuff take it to a flea market and rent a table so that they can get better odds of selling stuff than if they were to try and sell stuff from their front yard.
Since flea markets will vary from town to town it is difficult to say what time of operation the market nearest you would be, but you could learn pretty easily if you were to do a web search on the particular place you wanted to visit.
Not only are flea markets cool to browse around, but they also give an opportunity to find diverse types of collectibles that could be from anywhere in the world.
Some markets may have a designated area for sports memorabilia that have a bunch of interesting items, and other areas may be much like garage sales where the people won’t even know what they have.
The people that know what they have tend to want much more money for their collection items than the ones that just want to get rid of their old stuff.
Sport Team Websites
One tactic that some people forget to use is to find autographed items directly from the team. Some sports teams will have an array of autographed items that they sell to people that have an interest.
A good way to find the site is to do a google search for the team that you are interested in, and find out whether or not they even have a website. Most teams whether they are professional or college, or even just local teams will have a website. Whether or not you can find memorabilia to buy from them will depend on how invested the team is in selling this type of item.
Another great place to search for autographed stuff is the eBay website. They have a powerful search platform that allows you to type in whatever you might be looking for. One of the more popular types of memorabilia on the eBay site is trading cards. The great thing about trading cards is that there are certain cards that are worth a lot of money to collectors, and even more if they are signed by the player that they represent.
Since eBay is a website that is composed of vendors that sell millions of different types of items it gives a higher probability that you can find whatever you are searching for, or wind up with a surprise or two along the way as well.
Online Memorabilia Websites
Although these sites are full of stuff that might…or might not be…authentic, some of them will have an amazing collection of collectibles that a collector would be proud of. However, the downside of sites like this is that the people selling the items will be well aware of what they have and the value of their stuff. They will most likely ask a lot more for what they have than if you were to find it elsewhere.
There are some sites out there that are a lot like social media sites where users can sign in and share their thoughts or insights on where to find the best stuff and where to get it at reasonable costs.
However, even though there are sites that were developed specifically to bring sports fans together and share things they are interested in and things that they are selling, it is smart to use caution when dealing with people you don’t know.
Watch for Scams
At the end of the day, anybody could scribble a name on a basketball and say that it was autographed by whoever they want to say it is. Sometimes people sell fake autographs for a lot of money. If you are going to be adventurous while seeking great stuff, be wise about it and keep your eyes open for any signs of fowl play. If a person comes to you with a baseball signed by Babe Ruth, do your research and make sure that it is not merely a ball with a scribble on it.
Searching for and finding hidden treasures around the area can be extremely fun. Whatever it is that you are trying to collect, just enjoy the adventure and have a good time. After all, your collection will probably just end up in an estate sale someday anyway.