Collecting sports memorabilia is a favorite pastime among millions of Americans. There’s a good reason for this: It’s fun, it evokes nostalgia, and it can be extremely financially beneficial; the sports memorabilia market is expected to reach $48.17 billion by 2024.

That being said, collecting sports memorabilia isn’t as easy as snapping your figures and buying some cards: There are real factors to take into consideration when building your own collection. Read on to discover tips on becoming a collector.

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Choose a Theme

Building a collection around a theme has numerous benefits. First and foremost, it narrows your focus and ensures that you make purchases which are best for what you want to collect. The theme can be as broad or narrow as you want and can be centered around types of memorabilia, sports, teams or even players. With a narrower focus, you can become an expert in a particular area. Eventually, you’ll learn what to look out for and be better able to find sellers who are experts in what you want to collect.

Decide on Acceptable Quality Levels

Depending on the type of product you are purchasing (autograph, clothing, baseball card, etc.), there is a range of different quality levels of sports memorabilia. The specifics vary depending on what you purchase, but it is important to know what quality levels you are willing to buy. Furthermore, relying on the estimate of a dealer may not be enough to ensure quality. There are many trusted companies who will formally certify a product as being of a certain value, thus ensuring that you have independent verification of what you purchase.

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Only Buy From Sellers With a Good Reputation

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of unscrupulous sellers who sell counterfeit cards or online dealers who will sell you junk that has been improperly rated as having a higher quality than it actually does. Make sure you only purchase from buyers with good reputations. Consider only making online purchases from sellers with ample positive reviews, and if you are buying from someone in person, make sure that they have certifications to back up their claims about the authenticity of a piece of memorabilia.

Determine Your Financial Goals

Buying sports memorabilia can be a very lucrative investment, and given the direction of the financial market, it’s one which could make you big dollars in the long haul. However, you have to ask yourself: What are your financial goals with building a sports memorabilia collection. Are you doing it for the money, for the fun, or a combination of the two?

The answer to this question will alter what you decide to collect. For example, one of the best ways to make money off of your memorabilia collection is to have a keen eye for talent and only purchase memorabilia from players who will become superstars. However, this strategy may not be what you are interested in purchasing.

There is no right or wrong answer here; just make sure you know why you are collecting memorabilia so that you can stay on track to achieve your goals. 

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Security Considerations

There are a few basic security considerations to keep in mind when it comes to sports memorabilia. DIY security systems can be handy since they tend to be modular and more versatile than something professional. Among the most basic of these is to get a display case which will protect your memorabilia and ward off potential thieves. Always lock up your display case, and don’t leave it anywhere which may tempt a robber or allow a stranger easy access.

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Insure Your Collectibles

As with any physical collection, you are always one disaster away from losing everything. Make sure you contact an insurance broker, get a valuation on the price of your collectibles and pay to insure them. This not only guarantees you peace of mind but ensures that your hard-earned money and time will not be wasted in the event of a catastrophic loss.

Sports memorabilia collecting can be fun and profitable. However, to protect yourself and your investment, taking the necessary steps can help better ensure that you’re able to build a thriving collection.

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