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Sports Memorabilia, Tips to consider when choosing the perfect piece

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By Isabelle Riley, Guest Blogger

Being a big sports fan you will probably want to own your very own piece of sports history. Whether that’s a player’s jersey, or a ball from a historic game, owning a piece of sports memorabilia could bring you that much closer to your sporting hero. Once you have your hands on it though, you are going to want to preserve it to keep it looking its best, and hold it’s value. Here are some great tips:

If you have a piece like a ball or bat, take the extra care to purchase a display case. A quality display case will save your memorabilia from dust and other airborne dangers like nicotine, smoke, and mishaps when the friends are over. A case also keeps the house cleaning person from wiping it down with cleaners when you are not around to scream at her. Quality cases vary in price and style, from a basic glass baseball holder to a custom bat case with polished wood. Acrylic is an alternative to glass, is lighter and is unbreakable AND can be bought with a ultraviolet filter. Why is that important? Click here to see this short video on protecting original signatures from fading.

You want to preserve your piece in the best game condition that you can, that means leaving any original scuff marks or dirt and signatures intact, don’t go crazy with the cleaning cloth because you could be removing factors that make that ball or bat so unique. With sporting memorabilia increasing in value every day, you want to hold onto your investment.

Dwyane Wade Sports Memorabilia

Dwyane Wade Sports Memorabilia

In the case of jerseys, photos, prints or cards, you may want to get them framed. But remember, framing does not preserve anything. In fact, done incorrectly can expose the sports item to fading, stretching, heat or cold and more. Make sure your items are attached in the framing with archival materials (mounting materials) and make sure that UV filters and other important framing materials are used. Don’t skimp on framing materials as cheap matting paper can contain high volumes of acid that will stain and fade your memorabilia items, use quality products Here’s an example of an experienced high quality framer: HTFM Framing and Memorabilia.

For large photograph collections, you may not have space to display them all. Plastic storage page protectors in a binder are a cheap and portable alternative. Make sure the pages don’t have an odd or strong smell as they may be made of plastics that will deteriorate the item and cause the ink (on cards for example) to stick to the plastic.

Once you have chosen the proper display solution for your sports memorabilia, you will have to take environmental conditions into account. If placed near windows, the long-term effects of UV rays can fade your vintage memorabilia, so it’s a good idea to keep them out all strong light. Fluorescent lighting can also be damaging, causing UV damage and fading at a fast pace. If you decide to light your memorabilia so they stand out in the room, use a halogen light bulb to avoid any damaging light risks. Regular light bulbs ( with a filament inside) tend to heat up and if close to your investment could cause damage. When storing your collection, try to avoid storing them in damp locations, places at risk of leaks. An unfinished basement is a poor choice and an attic is too hot! Invest in airtight containers as water damage will definitely reduce the value. Click here to see a short video on a fast, easy and cheep way to store flat paper items.

Muhammad Ali Sports Memorabilia

A really good preservation manual that doesn’t talk specifically about preserving sports memorabilia but talks a lot about all the same problems is “How To Save Your Stuff From A  Disaster.” I used this book to help write this article and the e book is 50% off the book price ($9.95). Its by far the best book I’ve ever seen on this subject. BTW, getting good preservation info/coaching can save you many $1,000 and keep you from damaging your collection. You can also get in touch with the author, Scott M. Haskins at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories for additional coaching (805 564 3438).

* From the editor: I think Isabelle did an excellent job on this article! Thanks for contrinuting.

While it is the dream to buy low and sell high and make money when collecting, there are many circumstances that play into this “game.” Do NOT assume you will make money and this web page/blog and any writings of Save Your Stuff LLC do not give investment advice. None of the information in this article or blog should be construed as encouragement, coaching or teaching investment strategies. Having said that, a good bit of advice is to become friends with an art or memorabilia appraiser to get information pertinent to your specific interests. And finally, Isabelle is correct when she says that the state of preservation is very important to the value.

An invitation to you: If you would like to write an article for this blog or any of Save Your Stuff’s other blogs, feel free to contact me to be a guest blogger. Belinda happens to be an excellent writer but if you are not, I will help “adjust” your article before we post it. You are encouraged to write articles often. I almost never refuse a guest writer’s work. You may include URL’s of your websites if they are compatible with the message of SYS and you may include photos. The writing and the photo must be of your creation and you must have the authorization to publish it/them. This is a chance for you to get published and contribute to a world wide audience of memorabilia, collectibles and art collectors. You don’t get paid and you don’t pay me. Inquire at or call me at 805 564 3438

Art conservation/Save Your Stuff questions? Call Scott at 805 564 3438

Art appraisal questions? Call Richard Holgate at 805 895 5121

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Save Your Stuff

Scott M. Haskins

Fine Art Conservation

Subscribe to our How-To videos on YouTube at “Preservationcoach” Channel

Check out Isabelle’s Sports memorabilia website at . She’s an expert when it comes to knowing her “stuff.”

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