Sports memorabilia collecting is a business
that grows in leaps and bounds. While it can be a profitable
and satisfying pursuit, time and love of sport are a starting
point, but connections and authenticity are equally important
to traits to view as investments when breaking into the
A true fan doesn’t just watch games; they
savour them and then save the tickets as well. Still many more
sports fanatics go much further than that. A true fan often
wants to have something tangible to connect them to what they
Marc Juteau, President and Founder of
Classic Auctions, knows the business well. Marc started as a
young teenager working for his Aunt’s collectibles shop in
"I got very interested in the sports side
of collectibles and she put me in charge of the whole sports
section. It was the late 1980s when the cards were booking so
it got real busy and real profitable at that point. I started
my company about 7 years later at age 21 in 1994."
Having an early start, combined with the
assistance and expertise of family, can really help to give
you a leg up in whatever industry you’re in. Even though Marc
started out with just a part-time summer job with his family,
Classic Auctions has done well over $50 million in sales since
its start and publishes an auction catalogue that rivals the
quality of Christie’s and Sotheby’s.
Marc is glad that he began things off on
the right foot and at the right time.
"Its not easy at all to start an auction
today because its very difficult to get the trust of the
consignors, it takes years before the collectors start
trusting you to consign their items to your auction. So, it
would most likely require a large investment today for buying
products to start an auction house."
Barry Meisel of Meigray.com thinks that the
key to starting (and then keeping yourself in) deals as a
sports memorabilia dealer, is authenticity.
"Authenticity is everything," Barry
explains. Over the last 10 years, MeiGray’s commitment to
authenticity has changed the game-worn industry in the sense
that I believe there is increased consumer confidence.
Collectors know what they are getting these days when they by
a MeiGray authenticated game-worn jersey because of our
Barry also thinks that investing in
game-worn is the way to go, especially when "teams and players
who are hot on the ice are hot in the market."
Retired former sports memorabilia collector
and dealer Gregg Daniell agrees and advises to, "Find an
expert in authenticating to work for you, or to rely on for
protection against buying or selling a fake jersey. Do your
research and know what you are buying. You can not just come
into it with money and buy, you need the knowledge or have
someone to work closely with you."
Marc Juteau, Barry Meisel and Gregg Daniell
are all of the same opinion when it comes to what’s most in
demand: Jerseys that have been worn by prized athletes,
especially when they’ve been worn during historically
significant games. One example is the jersey recently sold by
Classic Auctions for 1.2 million dollars, which was worn by
Paul Henderson during the Canadian/ USSR 1972 Summit Series.
Gregg points to the very real value of
nostalgia "…game used is the best form of collectable. It is
art; it is having a piece, part, item right from history. Like
a gun or uniform for a war item collector," adding again,
"Authentication is a key to this industry. This is what your
repetition in this industry relies and is built on."