Friday, June 3, 2011

Sports Treasures in Your Attic

This Saturday, June 4, our Sports Legends Museum plays host to the sports heritage version of the Great American Antique Road Show, as Grey Flannel Auctions out of New York comes to town for a full day of free appraisals of sports treasures from your attic, study or basement. That's right, we are offering a free chance for you to once-and-for-all find out how much your great-granddaddy's Shoeless Joe Jackson autographed ball is really worth...and, just as importantly, whether it is authentic.

I have been in the business of interpreting local sports history through memorabilia for the past thirty years, and over that period the value of keepsakes has transformed from items fans collected as personal mementoes of their favorite player or significant games or events they attended to commodities valued first and foremost for their financial worth.

In 1981 the average, not historically significant, Babe Ruth autographed ball went for about $100, give or take. If you had one, that meant you either got it in a first-hand encounter with the great Bambino, or someone from your family got it and passed it to the next generation. By the early nineties that same Ruth ball was going for more than $1,000. Today, its value has increased tenfold, or more.

I expect there is a bad side and a good side to this dramatic collectibles transformation. The bad being that we, as sports fans, have fully pushed away from the original intent of securing memorabilia as personal keepsakes. The good is that that old ball or glove or jersey or photo in the moldy box in your parents' basement, which for years resided there in meaningless obscurity, might now take on a whole new meaning in terms of cash value.

Stop by Legends on Saturday and bring your old sports stuff by for a professional looksee. Grey Flannel will help you determine just what you might have...for free!

See you out there,

Mike Gibbons

Mike Gibbons is the executive director for the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation, Inc.

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