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December 01, 2022 3 min read

It’s been a financially challenging year as we’ve all watched our 401(K) and stock portfolios take a nosedive. During an economic downturn, investors often look toward tangible assets to provide some stability. This couldn’t be more true than in the world sports collectibles world. According to MarketDecipher.com, the sports collectibles business is booming and the trajectory is steep over the course of the next decade. “Projected growth takes the industry from $26 billion in 2021 to a whopping $227.2 billion in 2032.” The 2022 numbers for sports memorabilia along with trading cards have a projected overall value of $33 Billion.

While the emergences of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is certainly fueling some of this growth, the “core sports memorabilia market excluding NFT and cards was estimated at $12.2 Billion in 2021 and is growing at a rate of 15.6% from 2022 to 2032. Though NFT is witnessing a much faster growth which is just due to its nascent industry nature and quick adoption, memorabilia industry is the all-time leading category in the sports collectibles sector.”

“Tom Brady’s helmet, Emmitt Smith’s jersey, and Mickey Mantle’s ball are just a few examples of high-priced sports memorabilia available in the market. Due to a variety of factors including the rising wealth of baby boomers, the arrival of millennials in the market, and the growing interest from foreign buyers, sports memorabilia prices have risen to even much higher in the past decade. Game-used items, such as balls and jerseys, are in high demand.”

There is often a dual-purpose in collecting sports memorabilia. For some it’s as much an emotional investment as it is financial. In fact, it may be purely emotional. The sports fan who wants to continuously relive that moment in 2008 when the Phillies beat the Rays to win the World Series, has options. Closer Brad Lidge dropped to his knees and raised his hands to the sky while catcher Carlos Ruiz rushed the mound. An iconic photo memorializing a great moment in Phillies history. What Phillies fan wouldn’t want that piece of history signed by both players?

More of a football fan? Not everyone knows Brandon Graham, but they surely know Tom Brady. A large contingent of fans don’t like him even a little bit. Sure, that mostly has to do with the fact that Brady has crushed your team at some point over his storied career. Even in New England, they love him, but hate that he left them for Tampa Bay. So, who wouldn’t love a framed picture of Brady getting strip sacked in the Super Bowl. Brandon Graham?

Maybe you’ll never forget that baseball game you watched with your dad or grandfather in 1960 when Bill Mazeroski hit a home run in game seven of the 1960 World Series propelling the Pirates to a championship win over the New York Yankees. That moment has been commemorated and will live on long after “Maz” is gone.

In 2022, some records were broken. The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball care sold for a staggering $12.6 million in August of this year. That’s the most ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia. That’s not the only record-breaker this year. In September, a jersey worn by Michael Jordan jersey in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals sold for a whopping $10.091 million. According to ESPN.com, at the time it was “the most ever paid for an item of sports memorabilia, surpassing the $9.28 million paid in May for late soccer legend Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" jersey from the 1986 World Cup.”

Bottom line, the memorabilia business is booming, and you don’t have to invest in NFTs to be part of the growth market. While “growing investment” may sound like an oxymoron in 2022, that’s exactly what the sports collectibles market has to offer, a growing investment. The holidays are an ideal time to look for something that tugs at your heartstrings and expands your wallet. Get it while it’s hot!!