As a society, most of us have never experienced anything like what is happening in our world right now. As we are adjusting to our “new normal” of working from home and trying to figure out ways to continue daily routines, one thing remains certain, the collecting hobby is still strong.
The time at home has given many people more time to focus on their collection. Whether it be finally going through everything they’ve been hoarding Marie Kondo style and purging the items that no longer “spark joy” in hopes that the next person will love it the way they once did, or nostalgically reminiscing a simpler time in childhood and jumping back into a hobby that was once forgotten, the hobby of collecting autographs is just as strong now, if not stronger than it was pre-COVID-19.
There has been a huge upswing in the buying and selling communities on various online platforms, including Facebook where sales pages are humming. In the absence of most sports and entertainment, buyers, collectors, and sellers are all making huge advances. But why is the marketplace popping?
It’s hard to say, but people have more time on their hands, so more time to focus on their collection and find the pieces they have never been able to find. It also seems people have more disposable income to spend. Buying collectibles isn’t just a financial investment but is an emotional experience that has sentimental and nostalgic feelings attached. In a time where emotions are running high, escaping through collecting seems to be something everyone can agree on.
Scott Mahlum, owner of Mill Creek Sports in Washington State, said his sales have been comparable to Christmas time. That’s usually a brisk time of the year for one of the largest sellers of autographs in the world. They are shipping 300-400 items a day from their 20,000 square foot warehouse! Collectors are feeding their passion.
In the absence of real sports, The Last Dance, which is a 10-part mini-series airing on ESPN, chronicling the journey of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls amazing championship run in the 1990’s, has fueled collectors’ thirst for Jordan items. It wasn’t too many years ago that you could buy a genuine signed UDA (Upper Deck Authenticated) photograph of Jordan for $600. You would be lucky to be able that same photograph for under $1500 today.
But it’s not just Jordan and the Chicago Bulls autographs that are spiking in value, all memorabilia is selling quickly at premium rates. Trading cards and game used equipment sales have sky-rocketed during this pandemic. Auction houses across the country are clamoring for consignments, some even pushing auctions ahead of schedule to take advantage of the current buying frenzy.
What does this mean for collectors? What does mean for the value of your collectibles? I always say use common sense, if the deal is too good to be true it probably is. Maybe pump the brakes and don’t get caught up in the hype too! At any rate, enjoy the hobby, it’s booming like never before.