You may be a basketball fanatic or just an avid collector, but if you are reading this, there’s a high chance that you are both. Some collectors simply like to bring items together to complete a set, while others aim at collecting items that are valuable. This is especially true if the purpose of collecting is largely based on investment. If investment is the aim of your basketball memorabilia collection, you will need to determine which items are valuable and which ones are not.  Here are some tips to consider when making that determination. 

basketball hoop backboard net against bright blue sky

Do Various Background Checks

It can be hard to know if an item is valuable just by looking at it. So it’s best to do some research on which items are currently valuable in the basketball memorabilia market before you start shopping. You can locate records of past auctions to see what was sold and how much they were sold for. This will give you an idea of potential income when you chose to part with your item.

You can also check hobby publications, as well as forums and chat rooms created specifically for collectors of basketball memorabilia. These sources can be valuable when you have already spotted a potential item to add to your collection.

Try to find out as many physical characteristics as you can, as well as information on the general cost across the globe, and any information that is available about possible fakes. A reputable online memorabilia price guide could also prove helpful. It’s fast and easy, but generally requires a subscription. 

You can also check online auction websites and marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, Craiglist, etc. These places are bound to have a few fakes, but also a few authentic ones. You can use the opportunity to see the prices quoted as well as what other buyers have to say about that particular seller. It is a good way to see if the market is already saturated with the item you are interested in which may affect its resale value and timeframe.

basketball player holding nike basketball swoosh

Learn How to Spot a Fake

Naturally, wherever there is a lucrative business venture, there will also be fraud and fakes. There is always someone who wants to be in on the money without putting in all the work. Doing your research is key to avoiding fakes, but you need to put that research to good use.

In doing your research, you will find that some athletes are affiliated with specific retailers and would not autograph an item from another company. So it’s safe to say that if the athlete and retailer do not align on your potential collectible, you need to take your sleuthing skills to the next level.

Remember that sports memorabilia is a lucrative business for the athletes as well and as such their signatures are very valuable. If you know how much they charge to sign an item, that will at least give you a base price for the item. If the item is being sold for less than the price of the signature, you should probably keep looking.

basketball hoop net glass backboard against turquoise blue sky retro filter


Purchase From Reputable Dealers

It goes without saying that you should only purchase your items from reputable dealers. If you are unsure of how to find a reputable dealer in your area, you could go back to the online forum or chat room to get some ideas on where to go and who to trust. These forums are usually filled with serious collectors, who can quickly weed out a fake and give productive advice.

A reputable dealer is one that is open about their processes. They would generally let you know how their items are authenticated. Some dealers will provide you with an affidavit that is notarized and signed by the athlete that the memorabilia is associated with. Some will also be signed by a company representative. The affidavit would ideally include the date it was signed, where it was signed, and details about the item itself so that it cannot be misrepresented with another item.

A reputable dealer would also check the condition of the item and the signature before outfitting with some form of tamper-proof security measure to maintain its validity.

wilson basketball in game flying by scorekeepers

Get the item Authenticated

While it is ideal to purchase from a reputable dealer, the truth is some treasures are found in unexpected places. You could find a basketball memorabilia gem at someone’s yard sale, or even a flea market. If you can, express your interest in the item and send a picture to your support group to get their opinion on its possible resale value before purchasing.

If you are unable to get any assistance in that moment, you should try to find a balance between what you are willing to spend and the potential loss of a valuable item. If you are not able to tell right away if it will be valuable, try to not spend more than you think you could sell it back for. If the seller knows the type of item they have for sale and tries to convince you that it is authentic and valuable, let them know that you will get it appraised and try to get a money-back guarantee in case it turns out to be fake.

Whenever you acquire a new item that didn’t come directly from the dealer, you should get it authenticated by an independent authenticator such as James Spence Authentication (JSA) or the Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA). That is of course if it wasn’t already accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Memorabilia Evaluation and Research Services (MEARS). 

Old basketball hoop tattered net backboard against retro filter sky

The Art of Resale

When you have a basketball memorabilia that has been authenticated and valued, that doesn’t automatically mean that you will now be able to sell it for the price it was valued at. The fact is the buyer also plays a part in how well the transaction goes.

For instance, if you are selling to a dealer, they would actually not be looking to pay the full book value or even close to it. On the other hand, if you were selling to a collector, they would most likely be more willing to pay the full book value, or close enough. This is especially true if they need it to complete a set and also if it’s not easy to find locally.

If you sell it online, it could go either way depending on the rarity of the item. Most buyers in online markets are looking to get a deal below book value, and if you have online competition you may need to adjust your price or be content with holding out for a while before making the sale.

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