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Sports Memorabilia Selling Guide

Tags:  selling | athletes | jerseys | cards | autographsWrite a guide!

Got a collection collecting dust? Outgrown your childhood bobbleheads? Gone from pennants to jerseys? Whether you're an experienced collector, a dedicated fan running out of storage space, or just looking to sell a few pieces around your home, eBay makes selling Sports Memorabilia fun. With millions of eBay shoppers looking for memorabilia from all levels and divisions of college and professional sports, it’s easy to turn your stuff into cash on eBay.

Cash In on Sports Memorabilia

Cash In on Sports Memorabilia

Many Sports Memorabilia enthusiasts and collectors successfully use eBay not only as a place to find new and unique posters, photos, banners, jerseys, hats, jackets, figurines and more, but as a way to help fund their growing collections. Whether you’re saving up for that must-have throwback jersey or need a stadium blanket for an upcoming night game, selling on eBay is the perfect way to earn extra money. Swap out your unused Sports Memorabilia—those posters you have yet to hang or piece you have two of in your bobblehead collection—and buy yourself a new treasure.

What's It Worth?

Already have an item in mind? Visit Sports Memorabilia Seller Central to find out the average selling price of similar pieces on eBay. You can also search completed listings to see how others are selling similar items.

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Find Out What's Hot in Sports Memorabilia

Find Out What's Hot in Sports Memorabilia

Millions of people come to eBay in search of Sports Memorabilia spanning a variety of sports and including a range of items—from the cool, rare, and highly in demand (think anything signed by famous athletes), to the kitschy, funny, and even a bit bizarre (think bobbleheads and Russian nesting dolls). The following provides just a small sampling of the myriad of Sports Memorabilia that you could sell on eBay. To get a real-time view of what’s in demand, what buyers are searching for, and what items are selling the most, visit Sports Memorabilia Seller Central

  • Football team apparel & souvenirs: Popular apparel includes NFL jerseys, NFL jackets, and NFL hats and even subtle NFL key chains, NFL watches, and NFL pins. Buyers are also looking for décor such as team banners, flags, signs, and car accessories, NFL lithographs, NFL posters, NFL pennants, NFL photos featuring players such as Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, and Tom Brady, and Super Bowl memorabilia. Of course, the world of football fan gear encompasses other leagues and fans of the CFL, XFL, and NCAA football apparel and souvenirs .

  • Baseball team apparel & souvenirs: From souvenir baseball bats and batting helmets to bobbleheads, you can step up to the plate and sell your Major League Baseball apparel and souvenirs, NCAA baseball souvenirs, Negro League memorabilia, or Minor-League baseball apparel and souvenirs. Fan favorites include MLB jerseys, MLB t-shirts, MLB baseball caps, and souvenir pins and buttons that commemorate opening day at the ballpark, playoff games, All Star Games, and World Series games. Also popular are MLB team key chains and MLB watches for him, or MLB jewelry for her. For a blast from the past, try selling throwback jerseys, autographed jerseys, game-worn jerseys, vintage baseball photos, prints, posters, and publications.

  • Basketball team apparel & souvenirs: Buyers are on the lookout for apparel representing their favorite team such as NBA jerseys, NBA jackets, NBA shirts, and NBA hats, WNBA apparel and souvenirs, and NCAA basketball apparel and souvenirs. Basketball fans looking for collectible items may be looking for NBA photos and NBA posters featuring legendary players such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Moses Malone. Extremely popular are harder to find items from timeless heroes such as Magic Johnson Lakers jersey, autographed Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls cap, game shoes worn by favorite players, or a Shaquille O’Neal rookie jersey. You can even sell rarer items such as a 1947 National Basketball league championship program, Danbury Mint figurine of Boston Celtics' Larry Bird, or Star Company set of cards for the Philadelphia 76ers from 1984-85 featuring Moses Malone and Julius Erving.

  • Racing fan apparel & souvenirs: Enter the world of NASCAR stock car racing with NASCAR fan apparel and souvenirs featuring favorite drivers. Whether they love Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, or Bobby Labonte, NASCAR fans are shopping for all sorts of gear—from NASCAR jackets, shirts, and caps to NASCAR posters, photos, and souvenir flags. Fans of the late Dale Earnhardt are looking for commemoratives such as Dale Earnhardt #3 model cars, suede Dale Earnhardt jackets, Earnhardt pocket watch sets from the Franklin Mint, or limited edition clocks showing both Dale Sr. and Jr. Besides NASCAR, fans of other circuits are on the lookout for Indy, CART, Formula 1, and NHRA fan apparel, souvenirs, and memorabilia.

  • Hockey team apparel & souvenirs: Hockey fans of all ages are looking for NHL jerseys, caps, shirts, and jackets representing their favorite players, current NHL teams, Canadian hockey teams, minor-league hockey teams, and even defunct hockey teams. Fans are also searching for souvenirs such as NHL bobbleheads, photos, prints, souvenir pucks, and even more specialized collector's items such as a jersey worn by Steve Yzerman in 1997 as the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup captain, a photo signed by the Montreal Canadiens, or an autographed poster of Patrick Roy.

  • Wrestling fan apparel & souvenirs: You can roll with the big boys by selling your WWE apparel and souvenirs, including original and replica championship wrestling belts, wrestling promo photos of WWE superstars such as Hulk Hogan, John Cena or Mick Foley, and WWE Classic action figures. Serious collectors are in search of rare WWE memorabilia such as original ringside pay-per-view chairs or Lazortron masks. Souvenir WWE publications, videos, and WWE shirts are also popular. Also popular on eBay are any college wrestling apparel and souvenirs and Olympic wrestling memorabilia.

  • Soccer team apparel & souvenirs: Fuel your passion for MLS, FIFA, European league, British league, World Cup, and even USL events by selling soccer fan apparel and soccer souvenirs. Popular choices range from soccer jerseys and soccer shirts to MLS stadium blankets and soccer DVDs. Fans are looking for soccer prints and stadium signs or statues, trophies, and other soccer memorabilia from world-renowned players such as Pelé, Ronaldo, Roberto Baggio, David Beckham, and Mia Hamm. Collectors are looking for your unique items, such as an autographed game soccer ball from the 1984 Olympic final match, official US Women’s National Soccer team jacket, or an autographed 1996 UEFA Cup pennant.

  • Golf fan apparel & souvenirs: Golf fans around the world are searching for souvenir golf balls, flags, souvenir golf clubs, PGA shirts, PGA hats, golf prints, golf photos, golf publications, and PGA pins. Fans are looking for souvenirs that represent their favorite professional golfers and semi-professional golfers or items from club-swinging favorites like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus. Especially in demand are unique treasures, such as a signed British Open flag signed by Tiger Woods, autographed US Open shirts, 1895 golf balls, Jack Nicklaus 5 pound British Open notes, or a signed LeRoy Neiman “18th at Pebble Beach” serigraph.

  • Olympic fan apparel & souvenirs: Summer and winter Olympic Games can awake and inspire your inner athlete—and make you a winner when selling on eBay. Whether they enjoy figure skating, hockey, and curling or gymnastics, swimming, and basketball, sports fans are on the lookout for Olympic fan apparel and Olympic souvenirs from their favorite sport. Memorabilia can include Olympic medals, Olympic coins, Olympic pins, Olympic schedules, and even Olympic torches. Some collectors look for souvenirs from specific years such as a rare hooked rug that hung in the 1980 Lake Placid Ice Pavilion, an Olympic torch from Athens 2004, an Olympic album with 1936 Berlin gold winners’ signatures, or an original poster from the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm.

  • Horse racing fan apparel & souvenirs: Race horses and jockeys capture the imagination of horse racing fans and many filmmakers. Those who find inspiration in horse racing are looking for items from Breeder's Cup races or Triple Crown events, including horse racing souvenirs and fan apparel from the Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes, and Kentucky Derby. Most popular for collectors are official Derby glasses (mint julep glasses from the Kentucky Derby) featuring a list of Kentucky Derby winners from the previous year. The first glasses produced for the Kentucky Derby in 1938 were water glasses, but over the following two years official Derby glasses became mint julep glasses.

  • Tennis fan apparel & souvenirs: Pro tennis players such as Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Lindsay Davenport, and Maria Sharapova captivate fans with their presence and skill. But the ball's in your court when it comes to selling tennis apparel and tennis souvenirs from prestigious events such as the US Open, French Open, Australian Open, or Wimbledon Championships. Buyers are looking for original and reproduction tennis memorabilia from tennis superstars such as Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, and Martina Navratilova as well.

  • Boxing memorabilia: Boxing fans of all ages want to remember special moments in the ring from events such as the Golden Gloves, Olympic boxing matches, or famous middleweight and heavyweight bouts with boxing photos, boxing posters, and boxing programs. Other popular boxing souvenirs feature legends such as John L. Sullivan and Muhammad Ali, Olympic boxing gold medalists Sugar Ray Leonard and Joe Frazier, handsome middleweight Oscar De La Hoya, and heavyweight champs such as Lennox Lewis, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, Joe Louis, and the controversial Mike Tyson.

  • Cycling fan apparel & souvenirs: Fans around the world gather at world-renowned cycling events such as the Tour de France to cheer on their favorite cyclists and teams. Apparel and souvenirs are in demand worldwide, and can inlcude cycling apparel and souvenirs from various events as well as items from Lance Armstrong, the U.S. rider who brought cycling to the attention of many Americans. Collectors want unique hard to find items such as Lance Armstrong autographed artwork or even an original or replica Lance Armstrong Tour De France yellow jersey.

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Get Top Dollar for Your Sports Memorabilia

Get Top Dollar for Your Sports Memorabilia

Once you have an idea of what you’re going to sell, it’s time to think about how to attract Sports Memorabilia buyers. Here are the top tips from eBay’s most successful sellers.

Help Buyers Find Your Items with Keywords

Keywords are a great way to attract buyers to your listing, especially when used correctly in your Listing Title. Listing titles are used by eBay’s search engine to pull up listings during a search. Use your 55 characters wisely, and try to anticipate what buyers will be searching for. Find out what is being searched right now with our list of Top Sports Memorabilia Searches. Be sure to include common search terms like “Michael Jordan” and “NFL,” when appropriate. State important characteristics of your item—what it is, brand, notable name, team, size, and condition. Of course, you should only include keywords that are relevant to the item you are selling. You can also search current and completed eBay listings to see what other sellers include in their titles.

In your Listing Description, make sure to include both basic information and details about your item. A good description is concise, well organized, and easy to read. Create bold section headlines, bulleted lists, and be sure to restate the information featured in your title plus more details such as dimensions, estimated value, repairs or restoration, colors, materials, accessories, proof of authentication, and any other interesting features. You can also insert photos or links to videos that highlight the unique attributes of your item. Think about your listing from the buyer's perspective. The more information you provide, the more likely the buyer will be to place a bid on your item.

Here are some terms commonly used by other sellers to describe the condition of Sports Memorabilia. Make sure you only use a term when you are sure it applies to your item.

  • New in box (NIB) or New with tags (NWT) or New without tags (NWOT): A product that is new in box has never been removed from its original packaging. If a product has never been worn and still has sales tags attached, it can be considered new with tags. If tags have been removed, but the item was never worn, it is new without tags.

  • Gently Used (GU) or Mint in box (MIB): Sports Memorabilia that is mint in box has been previously opened, but has no damages or repairs and will be sold with its original box. Gently used apparel has been worn, but shows no signs of wear.

  • Excellent: Excellent condition products have been previously worn or used and have only very slight signs of use.

  • Good or Near Mint (NrMt): Previously worn or used apparel or equipment with very minor visible flaw(s) and/or significant wash wear/fade can be considered in good condition.

Here are some terms to describe the rarity of your item:

  • Certificate of authenticity (COA): If your item was produced in limited quantity or is autographed, it may have been sold with a Certificate of Authenticity stating important information such as production number, production limit, signature authenticity, and date. Some COAs can be granted by third-party graders and authenticators.

  • No longer available (NLA): Sports Memorabilia that is no longer available is no longer being produced by manufacturers or available in retail stores.

  • Annual edition: Annual edition team memorabilia is produced for one year.

  • Open edition: Open edition team memorabilia is not limited and could still be in production.

  • Limited Edition (LE): Manufacturers sometimes choose to limit product production by a specific, announced number.

Do Your Research

If you don’t know much about your item, a little research can help you understand what you are selling which can lead to a higher return. Examine your Sports Memorabilia for any markings, dates, titles, or brands. All of these details will give you a better estimate of your item’s value, and educating your buyers can increase the attraction of your item.

When selling a rare item that is potentially worth a lot, it may be worthwhile to get your item appraised and authenticated. Authenticating your Sports Memorabilia not only provides you with a good estimate on expected sale price, but it also builds buyer confidence. Third-party graders and authenticators are qualified, experienced professionals who pledge to provide unbiased opinions.

Note: Opinions expressed by evaluators are theirs alone. eBay does not examine items listed on its site and does not have the expertise to evaluate items. eBay cannot guarantee the findings of any evaluator — authentication and grading are difficult, often subjective matters where experts themselves occasionally disagree. Each of the companies listed on the Opinions, Authentication, and Grading page that provides authentication and/or grading services is an independent company, and eBay is not responsible in any way for any action, inaction, opinion or service in connection with these companies. You should review the credentials of each company and use your own judgment before using any company's services.

Showcase Your Sports Memorabilia with Great Photos

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words! Photos are the closest you can get to putting your Sports Memorabilia in the hands of potential buyers. Here are some tips on how to best represent your item:

  • Choose the Right Background: Use a contrasting, solid backdrop. By placing your Sports Memorabilia on a solid black or white backdrop, you draw a buyer’s immediate attention onto the item. This is easily achieved by hanging a bed sheet or placing poster board behind the item. Use a plain, colored fabric backdrop to make your item stand out. Most importantly, avoid background clutter that can distract buyers or confuse them regarding what you are selling. If you are selling more than one item in your listing, take pictures of the set as a whole and of individual pieces.

  • Cover All Angles: Take pictures from multiple angles and distances, zooming in on important details. Make sure highlight any signatures, dates, logos, and details. Zoom in to show textures and colors. Always include photographs of any flaws—it gives the buyer a clearer idea of what they are bidding on and builds buyer trust.

  • Use Proper Lighting: Natural light tends to give the best representation of your item, however direct sunlight can have the nasty effect of shadows. Find an area that receives indirect sunlight. Try taking your item outside on a sunny day and photograph it in a shady area. If you can't seem to find an area like this, or would prefer to use indoor lighting, try surrounding your item with desk, overhead, or floor lamps. Above all, avoid using your camera's flash which causes distortion and shadows.

  • Add Gallery: Including a Gallery photo with your listing is extremely important for success. You can attract attention to your item with a photo next to your listings in search results. In addition, when a buyer uses “Picture Gallery” to look at search results, your listing will be shown. Your Gallery picture should be a very clear, uncluttered view of your item. Since it is the only photo visible on search pages, make sure it provides a good representation of your item.

Maximize Profits with Low Priced, No Reserve Listings

Auction style listings are a great way to create excitement around your Sports Memorabilia, which in turn can develop into a bidding frenzy among buyers—which could result in a higher selling price for you. The keys to a successful auction style listing are to get your first bid and encourage bidders to continue bidding.

  • Low Starting Price: Getting that first bid is critical, as other buyers are generally more likely to jump in if they see there are already bids on an item. To do this, many sellers prefer to set an opening bid below what the item is actually worth. Try beginning with a low starting price—such as 99 cents—to jumpstart bidding activity.

  • No Reserve: Be careful when setting a reserve price. Buyers may lose interest in an item if they place a bid and find it doesn't meet the reserve. Because they do not know the reserve price, they may assume the seller is simply asking too much for the item. To prevent this from happening, try listing your item with "No Reserve." Items sold with "No Reserve" typically attract more buyer interest, as buyers know that they will actually win the item if they are the high bidder.

  • Accept PayPal: Buyers want to know that they can pay securely when making a purchase on eBay. By accepting PayPal payments, you can build buyer confidence and help protect yourself. PayPal transfers payments to a bank account of your choice and notifies you when a payment has been received. Best of all, PayPal offers free online tools to make managing your payments easier. You can even price shipping labels and track your shipments.

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Ship Your Sports Memorabilia

Ship Your Sports Memorabilia

Specifying reasonable shipping and handling costs in your listing is essential for smart selling—and it improves your search ranking when buyers sort by total cost. Never leave a buyer wondering how much shipping will cost.

Calculate Shipping Costs

Often times, shipping costs will vary by distance. To make sure your shipping charges reflect this, incorporate a shipping calculator into your listing. With the shipping calculator, eBay can automatically calculate the shipping cost for your buyers based on the size and weight of your item and the buyer’s location. You can also program the calculator to add in the cost of packaging materials and your handling fee, if any.

Select a Service Option

To protect both you and your buyer against loss or damage during shipping, consider purchasing shipping insurance for your package—especially for higher priced items. Shipping insurance is available through most shipping companies, and can be purchased while you pay for shipping. You can factor in the cost of shipping insurance into your shipping cost—but make sure you state in your description that you are doing so. Buyers want to know that they are paying extra for shipping for a good reason.

Package Your Sports Memorabilia Securely

After your item sells, you are ready to ship it off to its new home. Make sure you package your item safely and securely. Use bubble wrap, foam, or other packaging materials to make sure your item is not damaged during its move. If you take an item apart to ship it, include a list of pieces and instructions on how to put it back together. Here are a few steps to think about:

  • Wrap It: Individually wrap items and provide lots of cushioning (bubble wrap, peanuts, foam, corrugated dividers, or crumpled paper). Be careful if you choose to reuse newspaper—the ink can rub off and damage your items. If you use foam peanuts, be aware that they may shift in transit, so overfill your box. If any pieces could be damaged by water, make sure you wrap them with a layer of sealed plastic. Place any flat prints, posters, or photographs that cannot be bent in between two large pieces of cardboard and tape tightly. Remember, wrap and pack firmly—you don’t want to hear any rattling!

  • Box It: If the item is on the smaller side, you can order free USPS Priority Mail boxes right on eBay—the United States Postal Service will even deliver them right to your door for free! For larger items, use a corrugated box with rigid sides, intact flaps, and plenty of room for cushioning on all sides. Don't exceed the maximum gross weight of the box (usually printed on bottom flap).

  • Seal It: Use strong tape designed for shipping, rather than masking tape, cellophane tape, string or paper over-wrap. Once you’ve sealed up your package, you can pay for shipping and print shipping labels right from your PayPal account. You can even request a pickup from USPS or UPS, saving you a trip to the Post Office or UPS location.

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Build Your Reputation

Build Your Reputation

Communication is the key to a successful transaction. Make sure you’re available before, during, and after the sale. Answer any questions about your item promptly. Include a thank you note in your package—it’s a great way to surprise and delight your buyer and encourage them to leave you positive feedback.

Always Leave Feedback

Feedback is extremely important for all eBay users. Consistent positive feedback lets buyers know that you manage transactions well and that you care about your reputation. One way to help ensure good feedback is to communicate well, represent your item truthfully in your listing, and be polite. Also remember your buyer’s feedback score is as important to them as yours is to you—so be courteous, thoughtful, and truthful when leaving feedback.

Express Yourself

Be more than just a username to your buyers. Introduce yourself through your About Me page and MyWorld. Add pictures, keep track of your favorite buyers, and tell the community about your interests and collections. Show your expertise by writing Reviews & Guides. Connect with other Sports Memorabilia fans on the Sports Cards, Memorabilia & Fan Shop Discussion Board. Remember, be yourself—and have fun!

Sell for a Cause

Support your favorite cause and enhance buyer trust and loyalty at the same time. eBay Giving Works listings tend to sell at higher final prices, because buyers are more willing to purchase, and often pay more for, items that benefit a nonprofit. Get more exposure and receive a receipt for your tax-deductible donations!

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