How Collectors Get the Value of Sports Posters, Jerseys, Etc

How can collectors determine sports posters, jerseys, and other memorabilia’s value at the top of their heads? That depends entirely on various factors, but in essence, it hinges on the celebrity status of the person who signed it. Generally speaking, an autograph from a more famous or well-known person is worth more than one from a lesser-known individual. Aside from that, the item signed, its condition, its rarity, and trends can drive its price up or down.

Here’s how you, a beginner collector, can act like a pro when buying sports memorabilia for yourself or a friend: by observing the following factors.

The Item Signed

The autograph's format or medium can play a role in how valuable it is to collectors. For example, an autograph on a rare trading card, game-used item, or photograph would be worth more than a signature on a plain piece of paper. An item with an interesting story or historical context, such as Babe Ruth's original signed contract for the Yankees, would be very valuable. A signed napkin at an athlete’s favourite bar or pub? Not so much. An autographed sports poster of a said athlete may fetch more.

The Person Who Signed It

The value of an autograph is not always constant. It can change depending on the person's current popularity. For example, if a person becomes famous or has a big career milestone, their autograph on anything may become more valuable!

Conversely, if the said athlete is considered a sports icon, their autograph value will stay the same or become more collectible over time. Some sports icons include Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan.

The Items Condition

It is important to care for your sports memorabilia because the item's condition can affect its value. Things like fading, smudging, other environmental factors, and even fold marks can damage collectibles. And even if the signed sports posters are in great condition, if the autograph has faded or smudged, its value can drop dramatically! This is why keeping them in display cases that protect your items from UV rays, dust, and people touching them is critical.


Surprisingly, the law of supply and demand also applies to sports memorabilia and is largely determined by how rare an item or person's autograph is. If an athlete is not known to sign autographs very often, their autograph is considered more valuable. Some pro athletes are so popular that it can be difficult to get close to them, let alone have them sign autographs. These rare autographs are usually worth more than signed sports posters that are easier to obtain.

Certain Trends

Events and shifts in pop culture can greatly impact sports autograph values, such as:

  • A player’s passing prevents the creation of any newly signed memorabilia.
  • Their induction into a Hall of Fame or any similar recognising body.
  • The player has decided to stop signing autographs for their reasons and is not required to explain themselves to anyone.
  • The player has broken one or more records.
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