Obtaining an appraisal on your sports memorabilia collection helps you ascertain the value of your items, whether for insurance purposes or to satisfy your curiosity. Whether you choose to do the research yourself or hire a professional appraiser should depend on the reason for the appraisal in the first place. For insurance purposes, a professional appraisal is recommended, but to satisfy your own curiosity, you can research your items yourself and get an approximate value.
How to Find an Accredited Appraiser Near You
Contact the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), Appraiser's Association of America (AAA), or the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) to find an accredited appraiser in your area. These groups accredit their members and have registration requirements. Look for appraisers who have passed the Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) exam. This also helps to ensure that you get a professional appraisal.
Paid Sports Memorabilia Appraisals
When you need a professional appraisal, often for insurance purposes or when the item in question is highly valuable, you will likely need to pay for the appraisal. Some places charge by the hour, by the item, or another combination of fees.
- Bob & Sally Connelly Appraisals & Estate Sales - Bob Connelly is a member of the ASA and has worked for the Baseball Hall of Fame and National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. Contact him for fees and evaluation purposes.
- Collecting With Jeff Figler - Jeff Figler is a member of both the ISA and AAA. He is the author of several books and has worked with high profile collector's items. Fill out his inquiry form to get a professional valuation.
- Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting LLC - Leila Dunbar is a member of the AAA and ISA. She works with items in sports from golf to basketball to the Olympics. Her appraisals have been featured on the Antiques Roadshow. Email her for information on her appraisal services.
- Baseball in the Attic - Although baseball is in its name, the website's appraiser Michael Osacky (ISA) appraises cards in not only baseball but also football and basketball. He also appraises other items such as autographs and advertising signage. Fill out the online inquiry form for more information.
Free Sports Memorabilia Appraisals and Valuations
If you don't need a professionally accredited appraisal and just want an idea of what your item is worth, you have several options. If your free appraisal is from someone who isn't accredited, your appraisal may be less than accurate and be far above or below what the items may be worth.
A few consignment and auction companies offer free, no-obligation appraisals online. For the most accurate appraisal, include images of your items. Note that it's unlikely any of these free appraisals will be accepted for insurance purposes. They are usually for resale, consignment, auction, or for your personal information only. See each individual website for more details.
- Lelands - Describe your item(s) or collection and send up to three images to get an idea of what they may be worth. Expect to hear back in about a week. They sell everything from championship rings to game bats to jerseys to trading cards.
- Grey Flannel Auctions - If you believe your sports memorabilia (jerseys, authographs, and more) is worth over $100, you can send an inquiry to Grey Flannel Auctions. The company requests you send a follow-up with images, and you will get a quick idea of what the collectible may be worth.
- Heritage Auctions - This large auction house has a Sports Cards & Sports Memorabilia auction evaluation service. Include information about your items and send in photos to get the best estimate. There's even an option to send the form to your phone for easy values on-the-go.
Local sporting shows, fanfest events, and conventions can bring in experts and appraisers from across the country where they advertise free appraisals. Check the list of items the appraiser is willing to look at before you bring your item(s) in; they may specialize in certain sports or types of items (like autographs or equipment). You might be limited to one item and may also need to wait in line for a significant amount of time.
Tips for Finding the Value of Your Sports Memorabilia
If you just want a ballpark figure and you are not worried about a sports collectible appraisal for insurance purposes, you can often get a good idea of the collectible's value yourself.
- Evaluate the item honestly. What kind of condition is it in? The better the condition, the more valuable it is.
- Check a good sports collectors price guide.
- Look at the auction listings on eBay for items that are the same as yours. Be sure and check the auctions that have finished to see the acutal sold prices. You'll find a link to completed auctions on the left sidebar.
- Do a Google search of the item by name. For example, search "1968 Babe Ruth baseball card". Give as many details as possible. Compare your items to the others that come up in the search.
- Determine whether your item is rare. Rare, hard-to-find items are often worth more than common, popular pieces.
- Is your item authenticated? If your antique or vintage sports memorabilia has a certificate of authenticity, it may be worth more.
- Attend shows and conventions that specialize in your category of collectibles. Networking is always a good idea and you will get a feel for what your collectibles are selling for.
- Check local shops and compare your collectibles to the items that they are selling.
Find the Value of Your Sports Collectibles
If you're an avid collector of professional football memorabilia or have a huge collection of autographed Olympic jerseys, you may want to know what they are worth before selling so you can get the best price. When planning to insure your items, you'll need a professionally done appraisal.