Thursday, February 02, 2017

Sports memorabilia people are REALLY crazy

When I was a kid, I went to quite a few Holy Cross football games, first with my father and later with my friends – something pleasant to do on a fine fall Saturday afternoon. Although I never developed the interest in football that I have for baseball, nor the affection for the sport, watching those Crusader games is where I learned about football. (At least from the games I watched with my father. By the time I was going with my friends, I was 12 or 13, and we were mostly mooning about the cute guys, not wondering about whether they were going to run a flea-flicker play.)

Although back in the day, Holy Cross played teams like Penn State, Boston College (THE big game of the year, and an event that cemented my historic antipathy towards BC), and – oddly – the Quantico Marines, it wasn’t exactly big-time football. The crowds were small (except for the BC game), the games low-key, and the athletes approachable.

I knew they were approachable because, after the games, when the players were filing out the same exit that the fans were, small boys would gather around, and the players would give them the chin straps from their helmets.

Even at a young age, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why someone would want some jock’s sweaty chin strap. My sense was correct - a cursory search for chin strap memorabilia doesn’t seem to unearth any stand-alone chin straps. It does indicate that there’s more value to a helmet if the chin strap is attached.

But even though I may have realized that an Al Snyder or Tom Hennessey chin strap wasn’t actually worth that much, I still didn’t get it. And even at a young age, it was abundantly clear that I had no future in the sports memorabilia business.

Not that I would have anticipated it, but jock straps, on the other hand, do seem to be worth something. A quick google found that, a couple of years back, someone paid $25K for a Nolan Ryan jock strap. (Can I have an ewwwwww?)

But you’ll have to pay a lot more than that for a game-worn Tom Brady jersey, which is being brokered by Hunt Auctions. It’s expected to fetch between $50K to $75K. That’s an incredible figure, but there it is:

Rare and Desirable Tom Brady 10/12/2014 game worn New England Patriots jersey (Outstanding use, 4-TD game). Nike size 44 Patriots #12 Tom Brady jersey worn during Breast Cancer Awareness game against the Bills. Includes NFL Auctions COA from PSA/DNA, with matching serial #ed sticker affixed to the jersey. Brady went 27-37 for 361 yards and 4-TDs in the game. The jersey shows exceptional use with numerous stains and impact marks on the front, back, and shoulders. One of a scant few documented game used jerseys to have entered the marketplace from arguably the game’s greatest quarterback. (Source: Hunt Auctions)

Well, you can’t argue with rare. There was only one game jersey worn by Our Tom on October 12, 2014. But desirable? Okay, more desirable than Nolan Ryan’s jock. But desirable-desirable?

The bid when I looked (Wednesday PM) was for $38,599. And that, me thinks, is officially nuts. Although, having said that, I am gratified to see that Peyton Manning’s game day jersey from that same Breast Cancer Awareness date in 2014 has an expected sale range of $25K – $35K, and so far has only been bid up to $7,260. (Probably by his father Archie or brother Eli. Or maybe by Our Tom himself, who probably doesn’t want Peyton to feel bad. Tough enough to have to contend with not being the GOAT – that’s Greatest Of All Time, non-sports-fans – let alone having to contend with your memorabilia being worth so little, relatively speaking. I mean, even if Peyton Manning’s shirt gets $25K, that’s the same price as Nolan Ryan’s jock.)

While Our Tom is clearly more valuable than Their Peyton, overall, the key to value is whether the shirt (and, I guess, the jock strap: can I have another ewwwww?) has been worn in combat. 

For comparisons sake, a Brady jersey that was not worn during gameplay but is signed by the quarterback typically sells for upwards of $1,000 to $1,500. (Source: Boston Globe)

And, according to Jeremy Kraft of Hunt Auctions, “the grittier the better.”

“We’ve got a J.J. Watt [of the Houston Texans] in the case over there that looks like it’s got blood on it,” Kraft said. “That will add measurably to the selling price.”

What? Can you squeeze the DNA out of it and make a J.J. Watt clone or something? 

Brady’s jersey is blood-free, but it does show “exceptional use.”…There are also some visible dirt stains, indicating Brady may have gone down while in the uniform.

Tom Brady’s visible dirt stains? He may have gone down? Ooh, ahh…The allure eludes me.

But can you imagine what a blood, sweat, and tear-stained jersey off the back of TB12, the GOAT whether you like it (or him) or not, will be worth if Brady wins his fifth Super Bowl on Sunday?

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