By Ray Schulte, SchulteAuctions.com
|Schulte Auctions' August auction included five images Babe Ruth signed and personalized to his sister Mamie. (SchulteAuctions.com)|
Schulte Auctions was one of the many local exhibitors displaying and selling memorabilia on the Convention Center floor. It was exciting to meet hundreds of first-time and potential collectors. Since the event concluded, Schulte Auctions has been inundated with calls from new and inexperienced collectors, including many who have had vintage items handed down to them, but don't know how to get them authenticated, appraised and sold.
It's a good idea for beginner and prospective collectors to proceed with caution until they are familiar with the collectibles market. In order to make the wisest decisions about buying or selling collectibles, keep the following two suggestions in mind.
Authentication is the most important consideration in collecting. Whether you're purchasing or selling sports/entertainment memorabilia, collectors need to have a reputable company authenticate items.
Companies such as Schulte Sports provide tamper-proof holograms on items they witnessed the athlete sign first-hand. JSA Authentication and PSA/DNA are two companies recognized for authenticating third-party signatures such as those of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Abraham Lincoln and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few.
When it comes to authentication of game-used equipment, the opinions of companies such as PSA/DNA as well as individuals including Denny Esken (game-used fielder's gloves) and Lou Lampson (game-used jerseys) are respected and accepted by the collectible industry. For authenticating original photos and graded trading cards, PSA/DNA and Beckett are sought out by collectors nationwide.
Find A Mentor
Check out collectible publications' Web sites, such as Beckett.com, SportsCollectorsDigest.com, SportsCollectorsDaily.com, or AuctionReport.com to find out who advertises, who is active in the market and who may be located near you. Ask questions, ask for references, see if they participate in shows and plan on visiting them in person. Take your time. Find someone who you feel is professional, experienced, knowledgeable, respected and willing to explain the buying and selling process.
There are plenty of reputable individuals and companies willing to help novice collectors. Spend the time to find the right person who will help you feel comfortable with your collecting decisions.
Schulte Auctions featured many great vintage sports memorabilia in its recent August online auction, but none more significant than five images Babe Ruth signed and personalized to his sister Mamie (Mary Margaret Ruth-Mobley).
One image included Babe in a workout tank top with a personalized note to his sister, dated July 21, 1928. In addition, this lot included a separate photo of Mamie actually holding that signed Babe Ruth photo. This lot generated 39 bids and sold for $25,928, including the 15 percent buyer's premium.
In addition, a one-of-a-kind Gehrig photo signed to Mamie generated $12,860. The five Ruth-signed photos and the one Gehrig-signed photo, all signed to Mamie, generated a total of $62,131.
A 1958 Baltimore Colts team-signed football went for $9,662. A book signed by Hall of Famers including Honus Wagner, Paul Waner, Pie Traynor and Clark Griffith sold for $4,959, while a Mike Curtis game-used Baltimore Colts helmet brought $4,239.
Schulte Auctions conducts monthly online auctions featuring vintage sports and entertainment signed and unsigned memorabilia. Consignments are welcome anytime.
Issue 153: September 2010