Sports Memorabilia News

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Signed photos, programmes, shirts, boxing gloves and more. The perfect piece to complement your collection or auction at a sportsmans' dinner. Those are the sports collectibles we deal with every day but here's where you'll find the alternative.

The odd, the extreme, the record-breaking - when sports memorabilia makes the news you'll read about it here.

From UCLan to India…

Everyone who goes to university will tell you that they’ve met some interesting characters along their higher education journey but those who attend the University of Central Lancashire may just take the bragging rights.

That’s because a sports researcher from the Preston-based university, Professor Boria Majumdar, isn’t just an acclaimed author, newspaper columnist and television pundit in India but he has also opened the country’s first ever multi-sport museum.

The UCLan Senior Research Fellow Professor, to give him his full title, has collected a whole host of sports memorabilia over the years including one of Pele’s 1970 World Cup jerseys, Roger Federer’s signed cap and even a boot worn by Lionel Messi!

Of those iconic sporting collectibles, Majumdar said: “It has taken me the best part of two decades to bring this collection together to preserve India’s sporting history for future generations.”

Nearly 1,000 items of sports memorabilia grace The Fanattic Sports Museum in Kolkata, with collectibles from India’s cricketing heroes such as Sachin Tendulkar on display, as well as a range of memorabilia from the worlds of football, tennis, golf and athletics.

Legend Tendulkar was also one of five people who officially opened the momentous building along with some of India’s finest Olympians and Paralympians.

Amongst all the excitement Majumdar hasn’t forgotten his UCLan links, with the University’s International Football Institute set to use its partnership with the National Football Museum in Manchester to loan several items of sports memorabilia to the professor’s project.

Yet it’s not just museums that can put their sports memorabilia on show. You can too, and you can build you collection here.

George Best memorabilia still a best seller

What did you get in your stocking this Christmas? Maybe a brand new football shirt with Ibrahimovic or Pogba printed on the back?

If sales figures from the National Football Museum’s gift shop are anything to go by however, you probably received some sports memorabilia based on a much older footballing legend over the festive period.

George Best scored 179 goals in close to 500 appearances during an 11-year stay with Manchester United and despite his death in 2005, the magician from Northern Ireland remains extremely close to the hearts of his fans.

Not only did Best memorabilia outsell some of Manchester’s current stars at the museum, but it was also seen as a more popular Christmas present than replica trophies from that infamous 1966 World Cup. Now that’s some feat!

Framed pictures of the former winger flew off the shelves, while an abstract print of Best by Manchester-based artist Fanny Gogh was also a top seller.

The Best sporting collectibles don’t stop there however and still available at the museum is one of the poster boy’s boots which is framed and finished with iconic pictures from his playing days; priced at £2,000.

With football on the mind why not check out some of our football memorabilia here.

Football fan turns garden shed into Spurs memorabilia shrine

How many times have you dreamed of going out for a pint with your footballing hero? Well if you’re a Tottenham Hotspur fan, we’ve got the next best thing.

Lifelong Spurs fan Darren Stump has transformed his huge blue and white Essex garden shed into a shrine including thousands of pounds' worth of football memorabilia.

Also a games room, the walls are covered with signed shirts and photographs of players both past and present. Even the toilet walls are donned with memorabilia!

Although Stump may not be able to talk to his idols over a drink, he can certainly look back with fond memories as he samples some of the delights from his well-stocked bar.

Just like the contents of that bar, the sports collectibles on show are vast; having been collected by Stump since his first Tottenham match back in 1982, as well as items passed on by both of his grandfathers.

Alongside the memorabilia is a dart board, pool table and wide screen TV, which recently saw the Spurs fan's paradise – which cost £15,000 to create over a four year period - named ‘Britain’s Best Man Cave’ for 2016.

We might not be able to offer you a pint but what we do have is a wide range of sports memorabilia and you can view it here.

Manchester United auction memorabilia for UNICEF

Football Clubs have suffered their fair share of bad press in recent times but a gala event hosted by Manchester United last month showcased the good side of the English game.

Raising money for children’s charity UNICEF, the 13-time Premier League champions auctioned off a whole host of football memorabilia including signed shirts.

The most popular item of the night however came from the ‘Special One’ himself, as manager Jose Mourinho donated his Hublot watch to the cause which went for a lofty sum of £16,000.

It didn’t stop there however, with £30,000 being raised from Mourinho’s possessions alone which included a worn Adidas hoodie and the scarf he held aloft when appointed as the Club’s new manager last summer.

In total the event – which also hosted a table raffle and live entertainment – made £215,000 for UNICEF and their work in Thailand.

It was the 17th time that the Premier League giants had held the gala evening since the first one back in 2000, with a highly impressive £4million raised during that period; proving how powerful sports memorabilia can be to fundraising.

With football on the mind why not check out some of our football memorabilia.

Schumacher memorabilia to be opened to the public

He is regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time and now fans of Michael Schumacher will have the opportunity to share in his success with some great racing memorabilia set to go public for the first time.

The German driver’s 1994 Benetton B194 from his first world championship-winning season is one of a number of items which will be on display at a new Motorworld centre set to be opened in Cologne next year, which is close to Schumacher’s home town of Kerpen.

Other sporting collectibles on show will include karts from his early racing career, sports cars, trophies and some of the F1 cars he drove on his way to achieving a record seven world championship triumphs.

If you thought that was good, entry to the museum will also be free of charge!

Schumacher’s manager, Sabine Kehm, said: “It is in the heart’s desire of Michael’s family that all interested fans should get to see Michael’s collection without having to pay an admission charge.”

It has been an extremely difficult period of time for the Schumacher family following Michael’s skiing accident in 2013 which left him in a coma for six months but this announcement will give fans the chance to bring some great memories back to life.

With the new Motorworld centre not opening until next year however, why not take a look at some of our Formula One memorabilia.

Rugby to help dementia sufferers?

With 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 suffering from dementia, there are very few families who could say they have not been affected by the disease in one way or another.

Seeing a parent or a grandparent forget everything around them can be heart breaking and coping with the disease can be a major struggle but in one part of the UK, sports memorabilia is having a striking influence.

Rugby League side Widnes Vikings – in partnership with charity Community Integrated Care (CIC) - have called on supporters both past and present to donate their rugby collectibles to the Club including old shirts, match day programmes, videos and photographs.

Why have they done that you may ask?

Head of marketing and communications at CIC, John Hughes, said: “Through using these nostalgic objects we can help people we support remember their special times cheering on the Club.”

The Viking’s memorabilia will be put into memory boxes which will then be taken to the charity’s specialist dementia care homes in both Widnes and Runcorn, as well as a free monthly support group for those affected by the disease which is held at the Club itself.

Sporting memorabilia may not be able to cure the 850,000 people who suffer every day but it is certain to bring a smile to their faces.

Could our rugby memorabilia spark special memories for someone you know?

Be part of Rio 2016 and buy your own little bit of history!

Let’s face it, we’ve all done it! We’ve all watched the Olympics this summer and thought maybe if I had just tried a little harder in P.E. and that could have been me.

Well fear not! You might not have taken part in the 31st Olympic Games (of the modern era) but you can get pretty darn close to it through the Games’ official auction site.

Sports memorabilia varying from match equipment, to flags carried at the opening ceremony and even the torches used to carry the Olympic flame are available to buy.

The auction site will remain open until the end of October, with the prices guaranteed to grow and grow as fans desperately battle it out to get their hands on a bit of Rio (not Ferdinand!).

If you enjoy anywhere near the success that Team GB has experienced at these games when bidding you’ll have done very well and although the men’s rugby seven’s side may have suffered defeat in their gold medal match with Fiji, the ball used in the final sold for over £700.

The most iconic piece of Rio memorabilia however has to be the torch used to light the Olympic cauldron which currently stands at selling for over £4,000.

That’s a medal-winning price! If you’d like to check out some of our sports memorabilia click here.

Yorkshire pub landlord assembles world class sports memorabilia auction

Think that to find sports collectibles from top names like Usain Bolt, Pele, Maradona or Jose Mourinho you need to head to the big auction houses? You don’t. You can find them at Sports & Music Legends, or you can visit the Flying Ferret in Shelley, Yorkshire.

We love this story. For years, Chris Barrow, landlord of the Flying Ferret in Shelley, near Huddersfield, has been building a formidable collection of sporting memorabilia: a kitbag signed by Usain Bolt, shirts signed by everyone from Pele to Denis Law, and a poster from Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League triumph signed by the team.

Now, Chris is auctioning it all in aid of two charities. The 66 lot auction, which will also include items donated by football clubs and others, will take place at the pub on Friday 29 July, and Chris hopes to raise £3,000.

Speaking to The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Chris said: “I’ve got stuff from all over the place, I’ve begged stolen and borrowed. I got hooked in to it and so I said why don’t we try and do something big for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, especially with the fire they’ve had.

“I think some of the stuff is pretty rare, for instance the Usain Bolt bag, I’ve never seen one of those before, and the poster from the Champions League final.”

Pele sports memorabilia auction raise over £3 million

3 days. 100% of lots sold. And a grand total of £3.4 million raised. It seems the world is still in love with Pele.

A few months back, we mentioned that footballing legend Pele was auctioning off his collection of sports memorabilia, with a portion of the proceeds heading to Pequeno Principe, the largest children’s hospital in Brazil, a cause close to Pele’s heart.

Auctioneers Julien’s, the LA based sports and movie auctioneers who had decamped to London for this special event, expected a hefty return, but the lots ensured that the total raised exceeded even their expectations.

Major items (in a 3 day auction of practically nothing but major items) included:

  • Pele’s final World Cup winner’s medal from 1970 - £346,000
  • His 1000th game crown - £162,000
  • A replica of the Jules Rimet trophy (the original World Cup trophy) - £395,000
  • The football boots he wore during filming of the unlikely Michael Caine/Sylvester Stallone/Bobby Moore starring Escape to Victory

Even more impressively, every lot was sold, which as a host of famous names have discovered at recent memorabilia auctions, doesn’t always happen.

Need a choice of sporting memorabilia that’s a bit more affordable? Take a look here.

West Ham auctions its history

When you’re a club with a history like West Ham, you can do a lot with a sports memorabilia auction.

West Ham is on the move. Since 1904, Upton Park (or the Boleyn Ground as everyone suddenly seems to be calling it) has been home to the Hammers. Now the club has played its last game in its traditional home, and from next season will be kicking off in the mighty Olympic Stadium in East London.

That raises the question of what to do with your existing ground? Not the space it occupies – that’s going to be used to build apartments. But what do you do with the seats, the goalposts, the managers chair and, as this is West Ham, the bubble machine?

They’re all part of an on and offline line sports memorabilia auction and fans have apparently inundated the club with requests.

BBC Sport reports that “the auction will open on 18 May and close over two days, 8 and 9 June, while the football memorabilia online auction will open on 23 May and close over two days, 13 and 14 June. A live webcast auction at the Boleyn Ground will take place on 4 June.” Proceeds will go to the club’s youth academy.

West Ham vice chairman and Apprentice star Baroness Karren Brady told the BBC "We initially wanted to take everything that means so much to us at the Boleyn Ground to display at our new home, but since that has proved impossible, we are doing the next best thing by ensuring many of those items go to the homes of our fans instead. But some things aren’t for sale.”

Is British Cycling auctioning off equipment?

As sports auctions go, have British Cycling taken things a step too far?

As you’ll know if you’re a regular browser of these pages, we love a good sports memorabilia auction. Signed photos, programmes, sportswear, balls: we’re there.

But in a week of bad headlines for British Cycling, here’s further indication that things may not be quite as they should. Allegations have been made – and we should stress they are yet to be substantiated – that performance sportswear, equipment and bikes with a value of up to £10,000 have been found on certain auction websites.

UK Sport and British Cycling are launching an investigation into how the products have found their way into the mainstream. Was it theft? Was it a case of out of date products (eg as a result of sponsorship changes) being jettisoned and finding their way online via numerous third parties? Or have the sales been authorised in some way? If so, it would be an embarrassment for an organisation that has received over £30 million investment from UK Sport as it heads towards Rio.

The products would no doubt be of huge interest to sports memorabilia collectors (presumably with deep pockets). But the bigger issue is whether, if any of these products were to make it into the hands of competitors, they might somehow compromise any competitive edge the British cyclists may have had in Rio.

We certainly hope not - and we’re glad we stick to far less controversial sporting collectibles…

Biggest football memorabilia auction ever?

2,000 football collectibles are about to go up for sale – and the seller is as mighty a footballing great as you can get.

You can argue until the cows come home about who is the greatest footballer of all time. We’re still thinking Bruno Cheyrou, although we don’t appear to have a great deal of support for that.

But whether you’re in camp Ronaldo, Messi or Maradona there’s one name that still packs a bigger punch. One name that still makes you sit up, more than 40 years after packing in the beautiful game for the slightly less beautiful North American Soccer League. One name, in preference to the rather lengthier Edson Arantes do Nascimento.


He’s already donated much of his collection to the City of Santos. Now, in his own words Pele has “decided to allow fans and collectors to own a piece of my history as well. I hope they treasure these artefacts and share my story with their children and generations to come.”

Amongst the 2,000 items of football memorabilia are:

  • His iconic Brazil no. 10 shirt
  • The ball used in his 1,000th game
  • A pair of his boots from the 1970s; and
  • A replica of the Jules Rimet trophy, created especially for Pele by the Mexican government when he became the first (and to date only) player to win the World Cup three times, the last in Mexico

The trophy is estimated to fetch a staggering £281,000 – £420,000, although that seems a pretty wide margin of error to us.

The sale is in London this July.

Want to find sporting memorabilia from your sporting hero? Take a look here.

The fickle world of sports memorabilia

Sports memorabilia thrives on its heroes. So what happens when they become villains?

Typically, you buy sporting memorabilia for one of three reasons: because you’re a fan, because you love an investment, or because it’s a gift for someone who’s a fan or investor.

But what happens to the value of memorabilia when the sporting hero whose signed photo sits on your wall stops being a hero? Oddly, it seems, not much.

A few days ago Tyson Fury, world heavyweight champion, teased (depending on the source) either his next fight or his imminent retirement, fuelled by the furore surrounding his well-publicised views on women.

Then there was the case of Adam Johnson, the Sunderland footballer sacked by his club after admitting sexual activity with a 15 year old girl. His trial in relation to other charges is ongoing.

You might think that when a sporting hero with views like Fury’s retires after a relatively brief moment in the spotlight, all the value in his sports memorabilia might vanish too. Similarly, you might think that the value of autographed Adam Johnson shirts might have taken a hit from which they’ll never recover.

And yet...

The history of sports memorabilia suggests that notoriety can be just as powerful a driver of sales as success.

Maradona’s career may have been stellar in parts, but it was also punctuated by notable drugs bans and the shooting of 4 journalists with an air rifle. OJ Simpson is serving a 33 year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping. Oscar Pistorius is currently appealing against his conviction for the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

The common factor amongst these disgraced sports stars? Their sports memorabilia is thriving nicely, thank you very much – perhaps a case of notoriety fuelling interest rather than dampening it.

We may think it distasteful (at best), but if drug abuse, kidnapping and murder aren’t enough to put a brake on your popularity, are unsavoury views and under-age sex likely to? For a certain type of collector, it seems that villainy is every bit as popular as heroism.

Sports memorabilia that’s gone in a flash?

Perhaps it was inevitable. But a pair of trainers signed by Usain Bolt have broken a speed record of their own: the fastest theft of a piece of sporting memorabilia in history.

He’s remained nameless, but the winner of a recent sports auction must go down as being the most ironically unlucky person of 2016 so far.

He’d paid “a significant amount of money” for the Puma trainers, which came in a box of authenticity. The money went to a sports charity. The trainers went in the owner’s BMW, which ended the night parked in St Albans.

Sometime between midnight and 10.00am the next day, they were stolen from the car, say Hertfordshire Police.

It’s a cruel tale, and one that reinforces a message we’ve repeated a number of times on these pages. Sports memorabilia is a serious business for criminals as well as the rest of us. Keep yours insured. If it’s on public display (for example in your bar, club or restaurant), take precautions to protect it (make sure your CCTV cameras keep it in view for starters). And don’t leave it on full view in your car.

Our commiserations to the owner, and we hope the trainers find their way home as fast as they disappeared.

2015’s sports memorabilia winners

It’s been another memorable sporting year, and as always it’s the extremes that generate the most valuable memorabilia.

The most sought after collectibles come not from the same old same old of ongoing success (Celtic, the All Blacks, Djokovic), hugely impressive though that success is. They come from achievement that’s notable and new; from controversy; from the unexpected outsiders and the perennial underachievers suddenly achieving.

So here’s our guide to 5 teams/individuals whose sports memorabilia stock has been rising this year:

Leicester City/Jamie Vardy

They may have been in top spot in the Premiership in August but they’d never be there come the end of September. Or October. Well, they’ll have definitely faded come November. Er…

The Foxes are this year’s surprise package, and at time of writing they’re still 2nd. That success has been led by Claudio Ranieri off the pitch, and by Jamie Vardy on it.

Vardy equalled Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 11 Premiership games in a row. Now he’s launching a belated England career at the age of 28. He’s even had a pack of crisps named after him. Both team and player are making serious waves, and that’s always good for sports memorabilia collectors.

Team GB (tennis)

79 years in the wilderness, and then Andy Murray (with a little help from brother Jamie) wins the David Cup for Britain. On the basis that it could be another 79 years until we win it again, this year’s David Cup could offer up some valuable sporting memorabilia.

Tyson Fury

It was all going so well. He defeated Wladimir Klitschko to become world heavyweight champion. Then his views on women and homosexuality rather took the limelight, leading to calls for his removal from the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year shortlist.

Yet all the noise and furore has served to underline one fact: love him or hate him and his view of the world, Tyson Fury is news. And newsworthiness makes sports memorabilia valuable.

Lewis Hamilton

Hang on, wasn’t Lewis Hamilton World Champion last year too? Well, yes, but there’s a reason the 3-time champ is on this list. 3 was the number of world titles Hamilton was targeting, putting him on an equal footing with his idol Ayrton Senna.

Whatever the future holds (he has a long way to go to equal Michael Schumacher’s 7 titles) 3 is the number that makes him a true F1 great – and his memorabilia even more sought after.

Who do you think has increased the value of their sports memorabilia this year? Tell us here.

The world’s most valuable car?

This December, the Ferrari of a Formula 1 legend goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s. If it reaches its expected price of £24 million, it will become the most expensive car – and the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia - in history.

Formula 1 fans know just how good Juan Manuel Fangio was. Five times World Champion (second only to Michael Schumacher), many consider him to be the best driver ever to sit behind the wheel of an F1 car.

In an astonishingly brilliant career, Fangio started 51 Grand Prix, made the podium 35 times, 24 of those in first place. He won his 5 championships in just 7 years – and might have won many more had he not started racing late in life (he won his last title when he was 46).

So when a Fangio car reaches a sports memorabilia auction, it’s big news.

The ultra-rare Ferrari 290 MM has a 3.5-litre V12 engine delivering 345bhp and a top speed of 180mph.

Unlike many cars from the period, it has never been crashed. Life expectancy was appalling for F1 drivers of Fangio’s era – the loss of so many friends was one of the reasons for him calling time on his career. So the fact this car has its original engine, gearbox, chassis and bodywork makes it even more of a rarity.

The car, owned and kept in the UK, will be auctioned on December 10. If it tops the £23 million paid for a Ferrari 250 GTO in 2014 it will become the most expensive car in history.

And if you want to lay your hands on some authentic F1 sporting memorabilia but can’t quite run to £24 million, take a look here.

Have you insured your sports memorabilia?

As distressing news reaches us from one Boston sports memorabilia collector, we ask whether it’s time to check the contents of your home insurance policy.

When employees of a Boston barber shop turned in for work earlier this week, they were shocked to find bare walls where their signed sports memorabilia once had pride of place.

Thieves had stolen signed Jerseys of New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, Boston Bruins’ Johnny Bucyk, Red Sox hitter David Ortiz, and former Celtics star Paul Pierce among others.

In all, the haul of 12 sports collectibles was reckoned to be worth $6,000, but as barber Justin Petkewich told NECN, the loss isn’t about the money. The memorabilia had sentimental value, he said, and now that it's gone the shop "doesn't feel like home."

It’s a point that every collector will empathise with, but while your collection may be irreplaceable, should the worst happen you’ll want to be able to do something to mitigate the loss.

By its very nature you can’t just go out and buy another identical item of sports memorabilia should yours be stolen, but often you can find something similar. Affording it though, could be another matter.

If you’re a serious collector, you need to take another look at your insurance policy to make sure your collection is adequately covered.

A household policy may cover the ‘nuts and bolts’ of frames and shirts and photos, but frequently they will fail entirely to take account of market value, appreciation and sentimental appeal – all things which specialist policies can put a price on.

So if you want to stand a better chance of creating a new collection should yours meet with disaster, start by choosing a specialist collectors’ insurer. We’re not advertising or recommending any providers here, but you’ll be able to research providers online.

Sports and Music Legends UPDATE November 2015: We’re delighted to report that the signed sports memorabilia stolen from the Saugus barber shop has now been recovered by police.

As reports, Saugus Police Chief Domenic DiMella said in a statement: “We were happy to assist in returning these coveted items to their rightful owner to bring back the Boston sports atmosphere to this barbershop. Our investigation into the theft remains open and ongoing, but charges are forthcoming.”

Our 5 favourite items of 2015 Rugby World Cup sports memorabilia

The big sporting events just keep coming. Hot on the heels of the Ashes, we take a look at some noteworthy Rugby World Cup sporting memorabilia.

Shirts. Balls. Beanies. So far so standard. But delve deeper into the official Rugby World Cup Store and you’ll find plenty of inspiration for sporting collectibles that are more leftfield than outfield. With apologies to our readers in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales…

England Rugby Oven Glove

Handling problems? Never drop the ball – or that piping hot casserole – again.

Throw in Gnome

If we had to pick one sports collectible here that had serious investment potential it would have to be this. Quirky. Unlikely to be collected in droves, yet collectible enough to make buying worthwhile.

Also essential if you just love garden gnomes.

England Ice Cube Tray

We’re resisting the temptation to write something about the England team keeping it’s cool as the tournament progresses. Oh damn…

World Cup Baby Gift Sets

Bib, hat and bootees with ‘Try!’ emblazoned on the front. Essential sporting memorabilia? Possibly not. Cute? Definitely.

Limited Second Edition Watch

If ever there’s a phrase to raise interest with a sports memorabilia collector, it’s ‘limited edition’. At £100 this affordable and rather natty second edition watch follows the sell-out first edition.

Resist the temptation to wear it and keep it safely stored in its box for maximum memorabilia value.

Our favourite 2015 Ashes sporting memorabilia

Lord’s, the home of English cricket, is offering you dozens of ways to revel in the trouncing of the Aussies celebrate a famous victory. Here are our favourites.

The Birth of the Ashes Linen Tea Towel
There’s nothing like practical sports collectibles. But do we have to equate the Ashes with pot washing? On the other hand, it’s useful for wiping the sweat from Michael Clarke’s fevered brow.

Kangaroo with Ashes Urn
It’s an ‘if only’ moment for all travelling Australians really, isn’t it? You’ll be unsurprised to learn its now on a hefty discount. Sports memorabilia hunters take note – it’s often the more obscure and unwanted items today that become tomorrow’s really valuable collectibles.

Ashes Urn Spiral notebook
We bought one of these to keep track of the score during the 4th Test. Australia’s 1st innings didn’t stretch to page 2.

Ashes Urn pencil topper
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it. It just amused us that the pencil topper looks roughly the same size as the real urn.

Of course, the thing about all of these is that none of them are signed by the people who were there. So if you want cricket memorabilia that really takes you back, take a look here.

The 3 million dollar ball

What have Spiderman and the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever got in common?

We feature a lot of sporting memorabilia on these pages, but this is the one that outshines them all – in terms of sheer cost value, at least.

In 1998 Mark McGwire beat Sammy Sosa’s record for the most home runs in a single baseball season. In 1999, the ball with which McGwire achieved his record-breaking 70th home run was bought by comic-book creator Todd McFarlane for a record-breaking $3 million.

McFarlane had made his name as an artist on The Amazing Spiderman comic, but when he grew tired of creating the visuals for someone else’s stories, he struck out with his own independent comic book label and created Spawn. Although little-known outside of comic book circles, issue 1 of McFarlane’s creation remains the fastest selling independent comic book of all time. Which goes a long way to explaining how he could afford $3 million for McGwire’s ball.

Not that McGwire would be impressed. “I wouldn’t pay a dime for it,” he reportedly once said.

Not a sports memorabilia fan, then…

Happily, our sporting memorabilia doesn’t need record breaking amounts to make its way to your wall. You can find your perfect piece here.

An honour to own it

Sports memorabilia hunters have a certain mindset. And it’s one that’s shared by collectors of other memorabilia too.

If you’re a collector of sporting memorabilia you’ll know that prickly, hot/cold feeling you get when you spot something that absolutely has to become part of your collection.

Well, you’re not alone. Movie memorabilia hunters get it. Music fans get it when they spot that rare vinyl/poster/tour programme. And, slightly less expectedly, science historians get it too.

For the evidence, we need to look to Boise, Idaho where 92 year old retired experimental physicist Leon Lederman has decided to sell his Nobel Prize in physics.

“The prize has been sitting on a shelf somewhere for the last 20 years,” Lederman told Wink News adding, in typically scientific fashion, that selling “seems like a logical thing to do.”

The prize, won for Lederman’s role in the discovery of the muon neutrino subatomic particle, has a reserve of $325,000, which begs the question, who buys science memorabilia?

“The people who buy [Nobel Prizes] in some ways have a similar mindset to people who buy sports memorabilia,” explains Laura Yntema, auction manager for Nate D. Sanders Auctions. “It would just be an honour to own it.”

Somehow it’s comforting to know that, whatever memorabilia you want to place on your wall or shelf, the attitude among collectors is the same the world over, whether its sports memorabilia or something rather more cerebral.

We can’t claim to offer much (or anything) for science collectors, but you’ll find plenty of sports collectibles here.

4 minute memorabilia

Sports memorabilia doesn’t get more special than this…

Some sporting moments are so monumental that they break free from the back pages and take on a life of their own. They become part of national history, which means any sporting memorabilia associated with them becomes part of national history too. Yesterday, a stopwatch did just that.

In 1954, Sir Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Key to ensuring his record stood was the accuracy of the stopwatch that timed the run. It went to auction at Sotheby’s yesterday and fetched £20,000, far in excess of the £5,000 - £8,000 it was expected to reach.

As reported in the Oxford Mail, Sir Roger said, “I’m not surprised that the watch went for so much money as there has been a great interest in it. It is one of the most special watches.”

Included in the lot was an invoice for repairs, a signed copy of Sir Roger’s autobiography, First Four Minutes, and an autographed programme from the momentous day, all of which had been kept by the watch’s original owner – and timekeeper for the Iffley Road athletics track – W K Burfitt.

What other sports memorabilia has iconic status? Tell us what you think on the Sports and Music Legends Twitter feed.

Mike Tindall celebrates a sports auction bargain

We’ve all got a little light headed at the odd charity sports auction. But what we buy doesn’t usually end up challenging for the Grand National.

Admit it. If you’re a dedicated sports fan, you too will once have splurged rather expensively at a sporting auction. For most of us, that loss of control will have been down to some coveted piece of sports memorabilia: a programme, a shirt or signed photograph. For rugby union World Cup winner Mike Tindall, it was a horse. On Saturday, the expensive results of his boozy night out came in 3rd at Aintree.

Tindall hadn’t planned on buying a quarter stake in Monbeg Dude. He was only at the auction as a favour to friend, trainer Michael Scudamore. With the last lot of the evening he threw his hat into ring for a £12,000 stake in “the Dude” as he calls him, a move which saw wife Zara brand him “an idiot”.

When the 40/1 outsider ran home in 3rd position, netting the Tindalls £105,000 in prize money, it’s safe to assume the Queen’s granddaughter was rather more impressed.

"Holy s***, I'm lost for words and emotions. All I can say is yes the dude!!!!!" Tindall tweeted.

What’s your most successful sporting memorabilia or sports auction purchase? Tell us about it here.

The hunt for school sports memorabilia

Sack race. Two-legged race. Egg and spoon race. Not all sports memorabilia needs to come from the Olympic end of the spectrum.

Over the past few years these pages have featured memorabilia from the sporting greats: Ali, Pele, Senna, Eddie the Eagle. But not all collectibles hail from the glorified end of the sporting spectrum. And one soon to close school in Scotland is searching for sports memorabilia all of its own.

Next year, Fort William RC Primary will close its doors for the last time as it merges with another local school. With 83 years of history under its belt, staff are eager to compile a visual record of the school’s life and they’re asking former pupils (or children of former pupils) to send in their photos from the classroom and the sports field.

We’d like to help, so if you have any sports memorabilia from Fort William RC Primary you can post it on the group’s Facebook page.

Can we have our F1 memorabilia back?

With news that collapsed F1 team Marussia could be about to return to the sport, does their recent memorabilia auction now seem a bit hasty?

For all its many highlights, the collapse of two Formula 1 teams towards the end of the 2014 season was, as Eddie Jordan described it “a devastating loss.”

But F1’s loss was the sporting memorabilia hunter’s gain, as one of the teams, Marussia, began auctioning its fixtures, fittings and cars. Two auctions were planned. One in December began mundanely enough with desks and computer equipment going under the hammer. These lots were followed by boxes of the team’s own F1 memorabilia, including driver Timo Glock’s race suit, a 2010 steering wheel and the nose cone from Max Chilton’s 2014 car – it fetched £15,000.

The second memorabilia auction was planned for 21 January. But it never happened.

That’s because it now seems talk of Marussia’s demise might have been a little premature. Administrators have told BBC News that the team is making progress “towards a longer term viable solution.” Team president Graeme Lowdon appears to have sourced new investors and the team could be about to resurface in time to take part in at least some of the 2015 season.

Only they’re now missing rather a lot of desks, IT equipment and Max Chilton’s nose cone. So, could this be the first time a sports team asks for its memorabilia back because it hasn’t finished with it?

In case this is the start of a trend, and if you’re looking for Formula One memorabilia, best get a move on.

When is sports memorabilia not sports memorabilia?

Accrington Stanley offer tickets for the match that never was.

The clue’s in the name: sports memorabilia is collected because of its association with a particular sport or game. So if the game never actually existed, is it still memorabilia?

The answer, to Accrington Stanley fans at least, appears to be yes. Had history worked out a little differently, last weekend the team would have been lining up against Man Utd in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Sadly, Yeovil put paid to those plans in the 2nd round, leaving Accrington’s dreams in tatters for another year.

But that didn’t stop Accrington producing 250 special edition tickets to the Man Utd tie that never happened – and they’ve sold the lot at £200 each.

According to BBC News and club chairman Peter Marsden, the idea was “tongue in cheek” but the £5,000 raised (much of that via a single purchase of 100 tickets by an ex-pat Accrington fan living in Brazil) will go towards strengthening the team.

This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen sporting memorabilia for events that never happened, but usually those tickets/programmes etc are for genuine events cancelled at the last minute as a result of unforeseen events.

We think this may be the first time we’ve seen sports memorabilia relating to what is, effectively, a completely fictional tie. Can you think of others? Let us know via Twitter.

Sporting memorabilia hits the net for charity

The World Cup winning boot worn by Germany’s Mario Gotze has smashed a goal of a very different kind, by raising £1.6 million at auction.

How’s your 2014 been? Done anything particularly memorable? If you’re Mario Gotze, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ because it was his left boot that steered home Andre Schurrle’s cross to win the World Cup for Germany in Rio.

The boot formed part of a sporting memorabilia auction in aid of A Heart for Children, a German charity, and Gotze was delighted by the final sale price.

‘Two million [Euros] is such a huge sum,” the Metro reports Gotze as saying. “The good thing is that it’s for a good cause and not just for a boot.”

If you’re planning a celebration this New Year, why not make it a Happy New Year for your chosen charity too with a sporting memorabilia auction? We can’t promise you’ll raise €2 million, but you’ll be able to take our sports memorabilia on a sale or return basis, so you raise risk free money for charity – and create a great centrepiece for your event.

Find out more about charity sporting memorabilia auctions or contact us here.

A tale of two medals

Medals owned by Sir Stanley Matthews and Jimmy Greaves have gone under the hammer this month – but the history behind these two pieces of sporting memorabilia is very different.

1953. The Matthews Final remains the only FA Cup Final to have been affectionately renamed in honour of its star player. And that’s saying something considering that the Matthews Final featured what remains the only FA Cup hat-trick, scored by Stan Mortensen.

Sir Stanley’s winner’s medal had been owned by former They Think It’s All Over presenter Nick Hancock, a lifelong Stoke supporter, the club with which Matthews made his name and ended his playing career.

With a guide price of £60,000, Hancock was in for a surprise as the bidding climbed to a final £220,000. "I am very, very happy with the sale,” he told BBC News. “I was watching on the internet at home - I think I would have keeled over if I was in the auction house,"

Jimmy Greaves’ 1966 World Cup Medal was a part of the same sale by Graham Budd Auctions. Yet this piece of football memorabilia’s history isn’t quite so straightforward.

Jimmy Greaves didn’t play in the 1966 World Cup final. He’d been injured in a group game win over France and Geoff Hurst took his place. At the time only the team on the pitch picked up medals so Greaves and his fellow squad members were left without until a FIFA rule change over 40 years later.

Greaves received the medal in 2009. When he sold his piece of sporting memorabilia, he left only three England players from the World Cup winning squad still owning the medals they won (The Charlton brothers and Roger Hunt).

So whilst your chances of owning a World Cup medal get slimmer with every passing year, you’ll still find plenty of inspiring football memorabilia choices here.

Buy signed sports memorabilia and help Children in Need

November means many things: fireworks, facial hair and charitable giving…

It’s Children in Need time again, and if you live in London you’ll be able to donate to the BBC’s annual fundraiser and bag yourself some signed sports memorabilia into the bargain.

BBC London is raising money by auctioning autographed football shirts from the capital’s Premiership teams (er, and Fulham). In addition to shirts many of the clubs are auctioning tickets, training sessions and, in the case of QPR, a full mascot package.

If you’d like to bid on sports memorabilia from your team, call 02072 242 000 during BBC London’s sports shows on Saturday and Sunday. You can find more details on the BBC London website.

The sports memorabilia that sells for millions

How to turn sports collectibles in the attic into serious money.

In the UK, it’s difficult to grasp just how big a deal baseball cards can be for the serious collector. A tatty copy of the 1982 Panini World Cup sticker book just can’t come close to the fever that grips baseball lovers when faced with a cigarette card featuring the likes of Lou Gehrig or Babe Ruth.

And when your collection of baseball cards comes from the dawn of Baseball itself? Well, that makes for one fabulously valuable piece of sporting memorabilia.

For almost a century, one Brooklyn man kept hold of the baseball cards he collected when he began smoking in 1909, a time when the Yankees and Dodgers had yet to settle on their ‘modern’ names (they were the Highlanders and the Superbas); a time when players like Ty Cobb were in their pomp.

“Every time he got a card, he threw it in a box,” Troy Thibodeau, manager and auctioneer at Saco River Auction Co, told the New York Daily News. By the time he’d finished he’d amassed around 1,400 cards, all beautifully preserved and likely to be worth millions. Which explains why the original collector and his family remain anonymous.

The sports memorabilia auction will be held early in 2015, when the family will no doubt be enjoying a lucrative new year.

Perhaps it’s time to check your attic again.

Want to buy a sports arena?

For people who like their sports auctions with a bit more scale…

Every year we provide the sports collections for organisations across the UK to host their own charity sports memorabilia auctions.

Usually the auction organisers are sports clubs, and usually the memorabilia we supply will be of the golf / cricket / football / rugby signed photographs and shirts variety.

But what if you want your sports auction to think really big? Well, how about placing a bid for the Glens Falls Civic Centre and Sports Arena, in the city of Glens Falls, New York State?

The city council has sent the 5,000 seat centre, which hosts minor league hockey games and concerts, to auction in a bid to reduce the burden on the council.

Currently the city spends around $600,000 a year operating the arena, but it needs an additional investment of around $300,000 to make planned improvements.

Ed Bartholomew, president and CEO of the Warren County Economic Development Council, seemed to have misunderstood the point of marketing when he told Albany Business Review that, "The city is going to be fortunate not incurring those losses."

If, after that stirring endorsement, you still fancy owning your own sports stadium, the auction’s on 18 August.

And if you’d like to arrange a charity sports auction a little closer to home, we can help you do it here.

Could you contribute to the Commonwealth Games?

Could you contribute to the Commonwealth Games?

£575 million (give or take) is not an inconsiderable sum. If you’d spent that much the chances are you’d be looking to recoup some of it pretty quickly.

The organisers of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games feel much the same way, and later this month they’ll be inviting you to help them offset just a tiny fraction of the amount spent on athlete’s villages, infrastructure, Rod Stewart and the rest by bidding for Commonwealth Games sporting memorabilia.

There’ll be balls, shuttlecocks, shoes and other Commonwealth collectibles up for grabs. And in addition there’ll be the sort of sporting memorabilia that doesn’t normally find its way to sports collectibles sites like ours. Costumes from the opening ceremony. Bits of the winners’ podiums. Medals trays. In fact the longer you look at the list the more you get the feeling that if it isn’t nailed down the chances are it could be auctioned off. We’re still expecting to find Mo Farah up for auction any day now.

To join in, visit the Glasgow 2014 website. And if you’d prefer athletics memorabilia from competitions past, take a look here.

The World Cup 2014 memorabilia starting XI

There’s still no escape from those damned vuvuzelas…

We cast our eye over the 11 most ‘distinctive’ items of World Cup memorabilia you could be sporting in Brazil this year.

In goal
A safe pair of hands? Well is has to be the Brazilian football shirt (or lower cost t-shirt if you prefer). An infinite number of official and not so official versions will be turning Rio, Sao Paolo et al into a sea of yellow.

Back four
If you want to get a header, get a hat. Headgear will be omnipresent at this year’s World Cup, and whilst most items will end up in a bin after the event, hold on to them for a while and they suddenly become solidly, dependably collectible – and solid dependability is exactly what you want from your defence.

Our back four features the Brazilian bandana (Brazandana?), the sombrero, the pork pie (inevitably destined for the heads of England fans) and the sort of bicorne hat Napoleon favoured (only in a green and yellow he probably wouldn’t have fancied).

Central midfield
It’s all about passion in the middle of the field, so let’s go with Passion, the official fragrance of the World Cup (we’re not making this up). “Woody and fruity” says the official description, although we’d suggest that doesn’t describe the fragrance of anyone after 90 mins in the humidity of Manaus. Curious, maybe, but even the official FIFA site describes this as a unique sporting collectible.

Alongside passion we need leadership, so we’ll play our captain, and official mascot of Brazil 2014, Fuleco. He’s an armadillo, you know.

On the wings
Wing play is all about making a big noise. If you held on to your South Africa 2010 vuvuzela in the hope it would become a piece of nostalgic, one of a kind World Cup memorabilia then think again; it’s back in Brazil and it’s bringing a noisy mate, the Caxirola (you shake it).

Up front
Glory awaits, so it’s fitting we’ve gone any two of the options from the official and unofficial replica trophy range: golden (Messi), value (Lambert) or inflatable (Brazil’s Walter).

Prefer World Cup memorabilia from tournaments past? Start your search here…

Join the Rally for Bally

Sport has had a sobering two weeks.

Sports memorabilia is made collectible because sports men and women devote their lives to what they do. Injuries are a part of everyday life. The risk of something happening today that will cut short your career tomorrow is an ever present danger. It’s one of the reasons why, from Premier League footballers to F1 drivers, sports stars enjoy the rewards they do. They live their lives on a tightrope of broken metatarsals, broken suspension and broken dreams. It is risk that helps create the appetite for sporting collectibles – and it’s what defines their value.

Yet even in an environment of inherent risk, there’s something particularly cruel about the death of someone at or near the peak of their sporting powers.

Last week marked the 20th anniversary of a tragically memorable grand prix at Italy’s Imola circuit. Roland Ratzenberger and the peerless Ayrton Senna both lost their lives in a freakishly vicious weekend.

Last week also brought news that Barcelona’s fearsomely talented coach Tito Vilanova had died of throat cancer at the age of 45.

And just two days ago Elena Baltacha, tennis’ British number one for the best part of three years, lost her battle with liver cancer. She was just 30.

There is no ‘putting it right’. But events like the Rally for Bally, a series of exhibition matches featuring the likes of Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova and Tim Henman will raise money for and awareness of the liver condition Elena lived with since she was 19.

The events take place on 15 June, and you can donate here.

The story of a season

Does our football memorabilia page have strange and previously unrealised powers of foresight?

It’s funny how things work out isn’t it? One year ago Manchester United clinched (yet another) league title, Sir Alex retired in glory and everyone who wasn’t a Man Utd fan had to begrudgingly admit that they had done rather well.

Fast forward 12 months and the league table looks rather different. Oddly, if you take a skewed and rather selective look at our football memorabilia page it seems to be reflecting the changing situation. It’s a Man City image in 1st position (an end of league prediction perhaps)? Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool memorabilia fills much of the top half of the section, with the vast majority of Man Utd collectibles sitting further down the page.

Ah, you may say, well that’s what comes from Ryan beginning with an ‘R’ and Wayne with a ‘W’. You’d be right of course, but that won’t stop us keeping an eye on things as we head towards the World Cup, because the first international shirt on the page happens to be England. You heard it here first. Paul the predicting octopus may have a rival…

The Winter Olympics memorabilia guessing game

Every Olympics throws up the occasional sporting memorabilia culture clash. Sochi 2014 proved that when East meets West the results can be memorably gaudy. But which items of memorabilia will endure?

Let’s start with the team outfits. Ralph Lauren designed the US team’s. As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, they inspire thoughts of Eurovision rather than ski-jumping. The Independent described them as “uniquely hideous.”

Still, what starts out as unpopular can often achieve cult status in the sporting memorabilia world. Which means - if you can bear to buy look at it - this could be a worthwhile investment. Just hide it at the back of the wardrobe for a few years first, somewhere it can’t sear anyone’s retinas.

And it could be worse. Norway’s curlers turned up in what appeared to be Christmas wrapping leftovers.

If such sartorial elegance is too much, even for the most ardent sports memorabilia fan, perhaps you should stick with the Sochi mascots. By the standards of most Olympic mascots – and particularly when compared to our own Mandeville and Wenlock - Sochi’s cuddly trio are positively restrained.

Misha, from the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow, remains one of the most enduring mascots – could the bear, the bunny and the snow-leopard enjoy similar longevity?

But what if your taste in sports collectibles is of the less traditional variety? The Metro has found some intriguingly-flavoured ice hockey crisps. And no, we’ve no idea what ice hockey tastes like either.

Too extreme? You’ll find lots more sporting memorabilia (the sort you can frame and give as a gift) here.

Boxing club uses sporting memorabilia to inspire

Mike Tyson’s gown. Gloves worn by Amir Khan, Frank Bruno, Ricky Hatton and Sir Henry Cooper. Videos, trophies, magazines and posters covering 80 years of boxing history. For one boxing club, inspiring the fighters of the future starts with teaching them about the past.

Wolverhampton Amateur Boxing Club likes to do things a little differently. As the Wolverhampton Express & Star reports, the club is supplementing the technical and physical training it gives its youngsters with the odd history lesson. It has devoted two rooms to a history of boxing – both at the club and in general - and visitors can explore decades of archive boxing memorabilia to learn more about the sport.

The Express & Star article reports that club secretary John Thomas wants the club to be more than a gym.

“The idea of this is it’s a memorial, an archive, a facility for the community and a boxing gym all at the same time. It’s a major thing. There’s no other facility of its kind in the country.”

If you’d like to support the club and explore its treasure trove of sports collectibles, you’ll find it on Willenhall Road, Wolverhampton.

If you’d like to work on building your own trove of boxing memorabilia, you can make a start here.

England’s Ashes nightmare? Blame Don Bradman sporting memorabilia

Has a Don Bradman sports memorabilia exhibition finally managed to curse England?

Isn’t it funny how some things just take a little while to make their mark? Back in summer, when England were riding high and Australia couldn’t win a test match if their lives depended on it, an exhibition was held of Don Bradman sports collectibles.

There were bats and caps and blazers and scrapbooks, all part of a cricketing memorabilia collection worth over AUS $4m. Usually housed at the Adelaide Oval, the collection was loaned to Lord’s Museum for the duration of round one of this year’s Ashes double header.

At the time, Australia needed anything to give them inspiration, and the Australian press were eager to suggest that perhaps this exhibition would do the job. It didn’t. England retained the Ashes. The inspiration (or curse, depending on whose side you’re on) failed to materialise. Or perhaps it had merely been delayed.

At the time of writing England are 0-2 down in the Australian series. The third test has just begun and Australia are edging it at the end of day one. That was always the thing with Don Bradman. He never knew when he was beaten. It seems his sporting memorabilia has the same effect.

Want to find collectibles from happier, more successful times? You’ll find our cricket memorabilia here.

The best sporting memorabilia ever?

The Guardian names it’s pick of six sporting collectibles and discovers the value’s in the story.

It’s a dangerous thing, producing lists of ‘top’ items of sports memorabilia. Price aside, who’s to say what’s top? To a baseball obsessive, Pele’s world cup-winning shirt will barely raise a flicker of interest. Then again, in those parts of the world that aren’t North America, baseball, basketball and the sort of football that requires lots of padding but very little use of the foot, aren’t exactly big news either.

So what are The Guardian’s picks? You can find them here, but they’re an eclectic, fascinating and international mix.

Donald Bradman’s cap. Pele’s shirt. Mark McGwire’s home run record-breaking baseball. But what stands out is not the prices these items fetched – there are more highly valued sports collectibles around. What matters are the stories associated with the items and the emotional value collectors place on them.

That’s why, sensibly, The Guardian steers clear of naming the top six items of sporting memorabilia. It ditches the ‘the’ and contents itself with telling stories that are worth the telling.

And isn’t that what sports memorabilia is really about?

Find the sporting collectibles that matter to you here.

Sir Bobby Robson’s sporting collectibles legacy

Help Sir Bobby auction Gazza’s Italia ‘90 shirt, Jose’s boots and a natter over lunch with Bill Nighy.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re a sporting collectibles store. We’re also sports club auction specialists. So why on earth would we promote someone else’s charity auction? Because it’s an auction in support of a great cause.

Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough is a charity sports auction which seeks to raise £1 million for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and two Suffolk hospitals.

Between 10 – 27 October fans will have the opportunity to bid for the sort of sporting memorabilia you just don’t find anywhere else. Hit the nets at Lords for a one on one bowling tutorial with Graeme Swann, join a Spurs training session, and visit the Bernabeu to watch Gareth Bale in action against Barcelona.

And if you want to arrange your own charity sports auction, you’ll find the sporting collectibles to get you up and running here.

Don’t drive an F1 car. Wear it

Formula One sporting memorabilia you can wear? It’s time to think beyond the baseball caps and Ferrari jackets.

Formula 1 has always been a heady mix of Boy’s Own derring do, technical wizardy and style. And no one epitomised the former and the latter quite like James Hunt. As Rush, a movie based on the race to the 1976 championship between Hunt and Niki Lauda, reaches the big screen it’s perhaps fitting that a new range of sports memorabilia takes F1 style further – with jewellery that allows you to wear the car itself.

Force India has sliced a 2012 car into pieces and turned each part into the ultimate Formula 1 collectible. As reports, carbon fibre cufflinks and necklaces, bodywork paperweights and even wheel rim coffee tables are up for grabs.

Of course, you may have a spot of bother fitting the latter on your wall, in which case, here’s a collection of Formula One memorabilia that’s easier to fit in a frame.

Australia wins at cricket shock

Calm yourselves. The Ashes remain secure. But Australia has taken top spot in one cricketing event this week. It was a cricket memorabilia auction – and they've had to rely on Don Bradman to do it.

Charles Leski Auctions has seen a Don Bradman bat fetch more than twice its expected price, selling for AUS $50,000 in Melbourne this week.

The bat, wielded by Bradman in his final first class competitive innings in Australia, was used to thwack a masterly 115 past a West Australian XI. Although he would play on Australian soil again – in a number of testimonial matches including his own - this bat marked the end of a remarkable competitive career on home turf.

Signed on the reverse by the 1948 'Invincibles' who then toured (and terrorised) England, it's a piece of sporting memorabilia that reminds us of a time when Australia were really rather good.

And since England's current run of form can't possibly last, best bag yourselves some cricket-related sports memorabilia now, while the sweet smell of success remains.

Open memorabilia under the hammer

With the eyes of the golfing world focused on Muirfield for this year's British Open, auctioneers are hoping for Open success of a different kind in Chicago next month.

Golf Digest reports that the items of golfing memorabilia up for auction by Heritage Auctions span a century of the sport. But amidst the Ryder Cup captain's jackets, US Open and Masters medals and PGA trophies, British Open devotees can find a golfing collectible of real significance.

Sam Snead didn't want to play The Open. As he looked out at the St Andrews course before teeing off on a practice session he reputedly said "Say, that looks like an old, abandoned gold course." A few days later he took the claret jug, the first contested after the Second World War. For a man who, a decade after his death, still has more PGA victories to his name than any other golfer in history, it's perhaps surprising that it was his only Open win.

It's a unique piece of golfing memorabilia – and golfing history – which is why Heritage Auctions expects the jug to fetch in excess of $100,000, a figure Snead would have appreciated, says his son, Jack.

"The trophies didn't mean that much to Pop in a way," Snead told Golf Digest. "In those days, he was more concerned with the pay check. The thing he was most proud of was his record. He cared more about than any of his tournament wins."

Looks like this piece of sports memorabilia could be the largest pay check of a stellar career.

Sporting memorabilia from football's earliest days

In 1872, the Football Association Challenge Cup (later, simply the FA Cup) was celebrating its 10th year. Old Etonians, as regular a fixture in the final then as Manchester United are today, faced Blackburn Rovers. And a programme from the match has just hit a new auction record.

"World record prices for football programmes usually creep up gradually, by a thousand pounds a time," Sotheby's auctioneer Graham Budd told the BBC. But this piece of football memorabilia was different, adding £10,000 to the previous record price for a programme, and being snapped up by Old Etonians Football Club for £35,250.

The BBC reports that the programme was originally owned by lawyer Sir Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith. Then 25, he watched the match at the Kennington Oval (the first Wembley final was still 40 years away) with a crowd of 5,000. Old Etonians won 1-0.

Whilst we can't promise footballing memorabilia from 140 years ago, we can promise sporting collectibles with just as much personal meaning. You'll find them here.

Farewells make football memorabilia rarer

So farewell then, Sir Alex. Goodbye Becks. So long, Scholesy. And ta-ra Carra. Was there ever an end to a football season in which so many of its foremost names called it a day? The effects on the Premiership will be dramatic, as are the effects on football memorabilia.

Jamie Carragher signed off with a win for Liverpool, almost marking the occasion with a fairytale goal that cruelly thumped back off the post. David Beckham was in tears as he signed off for PSG.

Paul Scholes' joined his final game with Man Utd leading 2-5 against West Brom. By the time he walked off it was 5-5, the only 5-5 of his or Sir Alex's time at the club. He also picked up a booking for a reckless tackle. Those have been a little more common.

And then there was Sir Alex. Peerless in terms of achievement. Unmatched in terms of ambition. "Don't call me boss anymore," he demanded of his team. But they probably still will.

For football memorabilia fans, the retirements are like an alarm call. Those Paul Scholes collectibles have suddenly become an endangered species. Sir Alex Ferguson will never again sign memorabilia as manager of Man Utd. And from now on, any new David Beckham memorabilia will be from his post-football career – wherever that takes him.

Of course, they may all still sign the occasional photo or football. But the football memorabilia from their glory days? That's your lot; what we have now is all there'll ever be.

Best make the most of it.

Never trust your mum with sports memorabilia

We've all been there. "What do you want me to do with all your old trophies and sports kits? If you don't want them I'll throw them out." Every mum makes the same threat. Even Kobe Bryant's mum.

The LA Lakers star had boxes of sports collectibles from a glittering career stored at his mum's house and she'd had enough. So she decided to auction them off.

The ensuing dispute is ongoing. She claims the star told her he didn't particularly care what she did with them. He claims they're not his mum's property. Stuck in the middle is auction house owner Kenneth Goldin, who thought he was about to be part of a hugely successful sports memorabilia auction and now, for the moment at least, isn't.

The moral of the story? When your mum tells you to clear your room of sporting collectibles, best do it.

Our 'Enry's sports memorabilia

Henry Cooper's Lonsdale belts go under the hammer at Bonhams.

If you're young enough to consider Mike Tyson as ancient boxing history then the name Henry Cooper probably won't mean a great deal. And if, like this writer, you're of the Frank Bruno era, then the Henry Cooper sports memorabilia that most readily leaps to mind would be a bottle of Brut aftershave.

But that would be to forget a boxing legacy as impressive as any British boxer before or since. He was the first man to floor Ali. And as the Lonsdale belts up for auction with Bonhams show, he won the British heavyweight title in 1962, 63, 64, 65 and 67 (twice). Now that's a record.

These impressive pieces of boxing memorabilia sold for £12,500 each, proving that the name Henry Cooper still punches its weight.

Find our boxing memorabilia here and our sports memorabilia here.

Not all sports collectibles reach their asking price...

These pages are full of record breaking sales of sporting memorabilia, but every now and again sports auctions just don't go according to plan. Take the IPL.

It's in the nature of an auction that if buyers don't want the sports collectibles on offer, they won't bid. But it must be pretty chastening if you are the sports collectible in question. That's what happened to Matt Prior and Ravi Bopara, both of whom failed to attract bids at this year's Indian Premier League player auction.

It's the second year in a row the pair have failed to attract the eye of bidders, and comes in sharp contrast to this year's top buy, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell, who fetched £637,000.

Even his price, though, is well down on last year's highest bid, suggesting that like the rest of the world, the IPL is in a relative period of austerity.

If you're in the mood to claim your own cricketing star, you'll find a range of cricket collectibles you won't want to leave on the shelf here.

A cricket memorabilia first

The vagaries of the cricketing calendar have thrown up back to back Ashes series in 2013. So before we all suffer Ashes burnout, Bonhams are auctioning some sporting memorabilia from a time when the idea of playing a match in Australia was anything but old news.

Amongst the cricket collectibles up for sale is one photograph of the first England cricket team to play in Australia. The image captures them as they prepare for departure aboard the SS Great Britain on 20 October 1861. They reached their destination on 24 December ready for the 12 match tour in early 1862.

Each player received £150 to take part in the tour, which was of mixed success, including 6 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws. But the results seem almost irrelevant – because in undertaking a journey which involved a total of 4 months at sea, the 1862 team established the very best of rivalries in test cricket. They started a tradition that has brought us a treasure trove of sports collectibles and memories.

So this year, as you settle yourself down for days of uninterrupted Test Match Special, raise a glass to the cricketers of 1862. We've a lot top thank them for.

Get yourself ready for this year's Ashes series by exploring our cricket memorabilia.

A football auction with a difference

How far do your football memorabilia ambitions stretch this year? A signed shirt? A precious autographed photo or programme? How about buying Peter Reid for $200,000?

In India they think big. With the success of the cricket IPL still ringing in their ears (and tills) organisers have turned their attention to football. The Premier League Soccer auction in Calcutta saw five teams aiming to build their own squad of live and kicking sporting collectibles.

Robbie Fowler was available for $530,000. Robert Pires cost Howrah2 $800,000. And pick of the bunch Hernan Crespo topped the list, with Barasat paying $840,000 for his services. Managers too were up for auction. In addition to the aforesaid Peter Reid, clubs could bid for the likes of Fernando Couto and Marco Etcheverry.

The league kicks off this March and organisers hope the success of the IPL will emulate - and perhaps even challenge – the success of cricket in India.

Of course, it's not just the cost that may be a little off-putting to your regular sports merchandise aficionado. We reckon Robbie Fowler or Peter Reid may look a little out of place displayed next to your other football collectibles...

Golf memorabilia from the ground up

Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Jack Nicklaus and, of course, Tiger. When it comes to golf memorabilia we've always made a point of finding collectibles from the very biggest and best. Yet it's easy to forget that while golf and golf memorabilia tends to concentrate on the stars themselves, you can't create legends without a course for them to play.

That's why our interest was raised by a recent online auction by Graham Rowley of Old Sports Auction. A major highlight of the auction was a very rare booklet on golf course architecture. Written by M.C. Hotchkin, one of the pioneers of golf course design (and creator of the course that carries his name at the Woodhall Spa), the booklet was called 'The Principles of Golf Course Architecture.'

Published privately in 1935 the booklet is a fascinating piece of sporting memorabilia, not merely for its historical interest, but as an insight into the principles that shaped golf courses over the following decades.

So next time you're browsing our golfing memorabilia, spare a thought for the people who designed the greens beneath your heroes' feet.

Olympic memorabilia fails to make gold standard

One moment you're in the lead; the next you've crashed out. It's a ruthless sport, cycling, and cycling memorabilia is no different.

The sheer unpredictability of sports collectibles can result in record prices. Yet it can also result in them failing to meet their reserve. That was the case for a throne used during the medal ceremony at this year's Olympic cycling time trial.

It may have hosted gold medallist Bradley Wiggins' backside, but not even that was enough to steer the throne to its expected £10,000 price, as it went under the hammer at Sotheby's in New Bond Street.

Of course, it's not everyone who has the space to display a throne, which was described by the auctioneer as "magnificently kitsch."

For sports memorabilia that's a lot easier to display (and cheaper to post) may we suggest our collection of framed, autographed prints and signed sports collectibles?

Sports memorabilia – Ricky Hatton socks it to 'em

According to children's charity, Free Kicks Foundation, this month is 'Socktober.'

The charity has hit on a novel way to generate money from sports memorabilia: auctioning celebrity socks.

The BBC reports that boxer Ricky Hatton, swimmer Ellie Simmonds and Liverpool footballer Fabio Borini are amongst those who've donated a pair of socks to be auctioned on eBay. There'll be a new auction of these unusual sporting collectibles each day.

The donations are a result of persistent and successful "hassling" on Twitter. Co-founder Steve Thorpe told the BBC, "We think it's quite a unique idea that will really capture people's imagination. Charities ask for things like signed shirts all the time."

We're now racking our brains to find the next item of clothing ripe for turning into sporting memorabilia. Answers on a postcard...

When bronze is golden sporting memorabilia

1896. The first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens. And for the

It took a while for the tradition of gold, silver and bronze to take hold. Back in 1896 it was silver for the winners and bronze for the runner up. One such bronze medal, a brilliantly collectible piece of sports memorabilia, came up for auction in London as the Olympics opened.

The face of the medal shows Zeus holding a globe upon which Victory stands holding a laurel. The reverse displays the Acropolis and Parthenon. The medal sold for £15,000.

Sporting success doesn't only win you medals

You'd think, what with a Wimbledon final and an Olympic gold medal to his name, 2012 couldn't get much better for Andy Murray. Yet there's an additional, rather lucrative effect of his success: Andy Murray memorabilia has surged in price.

Henman Hill Murray Mound
If you think about it, it's all rather strange. Tim Henman reached 4 Wimbledon quarter-finals and 4 semi-finals, and was an Olympic silver medallist (at Atlanta in 1996), a frankly staggering record for which he never seemed to earn the recognition he deserved.

In a short career Murray has gone further - but not much further. One Olympic medal grade higher. One more Wimbledon stage. Tiny margins, yet a world of difference in the eyes of the sporting public.

When it comes to sporting memorabilia whilst it may not be true to say 'no-one remembers the guy who comes second', it's certainly true to say no-one will pay as much for his memorabilia.

Find Andy Murray and other tennis memorabilia here.

Is this the worst piece of Olympic memorabilia?

Yikes. This is one of those pieces of sports memorabilia where you're not sure if somebody's actually having a laugh. It could be something someone's 4 year old knocked up on a craft afternoon. On the other hand it might be a genuine piece of Olympic 2012 memorabilia. Check it out for yourselves here.

Distressingly, it's real. You can buy it from (if you really want to).

God bless the Guardian for highlighting the best and worst memorabilia as the Olympic torch makes its sodden way to London, but here's the thing: sports memorabilia isn't about cool, or fashion or anything else that changes with the wind.

Sports collectibles are about the long term, the "I was there moment." It doesn't have to be a piece of art - it just has to help recapture the memories.

Which means someone, somewhere is going to pull this cushion out of a cupboard in 50 years time and smile.

Most valuable sporting memorabilia. Ever.

Sorry Premier League. The world's most valuable sporting memorabilia lives across the Pond.

When Babe Ruth retired in 1935 he'd slugged 714 home runs, a Major League record which stood for almost 40 years. His legendary status has meant that almost any piece of sporting memorabilia associated with Ruth is guaranteed to generate huge interest. And of them all, it was a jersey that fetched a record $4.4 million in 2010.

Babe Ruth first donned the jersey soon after he joined the Yankees from the Boston Red Sox in 1919. Over 90 years later it beat a copy of the founding rules of basketball to become the world's most valuable piece of sports memorabilia.

If your ambitions don't stretch to quite those levels, take a look at sports collectibles you don't have to break records to own.

Wisdom in Wisden

Investing in Wisden has always been a popular option for sports memorabilia enthusiasts. Now, as a set of almanacs from the first year of publishing reaches a record price at auction of £120,000, it seems a better investment than ever.

Since 1864 Wisden Cricketer's Almanac has been the undisputed authority on English Cricket. Documenting the changing stars, rules and formats of the game, individual almanacs can vary enormously in value.

The most valuable Wisdens tend to be those published during periods of upheaval in the game and wider world. The edition covering the notorious 'Bodyline' tour of 1932-3 is one example. The 1941 edition, when only 800 copies were printed due to war rationing, is another.

Perhaps it's time you dusted off those annuals in the attic to see which editions you own?

Sports Memorabilia | Memorabilia Sale