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Sports Memorabilia-With estimated annual sales of around $1.5 billion (yes, with a “b”), it’s safe to say that sports memorabilia has come a long way since the days of children trading baseball cards. If you’re considering cashing in on your piece of sports history, by either pawning or selling, here are a couple of tips on hitting a home run at the pawn shop.

Verify Its Authenticity

sports-memorobiliaAs regular readers of our blog know, one of the most important things you should do before heading down to the pawn shop is to get familiar with your item and its background. This is particularly true in the sports collectible market, where fraudulent pieces can be quite common. After all, a baseball with a fake Lou Gehrig signature is, well, just an old baseball.

The easiest way to prove your item is legitimate is with a certified letter of authenticity that’s been produced by a reputable company. These days, in an effort in increase reliability and security, teams and memorabilia retailers are having witnesses watch players while they sign items in order to verify the signatures are genuine. The witness then attaches an individualized hologram, with unique serial number, to the certificate of authenticity. Having one of these certificates will make your pawn broker’s job very easy.

Of course, not every glove or ball is signed in this type of environment. For example, if you’re lucky enough to get your item autographed at a game or convention, take a picture of the player with your smartphone as they sign. Better yet, try and make it a selfie, showing you were the one the item was signed for. These images can go a long way towards proving the signature on your item is the real deal.

Protect Your Item

Once you’ve gotten your hands on something of your favourite player’s, you need to think about protecting your investment. While glass cases are often less expensive, if you’re looking to truly preserve your item, it’s worth springing for an acrylic case; they are shatter-proof and come the added benefit of UV-ray protection, eliminating the risk of staining and fading. Also, if you have cards or autographs that aren’t on display, consider storing them in PVC-free plastic sheeting which will keep any ink from smudging. Finally (and this is a big one), resist the temptation to use the item! As much as you’d love to wear that mint condition, Stanley Cup Finals-worn Trevor Linden jersey to the next Canucks game, don’t: even small smudges and stains can significantly reduce an item’s value.

If you’re looking for a bit of quick cash, or are just interested in knowing what your piece of memorabilia is worth, stop by any of our eight convenient locations today!