THE GROWTH OF SPORTS MEMORABILIA
by Jon Ferraro
Sports Memorabilia can be linked back to the early 20th Century. This was when Babe Ruth was more famous than the president. He became the first full-fledged sports icon. He was the equivalent of what Michael Jordan was in the 80s and 90s. Children would line up in droves just to see the legend and get him to sign a baseball they bought for 50 cents. Obviously, just like every baseball fan, they didn't know what they held in their hands. To them, it was a piece of their hero. Generations later, it would become a high-priced piece of sports history behind a collector's three foot glass mantel.
Throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s baseball was still king. The newer generation were going crazy for future hall of famers such as Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, & Willie Mayes. Just like their parents before, kids would wait all day for a glimpse of their favorite players and hope they would stop for five minutes to sign their card.
During the 1980s, is when the industry really got kick started. There were baseball card manufacturers joining the field. Before it was just Topps making baseball cards, now almost every year popped a new company. Donruss, Fleer, Leaf, Upper Deck, along with many others were cashing in on this emerging business.
Also during the 80s the professional sports leagues began selling their authentic jerseys. It didn't take long for the fans to realize that a player's signature on their authentic jersey would be the next big step in the business. Even more valuable would be a game worn jersey. Nothing says value like a sweat drenched jersey with a tiny scribble from a professional athlete.
And of course what would the 80s be without Michael Jordan. He came in at the perfect time for sports memorabilia. He was a marketing powerhouse. Everywhere you looked there was his face and there was his name. It was only a matter of time when people started grabbing everything of his that could be signed.
Jon Ferraro is the owner and operator of http://www.sports-signatures.com
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