Sports Collectibles Holiday Gifting Guide for Autographed Memorabilia Rookies

RISE TO THE TOP OF THE GIFTING GAME

Before we know it, our loved ones are going to hand us their holiday shopping lists and if your family is anything like mine, what used to be video games and toy robots now reads autographed trading cards or a signed football, jersey or helmet from their favorite sports players. Prior to working in the sports memorabilia industry, I would not have known where to start – beyond a Google and a prayer. Now I am here, Dear Abby-style, to help all of the spouses, parents, co-workers and novice givers who want to get the best gift possible for their sports fanatic friends and family without breaking the bank.

#1 – (NOT) PAST THE POINT OF NO RETURN

Buy from a company that will accept returns after the holidays. I cannot tell you how many times we get the call that no gift giver of memorabilia wants to make, “I bought this autographed football, and my husband already has it, and I need to return it.” We, and others, will accept returns whenever and for whatever reason, as long as the merchandise is in sellable condition and not custom-framed. Choosing a gift can be difficult and we want everyone to be happy.

#2 – AUTHENTICITY MATTERS

Ensure the autograph on the item you’re looking to purchase is certified authentic. There are different types of authentication and different companies that provide these services. The most common phrase you’ll hear is a Certificate of Authenticity (or COA). In the past, these would be a physical piece of paper or card that stated the authenticity of the item and/or origination. Unfortunately, these were pretty easy to fake so as collecting has become a larger industry and we’ve moved into a new era of technology and invention, most authentication companies now use tamper-evident stickers (that may or may not still be referred to as a certificate or COA). The stickers can be a hologram and may have a QR code to direct you to the authenticator’s website database to verify your item. The most important aspect of a card or sticker is the number. The number is what you will use to look up on the authenticator’s official website and verify who signed the item and possibly where or when it was signed. This is an important feature that adds extra value to the collectible if you’re ever looking to possibly sell it in the future. The main benefit of the tamper-evident sticker is that it ensures the item you are receiving has not been altered. The sticker will leave specific marks if removed. Cards and tickets are slabbed or encapsulated, meaning they are sealed in a plastic case, authenticated and graded based on their condition. Finally, there is the Letter of Authenticity (or LOA). Letters are usually reserved for rare autographs, people who have passed away or items signed by multiple people. Some of the very reputable authentication companies include, but are not limited to:

#3 – PROTECT YOUR FLEX

Display cases and frames are highly recommended for autographed collectibles. Sports memorabilia, like other types of keepsakes, should be properly preserved. Framing is the best way to keep photos and jerseys pristine and looking great. Not to mention, it’s an excellent way to show off a prized autographed possession (while keeping it safe). Display cases for helmets, baseballs, footballs and endzone pylons are the best way to keep the items and the autographs preserved for years to come. Without proper care, the autograph may fade or smudge. In addition, depending on where they are stored or displayed, the item itself may become damaged by dust and lack of care. Autographed memorabilia items are an investment and should appreciate in value with time, if stored properly. For others, framing and display cases provide an avenue to show off your collectibles as if you have your very own art gallery or museum. Click here to learn how we custom-frame our jerseys!

 

#4 – A HELMET IS A HELMET, RIGHT?

Not all helmets are created equal. We are often asked to explain the difference between replica and authentic full-size football helmets. The simplest answer is the padding. The authentic helmet has the padding inside you would need to play in a professional game, while the replica has a plastic plate or an empty interior, depending on the age of the helmet. The longer answer is that an authentic helmet may add more value to the item due to the cost and accuracy of the construction, being the closest to what the players actually wear on the field. Additionally, there is an entire discussion about SpeedFlex versus Speed Rep or Eclipse versus Chrome and some of us who are buying gifts don’t care enough about the differences. It may seem overwhelming or complicated but, most of those terms mostly refer to the aesthetic aspects of the helmet. If you can afford it, go authentic. If you can’t, buy a replica version. At the end of the day, for most invested collectors, it is about the autograph. For those who just want it to look good, the matte black Eclipse and white matte Lunar variations, in addition to the shiny Chrome or radiant Flash versions always tend to grab the eye of admirers of a collection. They also add variation to an assortment that may already include the basic team designs. If the intended recipient is a stickler for historical accuracy, there are also throwback variations of team helmets corresponding to the different eras of uniforms worn by a team. Ardent collectors usually prefer to have the helmet bearing the autograph correspond to the style or design that was worn or used when that player was on the team. These are sometimes more difficult to find but can definitely add to the value. We have experts on-hand to help you find the best version of an autographed memorabilia item that fits both your budget and the fan or collector that you’re shopping for.

Football Helmet Varieties

#5 – THE WRITING ON THE WALL

When it comes to the autograph itself, you want to find a clean, clear signature in a color that pops on the surface or photo – like white on red or black on white. As we all know, even some of the most accomplished individuals don’t necessarily have the neatest handwriting or sign their names legibly. Each signature is different. Certain players do not sign their entire name and others spell it out with every letter. There are players

Derrick Brooks Autographed Football

like Pro Football Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks of the Florida State Seminoles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Lynn Swann of USC Trojans and Pittsburgh Steelers fame who have signatures that are works of art themselves. It is evident on all of their items (and we know from working with them at signings) that they take pride in their autographs and have added fun elements. Brooks incorporates a smiley face with his signature and Swann draws the letter S in his last name to resemble the elegant bird that is a homophone of his surname. Autographs can be acquired at an organized signing or captured in a quick moment – adding or detracting to the accuracy and quality of the signature. Some items have inscriptions (for example, a player’s number,  championship, accomplishment(s), nickname or clever phrase) and some don’t. Some items are personalized and others aren’t. Inscriptions most often add to the value of the item as a lot of famous figures charge more for additional verbiage at an autograph signing. Prime examples are a National Championship or Hall of Fame induction year, accomplishments like Rookie of the Year (ROY) or MVP or a team motto like Roll Tide for the Alabama Crimson Tide or Go Dawgs for the Georgia Bulldogs and others. Conversely, a personalization (like To Joe) can reduce the resale value of a collectible as it is really only meaningful for a person with that name (but what a treasure if you happen to find an item in the wild with your gift recipient’s name on it, as long as they’re not looking to resell in the future).

 

I know that the amount of information here can be daunting. But in the end, it is really about your loved one’s face when they unwrap their jaw-dropping gift and you become the ULTIMATE HOLIDAY HERO!

When in doubt, please reach out to our Customer Experience Specialists who are ready and eager to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have to ensure that you find the perfect gift for the sports and entertainment fanatics in your life. Shop your loved ones’ favorite sports superstars’ autographed helmets, autographed jerseys, autographed baseballs, autographed footballs, autographed photos and more today at SportsCollectibles.com!

Contact us during business hours, Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm, eastern time on the phone at 800-793-9793 or through the chat feature in the bottom corner of our website at SportsCollectibles.com. Alternately, you can email us at [email protected]. Due to the holiday volume, please allow a couple business days for an email or voicemail response.

 

This post brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog, Fancie!


-Fancie is mom to Blog Dog Shimmer. As the mama, she wanted to bring this sage advice to other mamas and loved ones looking for the perfect gift for the sports lovers in their lives. Fancie is just as stately and elegant as her name suggests, except when Shimmer is chasing her around the house! But she also knows that her human mama can’t resist her precious face and loves to spoil her rotten.

 


College Rivalry Spotlight – Georgia vs Florida Football Classic

As October comes to a close, several NCAA Football teams are hyping up to face off with one of their rivals – the #2-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will be traveling to State College to take on #13 Penn State Nittany Lions (not as much friction as a Buckeyes / Wolverines game, but still a good matchup), while intrastate rivals #4 Michigan and Michigan State face off. However, in terms of celebrations, the SEC’s GeorgiaFlorida Football Classic in Jacksonville, FL this weekend will be drawing fans near and far to “DUUUVAL” for what was once well-known as The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The teams and the city have since eschewed that moniker, giving rise to the “River City Showdown” and “War of the Oar,” among others, but generally it’s known as the Florida-Georgia or Georgia-Florida game, depending on who the home team is that year.

This year, the undefeated Bulldogs are the home team and Stetson Bennett, Brock Browers and crew are expected to soundly defeat Anthony Richardson and the Orange and Blue. However, intense rivalry matchups can sometimes be unpredictable, which will only amplify the hum of excitement generated by the throngs of cross-border rivals that will converge on the city on the St. Johns River starting Thursday.

Adding to the contention between these two storied franchises, even the year of the first matchup is debated. According to the University of Georgia‘s Athletic Department, the first game between the two schools was held in 1904 in Macon, Georgia, with the Bulldogs coming out on top, 52-0. This is disputed by the Gators because the University of Florida, as we know it now, wasn’t officially formed until the Florida state legislature consolidated its public universities in 1905. Therefore, according to UF, the first Florida-Georgia matchup was in 1915 in Jacksonville. The Dawgs still shutout the Gators 37-0 with Florida not winning until their 8th matchup (7th for UF) in 1928.

Both teams have had their winning streaks over the years and it’s always a momentous matchup for fans on both sides of the Florida-Georgia state line. Since 1933, the game has been held in Jacksonville on neutral territory (with the exception of 1994 and 1995) as it is the largest city between the two campuses to accommodate the swell of revelers. The game even has its own hall of fame that holds an induction ceremony over the weekend to honor two players from each team. The city of Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment Office established the hall of fame in 1995 “to acknowledge the many great records, performances, career highlights and outstanding memories that have made the Georgia-Florida game one of college football’s best traditions.” This year’s inductees include Georgia’s John Little and Champ Bailey and Florida’s Andre Caldwell and Trey Burton.

Over the years, the showdown between these two storied football programs has produced moments that have echoed through time and become a part of each team’s rich history. Will this year’s game add to the lore? After all, in 1985, the Gators came to Jacksonville undefeated and #1 in the nation for the first time in the school’s history. The year prior, they beat Georgia 27-0 to secure their first-ever SEC Title. This game would not go as well for UF. Georgia soundly defeated the #1 team, 24-3, ending Florida’s hopes that year for another title. In 2002, the 5-3 Gators beat the 8-0, #4-ranked, Bulldogs, ruining their perfect season in a stunning upset. Could the Gators once again pull an upset and triumph over the currently undefeated, reigning 2021 National Champions? Unlikely – but there’s a certain kind of magic in the mystery of the matchup.

When one thinks of the Bulldogs’ 1980 Championship team, legend Herschel Walker is probably the first player that comes to mind. But it was during the 1980 game at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville that another star rose to save the season. Arguably one of the best plays in college football history occurred during a Florida-Georgia weekend and helped to secure Georgia’s first-ever National Championship Title in 1980. Known as “Run Lindsay, Run!” (or as I was instructed by the legendary ball-carrier Lindsay Scott himself, “Munson really only ever said Run Lindsay!“), the pass from QB Buck Belue to WR Lindsay Scott and Scott’s ensuing 92-yard run saved Vince Dooley‘s #2 Bulldogs’ perfect season and allowed them to press on and win the 1980 National Championship. The undefeated Dawgs were trailing by one point (21-20) with one minute and 35 seconds left in the game facing third and long on their own 8-yard line. Belue threw a high pass to Scott who ran the football down the sideline 92 yards to score and win the game. The televised moment was made truly iconic due to long-time Georgia announcer Larry Munson‘s call of the play.

Buck back. Third down on the 8. In trouble. Got a block behind him. Going to throw on the run. Complete to the 25, to the 30. Lindsay Scott 35, 40. Lindsay Scott 45, 50, 45, 40. Run Lindsay! 25, 20, 15, 10, 5. Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! 

Well, I can’t believe it. 92 yards and Lindsay really got in a footrace. I broke my chair. I came right through a chair. … This is incredible! You know this game has always been called the world’s greatest cocktail party. … Do you know what is going to happen here tonight? … Man is there gonna be some property destroyed tonight!

26 to 21, Dawgs on top! We were gone. I gave up, you did too. We were out of it and gone. Miracle!

Across the years, during the highs and lows of these two legendary football programs, the city of Jacksonville has borne witness to gridiron greatness and this year’s game will be no different. If you’re going to Duval, make sure to find our GameDay Auctions booths at the Hall of Fame Luncheon, during the block party surrounding the Exhibition Baseball game on Friday and in the stadium at the game on Saturday. Find more information about the schedule of events HERE.

Regardless of which team you cheer for, find autographed memorabilia celebrating legends like Nick Chubb, Herschel Walker, Buck Belue, Lindsay Scott, Jordan DavisTim Tebow, Emmitt Smith, Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel plus current stars Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers, Anthony Richardson, and more. Do you have a favorite Florida-Georgia/Georgia-Florida showdown year or moment? Let us know in the comments!

Can’t make it to the game? Just for reading our blog, save an extra 10%* now when you shop SportsCollectibles.com with promo code GAFL2022 through 10/31/22! Shop autographed jerseys, autographed footballs, signed full-size Riddell Speed Replica and Authentic Helmets, autographed photos, autographed mini helmets and more today. Also be sure to check out our custom jersey and photo framing options to make your autographed collectibles museum-worthy!

You can also find our GameDay Auctions booths at every Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators home football game the rest of this season. For more information on where to find our Georgia GameDay Auctions booths at Sanford Stadium in Athens, click HERE. Get more details on where to find us at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka The Swamp, in Gainesville by clicking HERE. Thanks for reading! We’ll see you at the game!

Speaking of JACKSONville, this post IS brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog Jackson!


– Jackson is a rescue dog born and raised in Florida. He loves watching NFL football with his pop-pop and college football with his GiGi when he visits her in Ohio. This weekend he will be cheering on both teams although he might lean a bit toward the Gators. His mama is the Team Lead for GameDay Auctions at the University of Georgia (and has become an adopted Georgia Bulldogs fan herself) so he gets jealous of the Uga stuffed animals that she brings home and hates when she has to travel to Athens for the football games. But he also gets EXTRA EXCITED when she comes home from a trip so he doesn’t mind it too much. He won’t be in Jacksonville this weekend but looks forward to his next opportunity to blog!

 


Letter from a NY Yankees Fan – 2022 ALCS Thoughts

Where is Mr. October when we need him? If you are like me, in your late 40s, you remember all too well your childhood of Reggie Jackson’s World Series wins. The excitement of your house, your block and NYC itself.

The team spirit was palpable – sports newscasters screaming on the TV, adults walking a little taller down Madison Avenue and kids teasing Mets fans whenever they’d spot someone sporting the orange and blue. For the entire decade of the 1980s, and most of the 1990s, we would walk around with heads down and shaking in dismay from the losses. We perked up a little when the Mets won in 1986, but would never let those fans see that we were so desperate to celebrate SOMETHING that we were actually rooting for their team.

 

And then it happened. In 1996 we came back, and came back with a vengeance, winning the first AL East title in 15 years. 

From there, we had 5 Championship seasons in 13 years and got to watch legends like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera play night after night to both glory and failure – but it was dazzling baseball. Our hopes and dreams of a dynasty were catapulted into the stratosphere with every W, like a fastball off of the bat of The Captain himself. There were also times where hearts broke across the city, the sighs of weary fans echoing in the streets. However, they brought it home in stellar form in 2000 against the Mets in the famed Subway Series, where households were divided between the pinstripes and the orange and blue. Their star continued to rise in the aughts but has since fallen and it has been 12 long years since they have seen a World Series win. Fans are thirsty for a title and broken by this drought, starting to feel like it is a curse. Every time our hopes rise in October, they’re dashed away and our hearts get broken.

But for the last few weeks we have been watching Aaron Judge’s quest for Roger Maris‘ AL single-season homerun record with unbridled enthusiasm. It has been memorable to witness but it isn’t a championship ring from the Fall Classic. We need the Bronx Bombers to give us a glimmer of hope and go all the way. I cannot go to family Thanksgiving and listen to my nephew gloat about how the Boston Red Sox have won a title twice since 2009 and we have not.

So, let’s take the series back to New York, brush ourselves off, be Reggie Jackson and give our kids the feeling of what it is like to win it all – for old time sake.

Signed,
Lifelong Yankee Fan, No Matter What

 

Find all of the best New York Yankees and MLB League Championship Series Team and Player memorabilia today at SportsCollectibles.com! From autographed baseball jerseys to signed baseballs and baseball bats and helmets – you can build the ultimate baseball fan cave today! Be sure to check out our custom framing options for jerseys and photos and acrylic baseball cases to store your prized memorabilia from the diamond.

This post brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog, Shimmer!


-Shimmer is an all-around sports lover. Her and her hooman mom love all things NYC including baseball and the food. Shimmy is well known for chasing her mom Fancie around the house and having a larger-than-a-yorkie bark. Don’t even think of taking anything out of her mouth!


How We Custom Frame Your Autographed Memorabilia

Here at SportsCollectibles.com, we are proud to say we have some of the best professional framers in the business. They are literally artists. Day in and day out, they do an amazing job getting custom-framed items to our customers in a timely fashion with the same quality of some of the industry’s best, if not BETTER. An autographed memorabilia purchase can be a big investment and you want to be sure that you are protecting that investment while displaying it in a manner worthy of an art gallery or museum. That is where our custom framing department comes in.

Find an Item to Frame

After you’ve selected your autographed jersey or photograph, if the item has the option to be framed, it will have a FRAME THIS ITEM button on the item page. Clicking on that will reveal the choices available for framing your item. Select your preference, add to your cart, complete the purchase and after the order comes in to our system- the magic begins.

The Framing Process

The whole process starts with quality wood selected by our framers. They then cut, bond and shape the wood to create the frame that will house your autographed photo, jersey or other sports memorabilia item that you purchase or send to us. Color-coordinating matting is then matched to your item to make sure it really pops. Once the perfect colors are chosen, the board is then cut to fit a wide variety of extra pieces within the frame, from pictures and logos to name plates and other accessories that may be included, depending on the type of framing selected. Next comes the layout of your item within the frame – putting all of the pieces together like a puzzle master creating a masterpiece. When the elements are arranged to perfection, the framers put the board into the frame and seal it shut. The final touch is to attach the sturdy wire on the back for you to hang and display your new piece of art in the home or office and make it a conversation starter for all who pass by.

So if you are looking to get an item framed, whether it has sentimental value or you just want to display it for all to see and marvel at, head to SportsCollectibles.com to peruse our wide variety of framing options to create the perfect way to display your memorabilia or the ultimate gift for your favorite sports fan.

We also offer our framing services for items you may already own. Please contact us directly for details at 800-793-9793, M-F 9am – 5pm Eastern time, or learn more on our website here.

Find the coolest autographed memorabilia below to have framed today —

Shop Autographed Jerseys
Shop Autographed 16×20 Photos
Shop Autographed 11×14 Photos
Autographed Autographed 8×10 Photos

This post brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Cat, Meecko!


-Meecko is mischievous and loving. His favorite things include climbing his tower and breaking into his food container. You can usually find him in the evenings cuddled up next to the newest addition to his family.


Defensive Decisions – 2022/2023 Fantasy Football Draft Advice

In fantasy football it is no secret that your defense won’t win you a league. They simply won’t give you the point production that a mid-round receiver or running back will give your team, making them easy to wait on. Simply, DO NOT WASTE AN EARLY TO MID-ROUND PICK ON A DEFENSE. A defense, along with a kicker, should be your last two picks of the draft. With that, a solid defense is still a great grab in the late rounds. A defense that provides consistency is one less roster spot that all the great fantasy GM warriors must stress about.
Here are our top three defenses for the 2022 fantasy football season.

1) Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills got a new defensive line, and it is scary. The Bills were able to part with players such as Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, and Harrison Phillips to gain future Hall of Famer Von Miller, long time Denver Broncos star and recent Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl LVI Champ. They also brought back Shaq Lawson who was drafted by Buffalo originally, as well as former Bill Jordan Phillips. The biggest factor for Buffalo being #1 is the comfort that the defense will have with each other. Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier is back at the helm and Buffalo returns nine of their eleven starters. If you are an athlete, you understand the importance of chemistry and knowing the players next to you. Let’s not forget that the last time this defense was on the field was the infamous Kansas City Chiefs matchup with the Buffalo defense crumbling like a good bleu cheese late in the game. The Bills defense will be hungry to prove themselves, they will be hungry to show they are the best side of the ball on that team, and they will be a force to reckon with throughout the season.

2) Dallas Cowboys

The top defense of the 2021 season was the Dallas Cowboys. Much like the continuity Buffalo’s defense will have, Dallas is returning 81% of their defenders that played over 300 snaps for them last year. The biggest factor in Dallas dropping to #2 this year is the QB carousel they will face over the season. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Joe Burrow and Kirk Cousins are all quarterbacks that have been lighting up the boards and have a great offense behind them. I do not expect the Dallas defense to rack up as many takeaways as last year, especially cornerback Trevon Diggs, but with the pass rush of Micah Parsons, Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, Dallas is still a top five fantasy defense.

3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

We have discussed two teams with prolific get after the QB ability, but what team has potentially one of the best defensive back groups in the NFL? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers corner duo of Sean Murphy-Bunting to Carlton Davis III is one of the best double-threats the NFL has to offer. Murphy-Bunting is coming off of an injury to start the season, but look for blitz-happy Todd Bowles to incorporate Murphy-Bunting in immediately. Davis III is coming off of an extension in the offseason which means that confidence has never been higher. Look for him to continue locking down big-name receivers this fall. Antoine Winfield Jr. has become a well-known name in the Tampa Bay area as he continues to make big plays in big situations- taunting rival wide outs as he plays. The biggest factor for having Tampa Bay at #3 is an odd one – Rookie Zyon McCollum. The 6’2″ corner out of Sam Houston State can fly all over the field and has been generating a lot of buzz in the Buccaneers training camp. We also can’t forget linebacker Shaqil Barrett, voted by fellow players into this year’s Top 100 Players of 2022, averaging 12.5 sacks per season since he joined the Bucs in 2019.

There are countless defenses in the NFL that are going to provide solid points week in and week out this season. Drafting a defense should never be the cause of your draft night anxiety and should never be held at too high of a standard. Don’t overthink. Take a defense with solid players that have the potential to cause turnovers or have an easier strength schedule this year. You got this.

We’ll be wrapping up our 2022-2023 NFL Fantasy Football Pre-Draft Tips later this week with star-studded quarterbacks, so be sure to follow us to have all of the info to take you far this season.

Check out our SportsCollectibles.com Deal of the Week through 9/4 – an autographed football from Miami Dolphins first-round 2019 draft pick out of Clemson, Christian Wilkins. Save 50% today and get this ball for only $49.99. Shop Now here.

Today’s Fantasy Football Defense Advice Post was brought to you by Sports Collectibles Blog Dog, LineBARKER Spike!


-Raised a Cleveland Browns fan, Spike decided to forgo a pro career to defend his mama and any cat who tried to come near the house! A hefty little guy, Spike loves walks, CHEESE, snuggly blankets and sitting with all of the humans at the dog park – watching the other dogs like he is reading the opposing team’s offense.