MEMORABILIA AND COLLECTIBLES

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York, and the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, are popular places to visit.  One can stroll through the exhibits and see artifacts of famous horses and people from the 19th century up until the present.

Sports memorabilia and collectibles like trophies from long-ago Triple Crown races are irreplaceable and deserve to be in museums where they can be preserved and gazed at by visitors.  Also of interest, however, are memorabilia and collectibles that can be purchased on the open market.  Occasionally, there are news reports of astronomical prices being paid at auction; for example, a 1909-1911 Honus Wagner baseball card went for $3.12 million and a 1952 Mickey Mantle card brought $1.13 million.

I looked on the website of a well-known seller of sports memorabilia and, predictably, the prices varied with the popularity of the athlete and sport, the rarity of an item, how many are in circulation, and condition of the item.

Following are some illustrations from both horse racing and other sports:

Secretariat Sports Illustrated cover, June 11, 1973, $139.99.

Victor Espinoza signed 2015 Belmont Stakes official program, $179.99. (American Pharoah Triple Crown)

Mike Smith signed Sports Illustrated cover with Justify, June 18, 2018, $249.99.

Babe Ruth, swinging the bat in a photo, signed by 35 Hall of Fame players, managers, and executives, $4,999.99.

Joe Montana signed Super Bowl XVI football, $699.99.

Michael Jordan autographed leatherhead Naismith basketball, $2,900.

Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods autographed Legends of Sport platinum edition photo, $10,000.

Down through the years, I have collected some horse-racing memorabilia, such as Kentucky Derby mint julep glasses going back to 1948, a 1973 Kentucky Derby program signed by winning jockey Ron Turcotte, the official program from the first Breeders’ Cup, and a limited edition Richard Stone Reeves Seattle Slew print. None would bring big bucks if I were to sell. What I should have done was save the baseball cards I had as a boy stored in a shoe box.

Coulda, woulda, and shoulda.

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