As 2019 has come to an end, I am looking forward to watching the trends in the collectible markets for 2020. Paraphrasing Jim McKay, as he said every week on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, we will continue to span the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports (memorabilia and other collectibles) as we seek the thrill of victory…the agony of defeat…and the human drama of (athletic) competition. Why the reference to the Wide World of Sports? Because sports memorabilia is always a hot market and this year was no exception with records being set on the field and in the auction room. During this past year, we saw all kinds of records set for trading cards, jerseys, trophies, skateboards, and even sneakers. I found it really incredible that even items that are not unique are still garnering staggering prices, as seen in Sotheby’s the ‘Ultimate Sneaker Sale’ this past July (sale total -$1.3M) or the ‘Complete Supreme Skateboard Collection Sale’ (sale total -$800K).
Who can forget that one of Babe Ruth’s jerseys sold for $5.6M, or that a Derek Jeter rookie card sold for over $200K! Well to top it all off, the end of the year has brought us a record-setting price for the most expensive item ever sold in the sports memorabilia category, the original Olympic Games Manifesto, written in 1892 by Pierre de Coubertin, that outlines his vision to revive the ancient Olympic Games as a modern, international athletic competition. Estimated to make $1M, the drama of the bidding competition lasted 12 intense minutes and finally ended when the victor paid $8.8M!
If sports memorabilia is not your thing, then of course, there were plenty of other unique items that made it across the auction block this year that really exceeded expectations. Here’s a short recap of some of the best sellers (all results include the premium):
11th Century Chinese scroll – $59.5M
Marie Antoinette’s Pearl and Diamond necklace – $36.16M
David Gilmore’s 1969 Black Fender Stratocaster Guitar – $3.98M
Albert Einstein’s handwritten letter (The God Letter) – $2.9M
Neil Armstrong’s Gold Medallion – $2.06M
An Inverted Jenny Stamp – $1.9M
Time to start navigating the globe for the next big auction surprise…maybe one of you will find it in your attic. Happy hunting and wishing everyone a very Happy, Healthy and prosperous New Year!