How to Appraise Sports Memorabilia

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Collecting sports memorabilia can be fun no matter the value of the items you collect. However, the reality is sports memorabilia is also big business. Whether you're collecting to have fun, make money or a little of both, you need to do an appraisal for all the memorabilia you purchase and sell.

See how the experts value your item. Find a current sports memorabilia price guide, such as Tuff Stuff or Beckett, for the appropriate sport and see what the average price range your item is currently selling for around the country. The guide will give you two prices: the lowest amount you could expect to sell the item for and the highest amount you could expect to get for the item. Price guides are typically available at newsstands.

Check out local sports memorabilia shows. The shows will give you a feel for what is commonly available and for what price. Make special note of the condition of the items. This gives you a feel for what is unusually good or unusually bad condition for an item.

Determine the local value. Sports memorabilia guides base their appraisals on a nationwide average. However, value can vary widely across the country. An item from a big star in your area can be worth significantly more than an item from a big star from another area.

Assess the condition. One of the key factors in the value of sports memorabilia is the condition of the item and whether it's normal for the item, unusually good or unusually bad. Assume price guide prices are based on the normal condition the item is found in and reevaluate the price accordingly. There is usually a premium placed on an item in pristine condition.

Get a professional appraisal. If you have an item you think might be exceptionally valuable, have at least two professional sports memorabilia collectors evaluate the value of the item. Professional appraisal services, such as All Authentic, are also available. These services typically cost $35 to $50 per item.