How to Authenticate Sports Memorabilia

The value of sports memorabilia changes from year to year, depending on a number of factors. The single factor that helps cards, jerseys and other memorabilia increase in value is authentication. You need to authenticate sports memorabilia before you invest your hard-earned money in a market with temperamental prices.

Utilize a professional authenticating company to ensure that your sports collectible is the genuine article. Companies like Professional Sports Authenticator provide card and memorabilia assessment to ensure that your collection has legitimate value (see Resources below).

Research the subtle differences between mint and near-mint cards as you authenticate sports memorabilia. A review of sports card grades from Baseball Card Buyer will help you grade your collection accurately for prospective buyers (see Resources below).

Place your sports memorabilia into historical context when you authenticate items through sports museums and halls of fame. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has an active research center that can be accessed for authentication of rare baseball memorabilia (see Resources below).

Print off photos of genuine autographs and other memorabilia to authenticate items you want to purchase. You should look through Hall of Fame publications, as well as official collector websites, to find touchstones that can be used in your search for rare collectibles.

Carry a binder with sports statistics and biographies to meetings with fellow collectors. Place sports cards and game programs next to the appropriate column in your binder if you are concerned about forgeries.

Investigate the reputation of a seller to make sure authentic collectibles are placed for sale. Shop owners and collectors who are regarded highly by their colleagues should be trusted due to the competitive nature of this hobby.

Request additional photos from an online seller if you are concerned about the authenticity of sports memorabilia. A common scam in sports memorabilia collecting is lifting photos from a legitimate auction for use on another website.


Contact the authentication company listed by a seller to confirm registration of sports memorabilia. The certificate of authenticity (COA) should have contact information as well as a registration number used for serious buyers interested in memorabilia history. You can keep a list of general contacts among leading authentication companies if a seller is reluctant to provide a COA.

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