Saturday, June 20, 2009

sports and baseball

Sporting magazines in America began in September 1829 with American Turf Register, published in Baltimore.

Here's a very rare offshoot from New York in 1833. As you can see, equestrian and aquatic sports predominated.

Cricket hung on in popularity until the late 19th Century whan it was replaced by Baseball. This magazine also has one of the earliest references to competitive tennis.

Baseball Magazine was the predominant publication of the sport begining in 1905, by which time the sport was wildly popular. Here's the first issue.

Remember, today's collectibles are items which were not recognized as particularly valuable in their time. Manufactured collectibles rarely are worth collecting. The baseball card market, since the mid-1970's has been ridiculously overmarketed. Bob Feller estimated that he's signed his name over 100,000 times. I ask you, how rare can that be in the future?

The same is the case for the millions of perfect condition Don Mattingly and Darryl Strawberry Rookie cards from the 1980's. The notion that baseball collectibles are a stock market of individual players will just not hold up with time. Supply and demand!

If you love baseball, as I do, its nice to have reminders of your favorite players to look at. Just don't get sucked into the notion that someday you'll be able to retire on them. Aside from the blatantly phony ones, sports autographs and memorabilia from the 70's, 80's and 90's are just not worth putting serious money into. Enough morality, I just hate to see too many people victimized by slick marketing.

More great (and truly rare) images to come.

1 comment:

Cliff Aliperti said...

Hello sir, I just wanted to thank you very much for your current series of baseball posts. Baseball and sports memorabilia is where I (and so many others) got their start collecting and dealing--it was largely because it became very tough to turn a profit for me on all but the rarest (and hardest to acquire!) sports items that I shifted to dealing in vintage movie collectibles and magazine back issues, two markets with room for growth by comparison.

I did a post on my blog pointing readers over to part 1 of your baseball post a couple of days ago--love 19th century baseball history, though most collectibles have always extended outside of my own price range. Anyway, I believe I may have misunderstood something you wrote there ("If someone tries to sell you something "because its a good investment", run in the other direction!"), which I feel can sometimes be true. I absolutely agree with how you put it today ("...sports autographs and memorabilia from the 70's, 80's and 90's are just not worth putting serious money into...").

Also I love when you say "today's collectibles are items which were not recognized as particularly valuable in their time," as it is another way of saying something I often repeat myself--anything produced as a collectible is most likely not going to be collected in the future.

And autographs. They've always scared me. While there are obviously honest and reputable dealers in the field, I've always run away, feeling this best left to those experts. I've never personally understood the thrill of gathering autographs in any way except in person (though I have enough collecting quirks where I can understand the desire for others!) as that would seem to me to both add to the pleasure of acquiring the item and be the only way to 100% authenticate the piece.

Thanks again, I subscribe to and really enjoy your blog. I've tried to share some of what I've discovered while handling vintage magazines on my own sites, but your collection is quite honestly mind-blowing by comparison to what I've come across! Especially love the articles focusing on 19th century titles.

Cliff Aliperti