Feature Sports Memorabilia

Learn more about collecting sports memorabilia.

Sports Memorabilia

Sports Memorabilia

Elyse tells us about sporting memorabilia.

Collecting sports memorabilia is more than just child's play.

It's a billion-dollar business, and a good catch could pull in tens of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

In 1999, Mark McGuire's 70th home-run ball sold for a record-breaking $3 million.

The next year, a 1909 Honus Wagner t-206 baseball card sold for $1.2 million.

And that December, a bat used by Babe Ruth to hit the first home run out of Yankee Stadium also sold for $1.2 million.

But there are plenty of fakes, and if you don't do your homework, you can end up throwing your money away before the game begins.

Before you buy that baseball that's supposedly signed by Mickey Mantle, ask yourself: is it real?

These days, most items come with certificates of authenticity.

But beware: certificates of authenticity can be forged just as easily as the items for sale.

Make sure that they're from a reputable dealer or agent.

Recently, new guidelines have been introduced to authenticate items being sold.

Major League Baseball now uses holograms to confirm the validity of a photograph, signature, or other sports memorabilia.

And the league has even started using DNA to back up claims that the item was used by a superstar.

Finally, some advice to new collectors: save everything: ticket stubs, posters, promotional items. You never know when that small souvenir is going to turn into a trophy-winner.

Image: Buck Ewing, New York Giants, baseball card portrait. Source: Library of Congress