These days, collecting sports memorabilia can be a fun and exciting hobby. Also, a potentially lucrative investment. According to auctioneers collecting sporting memorabilia is on the rise. Traditional commemorative collecting such as football, golf, cricket, tennis, horse racing and baseball has tended to be around pictures, cards, signatures, photographs, paintings and ceramics. But in the last few years shirts and winner medals have fetched incurable prices.
World record fees for items have been astonishing. It was only recently. The jersey worn by Michael Jordon during the Chicago Bulls’ run to win the NBA championship, sold for £8.8 million (Sept 2022). This eclipsed the price paid for Diego Maradona’s 1986 World cup ‘Hand of God’ shirt. Sold for £7.1 million (April 2022).
The ‘Hand of God’ shirt
The owner of the shirt was former England footballer Steve Hodge. He played in the world cup quarter final match between Argentina v England. Steve was responsible for the looping back pass to goalkeeper Peter Shilton. The incident started the controversial event which was broadcast around the world. Hodge had not started the tournament. He was brought into the team after an injury to England captain Bryan Robson. After the match, as Hodge was going down the tunnel, he spotted Maradona. They looked at each other and swapped shirts. Little did Hodge know, Diego had just handed him a pension pot worth far more than his football salary.
Maradona’s daughter questioned the shirts authenticity, believing they owned the real one. However, careful research and forensics involving grass and dirt stains proved the shirt to be genuine.
Video: Story behind the ‘Hand of God’ shirt (2011)
Football Memorabilia (Price and date sold)
- Diego Maradona 1986 World Cup’ Hand of God’ match £7.1m April 2022
- World’s oldest football rulebook Sheffield F.C 1857 £881,250 (July 2011)
- Oldest surviving FA Cup Trophy Presented to teams wining 1896-1910 £760,000 (Sept 2020)
- 1970 Jules Rimet Trophy Special replica version £500,884 (June 2016)
- Nobby Stiles 1966 World Cup Winners medal £188,200 (October 2010)
- Pele’s 1970 World Cup final shirt £157,750 (March 2002)
- George Best’s 1968 European Cup winners medal £156,000 (October 2010)
- Alan Ball’s 1966 World Cup Winners medal £140,000 (May 2005)
- Gordon Banks’ 1966 World Cup Winners medal £124,750 (March 2011)
- Sir Geoff Hurst’s 1966 World Cup Winners medal £91,750 (September 2000)
The lucrative nature of some sporting stars memorabilia has led to serious crime. Former American footballer and film actor OJ Simpson. Led a group of men to a room in a Las Vegas hotel. There he was to meet someone. The intention according to Simpson was to retrieve important personal memorabilia items. As OJ believed they had been stolen from him. However, this was done by gunpoint. Simpson was charged. Ultimately OJ (along with others) went to prison for his drastic actions. On December 5, 2008, Simpson was sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison. The possibility of parole given after nine years.
Two aspects which effect price
- Make sure it’s the real! – With the demand for sports memorabilia, there is also a massive market for fakes and scams. Be sure to do your research before you buy. It’s safest to purchase from reputable dealers and auction houses. Make sure to have the object examined and approved by an authenticating company.
- It’s provenance – This is the history of an object. Where did you get it from? Can the item genuinely be traced back to its original source? A well-documented provenance helps confirm that an item is authentic. This in turn will greatly increase its value. Sometimes, a piece with interesting provenance, such a famous owner or remarkable period in sporting history, can be just as interesting as the piece itself!
In many of the events Comicus Ltd arranges for clients. The sports speakers bring their medals with them. Particularly Olympians. It is amazing viewing and even touching the item. It makes you feel you were there. And now part of it. Just listening to the speaker and the stories behind the medals or shirts are really interesting. As well as funny. Some popular speakers to consider for you next event such as Chris Kamara, Glenn Hoddle, Sir Geoff Hurst, Trevor Brooking, Harry Redknapp, Alan Mullery, Paul Merson, Kevin Keegan, Teddy Sheringham, Roger Black, among many others for speaking engagements who played in these competitions and recall their playing days not only indoors but out on the pitch.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He’s lectured at University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences. He has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
Table of Contents