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Spring cleaning: Is your “bric-a-brac” worth a fortune? | At home

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If your family is like most, you have “junk” in your basement, garage, or attic, such as sports cards, memorabilia, and toys. Before you throw them away during spring cleaning, consider that the prices of sports cards, games, and other ephemera are skyrocketing.

How can you determine if your stuff has value, and if so, how can you sell it?

A widely accepted rule for sports cards, memorabilia and toys is that older items are worth more. However, these days, even newer items are also selling for high prices.

“Vintage sports cards from the earliest periods of a sport are almost always highly collectible, especially those of Hall of Famers,” says Al Crisafulli, auction manager at Love of the Game Auctions, a sports and game auction. memorabilia on the Internet that helps families sell collectibles. “But don’t assume that sports cards or other memorabilia have to be old to be valuable. Modern cards of stars such as Tom Brady, Mike Trout, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter and others can sell for big bucks.”

It offers tips to help you determine if your assets are valuable:

old sports cards

Maps from the 1960s and earlier are collectible, and those from before the 1940s can be extremely valuable. Hall of Fame big names like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Mickey Mantle and more bring high prizes.

With old maps from the 1880s and early 1900s, look for tobacco and candy brands, such as Old Judge, Piedmont, Sweet Caporal or American Caramel. Very old sports memorabilia from the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as photographs, postcards, bats, gloves and balls, are also collectible.

When choosing to sell sporting goods, consider a specialist auction, such as Love of the Game, which has the expertise to professionally source sporting goods and maintain lists of specialist bidders in this area. , to get the best price. More information is available at

Modern maps

The prices of the latest baseball, basketball and football cards have been rising rapidly. The three keys are condition, star power, and early player career cards.

Do you have any current big stars, like Mike Trout, Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and LeBron James? Or do you have big names from the recent past, like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, Derek Jeter or Joe Montana?

Check to see if your cards are marked as a rookie, prospect, draft pick, or other indicators that they’re from a player’s first season. and condition is king, as cards that look fresh with sharp corners and a well-centered image command the highest prices. Additionally, unopened wrappers and boxes from almost any year can be valuable.


Do you have old advertising posters depicting sports stars or famous entertainment personalities as well as food, tobacco or sporting goods brands. Many original signs, store displays and promotional items are collectible, especially those dating from the early 1900s through the 1960s. But poor quality reproductions are not. Look for memorabilia featuring sports heroes, superheroes, Walt Disney characters and Star Wars subjects.

So while you’re spring cleaning the attic, basement, or garage, don’t rush to the trash. Before throwing away old “junk”, determine if it has value!

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