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Are Framed Football Shirts a Good Investment?

We look at the best pieces of sports memorabilia to buy and give you an idea of which items are likely to be the most valuable in the future. 

Signed Ronaldo Shirts

When it comes to collecting sports memorabilia aside from gifting, there are two main reasons why people select the items they do. Firstly because the sport, team or signature means something to them, and secondly because the item they buy is likely to appreciate in value as an investment piece. We look at the best pieces to buy in the market today, and while we can’t advise you on your own personal preferences, we can give you an idea of which items are likely to be the most valuable in the future.

Major league collectors having been picking up rare baseball cards for years. The hallowed Mickey Mantle from 1952 was recently sold at auction for $12.6m (£9.9m) making it the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold. Of course that is way out of reach for mere mortals, so which items should you look out for and how do you find them? Apart from stumbling across a rare shirt, trophy or medal in your grandad’s loft, or at a car boot sale, the best way is to search online. Our advice is to be really careful when shopping on one of the many online auction sites. You are pretty safe when shopping at one of the bigger companies like Omega, Sotheby’s or Bonhams, but always request a ‘condition report’ before bidding so you know what you are getting. With large companies like this you can be fairly certain that the items are genuine, and they will all come with a verified certificate of origin. I say ‘verified’ because none of these major players wants to see a fake pass through their hands. And there’s the rub; It’s all about trust and reputation, and the more you can verify the provenance of the piece, the better. Watch out for buyer’s fee on these sites by the way. Omega charges a whopping 24%+VAT on top of the price of the item for a successful bid!

Framed Football Shirts

L to R – Signed Johan Cruyff Shirt, Signed George Best No.11 Shirt, Signed Maradona 1986 Shirt, Signed Messi Shirt, Signed Ronaldo Shirt – Firma Stella©

I would be very careful buying from some of the popular cut price auction sites as well. Always get a certificate of origin, as there is rarity in authenticity! A better way is to step up to some of the major online shops that specialise in signed sports memorabilia, both those which arrange special signings and those who sell signed memorabilia with provenance; backing each item with their own COAs and lifetime guarantees. Check out Firma Stella who are the biggest in the UK and number one on Trustpilot, with a vast selection of signed football shirts. They also have the biggest collection of framed football shirts.

So, what to buy? Having established a good reason, the next is selecting those items which are the most coveted. When it comes to collecting football memorabilia, there is a clear winner here, and that is Manchester United! When it comes to who to buy, then there are also some clear winners! Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the most well known and most popular player on the planet. He started out playing for the Portuguese team Sporting CP before passing through the ranks of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, before settling at his current club Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia. If you can find signed Ronaldo shirts from when he was playing at Manchester United, then you have the best of both worlds. The biggest football club in the world and the most popular player. Apologies to all you City fans, but it is what it is!

Othe players share the spotlight, with Lionel Messi and Mo Salah being extremely collectable as well as heritage players who are no longer with us, like George Best, Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Diego Maradona, (His ‘Hand Of God’ shirt is the most expensive piece of football memorabilia ever sold at $9.28m (£7.4m)) and of course Pele, who passed away in December 2022.

The biggest takeaway here, is to aim high, and if you can’t afford that shirt signed by that team or player, then start small. You can pick up signed and framed football boots for a few hundred pounds and work your way up to that hallowed shirt by your favourite player. One last word of advice. Look after what you buy. If your signed shirt isn’t framed, then get it framed. It’s not that expensive compared to the discount you’d have to give on a damaged item when you sold it!

Top photo: Shutterstock/Maciej Rogowski Photo©

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