Chicago might beg to differ. New York is certainly going to take offense. Other cities may stake their own claim. It’s hard to argue, though, that the Boston sports memorabilia market is among the most competitive and costliest of any area.
The city has four major professional sports franchises, three of which have a history that dates back to the earliest beginnings of the professional game in each.
Just a five decade old kid with a room full of championship quality work.
Sports are a year-round obsession for fans of Boston teams. Collecting them is a passion.
The point was driven home again last month with the auction of Red Auerbach’s collection of Celtics memorabilia. Fans wanted whatever piece of the legendary coach’s impact on the Celtics dynasty they could afford. His four championship rings sold for over $282,000. Even his old office chair brought $6544. The auction generated significant publicity in New England.
An entire generation of fans was born and died between Red Sox World Series appearances but it really didn’t dampen collector enthusiasm for anything related to Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski or Carlton Fisk. Once they finally broke through and ended the ‘Curse of the Bambino’, the excitement and interest went through the roof.
At auction, vintage Boston sports memorabilia associated with the city’s greatest teams and players is tracked by scores of collectors across the country who bleed for Fenway Park. A 1947 Ted Williams game-used, vault marked bat sold just a few weeks ago for $77,675.
Collector Jeff Boujoukos is one of the country’s biggest collectors of game used bats, trying to track down a stick for every position player who has donned a Bosox uniform since 1961.
Red Sox team sets are big sellers and vintage card dealers sometimes struggle to keep Boston players in stock.
The market is strong enough that some will even try to break in and steal Red Sox game used equipment, knowing there’s a market for virtually anything. An area man was just arrested this month for attempting to consign a huge cache of gear to a major auction house.
Boston is home to one of hockey’s favorite icons. Bobby Orr’s comet-like career gave fans one of the greatest sports photos ever. Kids who grew up in the 1960s and early 70s revered Orr. One of his game-worn jerseys sold at auction last spring for $191,200.
Another sold at auction in 2009 for over $95,000.
Other, less wealthy collectors track Orr’s rookie card.
In recent years, the New England Patriots have ignited a new breed of collector. The franchise dates back to the dawn of the American Football League more than 50 years ago. However, not until the last 15 years has the franchise turned into one of the premier organizations in sports, winning multiple division titles and rating high on the list of Super Bowl winning teams, with three to their credit.
Tom Brady rookie cards have become among the most coveted. His autographed cards, regardless of product, drive the current card market.
There are plenty of Patriots collectors who chase AFL memorabilia, like Michael Paolino, who owns perhaps the best collection of Patriots stuff in existence.
The good news for those who don’t live in the area is that they can usually find a trading partner for their cards featuring Boston players.
There’s a thriving online market, too. There are over 150,000 Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins items currently on eBay As long as the intense interest in the fortunes of the franchises continues, there will be a strong market for Boston sports memorabilia .