The Michael Phelps bandwagon continues to fill.
This might be the only time a swimmer’s memorabilia is dissected in these pages, but it’s clear that the athlete driving NBC’s must-see coverage of the Summer Olympics is also making an impact on the market.
Michael Phelps’ gold medal collection has already reached five in Beijing and he now owns 11 in his still young, but remarkable career. A growing legion of fans and speculators are creating a demand for Phelps items on eBay as he latches on to the title of most decorated Olympian ever.
While autographs make up most of the current list of over 400 items for sale, perhaps the most unique piece is a swim cap which, according to the seller, was made for Phelps and possibly used during a visit to Northern California a couple of years ago before being unceremoniously left behind in a hotel room. 25 bids had been made for the cap, which includes Phelps’ name and bidding stood at $250 with nearly four days still to go in the auction. It will end about the time we find out if Phelps is able to surpass Mark Spitz’ record of seven golds in one Olympics.
“With a 131 percent increase in sales in Michael Phelps items on the site over the past month, fans everywhere want a piece of this popular Olympian,” says Karen Bard, eBay Pop Culture expert. “ Phelps fans are diving for everything from swim caps to signed photos to trading cards toT-shirts.”
Phelps autographed items, especially color photos, have been popular. A PSA/DNA authenticated picture bearing Phelps autograph sold for $250 with others bringing $100-200. As the market heats up, it’s likely some Phelps fakes are already in the marketplace.
You can find Phelps autographed trading cards in the 2004 Leaf Rookies and Stars "Fans of the Game" insert set. Short-printed within the football and baseball card sets produced by Donruss/Playoff, the Phelps autographed cards have been popping up on eBay in the last several days. One NM condition copy sold for $280 this week. Others have been bringing $100-200.
According to the eBay Marketplace data over the past month:
*360 Michael Phelps listings on eBay
*Average price of Michael Phelps items: $10.75
Highest final selling price for a Phelps item: $174.99 – 2004 Leaf Rookies & Stars Fans of the Game Autograph Card
List of Phelps items currently for sale on eBay