It's that time of year again, when you buy something for your favorite collector that you know they've wanted for years.
OK, let's get real, it's that time of year when you buy yourself that collectible you've wanted for years, calling it a holiday gift.
Either way, here is a host of choices for holiday gifts, cherry-picked from SCD ads. Look for each advertiser in the magazine, or on their websites.
Vintage Baseball Sets
www.707Sportscards.com, (215) 766-9700
Levi Bleam's 707 Sportscards is well-known for high-end vintage and graded PSA cards. But it's also a great place to get a set of vintage ungraded cards. Visit www.707sportscards.com or see the company's SCD ad to get lined up with a vintage card set that just might escalate in value in the coming decades.
Albert Pujols Signed Baseball
If you have searched for an Albert Pujols signed baseball, you know they're almost impossible to find. Call Athlon Sports today at (888) ATHLON-1 or visit www.athlonsports.com and get your Pujols-signed ball ordered today. And if he's not your favorite player, or baseball's not your favorite sport, don't worry about that - Athlon has signed and authenticated items from hundreds of superstars and regional stars from all the major sports.
Complete Football or Baseball Set
Larry Fritsch Cards
www.fritschcards.com, (715) 344-8687
One of the largest dealerships in the country, with one of the most extensive inventories, you can get almost anything from Larry Fritsch Cards, including vintage, new and reprints. But full sets are really cool to receive for the holidays, so why not pick out a favorite year for your favorite collector and get them a full set of football or baseball cards?
Cardboard Gems Book
Pictures and stories tell the tale of more than 150 selected cards highlighted in this book, written by Khyber Oser, Mark Friedland and Ron Oser. This is a really neat coffee-table book that any vintage card collector would love, and it's only $25.
People know that Rich Altman's company has exclusive deals with athletes like Dwyane Wade, but don't forget that his company also has vintage material, including a Babe Ruth ball that is absolutely stunning and carries a price tag of $20,000. Visit the website and click on "vintage" on the left.
(201) 405-0808 eBay: everythingbaseball
Bill Diebold has a great reputation in autographs and a nice selection of team-signed baseballs. See Everything Baseball's ads in SCD or search by seller on eBay and you'll see that the company has a wide selection of collectibles, but the signed baseballs catch the eye.
Georgetown Card Exchange
If you have a person on your holiday gift list who's into sports, you can get sports cards from Georgetown Card Exchange, but it's also a great place to shop if you need to get something that's in the gaming or non-sports fields. "Lord of the Rings," "Buffy," "Star Wars," you name it, there's at least one thing for everybody available at Georgetown Card Exchange.
(914) 769-1304, www.besportscollectibles.com
B&E Collectibles has a ton of items, and they buy a lot, too, including some really cool game-used jerseys from the past 40 years. The 1970s baseball jerseys are worth going to the website to look at, and the company has a lot of newer football jerseys, too. This is a good website from a venerable dealership that has a ton of product.
Columbia City Collectibles
(260) 248-2655, columbiacitycollectibles.com
Treat yourself to a nice gift this year with that oddball set that you've always wanted. How about 1975 Kellogg's cards? Kahn's Football? Boy Scout Cards? You name it, Mike and Cindy Mosier have it. This is your chance to make a memory for your favorite collector with something really interesting.
Louisville Slugger Bat Rack
These bat racks are for serious collectors who have a top-notch game-used bat collection. Whether you want to treat yourself, or your bat-collecting husband, consider that if you're going to spend thousands of dollars on bats, you might as well display them in the best way possible. These racks are reproductions of the bat racks Louisville Slugger itself used almost 100 years ago, and they're fully licensed.
New Hartland Figurines
Vintage collectors want items that remind them of the good ol' days. Newly produced vintage-looking items, like those signs you'll see on the wall at Cracker Barrel, are "in." Hartland Collectibles figures offer a fascinating blend of the modern and the nostalgic. The originals are available on the secondary market, but these are more readily available. Babe Ruth and Brooks Robinson lead the list; Mickey Mantle sold out so quickly that even the new ones are available only on the secondary market.
1970s-80s Baseball Sets
Kevin Savage Cards
(866) 861-2330, www.kevinsavagecards.com
Kevin Savage Cards has a massive inventory of vintage product, much of it graded, so to narrow that down to a gift idea can be tough. We pick the 1970s and 1980s baseball sets because some day they have some growth potential, when the fans of those decades reach prime collecting age. The company also has a ton of graded Goudey and Play Ball material up for sale.
Signed Mini Helmets
Creative Sports, (727) 785-5733
Here's a collecting goal that would look great in the basement or sports room - a signed mini helmet from one player from each NFL team. You could do a Hall of Famer or just a prominent player, then display them by division or conference. What a chase. Maybe add one a month and make this a three-year project? Creative Sports is the mini helmet king.
Trading Card Boxed Sets
Strictly Mint, www.smcci.com
The mainstay of holiday sports card gift giving, a trading card boxed set includes all of the regular cards from a set, so you get one of each player, no doubles. It's a perfect gift for kids - simply pick out their favorite sport, pick a boxed set and you're done. And there are specialty boxed sets, too, like Upper Deck's new St. Louis Cardinals World Series boxed set. Topps and Donruss also issue boxed sets each year in baseball and football.
Topps Baseball Commons
Howard's Sports Collectibles, (419) 943-2612
Howard's has a lot of different vintage cards for sale (plus coins, if you're also into that they can be your one-stop shop) but among the things it specializes in are single cards from the 1950s-70s. You can fill in that one card you need to treat yourself, or if you know your favorite collecting friend needs a card, this is the place you can get it.
Barnetts Sports Cards
(330) 325-9511, www.barnettssportscards.com
Dozens of dealers have a large inventory of vintage cards, like Barnetts Sports Cards does, but one thing that makes the company unique is that it puts together nice sets for you. In the company's words on its website, "We have approximately 45 sets from the years 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982 that were put together from vending cases in the year of issue and have never been in circulation." Sounds like an opportunity to me.
Licensed Sports Hammers
Are you still driving nails with a hammer that doesn't feature your favorite team's logo? Do you have a sports fan on you r list who loves to fix things around the house?
You've found your perfect gift, for yourself or your friend, with these new licensed hammers. They retail for only $19.99, and www.sportsfanshop.com has hammers available for teams in the NFL, MLB and NCAA.
Single-signed baseballs are the cornerstone of baseball collectibles. The best source is if you can get near enough to your favorite player to get it signed yourself, but that's getting increasingly difficult with today's athletes. Steiner Sports has the largest selection, at more than 2,000 current and former players, so odds are you'll be able to find your gift recipient's favorite player. And they'll have that ever-important authenticity hologram on them, which is crucial to future value.
Gift ideas work great when they come ready to hang on a wall. These take a team photo from a great team like the 1927 Yankees and a few tweaks later become a collectible and a holiday gift. There are multiple sports and teams available. The plaques are 13 by 16 inches. This is the kind of gift that would work great for somebody who loves a team because you could get a new one for them every birthday or holiday and they'd have a matched set. Their prices are in the $44-$60 range. "Healy" is the name of the original manufacturer who developed the product line.
Framed Photo/Card Plaques
Stars & Pinstripes, www.starsandpinstripes.com
If you took some photos and trading cards and tried to fame them yourself, it would look like you did it yourself, and to have it done professionally would cost more than just buying something like these framed plaques. Here are framed photos teamed with trading cards, patches, postcards, whatever, all in one ready-to-hang, double-matted frame. These kinds of framed plaques are getting harder to find because the companies that were making them in the 1990s went out of business, but there's a good selection of new plaques available at this website.
Dynasty Wool Pennants
I've never seen anything like these. They're 2 feet by 3 feet wool banners like the kind that hang in a team's stadium or arena. Those V-shaped wool pennants are still a popular collectible, but these rectangular monsters are like a super-pennant. They could easily be the visual center of a collectibles or sports room. The price isn't bad either ($70-$75), given the size, and almost any team that's hung a championship banner is available.
Rookie Football Player Autographs
Dave & Adam's Card World
This could be the best NFL rookie class since Marino and Elway in 1983. Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Vince Young, Joseph Addai, Santonio Holmes, DeAngelo Williams, Laurence Maroney and Jay Cutler are all potential superstars. You can get trading card boxes or 10-count investment lots of their rookie cards, or these autographs as investments because I like the potential growth of their signature value. Bush, Leinart, Holmes and Williams all have exclusive autograph agreements with the same company, so the easiest place to get their autographs is at the Dave & Adam's Card World website.
The sports beanie bear craze is dead and gone (amen!), though you can still find those beanie bears with pro uniforms on them. Meanwhile, teddy bears (real teddy bears, which are a high-quality collectible) are still around. I put these on the list because many of us have to buy for mom or grandma, and if they like sports, and they know quality stuff, you're not going to fool them with a $10 beanie bear. These Cooperstown Bears fit the bill. If you don't spend $125 a year on mom or grandma, there are $19 resin figures that will fit in well on her curio shelf.
High-end Art Pieces
A relatively fledgling area in sports collectibles, signed sports art is potentially a great investment, not to mention an underappreciated collecting genre that is also a conversation piece. Original artwork has the most upside potential; prints and lithographs offer many of us a more-affordable entry point ($500 or so for lithos). All sports are offered, with originals and lithos available for Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali and others. They're all approved by the athletes and include the COAs you need to preserve their value.
Autographed Football Jerseys
Personally, I think the best autographed football item is a jersey because the jersey itself looks so neat framed on a wall. Make sure you get one authenticated by a major company; in other words, this is not something to price out on eBay. The jersey itself is worth at least $75, so you can expect to pay $200 or more for Hall of Fame-level players, but these are keepsakes that will always be in the family. This is a once-in-a-lifetime gift for your dad or brother.
Talk about something that few people have. It used to be that the items were thrown away, or the equipment manager would back-door the items to his friends. Now, the bats, jerseys, batting gloves and etc. are being saved and sold. The leader in this area in baseball is the aforementioned Steiner Sports, which has agreements with the Yankees and Mets, acquiring the Yankees' material dating back 30 years. This stuff ain't cheap, but it's all original and unique, and authenticated.
These are only $25 and will make for a ready-make, hang-on-the-wall gift for a sports fan. The custom-engraved plaques come in 10-by-13 and 12-by-15-inch sizes, with nameplates, and there are dozens of players available.
Personalized Cooperstown Bats
Reasonably priced, cool to hold and as personal as it gets, this is a can't-miss gift for a baseball fan. You can choose from a few different bat styles. These cost $42 and up, depending on which bat you want.
Collectibles Insurance Agency
(888) 837-9537, www.collectinsure.com
Nothing says "I love you and your collection" as much as insuring that collection through Collectibles Insurance Agency. You can get a $25,000 collection insured for only $95, for instance, with rates for all collections above and below that level.
Miller Boys, (215) 444-9776, www.millerboys.com
There is no other source for autographed sports photos like Miller Boys, period. What you may not know is that the company also has signed cards, baseballs, bats, pucks, jerseys, footballs, Perez-Steeles and other assorted items. The company also has vintage non-autographed items, magazines, media guides, scorecards and graded cards. You get the point.
Dwight Clark Wine Bottle
National Sports Distributors
Well-known for its autographed and non-autographed memorabilia as well as organizing corporate functions, National Sports Distributors and Steve Ledson teamed to release this Harmony Collection 2005 Russian River Pinot Noir, the third Ledson Harmony Collection wine, to commemorate and celebrate the 25th anniversary of "The Catch." And proceeds benefit charity, another bit of holiday cheer. NSD is selling autographed versions of the bottle. Contact NSD at (877) 466-6826.
Ball Holder Display
If you have a collector in your family who has baseballs, footballs or even hockey pucks scattered around the house, there's a great way to help your collector kin display their memorabilia and organize their collection at the same time. Visit www.
pennzonidisplay.com for all of the different options.
Bre tt Favre or Michael Vick Autograph
Brett Favre and Michael Vick autograph prices are probably never going to come down. Now is the time to get their memorabilia. Radtke Sports has exclusive agreements with each player. Favre's items are available at BrettFavreAutographs.com; Vick's are at MichaelVickAutographs.com.
Art of Sports Signed Figurines
Romito Enterprises, (703) 729-3053
A signed figurine of Barry Sanders or John Elway for about $60? You'd expect to pay more than that at a show ... signed on a flat. Romito is running specials like this all the time.
College Mini Helmet
You've all seen mini helmets of the NFL teams, but did you know that there are mini helmets for virtually every Division I college team, plus some at levels just below? Just to make a point, we've pictured Coastal Carolina. Visit www.victory
collectibles.com not only for the company's myriad selection of collectibles and equipment, but also to check out these really cool helmets. You're bound to find one for somebody on your list.
Diamond Signatures Autographed Set
Philadelphia A's Historical Society
www.philadelphiaathletics.org, (800) 318-0483
This autographed card set features signed cards from 45 players, mainly from the A's but also from other teams of the era. The set costs $299 (less than $7 per autograph) and benefits both the A's Society and the Association of Professional Ball Players of America. Some of the players involved: Dom DiMaggio, Bob Doerr, Carl Erskine, Herman Franks, Whitey Herzog, George Kell, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Shantz and Gus Zernial.
sportsaddresslists.com, (561) 752-5573
The 2007 baseball and football address lists are almost ready, while the 2006 lists are still available from the king of sports addresses.
These lists, compiled by Harvey Meiselman (firstname.lastname@example.org) are a must for collectors who like to send away for autographs.
NFL Game Model Ball
(231) 865-6935, www.andersonkpt.com
Have you priced out official NFL game balls lately? You'll find the best pricing for these great footballs along with great prices on a lot of other equipment as well. Game balls, for instance, are only $58. And Anderson has Major League Baseballs, NHL pucks and much more available as well.
The Duke Football
Wilson Sporting Goods and the NFL have announced the return of "The Duke," the first re-branding of the league's official football since 1969. "The Duke" is in honor of football legend Wellington "Duke" Mara, who passed away in October, 2005 at the age of 89 after 81 years with the New York Giants. You can get this ball for only $69 at www.
anacondasports.com, which features hundreds of similar items, plus displays and apparel.
Wall Mounted Football Display
(800) 592-3220, www.classicsupplies.com
If you have a signed football, you need to put it into a UV-protectant display or the ink is going to disappear over time. Ohio Coin has the best displays and the best pricing.
PSA Club Membership
Serious graded-card collectors need a PSA Collectors Club membership so they can submit cards to PSA. But the Gold Membership ($99) and Platinum Membership ($179) don't merely get you "in the club," they also net you free submissions, the company's magazine/price guide and more. Go to www.psacard.com/join/index.chtml to sign up your friend.
Nostalgic Metal Sign
The company made famous by its helmets has other products, too, including these metal signs that are classically designed to look like antique trade signs. They're almost a foot wide and a foot and a half tall, and you can get college and pro teams in several sports. Priced at $19.99, you can find these at stores across the country, or you can go to Riddell.com and click on the "Visit The Fan Shop" to order one online.
Hines Ward Signed Football
Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward is headed toward another great season. Ward is slowly working his way into Hall of Fame-caliber standing. Env Collectables has a ton of Steelers-signed memorabilia, plus it has a signing coming up with Ward in November. The company also has a Dan Marino signing coming up in November. Check out the company's website at www.envcollectables.com or watch for its SCD ads for information.