Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the world of sports collectables, value is in the eye of the buyer. Items are worth as much as someone will pay for it.
Every fan has at least one sentimental sports item in their collection, whether it’s a baseball card, a ticket stub or bobblehead. These pieces hold sentimental value, but do they have monetary value?
Is there any worth to this weird Blue Jays Coke can I have? Do bobbleheads hold any value in the sports collectable world? And what about all these baseball cards I’ve been hanging onto for decades? It was a sheer coincidence that I noticed there was an opportunity to answer these questions I’ve wondered for years.
Scott Crawford of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame organized a two-day event at the Hall in St. Marys where fans could take part in an “Antiques Road Show” of sorts and have their sports memorabilia appraised on the spot.
The people who had their items appraised before me had an impressive baseball card collection and showed up with a 1952 Mickey Mantle card, which was estimated at $10,000 alone. There was nothing close to a $10,000 card in my collection, but like most attendees, I was curious what market value my items had.
Tony Giese of Heritage Auctions was in town ahead of the Sports Card & Memorabilia Expo in Toronto and was kind enough to appraise my items and gave me an idea what value (if any) these Blue Jays items had. I had a simple goal: not to get laughed out of the building with my Blue Jays knick-knacks.
Roberto Alomar Autographed Baseball
The story behind this baseball is one I’ll never forget. Roberto Alomar was a special guest at the Blue Jays State of the Franchise event in January 2011. He was just elected to the Hall of Fame, so Alomar was top of mind. He finished the evening by declaring he would sign baseballs for everyone in attendance.
If I had to estimate, there might have been 400-500 people there. The issue was that the team officials suddenly had to drum up hundreds of baseballs for Alomar to sign. Employees just grabbed baseballs from wherever they could find and they used this one in particular for my autograph.
Alomar had not yet been inducted into Cooperstown (even though his selection was announced), so he didn’t sign the baseball with the special “HOF” insignia. Nevertheless, Giese gave this appraisal for the baseball:
There’s value in the ball unsigned because they didn’t make a lot of these, I can tell you that. These were done in small quantities. This is one of the rare cases where the ball actually helps a little more than the autograph. I’d say $100-$125.
Estimated value: $100-$125
1977 Blue Jays Opening Day Ticket
At first, I thought this Opening Day ticket was a replica because it was in such pristine condition. Aside from a few pin marks, the ticket is in mint condition with no fading or folding on the ticket. It’s a very cool ticket stub that was given to me by a family member.
This is definitely not a copy. The aging of it and the perforations here. It’s probably $75-$100. What I like about it is the opening game, there’s a seat number, it’s not a proof ticket. The person did go to the game. It’s a stub, I don’t see any creases on it, the staple marks on it hurt it a little bit, but it’s in very good shape.
Estimated value: $75-$100
Baseball Card Collection – Various
Like every other baseball fan, of course I still have the baseball cards I had as a kid. My “collection” is a mishmash of cards, but my favourites are the McDonald’s Blue Jays cards from the sets in 1992 and 1993.
These aren’t going to have a great deal of value, you’re going to have more value in these McDonald’s cards. Not a great deal of money on these, but $25.
Estimated value: $25
Blue Jays Commemorative Pins
Pin collecting is big business and there’s a pin for everything. In today’s age, it’s a bit of a forgotten art, but back in the day, there were plenty of devout sports pin collectors.
I was gifted these three pins as well; one commemorative of Opening Day 1977, another from the 2001 season, and a third from the Skydome Fan Club, which Giese estimates was the most valuable of the trio.
This one is period. This one might have a little more value. I think for all of them, maybe $20. This one here, Skydome Fan Club, this is a little more unique. It might have a little more value than the others.
Estimated Value: $20 for the set
Joe Carter Commemorative Plate
Sometimes, it pays to be a pack rat. I’ve hung onto this commemorative Joe Carter plate my mom bought me for more than a quarter century, secretly hoping it might be worth a fortune one day. On the back, it says this plate is number 500 of only 5,000 made in its production run.
I can’t remember what my mom originally paid for it, but it’s definitely depreciated.
Probably $25. Beautiful, though. You have number 500, so that’s kind of cool.
Estimated Value: $25
Roy Halladay Bobblehead
If you’ve gone on eBay lately and searched for anything related to Roy Halladay, you’ve noticed how sellers are hoping to cash in on their Doc merchandise. This Halladay bobblehead was a giveaway item after his 2003 Cy Young campaign. I wasn’t there in person to receive it as a giveaway, but bought one on the secondary market many years later.
The problem is bobbleheads are a dime a dozen these days, with virtually every team giving these out, which means the market is flooded. Giese said it’s not worth too much at the moment, but it could increase in value.
With him going into the Hall of Fame, that’s going to help it a bit. Probably $30 or $40 on this. These are widely collected and people kept them, too. That might go up in time, but keep an eye out because some of them are lower-issue runs.
Estimated value: $30-$40
Blue Jays Coca-Cola Can
If you’ve been to a flea market anywhere in Ontario, you’ve likely seen one of these Blue Jays Coca-Cola cans or a beer bottle emblazoned with a World Series label on it. Again, this is a weird case where someone has to be actively seeking an opened Blue Jays coke can, but there’s a bit of value.
First World Series north of the border … maybe $20? The thing I like about it is it’s dated to a specific year.
Estimated Value: $20