As promised, here's my second market tip for 2023.
Following football memorabilia, we're staying in the world of sports.
And it's a relatively niche market that I believe is set to explode...
Collectible sports tickets.
Collectible sports tickets are set to become the next breakout category of sports memorabilia in 2023.
The best seats in the house
Rare tickets were described as “unquestionably the hottest segment in sports collecting” in 2022.
In a world where sports cards now regularly fetch $1 million+, and the finest examples are solely for the super-wealthy, it's unsurprising that some collectors have turned their focus elsewhere.
With sports tickets, it's still possible to own the highest-graded copy of a ticket in existence for thousands, not millions.
Building a world-class collection, and owning the pieces you love, is still affordable for many collectors.
And in many cases tickets are actually far rarer than sports cards, which adds to their desirability.
So what was once a niche area is now becoming a major category of its own.
The world's ten most valuable tickets all sold in the past two years.
And the record price for a ticket was broken three times last year within the space of a month.
It's a soaring market, and I think it will rise further and faster than ever in 2023.
Rare sports tickets from historic events, such as Super Bowl I in 1967, are becoming highly popular with collectors. (Image: Heritage Auctions)
The perfect sports collectible
There are several great reasons why tickets are so popular with collectors:
• They are rare, as most fans discarded their stubs after games. And complete, unused examples are rarer still.
• They were present at some of the most iconic moments in sports history.
• They can be professionally graded and slabbed, which adds guaranteed authenticity and a great deal of value.
• And they can hold a significant emotional connection for collectors who were actually at the games.
With almost all event tickets now existing in digital form only, there's also the added nostalgia for owning physical tickets.
The only-known unused ticket for Michael Jordan's NBA debut for the Chicago Bulls in 1984, sold at Heritage Auctions last year for $468,000. (Image: Heritage Auctions)
The easiest way to track the upward trend of sports tickets is simply look at some of the prices achieved.
Back in 2018 a used stub from Michael Jordan's 1984 debut for the Chicago Bulls against the Washington Bullets sold for $33,000.
At the time it was considered a huge price.
Fast-forward to 2021, and another stub from that game sold for $270,600 – a record price for any sports ticket.
Then in February 2022 that record was shattered twice in a matter of minutes during the same sale at Heritage.
First was another ticket for Jordan's debut. It was the only complete, unused example known to exist in the hobby. And it sold for $468,000.
But it was soon beaten by an ticket from an even more significant moment in sports history.
Jackie Robinson's MLB debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers in April 1947. The day he broke the colour barrier and changed baseball forever.
That ticket sold for a stunning $480,000.
And even then, the record lasted less than a month.
An original ticket for the first U.S Masters golf tournament in Augusta in 1934, sold by Golden Age Golf Auctions in March 2022 for a record $600,000. (Image: Golden Age Golf Auctions)
A very smart investment
The ticket that currently holds the record comes from the world of golf.
And it's the perfect example of how much the market has grown in recent years.
There are believed to be around 10 surviving tickets from the very first U.S Masters tournament in 1934.
In 2007 one of those tickets sold for $50,000. At the time it was a record price for a sports ticket. It remained in the same private collection for 15 years.
In March 2022 the same ticket sold again for $600,000.
That's an 1100% increase in value, at a growth rate of 73.3% per annum.
And a very smart investment.
According to Ryan Carey of Golden Age Golf Auctions who handled the sale, the owner was a collector who believed that golf memorabilia was undervalued.
You could add rare sports tickets to that as well.
And he was right on both counts.
An unused ticket for Lionel Messi's debut for Barcelona in 2003, sold at Goldin Auctions for $49,200
(Image: Goldin Auctions)
Legends of the future
Collectors are also spending big on tickets from the debuts of current legends.
In the past 12 months strong results have included:
• A signed ticket from Tom Brady's 2000 NFL debut for the New England Patriots against the Detroit Lions, which sold for $175,200.
• A signed ticket from Tiger Woods' PGA Tour debut at the 1992 Nissan Open at Riviera, which sold for $104,700.
• And an unused ticket from Lionel Messi's 2003 debut for Barcelona, in a friendly match against F.C Porto, which sold for $49,200.
These players are all still active in the game (just about), so collectors are clearly buying for the future.
That shows confidence that values will increase over the long-term, as their legacies grow into history.
A signed ticket for legendary quarterback Tom Brady's NFL debut in 2000, sold at Goldin Auctions for $175,200. (Image: Goldin Auctions)
Fierce competitionAside from the actual auction results, I always find it interesting to look at how many bids items attract.
And in the case of many big-selling tickets last year, they were attracting 40 to 50 bids before the hammer went down.
That shows there's fierce competition amongst collectors – another sure sign of a healthy market.
But the rare ticket market is still relatively small, compared to other areas of sports collecting which have hit the mainstream.
That's why I believe it has plenty of room to grow in 2023.
In the next 12 months I expect the current $600,000 record to be surpassed, and break through to make headlines outside the hobby.
When that happens, the demand will grow stronger and prices will surely increase even further.I'll be bringing you another market tip for 2023 next week - so don't forget to check your inbox.
And as always, if you have any questions about rare autographs or historic memorabilia, please feel free to get in touch.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or call me on +44 (0) 117 933 9500.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks for reading,