Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt will retire after the World Championships in London this month.
And when he does, athletics will lose arguably its greatest ever champion, and character.
Expect to see Bolt's autograph rise in value over the next few days
What does that mean for the value of his memorabilia?
In the very short term – and we're talking just days here – expect to see strong prices for the great man's autograph as the tearful goodbyes prompt many fans to want to own his signature.
Then once the furore has died down, values will slide over the coming months and maybe years.
But have patience. As the years turn into decades, and the mystique of Usain Bolt – the three-time Olympic 100 metre champion – grows and grows…
...Expect to see prices gradually increase as the legend increases.
We've seen it with the likes of Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Pele.
And prices are already strong for Bolt's personal memorabilia, showing there is an appetite for such pieces:
- In 2012, a pair of Bolt's signed running spikes auctioned for £25,000 ($39,000) – albeit at a charity auction, where values are often inflated.
- The Nikon camera he borrowed from a photographer after winning the 200 metres at the London Olympics sold for $7,300.
- Expect to pay around £250 ($325) for a signed photo.
“Other than Muhammed Ali in my sporting lifetime I can’t think of anybody who’s so had an impact inside or beyond their sport," said British Olympic gold medallist Sebastian Coe recently, according to the Mirror newspaper.
“You can have the Friday night in the pub conversations about who’s the best footballer and who’s the best tennis player.
"But there’s no argument about this guy in sprinting. He is the best sprinter of all time.”
And even if someone comes along and beats Bolt's 9.58 100 metre world record in a few years? Records will always be broken. Bolt will be a multiple Olympic champion for all time.
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