Sneakers, Sports Memorabilia & Modern Collectibles

A Beginner's Guide to Collecting Sports Memorabilia

By Oliver Vonderahe
Shop a curated selection of rare sports collectibles, including Michael Jordan memorabilia and game worn jerseys, at our online Sports Shop . Buy and sell sports memorabilia with Sotheby's today.

Beginner's Guide to Collecting Sports Memorabilia

A Lakers jersey, game-worn by LeBron himself on Christmas day. A Yankees cap, which A-Rod sported as he led the Yankees to World Series victory in 2009. A ticket stub, from the game that launched Michael Jordan’s legendary career in the NBA. Sports memorabilia represent an exciting opportunity for budding collectors: rich in history and cultural significance, the category only continues to expand and grow in value. But with so many exciting sports collectibles out there, it can be hard to know where to start.

Luckily, our sports memorabilia and modern collectibles team has you covered. We’ve sought out the very best pieces to launch your collection, from game worn sports memorabilia like jerseys, sneakers and caps, to signed baseballs and sports tickets. Each of these remarkable objects carries with it a story—about a team, an athlete, and a moment in sports history—to make any collection special.

Kobe Bryant 2014 Game Worn Kobe 9 Sneakers

Signed, game worn sports memorabilia like these Kobe Bryant basketball shoes, which feature a Kobe Bryant signature on the lateral heel, are the ultimate sports collectibles for Kobe fans and sneakerheads alike. Bryant embodied the competitive spirit, attacking each game with an unparalleled desire to win. It’s no wonder that, in his 20-year career, he became the face of the Los Angeles Lakers and one of the biggest names in the NBA. On December 7, 2014, the hoops superstar — sporting this exact pair of Kobe Bryant shoes — recorded 14 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Joe DiMaggio Signed 1942 World Series Ticket

Sports tickets and other baseball memorabilia are some of the most prized sports collectibles—especially when signed by a baseball legend like Joe DiMaggio. A 3-time MVP and 13-time All-Star, DiMaggio was a member of 9 World Series championship teams during his storied career. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1955. The Yankees superstar signed this upper grandstand sport ticket for Game 4 of the 1942 World Series, which resulted in a 9-6 victory for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Michael Jordan 1984 NBA Preseason Professional Debut Ticket Stub

Michael Jordan’s hoops legacy is unmatched—so it’s no surprise that Jordan basketball memorabilia ranks among the most coveted. MJ made his NBA debut on October 5, 1984, recording 18 points and 8 rebounds for the Chicago Bulls in a preseason game against the Indiana Pacers. This ticket stub commemorates not only the Bulls’ 102-98 victory, but the very inception of Jordan’s brilliant career, which would go on to include 6 championships, 6 Finals MVPs, 5 league MVPs, 10 scoring titles, and 14 All-Star Game Selections. Rare Michael Jordan collectibles like this ticket stub are a must for any serious collector.

Jackie Robinson Inscribed and Signed Baseball

This Official League baseball collectible is signed by Jackie Robinson, one of the game’s most pivotal figures. A Hall of Famer, Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 when he became the first Black player in the MLB, and had an impressive 10-year career with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He was a six-time All-Star, 1949 National League MVP, and led the Dodgers to their first World Series title in 1955. Robinson's number 42 was universally retired in 1997, making this Jackie Robinson signed baseball a gem amongst signed baseballs. Dated 1962, the ball is also inscribed with the words “To Sheldon with best wishes.”

Alex Rodriguez New York Yankees 2009 World Series Game Worn and Signed Cap

The winningest franchise in Major League Baseball, the Yankees have produced more Hall of Famers than any other team. While legends like Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Jeter and Rivera tell the story of the Yankees’ first 26 World Series trophies, no name tells the story of championship number 27 better than Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod wore this Yankees hat as he clinched his first (and only) World Series championship during Game 6 of the 2009 World Series. He donned the same Yankees baseball hat in four of the five other World Series games that year, making it one of the finest pieces of A-Rod Yankee memorabilia.

LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers 2021 Christmas Day Game Worn Jersey

King James wore this white Nike LeBron jersey in his record-tying 16th Christmas Day NBA game in 2021. Wearing this very LeBron James jersey, the Lakers superstar scored 39 points and recorded 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. While the Lakers lost the game to the Brooklyn Nets, it was still a winning day for LeBron—he moved past Kobe Bryant to become the all-time leading scorer on Christmas Day, with 422 career points—making this LeBron James Lakers jersey an exceptional piece of game worn sports memorabilia for collectors.

Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors NBA Playoffs 1st Round Game Worn Jersey

Game worn jerseys are some of the most sought-after and valuable sports collectibles out there. This Steph Curry jersey from 2022 is no exception. The superstar wore this Stephen Curry jersey in Game 3 of the opening round of the 2022 Western Conference, as he led the Golden State Warriors to victory over the Denver Nuggets. The win ultimately led the Warriors to the NBA Championship—their fourth since 2015—making this Steph Curry Jersey a prized piece of sports memorabilia.

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