Five Key Lessons For Collecting NBA Game Worn Jerseys

Five Key Lessons For Collecting NBA Game Worn Jerseys

NBA game worn jerseys are a fast-growing sector of the sports memorabilia market. But how to begin your jersey journey - or if you're already some way in, how can you up your game? Sharing his wisdom acquired over 30 years collecting NBA game worn jerseys is Benjamin Christensen, a veteran of the NBA market and a passionate enthusiast who here, shares his five crucial tips for success...
NBA game worn jerseys are a fast-growing sector of the sports memorabilia market. But how to begin your jersey journey - or if you're already some way in, how can you up your game? Sharing his wisdom acquired over 30 years collecting NBA game worn jerseys is Benjamin Christensen, a veteran of the NBA market and a passionate enthusiast who here, shares his five crucial tips for success...

Building A Collection Of Game Worn NBA Jerseys? This Is What You Need To Know

B enjamin Christensen remembers the exact day when he brought home his first NBA jersey. It was February 5, 1995 - his 12th birthday. In the weeks leading up, a couple of school friends in southern California had started showing off their Orlando Magic and Dallas Mavericks jerseys. Benjamin didn’t want to miss out on the action, so he picked up a red Grant Hill Detroit Pistons jersey - and began a collecting journey, that has continued to the present day. Benjamin is today regarded as one of the leading connoisseurs of NBA memorabila and here, he shares five hard won lessons he's learned over the course of his exciting journey collecting NBA game worn jerseys.

Benjamin Christensen (left)

Lesson 1: Do Your Research

LEBRON JAMES 2013 NBA FINALS MIAMI HEAT GAME WORN JERSEY GAME 7 CHAMPIONSHIP CLINCHING GAME, ESTIMATE $3,000,000 - $5,000,000

Buying used jerseys on the second-hand market can be dicey. There are plenty of counterfeiters who use fake materials to reproduce jerseys, or who use images of real jerseys to dupe would-be collectors into purchasing knockoffs.

“Sometimes it can feel like making a purchase is urgent,” Benjamin says. “In an auction, it can feel like precious seconds are wasting away, but always take time to make sure that you’re buying something legitimate - and that you don’t get burned.”

Since Sotheby’s is an official partner of the NBA, you can purchase jerseys with peace of mind, knowing that the memorabilia you are buying is 100% authentic.

Lesson 2: Take Your Time

It may be tempting to start your collection with your most coveted jersey — say, a Nikola Jokić 2023-24 game-worn — but you don’t have to go big right at the beginning. And you don’t have to buy a lot of jerseys at once to justify your new hobby.

“Some people think that you need 100 jerseys to have a true collection,” Benjamin comments. “That’s not true at all. Five great jerseys can make for an incredible collection. That is more than enough to get started.”

Lesson 3: Enjoy Collecting

Benjamin suggests starting with jerseys from players or teams that you’re passionate about - even if other people disagree. Reggie Miller was not a universally-loved player at the start of his career with the Indiana Pacers, so his jerseys weren’t as popular. But Benjamin loved him, and now some of his vintage Miller jerseys are among his most valuable.

“If you’re looking for specific players, go with someone who is fun, even if they’re not a huge star,” he says. “Or go with someone who is controversial. Draymond Green is a really polarizing player, and having his jersey in your collection will be a great conversation starter with other basketball fans.”

Lesson 4: Care For Your Collection

Benjamin Christensen's collection of NBA game worn jerseys

If you’re going to invest your time and energy and money into collecting NBA jerseys, you should also care for them. Benjamin recommends framing your most valuable jerseys, which can be expensive, but allows you to display them prominently and proudly in your home.

For less-valuable jerseys, Benjamin recommends velvet hangers, which are thin and will ensure they don’t drop to the floor or wrinkle. He uses a two-tier rolling rack from a department store and a three-door closet to house his collection of nearly 1,000 NBA jerseys.

“I want to show them off as much as I can,” he says. “The only thing I need now is more space!”

Lesson 5: No Regrets

Remember that collecting jerseys is not just a great investment - it’s an enjoyable hobby that connects you more closely to a game that you love. So give yourself an allowance for your hobby, but don’t be afraid to splurge if the jersey you’ve been waiting for suddenly appears at auction.

And don’t worry if you miss it. After decades of collecting, Benjamin has learned that there’s always another opportunity to add an incredible jersey to your collection.

“Don’t live in regret,” Benjamin advises. “Be happy with your purchases. Be proud of your collection.”

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