What do you get the basketball fan who has everything? How about a one-of-a-kind item that doesn’t even exist until a player proves himself to be better than 99% of all the others in the history of the sport.
Magic Johnson, Dr. J and Jerry West up for sale
Plaques for earlier inductees such as Magic Johnson, Julius Erving and Jerry West will also be available alongside Michael Jordan, with the bidding likely to get very competitive for such big names in the sport.
The items can land in the hands of true fans with loads of discretionary income or go to investors with an eye toward turning a profit by reselling a few years down the road. Also, figure on some businessman who owns a sports bar to throw good money at the opportunity to grab the plaque of a hometown hero.
The 25-by-28-inch, black-and-white portraits have been displayed along the domed ceiling of the Springfield, Massachusetts, shrine over the years, but the display reached its capacity before the 2019 induction ceremony.
The 40,000-square-foot Hall of Fame is scheduled to close to the public from Feb. 3 to March 25 to complete the final phase of a $23 million overhaul. When the complex re-opens, the more than 400 inductees will be displayed digitally in a different part of the museum.
Mickey Mantle is coveted but relatively common
It’s difficult to tell what price the Hall of Fame plaque will fetch at auction. Certainly Michael Jordan will be at or near the top of the list based on the way he ruled the sport during a run of six championships in eight years with the Chicago Bulls.
The real value probably lies in the uniqueness of the plaques. There are multiple Mickey Mantle rookie baseball cards and Honus Wagner tobacco cards put up for sale from time to time, fetching anywhere from $1 million to more than $3 million, but the operative word is “multiple.”
Miss out on a Mantle card in April and there’s a decent chance another will show up in an auction house in October. That can’t happen with the NBA plaques. As was the case on the court, there could be only one Michael Jordan plaque.
Babe Ruth is the gold standard of memorabilia
Browse a sports fan’s man cave and you’ll find standard fare such as posters of popular athletes, baseball caps of favorite teams and perhaps a home run ball reeled in at a Major League Baseball game or a wristband flung into the crowd by an NBA star.
Those might all be acquired off of eBay by dipping into the household loose change jar, but you will need to save up some serious coin for genuine Hall of Fame content that would instantly upgrade the man cave to neighborhood museum status.
Collectibles related to the New York Yankees have a history of being among the priciest in the sports world. That’s due in no small part to the franchise being the most successful in baseball history while located in the nation’s largest city.
Siting at the top of the heap has to be jerseys worn by Babe Ruth. His 1920 jersey, the oldest known Yankees uniform worn by The Bambino, sold for $4,415,658 in 2012. The Sultan of Swat’s Yankees jersey from 1928-1930 garnered $5.64 million in 2019.
We’ll go out on a limb and guess the owners don’t trust the dry cleaner with those items.