There are many people that collect Sports memorabilia and they have been doing so for decades. Some people like to collect certain sports, like any baseball items, or just hockey or football items. Collectors will also have an allegiance to a certain
type of sports cards.
Lets take Topps trading cards for example, some people will have the complete set of cards for Topps Baseball for every year since their birth, or earlier. So if someone was born in say 1955, they will have every set of Topps Baseball from 1955 to 2006.
Baseball cards however and other sports cards are getting tougher and tougher to collector due to cost. And also their are so many types of cards now, and special insert cards, and special packs. Some packs of cards now have jersey patches in them, pieces of bat and can run around 6.99 USD for just one pack of cards. Years ago you could get a nice pack of cards for around .79 cents and get a nice stack of say 12 or so cards in the pack, not to mention the bubble gum. Now for 6.99 or more you get oh maybe 1 to 3 cards if that.
Now I don't know about everyone else but I certainly can't afford that, and I don't think there are too many children out there that can afford to collect packs of cards at that price unless they get one heck of an allowance. The fun of buying cards was also buying a box of cards and seeing how many of the set you could get plus you got the treat of opening packs one at a time and finding your favorite players in their or special cards.
Now you can buy a box of cards but it can cost you depending on the brand, into the 59.99 to 125 plus dollar range, and of course after spending 100 or more on the box, you'll still need more cards to finish the set, seeing as how baseball sets alone have over 600 - 700 cards in them and alot of the cards in the will be duplicate cards.
When collectors purchase their cards and start opening up the packs inside, the first thing many do is look for the inserts or special cards and put them aside and then they focus on the commons cards. The common card is one that is number from 1 to 750 or however high the card count is for the set. The insert cards usually have a different number than common card. The insert cards might have a number like A1 or J3, its always something other than the standard numbers.
Once the collector has all the common cards together, what usually happens next is they put them in number sequence starting with one. Some people do like to sort their cards by teams, but that method makes it very tough when you go to a shop or search online and you need a certain card to complete your set, the shop owner will usually have the cards in number order in a box, so finding the card is usually easy to do since the shop has them in order.
Most times even with the cards from the 1970s and 1980s and newer a commons card isn's worth much more than 5 or 10 cents, sometimes you can strike up a deal also. The older cards however from the 1960s and older are worth much more even if they are just a common player card.
When you look at a price guide the listing might also show star player cards, which would be a player that was a star, like a Cal Ripken or Reggie Jackson, they will always cost you more than the average card would.
Many dealers also will have the cards graded by a grader. They determine the condition of your card, be it Mint, Near Mint, Fine, Extra Fine, Good and the condition of the card will also have an effect on what the card will be worth. The thing with graded cards is, a dealer pays alot of money per card to have a card graded and you will end it paying more for a graded card to cover the dealers cost.
Getting a card graded can cost a dealer anywhere from 5 to 100 dollars to get the card authenticated by a company. One very popular company is PSA, they have deals where you can get cards graded from 1972 or later for 6 dollars a card, but you must have a minimum order of one hundred cards. So I'm sure you can see why buying a graded card will cost you so much more.
Its a shame too, because just like anything else, your interests and some hobbies will start as a kid, and how can the industry expect to continue to get kids involved at these prices.
There are other things that Sports memorabilia collectors will collect besides sports cards.
They may collect team pictures of their favorite team and have decades of team pictures, especially if you follow an older team like say the New York Yankees or the Green Bay Packers, the longer the team has been around the more there is to collect.
Many people will also have team programs, and Team Yearbooks are another big collectible. Getting a ball Autographed is a nice addition to a collection as well. Another nice collectible is the sports team pennants, like sports flags, the older pennants are rare and highly collectible, but you will pay a price for them.
If a collector likes a particular sport they may collect items associated with that sport, with football, a Super Bowl program is nice, for a Baseball fan, World Series Programs are very collectible also.
Jerseys seem to be very popular in the last decade, you can get a replica jersey or at some gift shops at stadiums and arenas you can get authentic jersey which can be well over 100-200 dollars. And sometimes you can even pick up a game worn jersey.
Basically anything having to do with any sport is collectible. There have been fans at Nascar races actually get fenders and car parts off the cars that have crashed after the crew has cut the part off and thrown it in the scrap heap, and if they are lucky enough they can get the driver to autograph it. Another thing you can collect is books, now does that make you a book collector too, could be. Some people will have every book ever written about the Green Bay Packers of the NFL, and there have been alot of those written. Or if a player or coach of a team writes a book, they could buy that too.