By Jason Klein
Originally Written For The Official Steiner Sports Blog – 7/7/09
An athlete’s death gives new life to his sports memorabilia. It’s simple supply and demand really. Yes, it’s cold and heartless to think about profiting from someone else’s demise, but this is a very real part of the sports collectibles industry…bottom line.
Taboo to some, many in the industry view it as an opportunity to move product. Individual collectors see it as their chance to invest in something extremely limited in nature.
For those cynics looking to knock the sports memorabilia industry for taking advantage of such a sensitive issue, understand this: there is a very real demand for these types of items.
This past weekend, in the hours following the untimely and unfortunate death of former NFL MVP, Steve McNair, Steiner Sports phone lines lit up with inquires about items bearing his signature. Opportunistic collectors were looking to snap up anything they could before the market ran dry. Politically correct? Maybe not. Reality? Yes.
Steiner Sports experienced similar demand back in March, 2006 when the late, great Kirby Puckett passed away, and again in August 2007 when “The Scooter,” Phil Rizzuto died. Demand grew exponentially for items signed by either legend as collectors realized how difficult it would soon be to locate such pieces.
It’s difficult to find that delicate balance between sensitivity and commerce. When does it become appropriate to discuss the value of memorabilia signed by the deceased? A couple of days? A week? A month? There’s no right answer.
Steve McNair was one of the toughest, and most admired leaders in theNFL during his 13 year career. He beat the odds, emerging from small Division I-AA Alcorn State, to lead the Tennessee Titans within one yard of a Super Bowl Championship. Earning co-MVP honors (along with Peyton Manning) in 2003, the third overall selection in the 1995 draft accomplished enough during his career to give inherent value to his collectibles. Right or wrong, his passing makes anything he signed a hot commodity…bottom line.
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