The Psychology of Sports Memorabilia: Why We Collect
When people ask "Why do you collect?" many of us would probably simply say, "well, because it's fun." But there's always something behind why we find it enjoyable.
The origins of collecting go way back. Humans have a deeply ingrained need to hoard things that will help us survive the next winter or natural disaster, or surround ourselves with items we find important to us. Some player collectors are like the Biblical Noah, collecting one of each type or 'species' of card. Others collect many of a smaller number of types. Still others collect many of many types, amassing huge numbers of sets, team-related items or vintage memorabilia. Many times, our collections provide an escape from the real world. How many of us have had a tough day only to come home and lose ourselves in our collections or interacting with others online about the hobby we love?
Trout-Harper.jpgCollecting sports memorabilia helps us find a tangible connection to the games we love. Most collectors today started out as kids collecting baseball cards of their favorite players. Whether you're from the Mickey Mantle era, the Doc Gooden/Don Mattingly era, the Ken Griffey Jr. era or are just starting to build a collection of Bryce Harper rookie cards or Mike Trout autographs, the motivation is much the same.
If you collected cards early on and have now advanced to adulthood, chances are that you have moved on collecting larger pieces or souvenirs. If you began with collecting Topps packs, maybe you've moved on to collecting T206 baseball cards or even vintage sports memorabilia.
Those who collect sports memorabilia see our cardboard memories as having sentimental value. They spur happy memories or an important moment of life shared with his favorite star or team. What you decide to collect is a matter of personal preference but chances are it has at least a little something to do with your values or what you find important in a team or athlete.
Some people collect cards or other items from a wide range of different sports while others only accumulate those centered on a particular sport or athlete. Everything that you have acquired over time tells a story and sometimes represents a moment in the history of that sport. We're now past the rookie card year of Harper and Trout but the cards are always there to remind us of how special the 2012 season was.
mANTLE57.jpgTeam collectors, especially those who live in an area that isn't near their favorite team's location, use their collections to expand their interest in the team, past or present. Other collectors may prefer to keep a more general collection, the acquisition of all or part of a complete set. More irreverent collections include a substantial amount of bobble heads.
There are many items a collector can collect, of course. You can chasebaseballs autographed by a favorite player or team or go after more unique and rare items, such as game used equipment (bats gloves cleats jerseys even) that help us actually bring a small piece of the game to those of us who will never be fortunate to don them in competition.
Collectors of sports memorabilia will often outfit their 'man cave', office or a section of their home with various pieces. It's part of our comfort zone. We surround ourselves with things that make us feel at home, comfortable and happy.
Some of us like to invest in things that we know. While stocks and bonds may be complex to many, investing in certain players or items is something we can do with confidence, which is another element that makes us feel empowered. In the past year, hobby newcomers have moved into the market, buying rare sports memorabilia like the 1920 Babe Ruth jersey or some of the incredible find of century old cards discovered in an Ohio house last summer.
Something rare or unique that we have acquired through our knowledge also enhances our self-esteem.
Regardless of the reason, most psychologists will tell you it's part of our DNA to acquire items that improve the quality of our lives in one way or another.
Last edited by Ripken; 01-01-2013 at 04:33 PM.
SuperCollecting 3 generations of Yastrzemski's!
Carl: 540/3385 not including 1/1's (16%), Mike: 8/8 (100%), Michael: 5/19 (26.3%)
Always looking for any memorabilia that I don't have to add to my PC!