It is becoming more apparent that the prices for game worn jerseys and the quantities of availability have been increased for some time. I selected this St Patricks Day Eichel for the photo for this article because it illustrates some of the concepts I would like to address.
With the increase use in both social media and NHL Auctions, the awareness about the availability of game worn jerseys, not specifically our hobby, has broadened the market of buyers for anything game worn. Now we are seeing businessmen who want something framed in their office, man cave owners expanding the talking pieces, etc, bidding on items.
Many of these auction participants are not aware of the revolving door of jerseys that become available. Some do not look beyond the fact that an item was worn to evaluate another piece that was worn during game play or for multiple games. Some of these purchasers are also one-offs, meaning they will buy this one jersey and that will be all they need. They do not need to budget for future jersey expenditures because they are not collectors.
Some of these bidders will soon be a part of the hobby as they do additional research into what we do, but there will always be a distinction between what the collectors of the hobby value something comparatively against previous experience and what this new collector paid.
Much of this creates a domino effect in our hobby. We see the prices increase based on these non-collector bidders for the initial offering of the jersey. We are now not only bidding against other collectors, but fans. Once the auction ends and the final values are determined, numerous things can happen:
- Some collectors determine this price to be the value of the jersey in the hobby and cascade this increase to all items in their collection
- Some collectors move along, understanding that if the item reaches the secondary market, the original final value price is at an inflated rate and treat the item as such
There is no real wrong answer here, however, expect these effects to bleed into non-auction areas of the hobby. We will see teams offering more jerseys per year, because they can sell them to fans, not collectors at higher rates. We will see this when it comes to end of the year sales, online sales, auctions, everything.
My advice, be patient. Soon we will see these jerseys hitting secondary markets. We will have to understand that the original purchaser may be upset that reselling the jersey they originally purchased will not net them what they paid in return due to the inflated pricing. Pricing will tier off and start coming back down once hype subsides among fans and the wide eyes and realization of player worn jersey availability becomes standard practice.