The simple answer is that collectibles are collectible. Founders of Memorabilia Expert in Las Vegas Victor Moreno & Kieta explain further, “Our mere existence breeds mementos. The minute something new becomes old people want to preserve the memory. So, it’s indeed a collectible when someone wants to keep it in some form or another.”
Victor and Kieta have seen it all in their 30+ years in the collectible business. This dynamic duo are true memorabilia experts as their name concludes. They have sold and auctioned thousands of unique artifacts. A Johnny Unitas’ game worn jersey and John Lennon’s piano come to mind as just a small portion of their highlight sales.
Kieta emphasizes three components of memorabilia values as Scarcity, Popularity and Age.
Scarcity– When quantity is insufficient for the demand the values go up. Sometimes items get destroyed through the years or wear away with time. Once the demand is up price can increase heavily.
Popularity –Naturally, there is some built in marketing on certain celebrity, or political memorabilia. This popularity carries heavy values in memorabilia because they have built in fan bases.
Celebrities like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, James Dean, The Beatles, Andy Warhol, Babe Ruth and Pablo Picasso need no explanation. They will be popular until the end of time.
Age– Certainly the older the item is and has survived time, the more interest and value it will bring. However, age alone does not dictate the value of the object d’art.
Victor Moreno, weighs in on other factors like Condition, Historical Importance and Provenance.
Condition– If memorabilia retains its most original state, the more value it will bring. Preference seems to be on the originality. Restoration can help in some cases. For example, it may enhance the value of game used bats. But in general, restoration, must be disclosed and tends to slightly devalue an items value. I have seen it go both ways. I don’t mind restoration as long as it’s done professionally.
Historical Importance- If the memorabilia has an important date or a historical event associated with it the value can increase. Or perhaps, the piece was created because of the event, then you have something special.
Provenance- Provenance, provenance, provenance. Always a key element when authenticating and purchasing memorabilia. Although, important, is not the only key to memorabilia collecting.
Both Kieta and Victor agree that it is important. However, these last couple of years, they feel that people have taken the joy out of collecting by putting too much weight on provenance and paperwork.
Kieta laughs, “A large part of collectability is that the item survived the test of time not the paperwork that comes with it. That is what really matters. Sometimes I feel like handing over the piece of paper and telling the buyer, I’ll keep the memorabilia. We do weigh heavily on provenance and documenting an items lineage, but I just want to keep the joy preserved in the actual item.”