Just Collect: Are Deflate-Gate Footballs Worth $50,000?

As experts in the sports card & memorabilia industry, Just Collect wants to get in on the #DeflateGate saga. From a collecting standpoint, how much are these balls worth? For all the endless hours of talk about these twelve notoriously underinflated footballs, there has been none about their value as memorabilia…until now. The first question is when, and if, the twelve footballs will enter the public domain.

After the League’s investigation is over, will the NFL hold on to them or, worse, destroy them? If the league releases the footballs,, who will they release them to? League Officials? The team? The twelve infamous footballs will continue to make headlines even after Sunday’s big game as the results of the League’s investigation are announced and, inevitably, hotly debated. Assuming the League’s investigation into Deflategate eventually draws to a close and the footballs are released, Just Collect estimates each deflated football to be worth approximately $2,000 to $3,000 each on the open market.

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The real value though, is in the group. The group of twelve deflated footballs would be worth $50,000 or more! It’s definitely something to get excited about, and we hope someone has the chance to eventually add them to their collection (or blows them up like the “Bartman” ball was!)

Rare items from notorious sporting events and athletes will always command interest in the hobby. For example, a Joe Jackson game used bat sold for $956,000 last year, and Shoeless Joe is banned from baseball forever. Barry Bonds, whose career will forever be tarnished, had his record setting 756th home run ball sell for over $750,000 a few years back. Even where a piece of memorabilia is not associated with a Hall of Famer it may derive value from it’s scandalous provenance.

The Bill Buckner/Mookie Wilson baseball sold for $418,000 in 2012, and neither Buckner nor Wilson is among baseball’s immortals. The infamous “Bartman” ball sold for $106,000 in 2003. I bet you don’t even know who hit that ball for crying out loud! (You’re never going to guess, so we’ll tell you: it’s Luis Castillo).

Think back to the 2000 World Series between the Yankees and Mets. Do you remember when Roger Clemens threw a piece of broken bat at Mike Piazza? That exchange will live on in the minds of New Yorkers (and the rest of the baseball world) forever. That bat shard, thrown by The Rocket, recently sold for $47,800 at auction.

Let me reiterate, it was a bat shard – and it sold for almost fifty grand. To top it off, the play ended up being absolutely meaningless as the ball was hit foul down the first base line. Sammy Sosa was caught using a corked bat in a 2003 game against the Devils Rays after a piece of the bat splintered off, and revealed the cork inside. The handle of the bat was quickly confiscated by the MLB, but the barrel was left behind.

Fast forward seven years later – the barrel of the bat sold at auction for $14,400. Jeffrey Maier’s infamous glove used to catch Derek Jeter’s “homerun” in the ’96 ALCS is currently at auction with Heritage, and we estimate the glove to sell for $25,000 or more.

Some things may never come to auction – and maybe it’s better that way (like Evander Holyfield’s ear). But it’s always great to get an idea of their value, as fans around the world continue to wonder “what’s that worth”. Here’s a list of some other notable pieces of infamous memorabilia, and what we think their value would be if they were auctioned off:

  • George Brett Pine Tar Bat $100,000+
  • Curt Schilling Bloody Sock (if sold again) $50,000+
  • Darryl Dawkins Rim from Broken Backboard $10,000+

Do you own any unique pieces of memorabilia that are significant to the sport? If so, give us a call today for a free appraisal and we can feature it on our blog at Just Collect!

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