Every collection begins with a single cherished object. When you’re ready to purchase an item, start small. In investment terms, you’re looking for small-cap stocks with potential, not blue chips. Everyone knows a player like Tom Brady is a future Hall of Famer, so his stuff is going to be out of your price range. One smart strategy is to focus on rookies. Take October’s Men’s Fitness cover guy Russell Wilson. A year ago, you could get a helmet with his autograph for about $150. This year, he’s the starting quarterback for the Seahawks, and he’s having a great season. That same helmet is now worth at least $300. And if he wins three Super Bowls like Brady, that number will surge.
There are countless other ways to narrow your search parameters. Look for emerging players who went to the same college as you, or share the same hometown, or who have some other interesting quirk (maybe they’re all lefthanded) and start collecting items related to them. There are risks associated with this strategy—as with stocks, some collectibles appreciate and others lose value—but if you choose wisely, one great purchase could pay for 10 duds.