HOW YOU CAN MAKE BIG
   MONEY IN SPORTS
        MEMORABILIA 

  The popularity of sports trading cards and memorabilia has never been greater
    than it is today. Collection of such items is not limited to youngsters either. Adults
    have discovered trading cards as a lucrative investment field. Prestigious auction
    houses in New York dedicate entire sales to antique baseball cards. Autographs,
    bats and balls, team clothing, ticket stubs, and game programs are bought and
    sold by sports fans worldwide. You can cash in on the growing interest in sports
    collectibles by opening your own sports memorabilia shop or mail order
    operation.

    You can choose to open a retail facility in your city, or you may decide to operate
    a mail order business specializing in sports keepsakes. Both can be established
    for a small investment, and run for minimal costs. If you choose to open a retail
    outlet, you will need an adequate supply of stock to draw customers into your
    store. If your stock is low in the beginning, offer to sell merchandise on
    consignment. You will display a customer's item in your showcase, handle the
    sale, and pocket a pre-arranged percentage of the amount. The advantages of a
    mail order operation are many. You can begin as a trading club with a monthly or
    bi-monthly newsletter, featuring the items other members have for sale or trade.
    Once you have personally gathered a large number of items to serve as a stock
    supply for your business, you can branch out and begin a retail outlet.

    Establishing a retail outlet can be relatively simple. Find a small, inexpensive
    location in a neighborhood strip-mall. You don't need a lot of interior amenities
    either. Several glass showcases can serve as your sales counter and display
    area. Place some shelves on the wall behind your counter to display larger items.
    Framed pictures or plaques featuring autographed items that you have for sale
    can be hung on the walls around the room. Other counters or table space can
    feature collecting supplies such as binders, card cases, storage boxes, pages for
    holding cards, etc. Sports posters can fill up any bare spots on your wall.

    Contact a local magazine distributor and arrange to have a wide assortment of
    sports magazines and newspapers for sale in your shop. Include magazines
    featuring sports news as well as those that pertain to collecting trading cards and
    keepsakes. The magazine distributor will also be able to put you in contact with
    the publishers of pricing guides for sports memorabilia. These price books will
    sell especially well, because they are updated on an annual basis and will create
    repeat purchases by customers.

    If your city has a minor or major league team, check with the front office about
    having one or more players visit your store for special autograph sessions. Fans
    can come and have the players autograph their cards, programs, etc., or they can
    purchase some of these items to be autographed from you at a special
    discounted price. While folks are in the store to get their autographs, they will
    have the opportunity to browse through your stock, make some purchases, and
    get to know you better. While many teams charge for these special appearances
    by players, you should be able to recoup your expenses through the added sales
    the event will generate. Also, having an opportunity to become acquainted with
    your customers and their likes and dislikes will serve you well further down the
    road.

    Getting employees to work in your shop will not be difficult. Teenagers are wild
    about sports collectibles and would be willing to work for minimum wage. Of
    course, you will want to have at least one adult on duty at all times to handle any
    problems that might arise. This type of job is also a great second job for many
    adults. Many collectors would enjoy part-time work of this sort simply because it
    will pay them for time spent with their hobby. Don't worry about getting help. You'll
    be swamped with folks applying for work in your store.

    As mentioned above, you will want to serve as a consignment shop for folks
    looking to sell valuable items from their own collections. Have a sales contract
    written up that specifies that you are taking the described merchandise on
    consignment for sixty days, and that the seller will receive X amount for the sale of
    the item. Of that sale price, you will subtract 25% for negotiating the sale. If the
    item does not sell within the allotted time, the seller will have the option of
    removing it from your store or lowering the asking price. You should be able to
    greatly increase your available offers and make a good profit from consignment
    sales.

    Place an advertisement in your city newspaper or local shoppers' guide informing
    readers of your location and that you take merchandise on consignment. Your ad
    might look something like this:

  
I hope this information helps you in your business endeaver.You may copy and print this article. For more information read Reynold Jay's book    How To Think Small Business For Big Profits  and Born To Be Rich for business motivation. (CLICK for more information.)


 
 
















    Keep your ad simple. Don't overload it by telling everything about your store.
    Simply include enough to let the reader know that you have a shop that offers
    materials in which he will be interested. Also remember that your ad should be
    simple enough to attract teenagers as well as adults. Younger collectors will see
    your ad and prompt their parents to take them to your store. Allow the reader to
    come by and check out your offers for himself. Once he gets to the store, then you
    can determine where his interests lie and what items in your stock will appeal to
    his desires. Your ad is designed to capture interest--not close the sale.

    If you choose not to start out from a retail facility, but opt instead to sell through the
    mail, there are a few things to keep in mind. Decide first how you will market
    collectibles by mail--will you sell exclusively from your own collection, or will you
    serve as a clearing house to bring buyer and seller together by mail? If you plan to
    sell only your own materials, you will need to develop a catalog listing of what
    you're offering. Divide it by sport and item type. List all the trading cards,
    autographs, and other collectibles under separate headings. Briefly describe
    each item. You may want to develop a code for describing the condition of the
    materials to include in the description: M=Mint Condition; E=Excellent; VG=Very
    Good; G=Good; F=Fair. Cards can be listed by player name, year of issue,
    company issuing the card, and condition, with the price out to the side. If a card
    also carries a players autograph, include that information as well. A typical
    description might read:
 

    Ruben Sierra, 1991, Topps, M . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 12.00
    Ruben Sierra, 1991, Topps, E, w/ autograph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 18.00

    If you don't have a large enough collection of your own, start a trading card and
    collectibles newsletter. While you will want to include two or three short columns
    describing recent trends in collecting sports items, price trends, or forthcoming
    collectors items soon to be made available, the main feature of your newsletter
    will be the traders' section. Much like a shoppers' tabloid, your newsletter will
    include classified ads from folks selling their own items or seeking others who are
    selling items they want to buy. You charge a small price per word, line or ad to
    include the listing in your newsletter. Readers will contact each other directly. You
    will make your profit from subscriptions, your personal sales of memorabilia
    offered in the newsletter, and the sale of classified advertising and any display
    ads that readers may wish to place in your newsletter.

    You can establish a reader base by advertising on local bulletin boards, in school
    newspapers, or a small notice placed in the classified section of national sports
    or trading card magazines. Your ad might read:
 

    Free issue Sports Memorabilia Newsletter. Brings buyers and sellers together.
    Latest news. SASE to: Collectors, Box 11000, Anytown, USA 10001

    Along with the first free issue of your newsletter, include a subscription coupon
    and instructions on how to place a classified ad. You will also want to leave a
    stack at each of the retail trading card outlets, at the neighborhood newsstand,
    and in convenience stores that sell trading cards. The ads in the first issue can be
    placed free of charge by friends and acquaintances with material to sell. Offer to
    let a retail memorabilia store place a display ad in the first issue for free. The
    response to their ad will encourage them to buy an ad in a future issue. The
    important thing is to fill up your first issue, making it look attractive and
    professional.

    Your newsletter can be easily typed up on your personal computer. Many software
    packages are available with templates (sample layouts) of newsletters of two to
    eight pages. Simply choose a format you like and type your information into the
    existing columns. You can even plug in your own graphics for a professional
    touch. If you don't have access to a laser printer, visit a local print shop and have
    your newsletter printed out on a laser. The quality will be excellent and will only
    cost around $2 per page printed.

    Published bi-monthly in a four-page format, you can have 1,000 copies of your
    newsletter printed up for about $80. Charge $15 per classified ad or $75 for a
    one-third column display ad. If you feature two pages of classified ads, three
    columns wide with ten ads per column, you'll have space for ninety ads, bringing
    in $900. Add to this $150 income from two display ads placed elsewhere in the
    newsletter, and you have generated a total of $1050. Plan to leave 200 copies at
    various locations in town and mail the remainder to prospective subscribers. The
    first issue will be mailed to prospects in the self-addressed, stamped envelope
    they provided in reply to your ad. However, subsequent issues will be mailed at
    your expense through paid subscriptions. Mailing 800 copies via Third Class
    would cost $160. Your gross profit per issue will be approximately $810. This
    doesn't include any sales generated by your own advertising.

    Selling sports memorabilia can be highly profitable. A trading card purchased for
    pennies can bring profits thousands of times the original cost. More than ever
    before, youngsters and adults alike are collecting sports keepsakes. You can
    grab a share of this lucrative market and parley your position into a profitable
    part- or full-time income. The decision is yours. Step into the batter's box and take
    a swing at success, knocking one out of the park! Good Luck!