You may have grown up wondering why the Dodgers ever left Brooklyn, or maybe you're a diehard Indians fan - even if they've never won a World Series in your lifetime. Whether you collect Major League Baseball team caps or prefer to wear team jerseys with emblazoned with the name of your favorite NFL player, enjoy wearing your fan apparel - and be proud of your team!
Sports fans often collect a wide variety of unique items, from team jackets to stadium blankets. Finding a gift for a true fan can be as easy as buying a throwback jersey for the person's favorite player or finding unusual souvenirs representing an entire NBA team. Or, it can be as meaningful as a stadium seat or brick from team's former playing field.
When searching for fan apparel or souvenirs for younger fans, keep safety in mind. Don't buy something with tiny parts. And remember, children grow fast: a team onesie can be cute, but it's probably only going to be wearable for a few months at most. Consider collecting key cha ins or jewelry for them instead, or even a team cap; these will last much longer.
Each major sport has its set of fan apparel and souvenirs. NFL collectors often prefer NFL jerseys, banners, or flags. They can show support for their favorite team boldly with NFL jackets proudly advertising their loyalties, or more quietly, with NFL key chains or NFL watches instead.
Fans can also support their favorite quarterback by buying NFL posters or NFL photos featuring Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, or even Brett Favre. Or, they can enjoy seeing their team's running backs or wide receivers on NFL pennants or NFL lithographs instead.
Those who prefer the minor leagues or college football instead don't have to worry. There's a wide variety of CFL and XFL football souvenirs available too, as well as NCAA football souvenirs and apparel for almost every college team.
Those who find baseball more their speed will find almost limitless choices in fan souvenirs, from MLB baseball ca ps to souvenir pins or buttons. Looking for a souvenir for that special lady who enjoys baseball? Choose MLB jerseys made especially for women, or MLB jewelry she'll love.
Some fans prefer watching top prospects to see if they will make the big time. Minor League baseball wear or souvenirs is usually more appealing to these fans. Others prefer collecting souvenirs from historic players, such as an MLB photo of Ty Cobbs or souvenirs from Negro League players.
For some, basketball is the only sport, and many of these fans prefer to wear NBA jerseys or NBA shirts with their favorite player's number. They wear NBA jackets like LeBron James, or collect basketball cards or bobbleheads of other high-profile players like Kobe Bryant or Shaquille O'Neill.
Other NBA fans opt to collect NBA photos autographed by favorite players like Michael Jordan or Larry Bird. Sometimes finding older NBA posters or figurines can be challenging; but then again, half the fun of collecting is looking for the latest find. One of the more valuable figurines is that of Larry Bird issued by Danbury Mint.
Collectible cards are also sometimes very rare and valuable. One example of this is the 1984-1985 team set of the Philadelphia 76ers issued by Star Company. This set features the legendary Moses Malone as well as the famous Dr. J. (Julius Erving).
Some fans prefer college basketball or WNBA basketball to men's pro ball. They may enjoy collecting NCAA basketball apparel or souvenirs instead. Bring back all the excitement of March Madness with playoff posters or team sweatshirts, or collect the signatures of favorite college players expected to make it big in the NBA or WNBA.
Racing fans can also enjoy the excitement, collecting NASCAR fan apparel or souvenirs that feature their favorite drivers. Choose from NASCAR jackets promoting Jeff Gordon or NASCAR poste rs featuring Bobby Labonte. Buy an inflatable replica of Dale Earnhardt's car, or buy a secondhand racing suit manufactured by Ferrari.
True fans will understand the thrill of finding a NASCAR racing helmet signed by their favorite player. Those who prefer Indy or Formula 1 racing won't have to worry; there's plenty of souvenirs and racing history for NHRA or CART fans, too.
Hockey fans will enjoy the latest NHL jerseys or souvenir pucks from games they've attended. Some also enjoy collecting other memorabilia such as NHL bobble heads, shirts, or jackets as well.
Enjoy the best of today's hockey players, or search for souvenirs from teams no longer in existence. Collect autographs from players who were on winning teams in the Stanley Cup, or strike it rich with a photograph signed by an entire team. Whether your favorite team is the Columbus Blue Jackets or the Detroit Red Wings, there are plenty of items to collect if you know where to start looking!
For those who thrive on the excitement of professional wrestling, there's a wide variety of WWE apparel and souvenirs to purchase. Collect an original championship belt from a favorite professional wrestler, or find a signed promotional photo of famous WWE personalities like Hulk Hogan.
Some collectors prefer action figurines like the WWE Classic replicas, while others focus on event memorabilia like ringside chairs or a Lazortron mask. Many enjoy collecting souvenir magazines or WWE shirts as well. Naturally, there are almost as many souvenir opportunities for college or Olympic wrestling fans as for professional wrestling aficionados.
One of the largest sports outside the USA is soccer, and this has quickly gained in popularity with American fans as well. Collectors can find soccer souvenirs or soccer fan apparel online or at local trading events. Whether their favorite player is David Beckham or Ronaldo, fans can find soccer jerseys or soccer shirts at most sporting goods stores.
Looking for something different in soccer memorabilia? Consider a UEFA Cup pennant autographed by the entire team, or search for an autographed soccer ball from an Olympic match. Or look for an official team jacket worn by a member of the U.S. Women's team.
The Olympics are only held every four years, but some fans keep the excitement alive even in the interim. Look for fan apparel or Olympic souvenirs by year or by a particular sport. Choose from Olympic medals or Olympic pins that feature the famed Olympic flame, or buy Olympic coins inscribed with the symbol of the five Olympic rings.
Some collectors prefer to search for special memorabilia instead, like actual ticket stubs or Olympic schedules from the games. For those in search of something truly rare, consider a torch used to light the Olympic flames, or even a rare poster from the Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1912.
Horse racing is very popular in some parts of the United States, and souvenirs or fan apparel is often in high demand. Collect Derby glasses; these are glasses used for mint juleps at the Kentucky Derby, and feature a list of the race's winners from the previous year.
These have been distributed since 1940. Although they were not produced during the years of the Second World War, Derby glasses were again produced beginning in 1948. Other collectible racing items include memorabilia from other races, such as the Preakness or Belmont races, or from the Breeder's Cup.
Golfing aficionados will enjoy the extensive assortment of souvenirs available, from PGA shirts to souvenir golf clubs or souvenir golf balls. Look for items worn signed by favorite pro or semi-pro golfers, like an autographed British Open shirt, or a 5 pound note featuring Jack Nicklaus, issued in celebration of the British Open.
Some golf fans enjoy investing in golf photos autographed by Tiger Woods or other popular golfing celebrities. Others just like to wear PGA hats designed in the style of their favorite player. Programs and other items issued for specific tournaments are also collector favorites.
Fans and amateur players alike often enjoy imitating their professional favorites with the purchase of tennis apparel. Other tennis souvenirs are also available, including signed memorabilia used in Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. Professionals like Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, or Martina Navratilova are sometimes often available for signing autographs and photos at these and other Open events.
The Tour de France isn't popular only in Europe; American fans cheer on their favorite cyclers with equal excitement. Look for cycling apparel or souvenirs from this and other big races, or opt instead for artwork autographed by America's own Lance Armstrong. True Armstrong fans will also want to get their hands on yellow jerseys that are replicas of the one worn by Armstrong in the Tour de France.
Last but not least, some fans will want to preserve the history of boxing forever with boxing photos or boxing souvenirs from fights such as the Golden Glove championship fights, or well-known contests in which Olympic winners such as Sugar Ray Leonard or Joe Frazier fought. Some collectors also prize boxing posters or boxing programs featuring Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson.
When looking for fan apparel or souvenirs, keep these special terms in mind. For example, some editions are described as artist proof editions; these are usually kept by the artist. Some editions, such as an annual edition, are manufactured for certain periods of time. An a nnual edition is manufactured for only one year. In contrast, an open edition is produced for an unlimited period of time.
Most companies, like Danbury Mint or Bradford Exchange, produce limited editions of many items, such as collectible plates. Sometimes they fire only a certain number of copies. In other situations, they may produce copies for only a certain number of days; this is referred to as the firing limit.
Collectors also use abbreviations to describe certain kinds of collectibles. For examples, many use the abbreviation MIB to describe items that are mint in box - new and never removed from their boxes. NIB stands for items that are new and in their original boxes.
Two other abbreviations are commonly used. A COA, or certificate of authenticity, is a paper issued to certify an item's authenticity. This is sometimes also referred to as a Letter of Authenticity, or LOA.
Many collectors use independent authentication or grading services to determine the value of a collectible or rare piece of memorabilia. Even experts disagree sometimes, however, so sometimes two services may offer differing opinions.
The next time you go to a game or sporting event, you just may want to save your ticket stub and program. After all, you never know if this year will be the one your team wins the Super Bowl or World Series. And even if it doesn't, looking at it years later will bring back wonderful memories of a close match or great play.