Tips On Collecting Arsenal Memorabilia

By on May 26, 2024

When it comes to collecting sports memorabilia, there are a number of pitfalls to look out for, as what may seem fairly straightforward, can become a nightmare if you get it wrong, 

There is no doubt that when the when inflation rears its ugly head, brought on by all the money printing around the world, there is an explosion in alternative investments. People, bored with traditional banks and institutions, look for more creative ways of storing their wealth. Some turn to rare whiskies, or maybe the current fad for aged rums, others turn to Rolexes and cars; some to snapping up rare records and music memorabilia. But those with a more sporting bent, may think about buying football collectibles, and if they can get hold of it, rare, signed football memorabilia! 

The market has seen a steady hotting up, with all of the top teams; Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham being the favourite picks by the fans. We look at what to buy and where to buy it.

L to R: Signed ‘Invincibles’ shirt, Beth Mead away shirt, Nuno Tavares boot, signed Thierry Henri Shirt, Kieran Tierney ball. Firma Stella©

What to Look for

  • Legacy Items

The holy grail for collectors are historical items from clubs’ long careers. Many of them started in the late nineteenth century, giving collectors many years to go at. Somewhere, maybe in Grandad’s attic, there are medals, caps and trophies sitting there, waiting to be discovered. They pop up on Antiques Roadshow occasionally and are valued at vast sums. An FA trophy last contested for in 1910 sold at Bonhams in 2020 for £760,000! Start digging!

  • Signed Football Kits

Generally, it’s football shirts which go for the most money. The value depends on who wore the shirt, whether it is ‘match worn,’ so it has seen some action on the pitch before being sold, or failing that, it’s attached to a club’s history. For example, imagine the price of a rare Arsenal shirt when they were known as Dial Square Football Club? An example of more modern item is the most expensive piece of memorabilia ever sold,  Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ shirt which went for an eye watering £7,142,500 at Sotheby’s in 2022! Of course there are also collectable football boots, balls, socks, and goalkeeper’s gloves. You name it and it’ll be collectable. 

  • Modern Signed Football Shirts

Top of the current list are signed football shirts, and again, the same rules apply. If the player is famous, like for example, Thierry Henri, Denis Bergkamp, Fabio Vierra or Bukayo Saka, then they will go for more money than the less well known. The trick with collecting is knowing who will be the most collectable 5, 10 years down the line. That’s when the item you’ve bought becomes a true collectible! Prices have been rising for the best pieces, with some team-signed Arsenal Invincibles shirts fetching £2500 and above. 

If that’s a bit of a stretch, and you are new to collecting, then start small. You can pick up signed photos from as little as £20; then start a collection. When you can afford it, move up to something more expensive, all the while knowing that your collection is at least maintaining and hopefully, rising in value. 

Where to Buy

There are plenty of items available at the usual online auction sites but be careful. The market is largely unregulated, and you can end up buying a forgery. 

Always look out for a Certificate of Origin. This is a document from the seller guaranteeing that the item is genuine and that the signature is ‘right’.

Some of the online sellers can be a little more expensive, but you will be safe in the knowledge that you are buying an authentic item. Our website of choice is a company called Firma Stella. They have a vast collection of Arsenal Memorabilia, from photos to balls, boots, gloves, and shirts. Many of the signed Arsenal shirts come pre-framed. You pay more, but they do a professional job and your shirt is ready to hang, protected from the dust and sunlight. 

A final word of advice, don’t forget about the Women’s team. Arsenal W.F.C. gets on average 17,500 fans per match, and items of signed women’s Arsenal memorabilia are rising in value!