Is Game-Used Sports Memorabilia Really GAME-USED?

These days, game-used items are extremely popular. And for good reason. These items are one-of-a-kind, and let’s face it, that’s pretty awesome!

It’s impressive to say you have a game-used jersey from Tom Brady or shoes that were worn by Lebron James or a baseball that was pitched by Clayton Kershaw or a hockey stick used by Sidney Crosby! After all, a game-used item is the only one from that specific game and date, making you the only one who owns that particular piece of sports history. For example, if you bought Lebron James game-worn shoes, from Oct 31st, 2018 against the Dallas Mavericks, you would be the only one who owns them. Correct?

Unfortunately, for some collectors, they are making the unfortunate discovery that many game-used items are not actually game-used. Consider the story below.

We know of a few collectors who purchased game-worn helmets, said to be worn by Eli Manning, that had been bought from Steiner Sports. The consumers now claim the helmets were not game-worn. Furthermore, they say they have proof. As a result, they sued Eli Manning, Steiner Sports, and others. Before the trial began, a settlement was reached. You can read the article here to learn more details.

Or take, for instance, this story about how Heritage Auction House was auctioning a Troy Aikman game-used UCLA Aloha Bowl Jersey. Troy Aikman says, “Unless I’m the one selling it, none of my memorabilia being auctioned is authentic. End of story.” Heritage Auction House responded, standing behind the auction with a lengthy response, along with what they called photographic proof.

So which is it?

I commend Mr. Aikman. I believe him to be a stand-up individual who is trying to keep people from making a mistake, purchasing something that he thinks is not a legitimate game-used item. I appreciate that and take him at his word.

Heritage Auction House believes firmly in who they got the jersey from. Their photographic evidence is enough to go forward with the auction. It’s up to you, then, to determine whether to bid on it or not, after seeing the evidence.

No doubt, there are scammers out there selling game-used items that are, in no way, game-used. I would also go so far as to say that some athletes are actively scamming the public. Game-used might actually turn out to be practice-used — or, even, not-used-at-all. They are just money grabbing attempts. So, be careful and do your due diligence. Be careful who you purchase game-used items from. A little research never hurt anyone!

Leave a Reply