Vintage Olympic memorabilia is broad and varied, ranging from pins, posters, and programs to equipment and uniforms, to medals. The best items to collect are those items that come from landmark Olympics and can be attributed to participants who achieved fame in their event. Ancillary materials, like pins, programs, etc., have the greatest value when they come from an Olympic completion that was witness to a significant record.
Collecting vintage sports memorabilia from other sports is purely speculative at best. The lone exception may be horseracing, especially if the items come from the better known races, or they are connected to famous horses or jockeys. Careful research will help in guiding what may bring the greatest return, but only time and demand can determine value.
Vintage wrestling equipment, like boxing, consists primarily of clothing. Autographs enhance the value, as does the event with which the items are associated. Professional wrestling memorabilia has carries greater interest than amateur (unless it is from the Olympics), and used items are more valuable than souvenirs that have been signed. The autographs of the famous and notorious of wrestling are highly collectable.
Vintage tennis memorabilia is at its most collectible when it comes from the major events associated with the Grand Slam (Wimbledon, U.S. Open, French Open, and Australian Open), or when it is connected to the greats of the game, both men and women. Racquets are the most sought after, followed by autographed programs (especially if signed by the champions) and other equipment (clothing, shoes, tennis balls) used in tournaments.
Collecting vintage soccer memorabilia can be problematic, and most of the significant events all took place outside the confines of the United States. World Cup memorabilia is in great demand, as are items associated with the great teams in soccer’s history. Realizing a return on any investment may be difficult, but once the market is found, collectors will come out of the woodwork to see what is available and try to acquire it.
Mixed Martial Arts is a sporting event that is so new, that the term “vintage” cannot really be applied to it yet. However, because it is growing in popularity, it has excellent speculative value, and any investment in items may experience increases in that value over time. For those interested in collecting in this field, stick with those items associated with those who have achieved milestones and set records, have them autographed, and preserve them to keep them from deteriorating.