Collectors Flock to Hockey Game Worn Jerseys

Collectors Flock to Hockey Game Worn JerseysLong before sports card companies started cutting up hockey game worn jerseys and slapping swatches onto cards, collectors have been chasing down authentic jerseys or game used equipment.

The world of hockey, the National Hockey League in particular, has seen its  fair share of unique characters, and for many collectors owning a jersey that these players, some of them legends, wore is the ultimate collecting experience. Game used hockey collections are as varied as the teams that play the sport. Of course, many times finding a game worn jersey is not nearly as difficult as finding an authentic game worn jersey, and many different factors come into play on price. Plus, there are specific challenges awaiting any enthusiast who decides to purchase hockey game worn jerseys or equipment on eBay or other online methods of procurement.

Many game used or game worn jersey collectors focus on a specific player or specific team. Obviously, the teams present in a given geographical area usually dominate the landscape. This is true partly due to popularity and partly due to availability of the hockey game worn equipment, especially with minor pro leagues like the CHL, USHL, IHL, etc. Many collectors try to own one jersey from every team a specific player spent some time, which can be a challenge unto itself. Still, many collectors like to stick with obscure collections like favorite numbers, and others focus on Hall of Fame caliber players. All these themes have one driving factor: owning a little piece of sports history.

The MeiGray Group is the official handler of game worn jerseys for the NHL and several other minor league affiliated hockey leagues. The group has unprecedented access to the jerseys as they come off the players' backs, where they are cataloged, marked, and recorded.

Of course, many hockey teams hold special nights during the season where the players award their jerseys to lucky fans. These jerseys are usually accompanied by a ticket stub and are fairly easy to authenticate. Plus, teams usually mark the jerseys as “game used” with a special patch or other mark, but potential buyers should still check other means of authentication, such as photomatching.

Photomatching is a process by which marks on the jersey are matched with specific photo evidence from a particular game. Stick marks, tears, puck marks, repairs, and several other characteristics on a jersey can usually be matched to specific events in a hockey game. Sometimes, photomatching can be a painstaking process, but the end result is total proof the jersey is real.

Specific factors that drive prices of game worn hockey jerseys are actually fairly obvious. For example, if a player spent less than a season with a certain team, those jerseys are fairly limited in availability and will command a higher price. Basically, the market is driven by simple supply and demand. The more popular a player is, the more expensive and rare the jersey. In addition, regional heroes will always be more difficult to find in their hometown, which makes many collectors look elsewhere for their jerseys.

Anyone attempting to purchase a game used hockey jersey should always double check the reputation of the seller. While certificates of authenticity can be faked, photo matches and third party authentication are extremely difficult to pull off, but not impossible as much is often left open to the opinion and interpretation of the individual collectors involved.

When possible, third party authentication from a reputable company and accompanying documentation should be a priority among collectors of high value jerseys.

Furthermore, beginning hockey game used jersey collectors should view articles and other information to add to their knowledge of game worn collectibles. You can find relatively inexpensive hockey game worn jerseys via sites like eBay, especially those from the minor leagues, where teams often make them available to fans who eventually offer them at auction or fixed price sale.

Jaden Schwartz 2015-16 St. Louis Blues Set 3 Road Game Used Worn Jersey
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PHOENIX COYOTES Mike Comrie game-worn #89 home jersey 2005-06 set 3 w/ wear+LOA
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Vladimir Malakhov Game Worn Team Russia Legends League Jersey 2017 Final
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Signed KEVIN BAKER #71 2009 ECHL ALL-STAR GAME WORN Hat-trick Captain Jersey
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