Super Bowl collectibles as investment -- tricky business

A Super Bowl win will really spike the value of many of the players. And when a player's value goes up, so can the value of many items connected to that player's name. But when you start talking about sports collectibles, be careful. Sports memorabilia as an investment is tricky business, regardless of the sport.

Brent Holcomb's company, Mill Creek Sports, specializes in autographed sports memorabilia. Holcomb says the big value of most sports collectibles these days is in a player's authenticated autograph. An autograph's value, however, depends on a number of factors- including the player's marketability, how many autographs he or she has signed, (many signatures are controlled and limited to a specific number) and the state of the player's career.

Right now, for example, a large game helmet with no autograph sells for $139. Signed by Russell Wilson it jumps to $349. A Hawks Super Bowl win throws the value to $500 and higher.

Holcomb says an unsigned official NFL football that sells in his store for $99 runs up to $249 with Marshawn Lynch's autograph. The value spikes as high as $400 if the Hawks capture that Vince Lombardi trophy. But the long-term value of those signatures will depend on well the players perform in the future- both on and off the field.

Then, there are what are known as mass-produced, commemorative "keepsakes," such as heavily-advertised Super Bowl flip coins. Holcomb says that's a whole different ballgame.

"If you want one, go ahead and buy one. They're probably a nice collectible keepsake," Holcomb said. "But as far as it holding value over the long-term, that's up in the air. What we've seen in the past is the Super Bowl coins and footballs and things like that- haven't really held the value that they're asking for them on TV."

So buy it if you like it. But do your homework so you the seller is reputable, what you're buying is authentic and the price is fair for the market today. If you're motivated by profit, accept the fact that there is no guarantee and you're taking a gamble.

And keep in mind, even if your collectible does go up in value, chances are it won't stay that way indefinitely. So if you're buying with investment in mind, make sure you know when it's time to sell.