Which record-holder do you go after?

In the past few months in sports, we’ve seen two of the biggest records fall by the wayside — Henry Aaron’s home run mark and Dan Marino’s career touchdown milestone. To see both of these records fall in the same year seems like uncanny luck for the sports fan and an added boon for collectors of Brett Favre and Barry Bonds memorabilia.

But I wonder, are people grabbing as much of the current Bonds and Favre items they can now, or are they hedging their bets that in just a few years both of those records could be broken again and will instead wait to go after those items?

Going on Alex Rodriguez’s current pace of approximately 40 home runs per year, it could be as little as six years before he breaks Bonds’ current mark (granted, this is if Bonds’ doesn’t play any more, and thus adding to his total).

Peyton Manning is hot on the heels of becoming the next Brett Favre in terms of numbers. He already has a Super Bowl ring and the second-longest active game streak in the NFL. Manning has 283 touchdowns as of Oct. 5, averaging approximately 28 touchdowns per season.

Let’s say Favre’s final season total (and this is predicted to be his last season) leaves him at 440 touchdowns. Manning could conceivably break that record in less than four years.

The time periods between this year’s records and the previous marks is less, especially the baseball milestone. So my question is, if you are looking for a collection of record-breaking athletes, are you currently buying all the Bonds and Favre items you can, or are you waiting for the probable next record holders?

Granted, as the saying goes, records are made to be broken, and there will almost always be someone who breaks a long-standing record. But when these moments have the potential of occurring so close together, it offers a unique moment in the hobby, don’t you think?

And what about the value of the Favre and Bonds material if these records fall? Will autographed jerseys go down in price because neither is the holder of such a historic achievement? If you are looking at Aaron memorabilia, you’re scoffing at such an idea. But can the same be said about Marino items on a relative scale?

Great players are great players, and collectors always want to obtain items of the best players to play the game. But there is a mystique about record-holders that makes their items even more relevant in the collecting hobby.

Speculators have been working on this scenario for a few years already, grabbing all the Rodriguez and Manning material they can in hopes that either or both will someday be added to the career record books. And if these records do fall again so soon, they will try to unload some of the pieces for a fast buck because everyone knows that the most interest in items is right after the moment the athlete is thrust into the spotlight.

Perhaps this is how sports will be from now on, with records broken every few years. With an emphasis on scoring, diluted teams thanks to expansion and the ever-impressive specimen that is the professional athlete, perhaps it will be years between record performances and not decades. But that’s a different debate when you go down the road of one generation’s game versus another’s.

For now, it will be interesting to watch the markets for Bonds, Favre, Manning and Rodriguez. Sports collectibles have never been more lucrative than now, and there’s no telling what prices realized will be in the next 10 years.

But one thing is certain — collectors love the bigs in any sports, and we’re getting the chance to see a quartet of them in a very short period of time.

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