When it comes to game-used memorabilia, Game Used Universe of San Ramon, Calif., is doing its best to make collectors as informed as possible. Through the company’s popular forums, Game Used Universe has already built a community of collectors that share information and tips regarding the game-used market.
And now Game Used Universe is looking to create a new model for buying and selling, as the company rolls out its first full-fledged auction. The sale, which is live now and ends Oct. 25, has more than 200 lots of game-used bats, jerseys and equipment, along with autographed memorabilia for all the major sports.
However, where this auction stands out is that Game Used Universe is attempting to educate potential bidders as much as possible during the process – and it involves the collecting community.
“We’re moving away from a model where you rely on only a few individuals to authenticate all items,” said Chris Cavalier, CEO of Game Used Universe. “Our belief is that model is prone to inefficiencies. To assume one or two people can know everything about every item, in our opinion, is probably not realistic.
“We’ve created a model where we do the preliminary evaluations with our experts, but once the item is listed on the site, there is also the opportunity for people to ask questions publicly and for those questions to be answered by both our experts as well as anyone within our community who can provide substantiated information to provide perspective around the question.”
How this communication takes place is simple. On the company’s Web site (www.gameuseduniverse.com) if you click on any lot, a link will open up to the description of the item provided by Game Used Universe, along with photos and letters of authenticity. On the item description page, there is also another link to a forum thread to discuss that particular item. It is here where fellow experts and collectors can discuss the merits of the item. If it is determined the item doesn’t meet the qualifications to be what it’s described as, then a change will be made to that lot, or it will be removed altogether – something Cavalier said has already taken place.
“In our mind, it’s the perfect check and balance system because nobody is perfect,” Cavalier explained. “Our goal is make sure that whenever anyone is buying an item, they have every opportunity to get all of the information they need to make an informed decision prior to making their purchase.
“We believe that by having that community integrated into the evaluation process, along with our experts, there really shouldn’t be scenarios where people are buying items without fully understanding what they are getting.”
Even with those measures aside, this sale is sure to be a hit with collectors based on the quality of items presented with amazing game use on them.
A great example is the Chester Taylor jersey in the sale. The jersey was used in a rainy game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The jersey, which comes with a letter from the Minnesota Vikings, is covered in grass stains and mud.
“We’ve brought it to shows, and people just stopped and marveled at the jersey,” Cavalier said.
Another beautiful piece is a John Elway jersey that includes a team repair and hand pouches that are style-matched with photos.
“We’ve already gotten feedback from collectors that have told us, ‘I haven’t seen an Elway that I’ve felt comfortable with before this one,’ ” Cavalier said.
Bats will be another featured category in the sale, and Cavalier points to two examples in particular as ones to watch – Sam Crawford and George Brett.
Regarding the Crawford bat, Cavalier said he hasn’t seen an H&B game used one surface in a public sale since he’s been keeping track since 1999.
“While Sam Crawford may not be as well known as Babe Ruth, you can find a number of Babe Ruth bats in the market,” Cavalier said. “But if you’re looking to complete a Hall of Fame collection, you’re not going to see many Sam Crawfords floating around.”
The Brett bat shows amazing amounts of use, with copious amounts of pine tar.
“If you’re looking for a Brett bat, I can’t imagine finding one much better than this one,” Cavalier said.
Other treasures include a 1982 World Series player’s trophy and a number of great Steiner-
authenticated pieces of Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Dodgers items.
“We really worked hard to try to consider everything collectors would really want,” Cavalier said. “We have a saying: ‘We were created by collectors for collectors.’ We’ve been excited about we’ve done already for the community, and we’re equally excited about what we will be doing for the buying and selling process, as well.”
The Game Used Universe auction will close Oct. 25. Bidding can be conducted on the site or via phone. For more information, visit their site at
www.gameuseduniverse.com or call (925) 552-8023.