An ‘Interesting Conversation Piece,’ indeed! (Part II)
Greetings, Packers fans, one and all, and welcome back to our Favre jersey piece (part II).
We’ve been finding out about what an autographed Brett Favre #4 Packers jersey should be worth, given that it was donated by the team to an area church picnic shortly after he arrived in town in the summer of 1992. Since he was an unknown to Green Bay fans at the time, nobody was even interested enough to bid on it. It ended up getting picked up by a decorator of area businesses who had a special penchant and talent for doing Packer-themed rooms.
The first requisite item to determine the value of a jersey is to determine whether the player ever wore it in a game. However, in this case we know that he never did because he hadn’t yet played in a game when it was donated, so the next thing is to determine if he ever wore it in practice. The only way to prove that he did is by photos from team practices held in between when he arrived in town to when the picnic was held that summer at St. Mary’s Church in De Pere.
There are people and firms that specialize in selling these items, and one of the best-known and mostrespected anywhere is Heritage Auctions in Dallas, TX. Having made the acquaintance of a guy originally from Wisconsin who now works for them, I gave Chris Nerat* a call and asked him for some advice on how to proceed. He referred me to Guy Hankel* who specializes in researching, authenticating and valuing these items, so I contacted him to see what we could find out about it. After sending him eight photos that displayed all of the areas of the garment in great detail, he did the due diligence. He said the jersey was manufactured between 1986 and 1988 and suggested that either QB Chuck Fusina from Penn State, who played in ‘86, or Dale Dawson, a kicker from Eastern Kentucky who played in ‘88, most likely had it before Favre arrived on the scene in ‘92. However, he was unable to find any photographs of Favre wearing it in a practice. That doesn’t mean that Favre never did wear it in practice, but it simply doesn’t provide any proof that he did.
Without that proof, it’s not going to bring the “five thousand dollars on the low end to ten thousand on the high end” I was quoted by a memorabilia dealer two months ago. I had asked him what it might be worth on the collectors’ market but that was with the assumption Favre had worn it and we would have needed proof of that to go with it for that type of sale. While the garment is unusual or even unique because it was an “away” jersey and was issued to Favre before he’d ever played a game in a Packers uniform, it remains to be proven if and when he may have worn it.
That being the case, I asked three memorabilia dealers what a fair price would be to ask for it if I were to sell it now. One said a thousand dollars, the second said two thousand and the third suggested something that was several hundred dollars less than what I had paid for it eight years ago.
Well, the idea of selling it for less than I paid for it wasn’t going to happen, so the question became whether the higher of the other two figures might be considered. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to hold on to it for a couple more years. It’s certainly not going to lose any of its value and the chances are good that to the right person, it will be worth $2,500 at some point, which intuition suggests may be sooner rather than later. After all, Favre’s been inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and will soon be so honored at The NFL Hall of Fame at Canton, Ohio. And having had his number retired to be enshrined with the five other Packers so honored at Lambeau Field, puts him in a very elite group. If not then, soon enough thereafter, because, as one of the experts put it, the jersey is “very unusual” and is probably one of a kind.
Assuming I am able to sell it for $2,500 at some point, it will end up being exactly half of what the lowend quote I received in the first place was, which somehow seems poetic or at least appropriate. And in the meantime, it will continue to be “a fine conversation piece, indeed!”
*Thanks for background information in this column go out to Chris Nerat of Heritage Auctions, who can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and Guy Hankel at :email@example.com.