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Volume 27 No. 26
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New Online Sports Memorabilia Marketplace Launching Today

A new online marketplace for sports memorabilia launches today with aims to provide the average fan the ability to invest in pieces of sports history previously only available to wealthy collectors. Founded by CEO Ezra Levine, Collectable offers potential investors the opportunity to buy and sell fractional shares of items like cards, rings, documents and game-used items. First on the block is a $2.5 million Mickey Mantle card that users can buy shares of for $25 apiece.

Levine, who was previously CFO of football scouting showcase The Spring League, said he learned about fractionalization about a year ago and sought to marry the concept to sports memorabilia, which he believes has the scarcity, cultural significance and value necessary to be treated as an alternative investment class. “If we can bring the hobby to the masses and do it in a way that’s intelligent, that’s secure, that’s regulated and registered, and really gives confidence to people who are getting into the hobby maybe for the first time … then it could potentially be a really big opportunity,” said Levine.

That first offering, a mint-condition 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle card, has been valued at $2.5 million. Collectable will make 40% of the card, or $1 million, available via fractional shares initially being offered for $25 each through the company’s app (the remainder of the card’s value will continue to be owned by the private seller). Once acquired, shares must be held for at least 90 days before they can be bought and sold by other users much like publicly traded stock.

The SEC-registered company sources and values the memorabilia; Levine said valuations are based on “industry experts, available comparables and trends in the industry.” The general plan is to release new items on a weekly basis in the early going, and upcoming sales include a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan card, a signed LeBron James rookie card and a baseball signed by both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Initial share offerings have Collectable’s legal, broker and authentication fees baked in.

Long-term, Levine said Collectable intends to build revenue streams outside of its fees and any profit it is able to clear on the acquisition and subsequent sale of memorabilia. The company will introduce a premium membership model that will grant paying users early access to IPO prices, and another potential source of income is fan events built around athlete-owned memorabilia; Collectable plans to provide athletes an opportunity to list memorabilia while maintaining partial ownership and possession of the items.

The first such athlete partner is Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith, who is an investor in the company (Smith also founded and is chairman of authenticator Prova). “I’ve seen the memorabilia space both as a player and through my authentication company,” said Smith, the leading rusher in NFL history, in a statement. “Collectable is on the verge of creating something truly unique.

Levine said Collectable has other athlete investors, though he declined to share details, and added that the company will likely do additional fundraising in the near future.