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Selling Football Memorabilia: A True Story

I never would have thought of trying to sell football memorabilia as a way to make money. But after I read this story... well, you'll see.

This was an entry in my Most Interesting Money Maker Contest. Others are listed on the page Interesting Ways to Make Money.

Steve Everly

Steve, I don't know if you are familiar with the college football atmosphere here in Alabama but most everyone is either an Alabama or Auburn fan and they both hate each other. And to make things worse they play each other every year usually the last game of the season for state bragging rights. A couple of friends and I were talking about the game that was coming up. One friend said that he went to a Super Bowl game once were he saw a guy standing outside the stadium and he had wads of cash coming out of his pockets. He had 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper with each team on the paper and a box at the bottom of the sheet. Inside each box was the score of the super bowl and the words; "I was there at Super Bowl XXXV."

It didn't take us long to start planning our trip to the Alabama / Auburn game. We went to my friend's uncle, who owned a printing company, and had several sheets printed up with Tide on one side and Tigers on the other side. Under each side was a small block to print the score. Across the top were the words, "I was there at the battle in Birmingham!" We bought a stick and two ink stamps with the idea of stamping the score on the sheets and being able to sell them to fans right after the game. We rented a moving truck and drove to the game.

We were parked right outside the main gate where most people went in. We taped the sheets with the blank score on them so people knew going in where to go to get their "bragging rights sheet" right after the game. Someone had told us that we had to have a vendor permit that cost 15 dollars and that you had to have it before Saturday. If you did not have the permit, the police would shut you down and you couldn't purchase the permit because it came from city hall and they were closed on Saturday. Sure enough the police came around checking permits and we had ours.

Alabama won the big game that year and we started out selling the sheets at $3 each. It was amazing to say the least - people were lined up buying 6 and 7 sheets at a time. It seemed like no one could get enough of them. We were the first vendor that fans saw selling souvenirs that had the score on them. I think that Alabama won at the last second by a field goal. People had hundred dollar bills in their hands and were buying all they could!

After about an hour or so of selling the sheets things begin to slow down. We had just a couple of hundred or so left. We were listening to the post game show and heard something we never expected. The Alabama coach was retiring that year and that was his last game as the coach at the University of Alabama. Right away the sheets were being marketed as the commemorative edition for "the last game" and the same ones that had been selling for $3 now were now selling for $5. I bet we could have sold another 1,000 or so but in just a few minutes we were completely sold out!

Not only did we make a lot of cash that day but I had a lot of fun with my friends. We call it here in the south killing two birds with one stone. My buddies still make fun of me because of that day. Even though I'm a Tennessee Volunteer fan, which is normally an enemy of Alabama, that day with all of the cash rolling in I was yelling, Roll Tide Roll!

This story is yet another great example the entrepreneurial spirit, which Steve clearly has. In addition to this account of selling football memorabilia, his story on how to make money taking photos at a basketball game can be found on this page: Make Money With a Camera.

Note: Yes, the contest is over, but I'll announce new competitions in the newsletter. The subscription form should be to the right, so sign up now if you haven't already. You can also send stories of odd ways you've made money any time.When and if I put one on the site I'll send you an e-book of your choosing.

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