Memorable array of memorabilia to christen park

April 03, 1992|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

Monday's Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards presents a potential treasure trove for collectors, or a chance to get nice trinkets with little value beyond sentiment.

Virtually everything that could commemorate the inaugural regular-season game, from T-shirts to plastic cups to key chains, will be on sale in and around the stadium.

Raymond Moran, novelty manager for ARA Services, the stadium's concessionaire, says the company will offer a wide variety of memorabilia.

Moran said 2,400 hats, 3,000 baseballs, 7,200 T-shirts, 10,000 pennants, 20,000 badges and 50,000 programs with Opening Day themes will be on sale Monday.

The pennants, badges and baseballs will be numbered, to increase their value to collectors, he said.

"It adds to the value, but we won't charge any more," said Moran, who added that commemorative sweat shirts for the park's first night game, scheduled for Wednesday, also will be sold.

But what, if any, value that the items will carry past Opening Day is an open question.

For traders and collectors, the marquee items will be game tickets and programs, but the jury is out on what value they will carry.

Jack Geiger, owner of Baseball Collectibles, Unlimited in Bel Air, said that Opening Day programs and tickets will bring the holder a pretty good return if they're kept in good condition.

"This is a big-time event, and the Opening Day program and tickets should get real top dollar," said Geiger.

Geiger said that the tickets, which are printed in the style of tickets from the 1920s and will not be torn by gate ushers, could yield anywhere from $50 to $100 eventually from collectors and traders, and that the programs also could bring that much.

"There's only [48,000] of them, and then you have to ask how many people will keep them in mint condition," said Geiger. "Very few. Maybe 10,000 to 15,000 will keep them in condition. Their value is only going to get better from there."

Geiger said programs from October's final game at Memorial Stadium already are getting from $8 to $12, about double their original cost.

Joe Bosley, owner of The Old Ball Game in Reisterstown, said resale value will be low, at least in this area, at the beginning.

"Initially, they aren't going to be worth anything, at least not around here, but if you could put an ad in a national trade publication, somebody in California or Montana might offer you something for them," said Bosley.

"There's going to be 48,000 of them [tickets] around, and that's going to drive the value down," said Bosley. "Stuff from the 1966 World Series doesn't get you as much because everybody has it. Memorabilia from the '69 and '70 Series are worth more because there's less of it around."

Both Bosley and Geiger agree that to keep the ticket and program values at their maximum, bearers should keep them in top condition.

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