August 2008

Collective Memories: Find your next prize piece at YesterYears

Author: Teresa Fitzgibbons | Photographer: Photography By anne

Caden Rogers may be less than a month old, but he already possesses something many die-hard sports collectors only dream of: a 1953 Jackie Robinson baseball card, presented to him days after his birth by his father, YesterYears owner, Brian Rogers.

“My dad gave me my first baseball card when I was five; it was this very same Jackie Robinson. I still remember, it was in my Christmas stocking,” said Brian. “I originally started collecting because it was a great way for me and my dad to bond. Soon it will be Caden’s turn too.”

Collecting, whether it’s movie posters, silver spoons, or sports memorabilia, can build bridges between the generations. Collecting is a very interactive hobby; it involves sharing memories and collectibles with others who share the interest and oohing and ahhing over prize pieces. Not to mention the excitement when that rare find is unexpectedly discovered. Brian states that it’s about much more than a menagerie of memorabilia, though. Collecting can spark the way to communication; it gives people something to bond over and a way to share time together.

“It gives Dad or Grandpa a really good way to connect with younger children,” he explained. “When a child asks who Willie Mays was, it gives the older person a chance to step up to the plate and talk about something they usually wouldn’t have. It’s so great to watch the generations come into YesterYears together and to watch their interaction.”

A particular piece of memorabilia can take someone back in time—to the day they were at the big game, who they were with when the home team won the pennant, or recapture a moment shared with a sports star or team. Memorabilia can also be a token memory of a person, either because they passed it on or because it represents something they loved. “Sometimes people will only buy one piece in their lifetime because it reminds them of something,” said Brian. “Maybe it’s a football helmet that reminds them of a deceased grandfather who was a fan. When people say memorabilia, they’re not just talking about objects, but memories.”

Sports collecting has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. “The emphasis the U.S. places on sports is huge,” said Rogers, who sees it both at the store and through the Hilton Head Little Baseball Association and Island Recreation Center teams the store sponsors each year. People feel a need to support their favorite team or players, especially here in the Lowcountry, where so many people are far away from their hometown favorites. A visit to YesterYears will likely quell that longing for a piece of your favorite team, just about every sport and team is represented in the store.

Brian himself is obviously a collector. His most treasured collectible is the 1953 Jackie Robinson, soon to be passed down to his son, and a 1970s mint condition Star Wars Millennium Falcon. Brian was a true child of the seventies, collecting items from Star Wars, KISS, and of course baseball cards. These influences can be seen in YesterYears and are worth a trip to the store, even for those who aren’t sports enthusiasts.

YesterYears carries pictures and memorabilia from vintage legends to up-and-coming stars to the obscure player just about ready to break into the big time. Every imaginable sport—baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, and NASCAR—and just about every professional team and many college teams are represented. The merchandise includes autographed collectibles that run the gamut of pricing to panoramic stadium photos, signed uniforms and game-used equipment to vintage wool pennants and banners to household items such as coffee mugs, freezer mugs, and serving trays. Decorative statues, stadium replicas and holiday items are on hand as are novelty items such as team Monopoly boards, giant Pez dispensers, and rally monkeys. “Anyone who comes in here can find something they like,” said Brian. “If they don’t, I have the contacts to go out and find it for them.”

“We sell things from a couple of cents through a couple of thousand dollars,” he continued. “People think memorabilia stores have to be expensive; and while we do have some expensive things, there are a lot of other things too. You can spend as little or as much as you’d like on collecting.”

Over the passage of time and the achievements of athletes, the value of memorabilia will often increase. While it may not be the best retirement plan, sometimes something will skyrocket due to a sudden achievement of a player or team. To help his customers make educated choices, Brian is always busy researching players whom the rest of us haven’t even heard of yet. “If you pick your players and pieces right,” said Brian, “down the road you may have a very valuable collection.”

Industry experts stress that collectors should focus on dealing only with reputable companies like YesterYears. “Authenticity is the single moist important part of collecting today,” stressed Brian. “I only deal with the largest names in the industry, including Steiner Sports, Upper Deck, Mounted Memories, Topps, and Tri-Star, to ensure my customers receive authentic pieces. All my items are hologrammed and authenticated by a third party.”

Affable professionals like Brian can be especially helpful. Brian stresses that it’s important for customers to feel comfortable asking questions and that he welcomes them. “Opening a sports store has been something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “One of my goals when I started this store was to have the most authentic product out there; after all, I’m a collector first.”

YesterYears is located at 890 William Hilton Parkway, Suite 70, Fresh Market Shops. For more information, call (843) 341-9327 or visit online at www.yesteryearshhi.com.

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