Collecting World Series Programs
The most popular types of baseball memorabilia to collect are World Series programs. These souvenir publications from sports' most storied event are historic and valuable.
It's the one souvenir baseball fans have trouble doing without. "You can't tell the players without a program!" shout program sellers at ballgames every season. That's true. It's also true that World Series programs are one item that pique the interest of today's sports memorabilia collectors.
The World Series began in 1903 and with the exception of the strike-plagued 1994 season, the American and National Leagues have battled for year-ending supremacy ever since.
Not surprisingly, programs from the early days of the Series carry the most value. A 1903 program from the Boston vs Pittsburgh series sells for $15-30,000! Condition, of course, is vital to value. Many scorecards or programs were folded in half and stuck in a pocket, sat on, or used to shield a head from raindrops. Those that were cared for and stored away from the elements retain their condition and their value.
Until 1974, each participating team produced its own Series program. Therefore, there are two programs for each year from 1903-1973 and just one when baseball took over the book's publication. Aside from the early programs, one of the more valuable editions is the 1919 "Black Sox" program. The year the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing games for payments from gamblers remains a popular topic and the program from the games in Chicago sells for $5-10,000. The Cincinnati version is worth about half that in nice condition.
Programs from the 1970s to today can be found for less than $50.