I know seems innocent enough, you go to a store, buy your favorite player’s jersey and that’s it.
But what if you’re not willing to pay over $ 100.00-$ 150.00 for a jersey but are willing to look high and low for one?
Take it for me, I’ve owned almost three dozen jerseys in my life and most were purchased second hand.
Now I’ve owned half a dozen Chicago Blackhawk jerseys and all have been bought new, the popularity of the team and not much on the secondary market (that’s affordable), you almost have to buy new.
You can still get deals, my two most recent Hawks jerseys came from their store in the Aurora outlet mall and at the United Center during their preseason training camp game and sale. Still got deals and great jerseys but paid a little more than I usually do.
I try to get my jerseys at $ 20.00 or less and am willing to climb another $ 20.00-$ 30.00 for my favorite players.
I first stop is eBay, no seriously, there are great jerseys on there.
The pictured Jackie Robinson jersey is from eBay from last year and it was a little over $ 30.00
First you need to decide how authentic of a jersey you want, there are “bootlegs”, some “second tier jerseys” and then the real deal and even signed jerseys.
I don’t do signed jerseys, I wear my jerseys, wash them, get food on them and finding out if a signature is authentic in the secondary market is over my budget and I don’t have time to chase that.
Now I’m 41 years old and some guys say not to wear a jersey with a name on the back at my age.
Screw them, I pick my favorite players (mostly classics at this point), and could care less what people think.
I’m from that 1990’s hip hop era when it was cool to wear all kinds of jerseys and I still do.
I started buying hockey jerseys in 1994 when it was rage for rappers and hip hop fans to wear them. Back then you had authentic jerseys (with the fighting strap in the back), and then “replicas”.
CCM made all the jerseys then, the authentics were HUGE in size (I have a New York Islanders from 15 years ago), and the replicas were normal size, still have my Hartford Whalers, it’s a little tight but for 21 years old its held up really well.
With the Hawks being good, hockey jerseys are popular again (locally), my boss even sells them from a “friend” who is a wholesaler and at my previous job a manager sold them from her husband’s wholesale business.
Here’s what to look for or ask.
Usually people ask for $ 50-75 for wholesale (they usually buy in bulk), it’s a good jersey, not a “bootleg” it will look fine but may have a few imperfections that are not noticeable unless you’re a jersey geek like me or a pro shop.
In hockey usually teams have home (Red for Hawks), away (White for Hawks), and an alternate (Black for Hawks), along with special jerseys like St Patrick’s Day, Cancer Awareness and the Outdoor Classic.
A wholesale jersey from someone like this will only have the most popular players (Toews, Kane, Keith etc.), and usually red.
If you love the Hawks and want a jersey, there’s nothing wrong going this route.
If you want a special edition jersey you’ll need to visit a team shop but give it a few months and they have specials, the Hawks are awesome about deals for jerseys that are say six months old or so but you need to go in person.
If you want another kind of jersey, check eBay first, just do a search for the team and or player and size.
Make sure the size is right.
Check the pictures, remember most of these are worn and people are usually honest about condition.
Set up a search for what you want, stuff moves quickly and set a limit for what you are willing to pay, in some auctions the price jumps quickly, you put in your “max price” and someone is going with you “pound for pound”.
At some point you’ll need to jump off and wait for the next one.
Sometimes you need to keep looking and give it time.
I’m still looking for a nice Montreal Canadiens (Habs), home jersey (red), and they are the Yankees of hockey, so the demand is there but you need to be persistent.
In looking for that I came across a perfect Toronto Maple Leafs jersey for $ 20 right after they lost in the playoffs. I bought it the minute I saw it.
Timing is everything too, if a player is just about to go into the Hall of Fame, get it before he’s official, if a team is doing poorly, the jerseys will never be cheaper.
I don’t have to tell you Cubs jerseys are at a premium now but White Sox jerseys are fairly cheap, I got two nice Sox jerseys (no name on the back), at the beginning of the year for under $ 20.00.
The Sox just had their yearly “garage sale” over the weekend (its once a year in June, check their site and sign up for updates), “game used” jerseys and all that good stuff, you can rack up then.
That’s my advice for jerseys, also check garage sales and Goodwill, I’ve given away few jerseys away, so you can luck up that way too.
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