5 Sports Memorabilia Items That Are Lost Treasures

Valuable items related to Jackie Robinson and Michael Jordan are nowhere to be found
  • August 26, 2022

Sports memorabilia has never been more profitable than it is today. Every day, it seems, a new record has been set for a piece of memorabilia sold related to an iconic sports moment or athlete. Former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers champion Horace Grant is currently offering his rings at auction. Earlier this year, Wayne Gretzky's game-worn jersey set a record for most expensive jersey sold. For all the sports memorabilia that has been authenticated and sold at auction, there is an equal amount of sports memorabilia that has been lost for decades. 

The following list of athletes all have memorabilia that have gone missing. 

Jackie Robinson's MLB Debut Jersey


When Jackie Robinson made his first appearance at the plate on April 15, 1947, he made history as the first black player in the major leagues. The moment will always be celebrated, but the whereabouts of the jersey he wore as over 26,000 people looked on is unknown. If discovered, that jersey would undoubtedly fetch millions of dollars. A jersey from later in his rookie season sold for just over 2 million dollars in 2017. The price of his debut jersey would set records. 


Wilt Chamberlain's 100-Point Game Ball



The game ball from Wilt Chamberlain's record-breaking 100-point game is missing. In 2000, a ball that was then believed to be the 100-point ball was sold at auction for $550,000, but the sale was nullified soon after due to doubts about the ball's authenticity. According to ESPN, the story is that Kerry Ryman, the owner of the ball, stole it after the game as he evaded a security guard. However, the Philadelphia Warriors PR director Harvey Pollack said the 100-point ball was taken out of the game and given to Chamberlain and he and his teammates signed the ball and displayed it in the team's offices. It is because of this discrepancy that the ball could not be verified. If Pollack's story is true, the ball would have been lost as the team made the move from Philadelphia to San Francisco, never to be seen again.


Muhammad Ali's Gold Medal

Then known as Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali said in his Biography "The Greatest" that he threw his gold medal from the 1960 Rome Olympics into the Ohio River after being refused service in a restaurant in his hometown due to the color of his skin. Later, however, Ali admitted that he did not throw his gold medal into the river. Regardless of whether he did it or not, it is still missing to this day. In 1996, Ali was presented with a duplicate gold medal during the Olympics in Atlanta.


Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series Home Run Ball

Kirk Gibson's only at-bat of the 1988 World Series catapulted the Dodgers to a championship. With all the excitement that filled the stadium as he pumped his fist rounding second base, the baseball that Gibson smashed into the right field pavilion never surfaced again. Television cameras captured the ball landing in section 302, but they quickly cut to Gibson struggling to round the bases. Years later, in 2010, the bat, jersey, and helmet Gibson wore on that night were auctioned off for a total of $1.03 million. But the ball? Absent. It may never be found, but at least we still have the highlights. 


Michael Jordan Autographed Fleer Hanes 30th Anniversary Card

Okay, technically this isn't memorabilia but it is a lost collectible and is worth mentioning. If you remember, in 2019, Fleer cards were distributed to commemorate Michael Jordan's 30th anniversary as a spokesperson for Hanes. Packs were included in specially marked packages of Hanes underwear. The base set consists of 50 cards that feature images from the various commercials Jordan made for Hanes. There are also red and blue foil parallels inserted into packs, but among the more than 800,000 packs produced, 10 cards were signed by Michael Jordan.

Three years have passed since they were released and not one Jordan autographed Hanes card has surfaced. Not on eBay. Not at auction. Not on the PSA pop report. Nowhere. Many packs were likely thrown away with the packaging by people who only wanted the underwear. While it doesn't appear that the card will come to light soon, in this hobby, you just never know.


Just Collect is always buying rookie cards of Jackie Robinson, Wilt Chamberlain, and Michael Jordan as well as signed memorabilia from Hall of Famers. We offer a free appraisal. If you have a collection to sell, we are buying. The information is below. 


Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss it or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want to be appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect Buy List.

We always offer a FREE APPRAISAL for your collection here at the Just Collect site. Just click here:



We offer many ways to evaluate your cards other than using our website, too.

  • Travel to us

If you can make the trip here like the son from my hometown did for this collection- we can make a deal at the office. We once met a father-son duo that drove eight hours from Virginia to meet us to sell a Michael Jordan rookie card stored in Tupperware since 1986 - great read here

  • Come to the convention

We keep a LIST of the card shows we'll be attending.  Come stop by the Just Collect table and chat.

  • Meet in-person

If you have a valuable collection and want us to come to you, we'll hop on the next plane out. We recently took a trip to California to purchase a collection that included three Jackie Robinson 1948 Leaf rookie cards that you can read about here.

  • Meet in New York City

We have another location in New York you can meet us at; read all the information here.

  • SHIP your collection 

If you choose to mail your cards for an appraisal, we will evaluate your cards for FREE still. If you choose not to sell the cards, we'll ship them back with shipping fees paid by us!  We can offer our FedEx account with 2-day shipping, fully insured, all covered by us. Simply contact the office to set up this option.


We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.


Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us anytime! 





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