A few weeks ago, Christian König received an email. It had been sent by a former security guard for the German soccer club FC Schalke 04. While working, he had collected match-worn jerseys from players and now wanted to get rid of them. He remembered Mr. König, who was agog at such a stroke of luck and paid €600 for 19 jerseys. The plunder brought his collection up to 1,202 shirts with a total value he estimates at €35,000 to €45,000.
Soccer jerseys is a market that has flourished, and is only continuing to do so. When Mr. König began collecting in the 1980s, he contacted clubs that were changing sponsors or suppliers at the end of the season. They had no use for the old shirts and were happy to have them taken off their hands.
Today the niche has become a lucrative business. “There is a global market for soccer jerseys. Not only in Europe, but also North America and Asia,” said Wolfgang Fuhr, auctioneer and managing director at the sports auction house Agon Sportsworld.