Offbeat If you are a sports fanatic, collectabillia.com might be of interest to you. Click and own a piece of sporting history

Would you like to own a piece of history? A bit of Sachin Tendulkar’s willow, perhaps? The same one that helped him score all those centuries and gave Shane Warne and numerous other bowlers sleepless nights. Or how about Lionel Messi’s autographed electric blue boot, or even a pair of sneakers signed by the poster girl of Indian badminton, Saina Nehwal?

If you are a sports fanatic, collectabillia.com might be of interest. It doesn’t matter how much your piggy bank holds, this website is definitely worth a click.

Collectabillia sells a host of memorabilia signed by sportspersons. One can choose from around 100 collectibles with signatures of players such as Yuvraj Singh, Sania Mirza, Christiano Ronaldo, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Mike Tyson.

Started by Anjana Reddy, this website is about a couple of weeks old but has already managed to sell merchandise worth Rs. 2 lakh. “This idea came to me when I was in college doing my Masters in Finance at the University of Illinois. Sports merchandising is big abroad. I thought why not do something like that in India as well. So I started Collectabillia as part of Universal Sportsbiz Pvt Ltd. (USPL). Accel Partners which is synonymous with Angry Birds and Facebook funded us,” says 24-year-old Anjana, who has been working on this project for the last two years.

The team at USPL works closely with the sportspersons to create some of the most unique pieces of collectibles. Among them are Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th 100 Limited Edition Collection which comprises a set of 100 Coke cans signed by him. It’s priced at Rs.15 lakh. And the Tendulkar signed platinum print to commemorate his century of centuries priced at Rs. 1,77,399. “Apart from Tendulkar, merchandise autographed by Yuvraj Singh, Lionel Messi, Virat Kohli, VVS Laxman and Christiano Ronaldo too are popular,” says Anjana.

And is there anything for the fan who’s high on the patriotism quotient but a little low on bank balance? Anjana smiles, “Yes, we have team jerseys priced at Rs. 999, mugs, balls, pens, photographs…like the one of Pele embracing Muhammad Ali and it’s signed by Pele… These are priced anything between Rs. 999 and Rs. 27,000.”

In addition to sports stars, the portal is introducing products signed by film stars such as Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Richard Gere, Al Pacino and Liz Taylor. Shortly, fans of Rajinikanth too will have a lot to cheer about as Collectabillia is working on movie merchandise for the superstar’s next film Kochadaiyaan .

Most of the collectibles come with a certificate of authentication. The idea is not only to bring fans close to their heroes but also introduce sports merchandise as an investment. “Right now this concept is where art was in India 10 years ago. It’s a sort of alternative investment. The value appreciates. An autographed picture of Pele has appreciated 750 per cent over the last 10 years, between 1997 and 2007. From 100 pounds it’s increased to over 850 pounds,” explains Anjana.

Well then, here’s one more reason to start saving. Move over paintings, it's time for jerseys on the wall.

PRIYADARSHINI PAITANDY

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