Congrats to those of you who purchased Met seats. I am indeed jealous.
The Detroit News ran a nice little story about the seat collectible market
. Some really good info on what different stadium seats are going for and why.
The most significant passage, however is this tidbit on Shea's seats:
"After the last out of the last game, the seats will be removed and repainted. That's because paint on the metal frames, which date back to opening season in 1964, contains lead, a metal that can affect brain development
Brain development! I always suspected my brain had suspended expansion but I thought my condition was related to these new 24 oz beers
. Now I know the truth. I went to my first Met game in 1974. That's 34 years of developing I gotta catch up on after Shea shuts down. Someone should tell President Nixon about this.
Here's the full story:Tigers seats warm loving homes
Pieces from stadiums make collectors out of many people who cherish game memories.
Detroit News Staff and wire services
When the spectator seats from Tiger Stadium went on sale last fall, Paul Thal snatched up two for $275.
The avid fan wanted a tangible souvenir of many happy moments at the storied corner of Michigan and Trumbull, where heavy equipment had been turning the old ballpark into scrap.
"Whether it's the seats or the concrete or a door hinge, it's about the memory," said Thal, who attended his first game more than 50 years ago.
Ballpark seats are rapidly appreciating in value as last-ditch efforts to save part of the stadium await city approval. Thal sold the seats to a friend after his wife said they did not have space to keep them in their Novi home (a common predicament, according to Internet message boards discussing stadium seat collectibles) and now feels he'll be unlikely to find a similar bargain again.
Three single seats were listed on eBay last week for between $249 and $349. A pair was listed for $500.
The sale of "demolition seats" also has spurred renewed interest in the wood and metal box seats removed during the stadium's 1977 renovation.
"They're more valuable than the plastic ones," said Doug Haase, manager of the Detroit Athletic Co., which sells memorabilia.
Haase said he noticed a spike in customer inquiries about six months ago, when it became clear that the stadium would be demolished.
The chairs, which date to 1912, were on the firm's Web site for $399 and $499. A pair were $2,399.
New York-based memorabilia dealer Richard Aurigemma, who runs www.collectiblestadiumseats.com, has seen the appetite for stadium seats skyrocket in the 20 years that he's been collecting.
"All these stadiums have come down in the past 15 years. And each one has 50,000 seats -- some more. With every stadium down, there are 'X' number of people who want a chair. Then, once they get one, they'll want another. Then, they're collectors."
Last week, the New York Mets announced the sale of 16,000 pairs of stadium seats that will be removed from the ballpark before it is demolished at the end of the season. Season-ticket holders get first dibs, then other ticket-plan holders and, finally, the public. The price for a pair is a sentimental $869 -- a combination of the team's two championship seasons (1986 and 1969).
Seats can be found online at eBay and on sites like Aurigemma's. They also go up for sale at major auctions. A seat from Camden Yards, where the Baltimore Orioles play, was sold by Hunt Auctions for $225 in March. In May, a seat from Fenway Park in Boston sold for more than $1,300 at an auction held by Leland's.
According to Aurigemma, the most desirable seats come from iconic teams, such as the Yankees; or from stadiums that no longer exist, such as Baker Bowl in Philadelphia (built in 1887) or Palace of the Fans in Cincinnati (1902). Collectors also love seats that came from the end of the row because many have ornate figures, such as a tiger in the batting stance on seats from Tiger Stadium.
Seats that come "as they are," with scuffed paint, worn armrests and even gum underneath are the most valuable.
But that won't happen in the case of Shea Stadium.
After the last out of the last game, the seats will be removed and repainted. That's because paint on the metal frames, which date back to opening season in 1964, contains lead, a metal that can affect brain development. The seats will also be authenticated by Major League Baseball representatives to ensure their value in the collectibles market. That seal of authentication -- a hologram with a unique alpha-numeric code -- won't be found on memorabilia taken from Shea on the sly.
Beyond thinking that they're "really cool," Mets fan Aurigemma likes collecting the seats because -- unlike an autographed baseball or a game-worn jersey -- people can sit in them, whether they're in the basement, a media room, by the pool or, best yet, the sports-themed "man cave," he says.