PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- It's baseball season, but some fans are thinking about missing out during spring training. It was a chance to get autographs from players, but COVID protocols changed that. It's created a hot market for sports memorabilia.
It's more than just an item for Jeff Thalblum, owner of Free Agent Sports, who said autographed items might have never been valued more in his 28-year career. The reason comes down to supply and demand.
"Less inventory is out there," said Thalblum. "I'm almost out of Larry Fitzgerald items." There used to be a lot more when agents used to bring the world's greatest athletes for signings.
"Now, with COVID-19, the athletes aren't making any appearances. Their agents are saying absolutely no," said Thalblum. And if you go to a game to get it yourself, you'll be sacked with COVID protocols. "Teams have put their foot down and not told athletes you can't go to the stands."
Even though the scarcity of the signature has made Thalblum's items more valuable, he feels bad for the fans that haven't been able to meet their favorite players.
"You know, that thirty seconds is priceless," said Thalblum. Thalblum hopes the players return, even if that means the prices drop for the items.