How much does the condition of program impact its value?
QUITE A LOT, is the short answer.
Exhibits A and B are below. Both are 1920 Army v. Navy programs for a game played at the Polo Grounds in New York City in November of that year. Both programs recently sold at auction. The program with the tear in the cover, the center fold loose and a myriad of other problems, sold for only $95.
A copy of the program in very good condition, with no visible defects sold for more than seven times this price or $750. This is not an uncommon phenomenon. Collectors prize items that are in good to very good condition above those in a poor condition. Many collectors that already own a program are always looking to “upgrade” to a better version.
Exhibits C and D are below to further illustrate the point. The Princeton v. Yale program from 1895 is hard to come by. In excellent condition, it’s worth upwards of $1,000. How much would you pay for a copy with water stains that was literally coming apart at the seams, or as it was described for sale: “It is stained, cover is mostly detached, water damage, holes in some pages, and very brittle (falling apart) paper. Many pages are detached and loose.”
It sold for $180. These are dramatic examples, but prove the point that condition matters a lot in collectibles.
Our website offers a nice selection of programs in very good condition.