Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hockey Jersey Training Camp - Day 9 - The Collecting Community

Day 9 of Hockey Jersey Training Camp moves onto our next "drill" on The Collecting Community.

You've located your jersey and perhaps a patch to put on it, decided whose name and number to add to it, sent it in for customizing and your newly lettered jersey has (finally) arrived in the mail.

Now what? Obviously you can wear it to a game or just around town, making certain to NOT tuck it in, or you can show it off to your friend's friend who says he can get "any jersey you want" for $40 and has zero appreciation for your authentic jersey.

Or, you can show it off to like minds online who can relate to the scarcity of your new sweater, the accuracy of the customization and the attention to detail that your patch brings to your jersey.

Two such places are the forums at, for fans of jerseys of all sports, and, who host a hockey jersey only forum for jersey collectors.

Here you can ask questions about the authenticity of potential purchases, learn the finer points of how to spot fakes yourself, where to locate patches, advice on customizers and player choices for your jerseys, buy new jerseys and sell your old ones once you have established yourself as a member of either community and simply show off your new arrival as well as seeing what unique things others have acquired, which will certainly inspire you to try to duplicate one for yourself from time to time.

While the Ice Jerseys forum is strictly hockey related, Jersey Central has separate forums for Throwbacks, NFL, MLB, NBA, Soccer and College as well as hockey. In addition, both forums each have a very active marketplace section and general discussion section.

The depth of knowledge available is quite remarkable as passionate collectors share their insights and knowledge on all things jersey related.

Once you've joined a forum, it's part of the fun to share your collection with others. Photographing your jerseys is an essential part of that and we have a few tips. We recommend a mid-tone background of either a beige carpet, wood flooring or a roll of seamless paper. A mid-tone background will work for both white and dark colored jerseys and look more consistent from shot to shot.

We do not recommend white or black backgrounds or tile surfaces or fabric surfaces, such as a sheet. White backgrounds won't allow white jerseys to separate very well and will fool the camera into thinking the scene is too bright, resulting in underexposed, grey photos, while black will have the opposite results. Black backgrounds will cause light colored jerseys to be overexposed and black jerseys to disappear into the background. The shine on tile surfaces will cause a glare from the flash which may also result in underexposed images. Those with prominent grout will only serve to distract from the jersey, the same of which can be said for a wrinkled sheet.

Once you have chosen your background, lay your jersey down, fold the arms over and get the jersey as flat as possible to reduce as many wrinkles as you can.

We do recommend the use of an on-camera flash. The light hitting the jersey from directly overhead will reduce the appearance of any wrinkles in the jersey, which would be emphasized by any side lighting, such as that coming from a window on one side of the jersey. A flash also has the added benefit of being the same each time, while reliance on sunlight leaves you subject to both sunny and cloudy days, resulting in inconsistent lighting.

To summarize, pick a background, not too light or not too dark, with as little pattern to it as possible and shoot from straight overhead with a flash.

You will need to host your own photos on the internet to be able to post them to any forum. There are many free photo hosting sites from which to choose from, Flickr, Photobucket or Webshots.

As for meeting up with other collectors in person, there are two events that we recommend.

The first is the annual MeiGray Game-Worn Jersey Expo in New Jersey where the largest dealer of NHL game worn jerseys brings together collectors and dealers alike in a festival of jerseys unlike any other.

The other event we recommend is the Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub in St. Paul, Minnesota. The 9th annual Expo takes place Sunday, October 3rd from 11 AM to 6 PM. This event is free and features collectors bringing their favorites from their personal collection for some good old show and tell, with an emphasis on jerseys related to the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota North Stars and Minnesota Gophers, as well as many other interesting jerseys from throughout the hockey world. It's great opportunity to see some great game worn jerseys up close, meet some new people and perhaps add a new jersey to your collection.

There are other expos held throughout the country, perhaps one near you. Today there is one scheduled for Pittsburgh from 10am-7pm at the ballroom of the Epiphany Church, located next to the new Consol Energy Center, which happens to be hosting a Pittsburgh Penguins pre-season game vs the Columbus Blue Jackets at 7pm. Admission to the Expo is free.

There is another meeting in March in Northern Virginia, as well as a long-running one in Detroit. Announcements and details can be found on the forums at

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