Sports cases have been a popular feature in many homes for decades now. Despite the progress of modern entertainment and our ability to see sports of all varieties on demand. There is still something special about being able to collect and display pieces from memorable sporting events in our history. Here's a quick guide on how to select a sports case that will help you to do just that.
What to Consider When Choosing a Sports Case?
- Will your collection be expanding?
One of the first things to consider, regardless of how small your collection is right now, is whether or not you'll be expanding it. Often, you'll find that exploring this question to its ends will provide a lot of context for making an appropriate decision.
Take, for example, a small baseball card collection. If you have 10 cards to start but are keen on rapidly expanding your collection - or expect to attend frequent conventions where you'll find new cards often - you might want to start with a large case, with glass panels and multiple shelves.
Having multiple shelves in your sports case will allow you some flexibility to expand your collection without having to upgrade or replace your case.
- Will you be interacting with your collection often?
Another thing to consider when choosing a sports case is how often you intend to interact with your collection. Do you take your signed ball with you to games for good luck? Do you only take it with you for championship games? Do you enjoy having your family and friends interact with your collection?
If you think you'll be interacting with your collection often, consider selecting a case with strong, safe, but easy to use windows or doors. The quality of hinges and latches will be especially important if you are planning to interact with your collection often. Repeated use is usually the worst enemy of a sports case, so choose strong components to start and do your best to maintain them over time.
What Types of Sports Cases Are There?
There are a few major types of sports cases that you'll find available and they are normally specific to the object being displayed. Let's take a look at a few of them.
Jersey cases tend to have one large open panel for viewing, which is typically backed by hardwood. The contrast of hardwood finishes against most sports jerseys makes for optimal aesthetic display. Hardwood also mitigates against a lot of temperature and humidity changes that could negatively impact your jersey.
Basketball, American football, and Soccer Cases
Large ball cases tend to come in the shape of a cube made of either shatterproof glass or acrylic. Given that basketballs, soccer balls and American footballs are best appreciated from all sides - especially if they are signed or limited edition - these cases tend to be made of acrylic on all sides.
Occasionally, ball cases come with mirrors on their base or back panels. These mirrors enhance the viewing experience by creating the illusion of extra space behind display pieces. This illusion serves to highlight features and color accents on our favorite balls.
Cases made for baseball collections can be expected to have multiple shelves and hardwood backing. The extra shelves allow for your collection to grow over time without the need to replace your sports case outright.
Cases for bats normally have a similar backing that provides a dignifying contrast, which is usually necessary since cases for bats tend to stand alone.
Hat / Helmet Case
Cases for hats and helmets have similar configurations to jersey cases. Given that helmets and hats tend to be displayed to show off autographs, you will find these cases are made from UV filtering acrylic with a hardwood backing.
Many cases will also come equipped with a stand that allows hats and helmets to stand on their own, so you can rotate them to display whichever sides you please.
What are the Best Sports Case Materials?
Choosing materials that are long-lasting is essential when it comes to sports cases. Especially if you intend to preserve your collection and have it appreciated in value over time. Let's take a look at some material considerations for your sports case.
Hardwoods offer a lot when it comes to displaying cases. Not only are they exceptionally strong and long-lasting, but they offer a variety of finishes that can lend themselves to many types of décor. Hardwoods are naturally very resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, especially when well treated.
Over time, they can lose some of their integrity to scratching, the natural aging that most woods face, and their almost inevitable exposure to excess moisture in some form. Regular treatments will mitigate most of the damage from these sources and can keep your hardwood panels looking and feeling brand new.
Softwoods tend to wear down faster than hardwood panels but are also available in a variety of styles and finishes. Given their lightweight, they are easier to move around so you will not have as much trouble relocating your case, should you desire to do so.
Softwoods will require treatment more often than hardwoods given their nature, so if you're not prepared to commit the extra time, it may be wiser to avoid them altogether.
Metal Frames and Panels
Metal frames add an extra layer of security to your display case. When it comes to durability and strength, you won't get a case more solid than a metal one. Even brushed aluminum panels can provide a significant obstacle to would-be entrants and they are certainly resistant to bumps and scratches.
Metal frames also add a modern look to most cases, so if your display is going to be stored in a man cave, having metal panels or framework can lend itself well to the surrounding décor.
What Security Features Should Your Sports Case Have?
Security often brings to mind the worst possibilities. In our case - theft of our sporting collections.
Theft is unlikely to be a real threat to your collection, but unwitting or unsafe handling is a very realistic one. Curious family members or even overexcited friends can sometimes be over eager to get their hands on your collection. Thus, exposing your things to potential harm, here are a few safety features to consider in your sports case.
Having a built-in lock allows you far more control over the safety of your collection. You're not only protecting against outright theft but also guarding against casual handling by relatives or friends. This way, you'll be saving yourself from falls, smudges, stains and a host of other issues with a simple lock.
If you can't find a sports case with a solid built-in lock or would simply prefer the security of a heftier padlock, then consider purchasing a case that has latches that will allow you to install your own padlocks.
- Combination and Digital locks
Combination and digital locks give you the added convenience of not needing to properly store or hide a key and also mitigates against the risk of having your collection harmed by someone getting their hands on your key.
If you'll be storing items that you'd like to keep in a certain condition - like an autographed baseball or basketball - it's probably a good idea to get a case that protects against UV light. UV light fades dyes and colors, almost regardless of what surface they are on. If you leave a jersey or jacket directly exposed to daylight for long enough - the color fades.
Luckily, UV light protection is a simple thing to find in glass panels and there are many sports cases with UV light options available for purchase.
If your case is housed in an area with a lot of foot traffic, you should strongly consider getting a case with panels made of tempered or shatterproof glass. One of the biggest dangers that your case will face is collisions, mostly from well-meaning family members or pets.