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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

Collect your trophies

Sarit Ray, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, December 26, 2012
First Published: 13:31 IST(26/12/2012) | Last Updated: 17:00 IST(26/12/2012)

Unable to cope with the news that Sachin Tendulkar won’t play another one day match? It’s time to prove how ardent a fan you are. Order his signed cricket bat online (for a cool Rs. 1,04,500) from the first-of-its-kind Indian website — collectabillia.com — dedicated to selling sports memorabilia.

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It’s not all about cricket. You could also get Lionel Messi’s signed boot (Rs 63,500), Wayne Rooney’s signed Manchester United jersey (Rs 43,500) and Roger Federer’s autographed racquet (coming soon, the site says). And while you can’t get Schumacher’s F1 car, an autographed photo of it is available. As are Mike Tyson’s signed gloves.

Twenty-four-year-old Anjana Reddy, founder and managing director of Universal Sportsbiz, who launched the site, says, “The idea came to me in a college dorm two years ago. While studying in the US, I realised the essence of sports merchandise. During Monday Night League, everyone watches TV wearing their team jerseys and with their team mugs. I wanted to recreate that here.” 

Reddy reckons that there is a big market for personalised merchandise in India. So her dozen-people-strong team spent the last two years sourcing products and tying up with celebrities’ agents. “Though we have to create the market here, it wasn’t hard to convince the celebrities. Messi came here last year. Everyone’s looking at India,” says Reddy.

After a beta launch during the Indian Premier League earlier in the year, the site went live on Friday (December 21). On the first day, Reddy says they had 20,000 page views and made three sales. An auction portal will come up soon, featuring items that the stars have actually used in games. You can expect to shell out a lot more for those, but then, what’s a price tag when you have Sachin’s hundred-scoring bat to show off?

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