Wealthy sports junkies view a 1952 Mickey Mantle card the same way others look at their 401(k).
"While the stock market is up and down, and while real estate is up and down, the memorabilia market has really gained a lot of steam over the last couple years," said Goldin, whose Rose auction runs through Nov. 17.
Instead of being auctioned online, Holyfield's collection will be sold Nov. 30 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif., which also sells rock 'n' roll and Hollywood memorabilia.
"People look at these items not just as fans. They look at them as an investment. It's a way to diversify their portfolio," owner Darren Julien said. "We're very popular in Asia and Russia, and that's where a lot of the money is coming from. Items that used to sell for $8,000 to $10,000 can bring $200,000 to $300,000 now."
Holyfield, like Larsen, said he didn't consider the tax implications of selling items now rather than after the first of the year.
"This is something new to me," the former heavyweight champion said.
But the auction houses say the tax issues come up in the planning.
"As players get older, they certainly don't know what's going to happen with an estate tax, and I guess they figure they'd rather have it sold now than after they're passed and lose an unknown percentage," Goldin said.
And it extends beyond the sports sales.
"We've had other people, not just athletes, but we've had other celebrity personalities talk to us about that because it is an issue," Julien said.
In Gill's calculation, tax changes next year could push the rate on proceeds from these sales from 28 percent to 33 percent. In addition to the Medicare tax and the possibility of higher tax brackets, there could be a limitation on itemized deductions for higher-income people.
"I might just hurry up and sell it right now," Gill said. "Anything you would be selling in the near term, hurry up and sell in December."
AP Basketball Writer Jim O'Connell and AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.
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