Any prospective buyers looking for Caitlyn Jenner memorabilia should get ready to open their wallets. The market for goods featuring the athlete formerly known as Bruce Jenner has never been stronger.
Since Jenner expressed to the world -- first through a sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer and then a Vanity Fair cover -- that she was transgender, she has again became a household name -- nearly 40 years after winning an Olympic gold medal and fame in Montreal. The attention has pushed the demand for Jenner collectibles, and the prices for them, up.
“From a standpoint of how the memorabilia business usually works, the greater the name recognition the higher value it's going to be," said Jonathan Scheier, lead cataloguer in the sports department for Heritage Auctions, which claims to be the world's largest collectibles auctioneer.
Jenner's name recognition -- as perhaps the most famous transgender person in the world, a reality star alongside the Kardashian family and onetime "world's greatest athlete" as decathlon winner -- has never been higher. Her global fame has created a market with high demand, and online marketplaces have since been flooded with items.
Even any potential backlash against Jenner could help sell good. "I do not think that small amount of negative opinion would affect the market," Scheier said.
In fact, in April, after Jenner’s interview with Sawyer, the Wrap reported that nine Wheaties boxes featuring Jenner had sold, with another about to go for $265. “It’s a huge increase in sales from before the interview, when only 12 boxes were purchased between Feb. 14 and April 22,” the report read. Merchants at a collectors show in Colorado, around the time of Jenner's TV interview, said Jenner memorabilia was the top product, with rising prices and high demand, reported CBS Denver.
"I'd think the market of people who’d be interested in his memorabilia would go far past the typical track and field market, which is quite small," Scheier said. "Even before she came out before her big recent news, she was far more famous."
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) June 2, 2015
Jenner benefited, famewise, from years of appearances on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." Her interview with Sawyer drew about 17 million viewers and she amassed 1 million Twitter followers faster than any user in history. "Every time you turn on the TV there’s something [with Jenner] on,” said Garry Shrum, a consignment director in the entertainment department of Heritage Auctions. Shrum added that further television appearances, including Jenner's own show, will further boost her market.
Jenner also benefits from a long history as an athletic icon. In 1972, Jenner debuted in the Munich Olympics at just 22 years old, finishing tenth in the decathlon. Then came the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. As a relative unknown competing in one of the most challenging competitions in sports, Jenner won the gold medal. Not only that -- the athlete's score shattered the world record. Jenner’s image as an American athletic icon allowed for acting jobs, stints in the broadcasters booth, and, of course, memorabilia and endorsements. Most famously, Jenner graced the front of a Wheaties box, arms raised in triumph in some versions. Through all these avenues, Jenner, before the transition to Caitlyn, was reportedly worth $100 million and some have speculated her worth will rise substantially in the years to come as her public profile rises.
— George Quiroz (@GQisreal) June 1, 2015
On eBay Thursday, there were numerous reminders of Jenner's history as an athlete available for purchase -- everything ranging from refrigerator magnets to autographs to action figures and, of course, Wheaties boxes. Post-Vanity Fair, those boxes are being sold online for a variety of prices. A number of reprints from 2012 were going for anywhere from about $10 to $50. A signed version is listed for $130 on eBay. An original, unopened version of the box -- long-moldering Wheaties still inside -- had earned a bid of $265 with six days left in the auction.
Also listed on eBay Thursday were a number of “timeless legend” action figures. The price point for those seemed to be somewhere from $20 up to $50, depending on the condition and sellers. Any interested buyer could also find a number of items autographed by Jenner, including Sports Illustrated magazines famously featuring the phrase “Awrright.”
A real score, however, would be collectibles related to the Olympics, if any of them have left Jenner's hands. “The two things that collectors would want would be A. the medals and B. the uniform, the shoes -- the tools of the trade, so to speak," Scheier said.
Online marketplaces might continue to be flooded with Jenner sports memorabilia for now, but there's one rare item that seemingly hasn't yet surfaced: A Caitlyn Jenner signature. Along with event-worn athletic gear, that might be the most interesting item for collectors. Famous athletes sign incalculable numbers of autographs -- meaning a Caitlyn Jenner item would be uncommonly rare.
"I’m sure Caitlyn autographs will have a brief peak in popularity," Scheier said. "There probably aren’t even 1,000 of those that exist now," but after a quick search, Scheier noted there might not be any at all.
As for those looking to make money off Jenner's newfound celebrity, any collector lucky enough to hold significant Jenner items could be in for a windfall.
“Now would be the perfect time to sell," Scheier said.