Professor Henry Higgins in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” said, “Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby.” The saying has panned out for Jeff Figler, who turned his hobby of collecting sports memorabilia into a profitable home business. “I have been a collector all of my life because my mother never threw away my baseball cards or my comic books,” Figler said. “I want to share my knowledge of [collecting] so people can learn more about sports memorabilia and appreciate the history of the items.”
Figler parlayed his background as a business and writing teacher at San Diego State University into the foundation of his business. Writing on sports memorabilia has helped increase his credibility as a collector, speaker and appraiser. Figler has penned more than 600 published articles among 10 magazines and 6 books on collecting, including “Picker’s Pocket Guide to Baseball Memorabilia” (Krause Publications: 2014).
Figler relies heavily upon social media—Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest–to promote his business. Most of his readers collect, but sports collectors comprise his primary customer base—and his readership.
“I consider being a weekly or monthly columnist to well-known magazines, as well as for a couple of newspapers, to be my greatest achievement,” Figler said. He also loves the flexibility of his home-based business, since as a writer, inspiration can strike at any time. “You can simply go to your home-based office and jot down some ideas,” he said.
Figler’s business has helped him help others. Since he never really stopped collecting sports memorabilia, pop culture items, and presidential artifacts, opening a museum seemed like a good idea. He and Linda, his wife, started the Figler Museum, a part of the Figler Foundation, in 2006. The Figler Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization benefiting research for the treatment of cancer, heart disease, speech and hearing disorders, as well as youth-related medical conditions.
Figler hopes to extend his magazine writing beyond the ten titles for which he currently writes and to pen two or three books a year to add to the six he has already authored. For more information, visit: www.collectingwithjeff.com.