Within the football shirt community, we love nothing more than seeing picture of people's collections and being blown away by the sheer scale of the shirts you all have to offer.
One of those people is Dominic Conrad, who was good enough to share some details of his collection with us. Maybe you can pick up a few tips from this bonafide football shirt connoisseur!
Q: What was the first shirt that kicked off your collection? How did you pick it up?
My passion for collecting starts with my first ever shirt back in 2008, after my first ever match: a D.C. United game at the old RFK Stadium. That day I truly fell in love with football and begged my parents for a shirt. So they got me the D.C. United 2008/09 home shirt.
Every year after that growing up, all that was on my wish list for Christmas and birthdays were football shirts. I really kicked off my collection with the three Manchester United shirts from the 2009/10 season I got for my birthday that year as I started supporting United watching with my dad. From then on I was collecting as many United shirts as possible.
Currently I own 115 shirts. In addition to that I've an assortment of jackets, t-shirts, training tops and the like.
Q: Do you have a favourite shirt in the collection? If so, why is it your favourite?
My favorite shirt I own in my collection is the Manchester United 1990/92 home. I love the small pattern around the collar and cuffs as well as the pattern within the shirt. This paired with the sponsor, old crest and adidas trefoil really make the shirt for me. Not to mention, it also fits beautifully.
Q: What is your biggest shirt-related regret?
My biggest regret collecting has got to be letting go of my inaugural year MLS shirts around the time I was getting serious into collecting. I had the Tampa Bay Mutiny, Dallas Burn, New York MetroStars and Colorado Rapids shirts all from the 1996 season. I never really understood just how sought after they were, but I soon found out.
I am fortunate enough to own a couple of my grail shirts which are the D.C. United and Kansas City Wizards 1997/98 third kits, Fiorentina's iconic 1998/99 home as well as the Manchester United 1983 FA Cup Final and 1990/92 away shirts.
The few I don't have in my collection (yet) are all of the shirts from the first year (1993) of the J-League. I think Mizuno did incredible work in Japan with so many unique shirts. I only currently own the Sanfrecce Hiroshima away from that year, which really got me started on collecting Japanese shirts.
Q: Where are your favourite places to find new shirts for the collection?
Aside from scouring the depths of thrift stores, charity shops and eBay (and the subsequent research on the sellers and shirts that comes with an eBay purchase), I really enjoy trading and purchasing from other passionate collectors on Twitter and Instagram. I've formed many relationships with other football lovers through social media and I've had great success helping them with their collection goals, as well as getting that same help in return.
In terms of a website, I really like NI Classic Shirt Co. They do a great job at sourcing some gems, and have just recently restructured their pricing model to help cater to collectors and appropriately price shirts which goes against the grain of the currently inflated market. Definitely worthy of a shout.
Q: Do you have any tips or tricks for aspiring collectors
If you see a shirt you really want that is way out of your budget or you know it's overpriced, don't be afraid to make reasonable offers or be patient. Most shirts will come around again or someone may have one they are willing to sell or trade.
On that note, get involved with other collectors and lovers of the game on social media, especially Twitter. There are countless people there willing to help authenticate, look for, trade, buy, sell or even just chat about shirts. It's a great place to be whether you're new to collecting or already established.
Thanks to Dominic for sharing more about his love for MLS kits and the 2009 Manchester United shirts which kicked off his collection.
Kick-off your own collection with one of these United classics in our store, featuring Beckham, Cantona and Ronaldo namesets. Browse all Manchester United shirts here.