Troy R. Kinunen, President/CEO MEARS Auctions

The day to day operation of MEARS Auctions is conducted under the supervision of 30+ year hobby veteran Troy R. Kinunen. His impressive resume reflects decades of commitment to providing the hobby with authentic memorabilia. Kinunen has built the MEARS brand from the ground floor up while working in virtually every aspect of the hobby.

Retail Experience: 1988-1993 Milwaukee Antique Center, 1994-2008 All American Sports, 2009-Present MEARS Online Auctions, Ebay Store 1998-Present. Since 1988, Kinunen has handled the sale of over $30,000,000 worth of authentic sports memorabilia by utilizing multiple means of retails services intended to reach collectors hungry for authentic products. With over 30 years of experience, MEARS has built a network of collectors that are aggressively seeking quality merchandise. 

Authentication Experience: Formed in 2004, MEARS President/CEO Troy R. Kinunen is the founding member of MEARS (Memorabilia Evaluation and Research Services). With the creation of the company, Kinunen was the first professional authenticator of game used bats and game worn jerseys. The implementation of a 40-step worksheet, industry’s most comprehensive database/research library, and use of imagery analysis created a standardized evaluation process which is now recognized as the gold standard of the industry.  Since our inception, it is estimated MEARS has authenticated over $200,000,000 worth of authentic sports memorabilia and kept millions of dollars’ worth of fake items from entering the marketplace.

MEARS Museum:  Our firm invested and developed a 5,000 square foot museum space which is housed on location at MEARS Online Auctions. The museum offers on hand reference materials of authentic, period game worn jerseys, game used bats, and vintage memorabilia. MEARS believes in giving back to the hobby, and the museum is a tangible vehicle for collectors to learn about the items they collect by seeing a vast collection of actual items. The artifacts continually rotate to expose collectors to new items which help continue to reflect collector’s interests. New exhibits are planned to represent artifacts from the pop culture segment of the hobby and a continued expansion of Wisconsin team based items.

Curator Experience: Oversaw several partnerships with academia based organizations to promote the history of sports through loans of items from our collection. Professional services and contributions to the Wisconsin State Historical Society, Louisville Slugger Museum, Discovery World Museum, Milwaukee Jewish Museum, MEARS Museum, Don Mattingly Charities, Milwaukee Historical Society, and the Cincinnati Reds Museum.

Troy R. Kinunen has curated open house events on site at the MEARS Museum and have hosted appearances by Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks, Robin Yount, Ken Sanders (Brewers), Sam Williams (Bucks), Doug Melvin (Brewer GM), Baron Von Raschke, and Henry Winkler.

News Coverage:


Published Contributions: Supported the publishing  of over 100 articles on our website,  , contributed / acknowledgements from Smithsonian Baseball by Stephen Wong, Smithsonian Game Worn Baseball Treasures Stephen Wong & Dave Grob, Book Mastro Net Guide to Game Used bats, MEARS guide to collecting game used bats and jerseys.

Trade Show Experience:  Kinunen has attended over 150 trade shows including the National Sport Collectors Show, Chicago Toy Show, Hollywood Autograph Show in Chicago, and dozens of regional shows.

Expert Witness of the New York Giants Regarding the Eli Manning Memorabilia Lawsuit: Hired by the New York Giants as an expert witness to provide valuable expertise about the process of game used memorabilia authentication, with an emphasis on the techniques of imagery analysis.

Additionally, Kinunen has served as an expert witness and testified in divorce hearings, worked with the FBI to fight fraud in our hobby, and was hired to evaluate estates including Brian McCaskey, CEO of the Chicago Bears, Lou Burdette of the Milwaukee Braves, Ray Nitschke of the Green Bay Packers, Mike Torrez of the New York Yankees, and Ken Clay of the New York Yankees.

Market Value Expertise: With over $30,000,000 in sales, Kinunen handled items valued from $10.00 to $1,000,000+ and collections of all sizes. His market value library consists of archived auction catalogs dating from the 1980s to present which has allowed me to track various markets and stay current on trends and valuations. In addition, Kinunen has participated on behalf of clients in live auctions with Sotheby’s, Christies, Heritage, and other leading auction houses. Items authenticated by Kinunen’s MEARS firm include:

  • 1923 Babe Ruth New York Yankees 1st Homerun at Yankee Stadium Game Used Bat sold for $1,300,000: Served as consultant to the buyer with respect to fair market value and authenticity.
  • 1920s Babe Ruth New York Yankees Game Worn Road Jersey sold for $4,400,000.

Appraisal Experience:

Louisville Slugger Museum Collection (1998): Served as junior consultant while appraising the Louisville Slugger Museum Collection.

Barry Bonds Game Worn Jersey & Bat Collection (2010): Consulted on the current market value of Barry Bond’s game worn collection. Conducted advanced research on current market values.

Ken Griffey Sr. Memorabilia Appraisal and Sale (2004): Led the group which appraised and sold the collection of Ken Griffey Sr.

Lou Burdette Milwaukee Braves Memorabilia Sale (2010): Conducted the appraisal and sale of the Lou Burdette Estate

1923 Babe Ruth New York Yankees 1st Homerun at Yankee Stadium Game Used Bat sold for $1,300,000: Served as consultant to the buyer with respect to fair market value and authenticity.

Ernie Banks Memorabilia Personal Consultant (2013): Served as Ernie Bank’s personal consultant on the value of his memorabilia collection including his Babe Ruth Home Run Crown.

OJ Simpson Memorabilia Criminal Case in Nevada (2007): Expert and professional services sought in the evaluation of OJ Simpson’s memorabilia value in his criminal case in Nevada. I declined the invitation.

Upper Deck Authenticated Auctions (1999): Hired as a consultant for Upper Deck Authenticated Auctions.