Collecting Kentucky Derby

Early Kentucky Derby 1950's era julep glasses $50 to $200
Kentucky Derby ladies feather hat,  $200
Kentucky Derby commemorative trivet, $15
Kentucky Derby 2000 Official Poster - $35
Kentucky Derby ticket stub 1944, $20 to $45
Kentucky Derby Run for the Roses pin, $25
Beanie Baby, 2004 Smarty Jones, $6 to $15
Kentucky Derby plate 1977, $50
Kentucky Derby 2007 official scarf, $350 to $600
DVD Game 'Horses of the Kentucky Derby',  $30
DVD 'Barbaro',  $30
Kentucky Derby commemorative key chain 1998, $20
Book - Little Freddie at the Kentucky Derby
Book - Run for the Roses
Book - Kentucky Derby
Book - Kentucky Derby Glasses Price Guide
Beanie Baby, Secretariat, $6 to $15
Kentucky Derby commemorative whiskey bottle 1970, $15 to $25
Kentucky Derby 1973 official pegasus pin, $1000
Kentucky Derby 2008 official pegasus gold pin, $25
Kentucky Derby  Complete Tickets, past years $5 to $15
Kentucky Derby Program, 1963 $15
Kentucky Derby Beetleware glass, 1940s, starting at $1950+
Mint jigger glass 1940s, $600
Mint Julep glass 1940s, $75 to $200
Mint Julep glass 1952, $75 to $125


Kentucky Derby 2008 Official Poster - $40

It is billed as the most exciting two minutes in sports. And it is for 3-year olds only. We’re talking about the ultimate horse race known as the Kentucky Derby.

The race may just be two minutes, but the festival in Louisville, Kentucky begins two weeks in advance. Over the past 50 years, it’s grown into the biggest event in Kentucky with parties, dinners, honors, discussions, events, warm-up horse races, golf, balloon races, fireworks, paddle boats, cruising, mint juleps and, of course, souvenirs. Collecting Derby memorabilia is the second largest pastime in Louisville and it continues well after the hooves of the winner have fallen silent. Let’s review just a few of the official ones.

The Horse

The ultimate souvenir of any Kentucky Derby is the winner itself, a three year old colt, gelding, or filly. Exact figures of what it takes to breed a Kentucky Derby winner varies, but the value increases to the millions after the awarding of the blanket of 554 roses to the winner. This is one collectible that continues to appreciate once it is retired to pasture.

The Winning Ticket

Ah, but the second biggest collectible is at the pay window. Taking home the winnings from the Kentucky Derby is the ultimate collectible and it comes with free bragging rights. What a deal. Interesting, but I’ve never seen losing tickets auctioned online anywhere.

The Mint Julep Glass

All right, these are great collectibles for the rest of us. The mint julep is the favorite drink of the Kentucky Derby, so naturally there is a special glass made both for enjoying the drink and for collecting. Official Kentucky Derby mint julep glasses became instant collectibles when they were introduced in 1938. As with any collectible, there are variations each year. According to, there were aluminum and Bakelite glasses during World War II. The 1950 and 1951 glasses are the rarest, but 1974 had the most variations from two different companies due to a printing error. Read Audra Blevins blog about the mint julep glass and how to make what goes inside one.

The Official Silk Scarf

Silk scarves are a relatively new collectible for the Kentucky Derby. Chuck Starr of Collectors Gallery says the first officially sanctioned scarf was introduced by Churchill Downs about 1995. Only about 200 are made every year, which makes them very rare indeed. The only place to find the current, officially sanctioned Kentucky Derby 2008 silk scarf is through the exclusive distributor sanctioned by Churchill Downs at or ordering directly from Judy Starr at a cost of $350 each. Look for the twin spires graphic on each corner of the scarf to know it is authentic.

The Official Kentucky Derby Festival Pin

Each year the Kentucky Derby Festival issues a decorative commemorative pin. Beginning in 1973 with a plastic Pegasus pin, there are now festival, corporate, chairman and balloon pins, too. Get a pin starter kit for 2008 and included is a new addition, a lanyard. There are so many pins that it is hard to get ‘pinned’ down on just how many styles there are. Each pin is available individually or as part of sets from online auction sites. Visit their store and see a full selection of pins past and present.

The Official Kentucky Derby Festival Poster

Since 1981, when renowned artist Peter Max designed the first colorful festival poster, artists from around the country have competed to provide the right pre-race excitement every year. For 2008, artist Rick Garcia of Santa Fe, New Mexico contributed a colorful rendition that includes all of the elements of the Kentucky Derby Festival. His design will be featured on t-shirts, glasses, used in media advertising and on many more Derby collectibles. All of the past Derby posters are still available by visiting their store and ordering your favorite.


There are other Derby collectibles beyond the officially sanctioned ones. There is an early travel poster such as the one issued by the C&O Railroad that advertised Kentucky as a travel destination rather than the Derby itself, plus old tickets, programs, newspapers featuring the winner, hats, balloons, key rings, t-shirts, Beanie horses, books, whiskey bottles, shot glasses, photos, DVD’s, plates, software games, trivets and … who knows what else?

If the Kentucky Derby is the ultimate in horse racing, then it is also the ultimate in horse racing collectibles, too. So, get them while you can. Ready? Aaaand, we’re off!


Official Kentucky Derby Festival site

History of the Kentucky Derby Festival

Kentucky Derby Officially Sanctioned Scarves

Kentucky Derby official posters, pins and other memorabilia

About the Kentucky Derby Museum with a video presentation

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