The roots of contemporary American football can be traced to the late 19th century, when, in 1875, Harvard lost to Tufts. The first professional football league game followed in 1903—the Massillon Tigers won that year’s all-Ohio championship.
Almost from the beginning, marketers tried to capitalize on the popularity of college football. In 1888, cigarette maker Goodwin & Co. published the first football card, an illustration of Henry Beecher, who was the captain of the Yale Bulldogs.
The Beecher card was part of a set of 50 cards celebrating athletes from a variety of sports. In 1894, chewing-tobacco company Mayo Cut Plug released the first actual set of football cards, each bearing a sepia photograph of one of 35 players from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. One Princeton player with the last name of Poe is thought to be the nephew of poet Edgar Allen Poe.
The precursor to the National Football League didn’t arrive on the scene until 1920 and football cards were not produced in sets until after World War II when, according to football-card collector Mike Thomas, Leaf and Bowman began making cards for players such as John Nolan and Larry Olsonoski. Topps cards dominated the 1950s (the Johnny Unitas rookie card from 1955 is a much-traded collectible) and 1960s (ditto Joe Namath’s rookie card from 1965). In that decade, Fleer also entered the picture.
Players were not the only things depicted on cards. In 1960, Fleer issued a set of cards with decals of college-team pennants (Nebraska paired with Purdue, Stanford with Navy, etc.), as well as a set of cards bearing decals of American Football League logos (the gun-toting, cowboy-booted Texans player running for a touchdown in his ten-gallon hat is a collectible classic).
Beyond cards, collectors gravitate to just about anything with a player’s signature on it, from jerseys to helmets to footballs. As with music, unused tickets and ticket stubs are also fairly popular. But one of the most collectible football memorabilia categories is the Super Bowl.
For football fans, it doesn’t get any better than the Super Bowl. Football memorabilia collectors feel the same way about the objects and ephemera commemorating any of the Super Bowls that have been played since 1967, when Bart Starr led the Green Bay Packers to victory over the Kansas City Chiefs...
Signed Super Bowl helmets and footballs are particularly prized, as are signed jerseys. Reproductions of Super Bowl rings have become quite popular in recent years, and the card companies have been diligent about making sure that fans can add special Super Bowl cards to their collections—many are auto-signed to replicate the signatures of players.
Rounding out Super Bowl memorabilia are the actual programs and ticket stubs from the games themselves, for those fans not fortunate enough to actually attend. And then there are the patches, lapel pins, snowglobes, and bobblehead caricatures of players standing next to oversized reproductions of the coveted Super Bowl ring.
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Recent News: Football Memorabilia
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DPS seizes over 100 items of fake football memorabiliaKVOA Tucson News, January 29th
The Arizona Department of Public Safety seized over 100 items of fake football memorabilia during a traffic stop south of Phoenix Friday morning. According to DPS, an officer pulled over a Toyota Tundra for speeding on State Route 387 near milepost 5 ...Read more
OVERNIGHT REGULATION: House GOP doubles down on anti-reg agendaThe Hill, January 29th
Football memorabilia: Federal authorities confiscated nearly $20 million worth of counterfeit sports memorabilia ahead of the Super Bowl. http://bit.ly/1yaN8pm. License plates: Senior lawmakers are pressing the Justice Department to explain how and why...Read more
Roger Goodell Could Get $50K In Sports Auction For Deflategate FootballForbes, January 29th
Hot air. This vintage football pump for sale on eBay has been in the possession of a sole owner since 1955. Now that Belichick is on the cutting edge of football inflation he's welcome to test it in future experiments. But, warns Evans, “You need to...Read more
MGT And Vivid Celebrate The Launch Of Daily Fantasy Sports Site ...CNNMoney, January 28th
New players are encouraged to sign up quickly for the "Big Game Giveaway" on Sunday, offering historic football memorabilia and other great prizes. For more information visit https://vivid.egnyte.com/fl/CDZjNpEUNE#folder-link/. Ash Hollywood is one of...Read more
Super Bowl Party Ideas: 9 Ways To Celebrate The Patriots vs. Seahawks GameLatin Times, January 28th
Boelter Brands sells Bud Light party sets on Amazon, in addition to a Bud Light pitcher, you get a 12-pack of plastic souvenir cups, which means that even though your friends won't be at Super Bowl XLIX, they can still bring home some football memorabilia...Read more
DPS confiscates nearly 100 pieces of counterfeit football memorabilia from ...ABC15 Arizona, January 26th
Hide Caption. Previous Next. PHOENIX - A Washington man was stopped with more than 100 pieces of counterfeit football memorabilia in Phoenix last Friday, according to police. Matthew Darlington, 35, was pulled over for speeding around midnight on Jan...Read more
Review: Berkeley Rep's 'X's and O's' tackles football's disturbing legacyEureka Times Standard, January 25th
BERKELEY -- Playwrights KJ Sanchez and Jenny Mercein describe themselves as football "superfans." But their latest work, getting its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre through March 1, could make even the most ardent football lovers question ...Read more
Three-mile chain of football shirts and scarves showcased at Stockport County ...Manchester Evening News, January 14th
The father of a young boy with a rare genetic condition has created a three-mile chain of football memorabilia and showcased it at Edgeley Park on Saturday. Mark Lund's son Alfie, seven, is one of just seven children in the UK with a rare disorder...Read more