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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David James' treasured football memorabilia collection fetches thousands at ...Mirror.co.uk, November 19th
David James' treasured football memorabilia collection fetches thousands at auction after ex-England star went bankrupt. Nov 19, 2014 09:07; By Tom Pugh. An England shirt worn during the Three Lions win over Argentina in 2002 was sold for £672 while a ...Read more
Bankrupt goalkeeper David James auctions football memorabiliaBBC News, November 4th
Former England goalkeeper David James is to auction hundreds of items of football memorabilia collected during his career. James, who played for Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth, was declared bankrupt in May. Among the ...Read more
Vacaville at Vintage football previewNapa Valley Register, October 29th
Last week: Vacaville lost at Napa, 26-14, ending a six-year, 28-game MEL win streak. Vintage defeated Armijo, 55-8, behind QB Jared Horn's 11 of 21 passing for season highs of 215 yards and three TDs. Last year: Vacaville failed to score on its first...Read more
Johnny Manziel -- Best Piece of Johnny Football Memorabilia Ever ... His ...TMZ.com, October 2nd
1002-johnny-manziel-nissan-truck-autograph Johnny Manziel just got his "dream car," which means now you can buy his old one … which is particularly awesome because HE SIGNED THE DASHBOARD!!! Manziel traded in his 2014 Nissan Titan SL when ...Read more
Subway's LSU Football Collector's Cup AvailableLSUSports.net, September 4th
BATON ROUGE – The 2014 LSU Football limited edition collector's cup is now available at Baton Rouge area Subway Restaurants. The cup features the three, iconic "L-S-U" flags that the cheerleaders carry across the endzone after an LSU touchdown...Read more
Petaluma at Vintage football previewNapa Valley Register, September 3rd
Last week: Petaluma pulled out a 13-12 win against rival Santa Rosa, which it had lost 33-0 to in 2013. Jared Horn threw for 101 yards in Vintage's 27-3 home loss to Woodcreek-Roseville, but was knocked out of the game in the third quarter due to a ...Read more
University of Georgia football memorabilia exhibit will look back on Vince ...Online Athens, August 21st
A look at former University of Georgia head football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley's career opens Aug. 29 at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries on the UGA campus. Photos, playbooks, original artwork by Bulldog...Read more
On Super Bowl Weekend, Five Vintage Football Collectibles Worth BuyingForbes, January 28th
Hunt and other football memorabilia dealers I have consulted believe the best buys predate 1970. “Take Red Grange, his career is over,” says Michael Hattley, the owner of Touchdown Treasures. “He is easily one of the top 25 players of all time.” In...Read more