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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Bygones: International football shirts set to go under the hammer at HansonsDerby Telegraph, March 29th
I expect these pieces of football memorabilia to attract interest from far and wide. Only last year, a shirt worn by Beckenbauer in the 1966 World Cup semi-final against the (then) Soviet Union was sold by Hansons for £12,000 to a German football...Read more
Comic Con Newcastle: Women are the 'new nerds' and why it's a good thingChronicleLive, March 28th
Is collecting vintage copies of comic books 'sad' as opposed to owning vintage football programmes? From the outside a Comic Con may seem like a strange and usual event, but it is honestly nothing more than a gathering of very passionate fans indulging...Read more
Columbus travelblog: Wrong museum in CantonNewsOK.com (blog), March 24th
From old to new, uniforms are the best part of football memorabilia. In fact, I have a suggestion for the Hall of Fame. Dedicate a room to the uniform progression of each team. Showing the Packers through the years. The Broncos. The Buccaneers. That...Read more
Big Red Banquet Brings Ex-Huskers to Townknopnews2, March 21st
Along with the $75 entrance fee, there is a live and silent auction with priceless University of Nebraska football memorabilia. The fundraiser will give the majority of the proceeds to the St. Pats athletic activities fund, but banquet coordinator Tim...Read more
Sunday Notebook: Stoudamire deserves shot as head coachArizona Daily Star, March 21st
The Arizona coaching staff is all on the same page as associate coach Joe Pasternack, left, head coach Sean Miller and assistant coach Damon Stoudamire all signal the same play to the Wildcat players against Washington in the second half of their Pac...Read more
Football memorabilia to net cash for Oliver Bosch appealThe Courier, March 9th
The event, which will be attended by guests including former Celtic players Tom Boyd and Pat Bonner, will include a host of football memorabilia including a top signed by Wayne Rooney. Oliver's mum Jemma said she was delighted at the news the evening ...Read more
Calling all vintage football gamersIsthmus, March 5th
As co-founder of the Madison Tecmo Super Bowl, the largest and longest-running public tournament in the United States dedicated to an ancient videogame for the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Josh and his older brother, Chet, will welcome more ...Read more
Southport FC to host awareness raising football memorabilia chainSouthport Visiter, March 4th
So far the family from Burscough , which includes Cameron, 11, have amassed more than two miles of football memorabilia and hope to create the longest chain of football related items in the world by the end of this season. For the Sandgrounder's match ...Read more