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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Nearing the finish line on sale of Crundwell assetsSaukValley.com, October 8th
Up for auction are her Terry Bradshaw football memorabilia, a Childeric English saddle, Harley Davidson apparel, cowboy boots and hats, an ATV and mopeds. Items for sale will be viewable early next on TXAuction.com. This will be the first of two...Read more
PLAY EXPO 2015 BRINGS THE NORTH'S BIGGEST GAMING SHOW TO MANCHESTER THIS ...Gamasutra, October 8th
There will be drop-in tournaments throughout both days of the event, leading to Grand Final on each day with copies of PES 2016, PES goodies, signed football memorabilia and £100 GAME vouchers all up for grabs. Gaming fans at the event will also want...Read more
Tom Cleverley threatened by armed robbers in Manchester home raidDaily Mail, October 6th
Thieves trashed his house stealing football memorabilia, champagne and jewellery and his exclusive Aston Martin car worth a total of £200,000. He was just one victim of a gang that repeatedly targeted the homes of Premiership footballers, including...Read more
Games Room of the Year 2015, in picturesTelegraph.co.uk, October 6th
Fifteen finalists who have splashed out thousands of pounds on building innovative games rooms in their homes are competing for the crown of 'Games Room of the Year 2015'. The entries include an attic which have been transformed into an American-style ...Read more
Win two hospitality tickets for next season's Community Shield and £350 of ...Daily Mail, October 2nd
With hospitality tickets for next season's Community Shield and £350 of football memorabilia on offer to the No 1 manager, there's all the more incentive to whip your team into shape whether you're in the top half of the table or enduring a Chelsea...Read more
Vintage football photos, Penn State vs. Army in 1973PennLive.com, September 30th
This gallery is the next in a series that PennLive will publish during the course of Penn State's 2015 football season that features the Nittany Lions playing in the 1970s, '80s and '90s. Penn State will play Army at noon Oct. 3 at Beaver Stadium. This...Read more
Football memorabilia on display at LagoonaGulf Times, September 16th
Lagoona Mall will host a football memorabilia exhibition, featuring “rare and exclusive” collections, from today. Themed “Football Legends”, the event will run until October 3 and include items that represent the legends along with iconic moments in...Read more
Highest-Priced Football MemorabiliaHuffington Post, September 9th
Do you enjoy collecting football memorabilia? It does not carry quite as high a price tag as baseball memorabilia, but it is still easy to empty the bank account if you are a collector. Football cards have sold at auction for as high as $240,000 for a...Read more