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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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
Nuneaton football heritage to be celebratedNuneaton News, October 29th
Nuneaton Town supporters and players from times gone by are invited to bring along any football memorabilia they may have to the group's first drop-in session at Nuneaton Library on November 14 between 10am and 1pm. In addition, individuals, local ...Read more
How Did I Miss That? Russian Tiger Defects to China; Pumpkin RiotsIndian Country Today Media Network, October 24th
This week, Winston was accused of signing football memorabilia for money, which would be a violation of NCAA rules and the student athletes' vow of poverty. “Oh-oh,” muttered Cousin Ray, “now they've accused him of something really serious.” Folks may ...Read more
Man who may have triggered Gurley investigation wants him reinstatedWSB Atlanta, October 23rd
Garland stressed to Winne that Allen only made one payment for the signing of little football memorabilia items. "It was a one time thing, he never had any dealings with Gurley before that time or after that time," Garland said. "In fact he admires...Read more
Catching Up With ... former Colts punter Tom GilburgBaltimore Sun, October 16th
Coutesy of Vintage Football Card Gallery. Tom Gilburg Baltimore Cotls Topps Football Card from 1962. Tom Gilburg Baltimore Cotls Topps Football Card from 1962. (Coutesy of Vintage Football Card Gallery). David Lee, who replaced Gilburg, made All-Pro ...Read more
Classic Chaney football memorabilia to be auctioned offWFMJ, October 9th
Local football buffs can soon get their hands on some classic memorabilia dating back to the 1920s. Solic Auctions in North Lima found pictures of Chaney High School football players from the 20s, 30s and 40s. They also have over five thousand high...Read more
Wood at Vintage football previewNapa Valley Register, October 8th
Last week: Wood lost 37-28 at Freedom-Oakley. Vintage had a bye, after beating Bethel on the road, 24-22, two weeks ago. Last year: Vintage beat Wood, 24-6, in Vacaville, holding Wildcats star running back Damon Lewis to 89 yards rushing on a night ...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