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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Alfie Lund Fund attempts to create record breaking football memorabilia chainOrmskirk & Skelmersdale Advertiser, November 27th
The Alfie Lund Fund have set themselves the challenge of creating the longest chain of football related items in the world during the 2014/15 football season and have been sent items from all over the world. Scarves, football shirts and flags old and...Read more
More to Christmas Truce than footballStratford Observer, November 25th
in 1999 almost as a private marker that a group known as the Khaki Chums had spent some time in a trench they had dug on one of the spots where the truce took place, is now always festooned with scarves, rosettes, shirts and other football memorabilia...Read more
Earl Thomas III takes care of his fansTheRecordLive.com, November 25th
The walls were adorned with his various game jerseys and other football memorabilia. After the party we were driven back to the hotel by Earl's 6-5, 300-pound body guard who was behind the wheel of a new black Mercedes-Benz. We returned to Houston on ...Read more
David James auctions off football memorabilia after being declared bankruptThe Sun (subscription), November 19th
James, 44, earned around £20million during a successful career with the likes of Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth. To read the full story join Sun+ now and claim a FREE one-month trial ...Read more
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
Football memorabilia sale keeps Sheffield support centre on goalThe Star, November 3rd
Football memorabilia sale keeps Sheffield support centre on goal. Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock and Sheffield United legend Tony Currie supported centre manager Kevin Bradley in a shirt auction which raised ?2,500. Published on the 03 November...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