In baseball memorabilia, you wouldn’t collect a bat signed by a pitcher or a glove signed by a designated hitter. Well, some people probably would, but it’s more likely you’d want a baseball that had been autographed by a pitcher like Sandy Koufax or Nolan Ryan, or a bat that’s been signed by sluggers such as Hank Aaron or Willie Mays.

Similarly, the most collectible footballs are signed by the players who touched them the most. That’s why football memorabilia collectors usually look for footballs autographed by quarterbacks such as Joe Namath, John Elway, Joe Montana, and Johnny Unitas, or running backs from Jim Brown to Walter Payton. Receiver signatures are popular, too (Jerry Rice and Mike Wallace are favorites), but how do you account for the popularity of Troy Polamalu’s autograph on footballs? Maybe it’s because footballs rarely get past this exceptionally strong, strong safety.

In general, footballs signed by players of the last quarter century or so are commodities—forgeries and reproductions abound, so make sure yours comes with authentication you can trust. More rare are footballs whose signatures and pebbly pigskin surfaces are both vintage. Nineteenth-century footballs were melon-shaped, harkening to the sport’s lineage in this country from rugby. Spalding claims it manufactured the first American football in 1887, but even these were not as pointed at the ends as footballs are today.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vintage Football Card Gallery

Vintage Football Card Gallery

This great database of pro and collegiate football cards from the 1950s and 1960s offers scanned images of cards fo… [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Peyton Manning Signed Td Pass Record Duke Football Auto /1000 Fanatics HologramAaron Rodgers Signed Duke Football Green Bay Packers SteinerDenver Broncos Peyton Manning Signed Official Nfl Football W/tracercode CoaAaron Rodgers Autographed Nfl Wilson Football Ga CoaPeyton Manning Signed Baseball Auto Psa/dna Coa Nfl Colts Broncos Peyton Manning Signed "7 Td's 9-5-13" Duke Football Steiner Le 118Autographed/signed Marcus Mariota Oregon Ducks Logo Football Gai Ga Global CoaAndrew Luck Signed / Inscribed "coltsnation" Authentic Football Panini Le 50Brett Favre #4 Signed Wilson Super Bowl Xxxi Football Jsa Coa Packers (sku-74540Joe Montana Autographed Wilson Nfl Football No Coa San Francisco 49ers In CaseAndrew Luck Autographed Football W/ Gai Coa Indianapolis Colts Nfl 2014 PlayoffsBrett Favre Autographed Football With Coa. Green Bay Packer CollectableRay Lewis Signed Super Bowl Xlvii Duke Football Auto Jsa Coa Baltimore RavensPeyton Manning Signed Td Pass Record Duke Football Auto /1000 Fanatic Hologram Lynn Swann Pittsburgh Steelers Signed Official Nfl Wilson Football Psa/dna 942Frank Gore Signed Candlestick Park Duke Football Auto 0449/2013 Tristar HologramMax Unger Signed Sb Xlviii Duke Football Auto 4489/5000 Mill Creek Coa SeahawksJohn Elway Signed Hall Of Fame Limited Edition Football In Display Case W CoaRay Lewis Signed Super Bowl Xlvii Duke Football Auto Jsa Sticker Only RavensTom Brady Autographed Football - Superbowl 38 Mvp - Tristar Coa2004 Topps Finest Ben Roethlisberger Certified AutographJohn Madden & Howie Long Signed Football W/coa Oakland Raiders NflDerek Carr Radiers Wilson Official Size Football Signed Auto Coa Inscr God BlessByron Maxwell Signed Sb Xlviii Duke Football Auto 4598/5000 Mill Creek CoaSan Francisco 49ers Multi Signed Football 1979 Season (mcm)Tom Brady Hand Signed Authentic Offical Super Bowl 49 Football TristarBo Jackson Signed Nfl Football W/coa & Sticker # 09672 Oakland Raiders Tony Romo Signed Football W/coa Dallas CowboysTim Brown Autographed Signed Oakland Raiders White Logo Football Jsa W/ Hof 2015Walter Payton Signed Autographed Football 75 Year Anniversary Official FootballEmmitt Smith Signed Official Super Bowl Xxviii Football Jsa Loa Cowboys (73542)Ray Lewis #52 Signed Wilson Super Bowl Xxxv Football Jsa Coa Ravens (sku-74537)Dan Marino Signed Full Size Football Auto Deflated Psa/dna Coa Dolphins HofDrew Bledsoe Autographed FootballAaron Hernandez And Super Bowl Xxxix Mvp Deion Branch Signed FootballJamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs Signed Autographed Football Ga Gai CoaVince Young Titans Texas Signed Official Wilson Nfl Duke Football Mm 0331338Andrew Luck Signed Foortball W/ Cert. Of Authentication San Francisco 49ers Multi Signed Football 1970 Season (mcm)O.j. Simpson Autographed Nfl Football No Coa In Labeled Case, Faded Wilson Nfl Autographed FootballDrew Brees Signed / Autographed Nfl Football!!! - New Orleans Saints!!! Purdue!!Jimmy Graham Seattle Seahawks Signed Autographed Football Ga Gai Coa1982 Afc Team Pro Bowl Football Psa Loa Fouts Winslow Marcus Allen Munoz 38 SigsFrank Gore Signed Candlestick Park Duke Football Auto 0460/2013 Tristar HologramPayton Manning Autograph FootballJoe Montana Autographed San Francisco 49ers Full-size Football Official No CoaEmmitt Smith Autographed Football W/ Coa Dallas Cowboys Florida Gators HofCalvin Johnson Detroit Lions Signed Autographed Football Ga Gai CoaSan Francisco 49ers Multi Signed Football 2006 Season (mcm)2015 Superbowl Champ & Mvp Tom Brady Autographed Fullsiz Football /w InscriptionPatriots Signed Ball 13-14 Rob Gronkowski Julien,edelman, Mayo, Tebow, NinkJj Watt Autographed Nfl Football Ga CoaJimmy Graham Signed Auto Football New Orleans Saints Logo W/coa Odell Beckham Jr Autographed Football W/ Coa New York Giants Roy Greatest Catch!Dan Marino Hof Dolphins Signed Football With CoaRaiders Howie Long Signed Authentic Official Nfl Football Professional Sports (pAndrew Luck Autographed White Panel Indianapolis Colts Football Gai/coa Nfl AutoTerry Bradshaw Signed Full Size Wilson Football Auto Deflated Sgc Coa Steelers Frank Gore Signed/autographed San Francisco 49ers Full Size Logo Football - Gtsm