American football memorabilia
Items of American football memorabilia are collectibles objects with a connection to American football. They are items of sports memorabilia
They can include autographs, game used balls, jerseys, programmes and other items related to the sport.
Collectors often focus on one area of American football memorabilia. Some collect autographs of players whilst others may collect game-worn jerseys or programmes from matches played by certain teams.
American football memorabilia remains relatively undervalued. However, the sport is beginning to reach an increasingly global audience, with one NFL game scheduled for Wembley in London every season.
With 106.5 million people tuning into Super Bowl XLIV it is likely that memorabilia related to the sport will become increasingly sought after.
American football is derived from the early versions of rugby and association football. In 1879, the rules of the sport were instituted by player and coach at Yale University, Walter Camp.
The sport rapidly grew and athletic associations began to become involved in the sport. In 1892 William ‘Pudge’ Heffelfinger became the first professional football player and was paid $500 to play in just one match for Allegheny Athletic Association against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club.
The American Professional Football Association was established in 1920 at a Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio with athlete Jim Thorpe as president. With just eleven teams, the group was originally less of a league than an agreement to not steal players from other teams.
In the 1950s, American football began to earn its place as a major sport and NFL games were shown on television, giving many people the chance to follow stars such as Bobby Layne, Paul Hornun and Jonny Unitas. The 1958 NFL championship drew a record number of viewers and Unitas and his Baltimore Colts teammates became international celebrities.
Since then, American football has become increasingly popular with an audience of 106.5 million viewers of Super Bowl XLIV.
Types of American football memorabilia
- American football jerseys
- American football autographs
- American football programmes
- American football balls
The world’s most expensive American football memorabilia
The most expensive item of American football memorabilia is the Original Plaster Cast used for the Heisman Trophy.
In October 2008, the maquette used to cast each and every one of the first 40 trophies of the era sold for $89,625.
Other notable items of American football memorabilia
In May 2005, a complete set of 1952 Bowman Large Football Cards was sold for $59,750.
In May 2006, a helmet worn by Miami Dolphins player Dan Marino in Super Bowl XIX was sold for $33,460.
The 1957 Rookie of the Year awarded to NFL Cleveland Browns’ Jim Brown, was sold in October 2007 for $31,070.