By Eric Brantner
Move over Christmas. You, too, Thanksgiving. There’s a new holiday that brings families and friends closer together than all the rest. Sure, you won’t find this holiday mentioned on your calendar, and this holiday won’t cause Wal-Mart to close its doors for the day. But rest assured, it’s a holiday, nonetheless, and a big one at that.
Have you guessed what I’m talking about? It’s the Super Bowl, of course. Since its inception in 1967, the Super Bowl has been growing steadily each year into the international media juggernaut we see today. Last year’s Super Bowl drew around 97.5 million television viewers. All signs point to that number eclipsing the 100-million mark this year. Those are some serious numbers for a single sporting event.
But the Super Bowl isn’t just for hard-core football fans. In fact, about one out of every 12 people watches the game just for the commercials. Companies spend millions of dollars fighting for a 30-second TV spot to pitch their product. Hey, there are usually more articles after the Super Bowl analyzing the commercials than discussing the actual game.
Here’s another neat fact. The day after the Super Bowl, 5-10 percent of the work force calls in sick. Now, that’s a holiday.
Super Bowl Collectibles
Of course, I’m rambling. After all, this is a story about collectibles. So, what does the Super Bowl do for the world of sports collectibles?
The Super Bowl has made quite a contribution to the sports-collectibles coffer. Let’s review just a few of the more interesting (i.e. valuable) collector’s items from the Super Bowl.
Vintage Super Bowl Memorabilia—When you’re talking about Super Bowl collectibles, you have to start at the beginning. The Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls, so their collectibles from this period are highly desirable.
• Super Bowl II Ticket Stubs—If you’ve read any of my past blogs, you know I’m a sucker for old ticket stubs. Why? I’m not really sure. I think it has something to do with a ticket stub capturing a fan’s memory. I look back at my stubs, and they each remind me of a specific moment in my life where I viewed a piece of sports history in person.
A Super Bowl II ticket stub is pretty difficult to find, especially in good condition. However, if you can score one, you’d have a collectible worth well more than $1,000 in your hands.
• Super Bowl III Program—Super Bowl III is one of the most famous in history. It featured the New York Jets against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. Before the game, Jets quarterback Joe Namath boldly guaranteed a victory against the league’s best team, the Colts. And the young quarterback lived up to his word. The Jets shocked the sports world, beating the Colts 16 to 7.
Mint condition programs from Super Bowl III can still be found in various online auctions and sports-memorabilia shops. You could probably pick up one for just a few hundred bucks. It’s a collectible that would surely grab some attention from your friends.
Super Bowl Winning Quarterbacks—No player receives as much attention at the Super Bowl as the quarterback. A win at the Super Bowl can catapult a quarterback from mediocrity to an instant elite player. Just ask Eli Manning. During his Super Bowl season, fans and teammates alike were questioning if he had what it took to be an NFL quarterback. Months later when he took the Giants to a Super Bowl win, he was named the Super Bowl MVP, effectively silencing all his detractors.
That’s why you can almost never go wrong getting an autographed piece from a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Here are a couple of my favorite collectibles.
• Joe Montana Autographed 4 Rings Photo—Joe Montana is one of just two quarterbacks (the other being Terry Bradshaw) to win four Super Bowls. This autographed photo features the legendary quarterback showing off his Super Bowl jewelry. While it’s far from the most valuable Montana piece, it’s a favorite of mine because it shows how much of a winner he was on the field. You can pick this collectible up for around $250. Learn more about Montana collectibles by clicking here.
• Tom Brady Autographed Super Bowl Mini-Helmet—Tom Brady rose from virtual obscurity to lead the Patriots to three Super Bowl wins in four seasons. During these wins, Brady showed confidence and poise that’s rarely found in a quarterback. Some have called him the current generation’s Joe Montana. This autographed Super Bowl XXXIX mini-helmet sells for close to $600. Definitely worth picking up since Tom Brady could still end up snagging another ring or two before his career is over.
Which Super Bowl Collectibles Should You Buy?
All of this collectibles talk leads to one big question. “Which Super Bowl collectibles should I buy?” While there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding this, here are some of my guidelines.
1. Quarterbacks Rule—Like I said above, you can’t go wrong buying collectibles of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Here’s a good list of all the Super Bowl-winning QBs.
2. Look for Team-Signed Pieces—Team-signed Super Bowl memorabilia make for great collectibles because they reinforce the idea that it takes a whole team to win. In this era of “look at me” players, team-signed pieces are a welcome alternative. Of course, they can be fairly pricey, so be ready to spend a nice chunk of change.
3. Shop with Your Heart—Most importantly, buy what you like. Collecting is supposed to be a fun experience. As cheesy as it sounds, just follow your heart, and you’ll end up with a collection you truly love.
So, go Phoenix. Go Pittsburgh. Or forget that the team you really love didn’t make it to Tampa, and have fun on the Super Bowl Sunday holiday.
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