American football is a unique sport that has fans around the world. If you enjoy the sport, you might also enjoy collecting special merchandise and memorabilia.
Many collectors have autographed footballs, jerseys, and helmets. But what about items that are so rare and special that they’re auctioned off for tens of thousands of dollars?
While it might not be feasible for a layman to get their hands on these types of high ticket football memorabilia items, it’s fun to dream, right? Let’s take a look at some of the rarest and most expensive football memorabilia that you’d be lucky to add to your collection.
Baseball cards are what most people think about when they think of rare and expensive collector’s items. But some football cards will also go for thousands of dollars as well.
A 1935 Chicago Bears card of the legendary Bronko Nagurski sold for a whopping 240,000 dollars at auction. A 1948 Leaf Sid Luckman card is valued at 46,500 dollars.
And it isn’t just the vintage cards that can clear out bank accounts: an autographed 1998 Peyton Manning Rookie card is valued at 42,500 dollars.
These little pieces of papers can cost more than your car and your mortgage.
Deflategate is one of the most famous scandals in football history. The short version is that the New England Patriots (specifically the quarterback Tom Brady) purposefully deflated game balls in order to make them easier to throw, which helped them win the AFC championship game.
Tom Brady ended up with a 4 game suspension and the Patriots had to pay a 1 million dollar fine. This controversy will go down in history as one of the biggest scandals in sports history.
That’s why the deflategate ball is so valuable. There were actually 11 game balls that day, but only one was handed off to a fan in the crowd. This lucky fan then sold the ball at auction for over 44,000 dollars.
Vince Lombardi Memorabilia
Vince Lombardi is praised as one of the best football coaches of all time. He worked in the NFL with the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, and the Washington Redskins.
He’s so famous in football that the Super Bowl trophy itself is named after him.
Because of his fame and success as a football player and as a coach, almost all Vince Lombardi memorabilia is sold at extremely high prices. An example of this would be his 1956 Championship Ring that he got during his stint with the New York Giants.
This ring sold for over 50,000 dollars.
O.J. Simpson Heisman Trophy
O.J. Simpson is infamous for a few things: he was an amazing football player who was later accused of murder. He was acquitted of the murder. But the trial itself was a pop culture event that still mystifies the world to this day with numerous documentaries and television shows dedicated to analyzing O.J. and his life.
O.J. was a college football sensation at USC where he was awarded the prestigious Heisman Trophy before he went on to play for the Buffalo Bills and the San Fransisco 49ers.
Here’s where things get interesting. Even though he was acquitted at his murder trial, he lost the civil suit concerning the same events, which means that almost all of his possessions had to be auctioned off.
Can you guess where this is going? His Heisman trophy was auctioned off for over $250,000.
Why so much? O.J. is arguably one of the best running backs in terms of talent and charisma (that is before he was accused of murder and went on a wild police chase with the world watching), and having a Heisman proves that.
Also, this Heisman was unique in that there was also a typo in the engraving, which makes it even more rare and special.
William Perry Super Bowl XX Ring
There are a lot of Super Bowl rings out there, but none are as special or as unique as William Perry’s Super Bowl XX ring.
We all know that football players are big guys, so it makes sense that Super Bowl rings are big to fit around huge fingers. No one’s fingers were as big as William “Refridgerator” Perry’s who had a whopping size 25 ring.
Not only is this the biggest Super Bowl ring ever made, 320 pound Perry scored a touchdown in this 1985 Super Bowl game, which was quite an achievement for the man they call the Refridgerator.
It sold for over $200,000 at a 2015 auction.
Bum Phillips Signed Oilers Helmet
Bum Phillips might not be as recognizable of a football name as Mike Ditka or Tom Brady, but his signed Oilers helmet sold for 2 million dollars.
Bum Phillips is a former NFL coach who was the head coach of the Houston Oilers team from 1975 to 1980 leading them to the 1978 and 1979 AFC championship games.
What makes this signed helmet worth 2 million dollars? Well, the Oilers no longer exist. They existed through 1996 before the team was relocated to Tennesee to become the Tennessee Titans. The rarity of Oilers merchandise makes this a collector’s item.
Bum Phillips is also a beloved coach and character known throughout football for his charisma and an ever-present cowboy hat.
The Most Expensive Football Memorabilia: Wrapping Up
Between jerseys, helmets, football cards, and Super Bowl rings, there are plenty of items that you can add to your football memorabilia collection. But if you want some really special, and outrageously expensive items, this list gives you an idea of some of the hot topic items that have hit the memorabilia auction circuit in the past.
From coaching legend’s signatures to infamous former player’s rings and trophies, sports memorabilia can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you want to start building your collection, consider starting a bit smaller.
Check out the wide selection of jerseys, caps, helmets, and more we have on our site. You can get things to rep your favorite team, or get something to represent each of the 32 teams in the NFL to really build your collection.