Posted on: July 8, 2009 12:39 pm
Last week, I did a piece on gumball football helmets that we all enjoyed collecting as children that have now become collector's items and sell for thousands of times their original value. This week, I thought it would only be fitting to cover another collector's item that falls under the same category. Whether or not you collected starting lineup figures, I am pretty sure you received one as a gift or somehow found one in your closet.
As a child I had about 10 of these figures which I purchased myself just because I was collecting my favorite players. After they sat on my desk, I eventually found ways to put them to use besides an aesthtically pleasing feel to my room. I would line them up on my dresser and then stand on the other side of my room with the Nerf bow and arrow and...you guesses it...shoot them off like I was at a firing range. This is probably one of my most fun memories as a child, but it was short lived after mom realized that starting lineup figurines violently flying against the wall at close range leave permanent marks on the wall in an array of colors. The creative side of me felt that the many random color marks on the wall added character to the room, but mom didn't share the same vision as me.
Once I got older, collecting starting lineup figures became a big hobby of mine, and I have quite a collection today. While they all sit in huge plastic boxes in my parents' closet, they used to cover my walls like wallpaper at a memorabilia store. I spent my free time and my own money scouring Toys R Us stores, KB Toys and Starting Lineup conventions trying to find great deals. I started collecting only baseball figures, but that quickly turned into football, basketball and hockey. While I don't have many of the very expensive pieces, I have most of my favorite pieces which I haven't been able to part with and don't know if I ever will be able to. Let's take a look at some of the most interesting, popular and expensive figures on the market.
1988-98 Figures: The Starting Lineup figures from 1988 and 1989 are the rarest as there just weren't that many made when the pieces were first in production. Also, nobody really new starting lineup figures were going to be collector's items as many parents simply bought them for their children to play with. It is hard to find unopened figures and once the plastic player is removed from his case, it loses almost all value. While some of the opened figures from these two years can still sell for about $15 dollars depending on the buyer, it is the unopened and pristine figures that bring in the big bucks. Almost all the football and baseball figures from these two years go for about $40 while the superstar players can sell from $250 to $500, once again depending on the needs of the buyer.
First Pieces: Just like baseball cards, the most expensive and the most wanted items are a player's first piece. Unless a piece is highly undermade, a player's first piece will always be his most expensive, which may also have a lot to do with the pieces from 1988 and 1989 being the most expensive. On the left you can see Peyton Manning's first piece, which only goes for about $15 dollars since there were so many figures being produced by 1998. On the right, you can see Daryl Strawberry's first piece, which is actually sitting next to me at this very moment, but it is opened and is one of the little guys that took quite a beating from the Nerf arrow. Thanks to Daryl's legal troubles, his peice only goes for about $8 dollars, but I bet you it means much more than that to any fan that grew up watching Strawberry in his prime.
Goalies: While goalies bring no extra value to a piece, it's hard to deny that they are the coolest figures out of all the sports. They are bigger pieces, their uniforms are more creative and the come with helmets. Yes, football players come with helmets to, but they are now way near as cool as the the detail that comes with the hockey Goalie Helmets. When I was a collector, I actually traded away some of my goalies to get some baseball pieces that I was attempting to get complete a set for and I really wish I would have never done that. As you can see, while many of these pieces bring different monetary values, ther are so many other aspects that are important to an enthusiast. I am not even a fan of hockey and I wish these were the pieces I focused on more as a young collector.
So if you remember playing with starting lineup figures as a child or even a young adult and know that you have multiple pieces that fit the description of the peices above, it may be time to start cleaning out your closet in an attempt to find some ebay gems. Good luck searching!
Posted on: July 1, 2009 11:06 am
Edited on: July 1, 2009 11:17 am
Do you remember those tiny football helmets in the gumball machines that were frequently seen when walking out of Publix or any other supermarket when you were a child? Of course you do, because whether or not you collected the helmets, you always convinced your mom to hand over her change in an attempt to pull your favorite team out of the machine. Granted, I always ended up getting more duplicates of the Jets helmets in an attempt to secure some Dolphins memorabilia, but I had to try anyway.
While I was able to procure the entire set on my own by countless turns of the quarter machine, it was no small task. I can remember riding my bike to Publix and sitting in front of the gumball machine with rolls of quarters in my pocket that I had collected or "borrowed" from my dad's stash of change. After months of work, and just after my 10th Green Bay Packers helmet, I finally completed the set with the last helmet that I needed, the Seattle Seahawks. Oh how glorious it looked when it hit the bottom of the machine. All the patrons in the store had no idea that they were part of a monumental occasion.
Well, the gumball helmet industry has not only grown since the days that I was an ankle-biter but it dates back to much earlier than that. And while I was collecting helmets from an early age, I didn't realize this until I was in college. Today, you can easily go online and order a complete set of the current NFL teams, which are constructed much more soundly, along with a display case for about $60. However, the real fun comes with the thrill of searching for rare helmets that date back to the early 1960's. And while I'm sure the collectors were pulling these helmets out of the machines for less than a quarter, some of these helmets are selling individually for anywhere from $40 to $300.
While this may seem like a silly thing to collect, this is the perfect hobby for fans that love old-school football memorabilia but don't want to spend a lot of money. And while the older helmets are a little beat-up and less crisp as the newer ones, it's really cool to see the development of the league and the way logos have changed over the years. Let's take a look at what you can expect from the throwback helmets.
The blue Broncos helmet with the famous D that John Elway made memorable is not that rare but still a nice piece to have while the other three here are a little harder to find. I always liked that white Buffalo Bills helmet as the red logo reminds me of the bison from the "Oregon Trail" and the white Eagles helmet is pretty much the oppostie of what they are currently wearing. Other than the blue broncos helmet, these pieces would probably sell for around $5-10.
One of my favorites is the blue Oilers helmet which has many different variations depending on the number of stripes across the top. You can also find original Oilers helmets in silver and white as well. Interestingly, the current Jets helmet is their throwback helmet as this one is actually from the 60's as you can tell by the dirt on the helmet. The old Giants and Chargers helmets are also nice pieces as most of the helmets here would also sell for about $5-10 dollars with the Oilers helmet maybe getting about $20 or $30.
And if paying over $5 dollars let alone $300 for a gumball helmet sounds a bit ridiculous, you can always get the replica throwback helmets made for you at about $3 a piece which is what you are looking at here. The black Saints helmet on the far left of the top shelf is the rarest helmet and the one that costs $300. The fourth helmet on the top shelf is probably my second favorite and is an orange Broncos helmet with the white bucking bronco and sells for about $150. I don't believe any of the chargers gumball helmets were orignially made with the number, and they are strictly replicas although they do look pretty cool. Some other interesting helmets include the yellow Steelers helmet along with the yellow and Florida State-looking Redskins helmet. These sell for around $20-$40. You can also see how many different Oilers helmets were made as they are all visible on the third row from the top and also happen to be my favorite. Like I said before, most of them go for around $30 but the blue one with the three red stripes is much rarer and goes for around $200. Whether you are the type of collector that must have the originally made helmets or just likes to display the different styles of helmets from each decade, you can't debate how intriguing of a collection this would be for any sports fan. After all, your house will probably be the only one that includes a detailed history of football helmets for your guests from just a collection of tiny pieces of plastic. Also, for your viewing pleasure, he is a closer view of some of the throwback helmets along with a picture of what the newest NFL gumball helmets look like below.
So if you used to collect these artifacts twenty or thirty years ago, i would suggest cleaning out your closet.
Posted on: June 30, 2009 5:00 pm
I don't understand why the Lions would even consider sitting Matthew Stafford to begin the season. I understand that he is their franchise quarterback but that is even more of a reason to throw him into the fire. For most teams this would be a bit more understandable as they are attempting to protect their young quarterbacks, but there really isn't much to protect him from. News flash! The Lions didn't win a game last year. I could have been their quarterback and they would have had the exact same record. As a matter of fact, they could have thrown a scarecrow under center with a Lions jersey last year and they would have had the same record. They may have even beat the teams with birds as their mascot with a scarecrow out there, because we sure as hell know that they aren't scared of lions. Stafford has nothing to lose. He can win one game, and the fans will call him the second coming of...well, i can't really think of a quarterback that was ever good for the Lions, but you know where I am going with this. Either way, I say start Stafford or at least throw a scarecrow out their with his jersey on for marketting purposes.
Posted on: June 23, 2009 2:13 pm
With the Jets' interest in estranged wide receiver Plaxico Burress growing, team management is considering adding a clause in his contract which will force him to wear bullet proof sliding pants while on the field and bullet proof pants when attending any events off the field. As you can see with his hat-angle selection, his sense of style may be a bit limited with this news, but the Jets feel it is necessary to keep their possible star receiver safe from injury. The pockets on the pants are about the spot where the receiver shot himself, which works out perfectly as extra kevlar padding can be added to prevent this incident from happening again. The bullet proff sliding pants seem to be a bit excessive, but hey, we all saw what happened in "The Last Boyscout."
Posted on: June 20, 2009 3:54 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2009 4:02 pm
That's a good question and I'm not quite sure I have the answer. So what is the best thing to do when you don't have an answer? Make up a word. That means they cranly. All of them. What am I talking about? Australian Rules Football players and rugby players. While at an Irish bar last night, McSorley's on the fort lauderdale beach to be exact, I happened to have the opportunity to watch Australia play Italy in the Australian Football League, which is very similar to rugby. I have watched this sport before, so when I saw them wearing helmets that were fit for a child when it first starts walking, I wasn't shocked, but I still had to shake my head and mumble a few curse words to myself which involved the word crazy, followed by an noun and a verb. I also found the scrums to be pretty intriguing, which is pretty much the equivalent of what happens on the line of scrimmage after the ball is slapped, except in this sport, they don't have any real helmets or pads on. Like I said, "crazy adjectiver verbers!!!!"
But the most intriguing thing about what I noticed is that a) I only say one guy get injured and b) when the guy did get injured, the game didn't stop and nobody even flinched. The guy layed there for about thirty seconds before any trainers came onto the field, and when they did reach the injured player, play continued. The guy was just laying there with about four trainers around him and people were running past them It was as if the guy didn't exist. Can you imagine if during the Super Bowl, Santonio Holmes wen't down with a leg injury and along with the trainers, another receiver was just sent on the field and play resumed. That sounds archaic right, well apparently not. So this is why I asked myself, are Australians just crazy or are they manlier than wimpy Americans. After a long discussion with myself, yes I talk to myself and don't act like you don't, I came to the realization that I don't really want to go on record as refering to Ray Lewis as a wimp. With that in mind, I can't really say Australians are manlier than Americans, but I know so many people that are out of their minds that Australians can't possibly be crazier than Americans. So with all this information, I am now just going to refer to Australians as cranly. Or maybe I'm just a wimpy American in denial...
This is an American "so called scrum." Notice the nice pretty helmets and padding. Below the red line is an Australian Rules scrum. Notice the lack of helmets....actually forget that, notice the lack of visual heads. What is going on down there!?!? Now take a glance to the right and look at the difference betweent the helmets. The American football helmet on the left has thick padding surrounded by a hard shell with a facemask, while the Australian rules helmet has thin padding surrounded by...cranliness!
Posted on: June 16, 2009 6:20 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2009 6:28 pm
The new head coach of the Denver Broncos, Josh McDaniels is doing an amazing job...if he is hoping to destroy one of the most storied NFL franchises in only one year. Thanks to my inside sources, I have acquired a checklist of Josh McDaniels' goals for the 2009 season.
MY GOALS THIS SEASON BY JOSH McDANIELS
1. Expose myself as a liar : Check
2. Stockpile more running backs than we need : Check
3. Trade Away Franchise Quarterback : Check
4. Use my first round pick on another running back : Check
5. Name a backup quarterback as my starting quarterback : Check