Super Bowl Collectibles

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The NFL, which had been around since the 1920s, finally gave in and agreed to play the upstart AFL (then only 7 years old) in a championship game.

The first Super bowl was held Jan. 15, 1967, in the L.A. Coliseum and was the last one that wasn't sold out. The NFL officially called it the "World Championship" game.

The official line of the NFL is that they created the name "Super Bowl" for the third game. Truth is that many of the nations sportswriters called it the Super Bowl right from the start.

The first Super Bowl collectible ever made was a Super Bowl stadium seat, given by TWA in 1966 to football fans who bought their package flight to the first game in L.A.

There are four categories of Super Bowl collectibles: tickets, programs, pennants, and everything else.

Collectors favor programs and unused tickets, especially from the first five games.

GAME ONE: 1967: Seats cost $6, $10, and $12 for the first game (Packers 35/Chiefs 10) Tickets to the first game are suspiciously easy to come by. Two printers submitted bids to print the tickets. The losing company had already started printing tickets and thousands of them found their way to market. Dillingham won the bid. Unused ticket is about $3,000. Any other (Weldon, William and Lick) is a $10 curiosity.

GAME TWO: 1968 is the hardest to collect (Packers 33/Raiders 14). An unused ticket in perfect condition sold for $8,000.

GAME THREE: 1969 is the most popular of all with collectors, especially NY Jets items (Jets 16/Baltimore 7). Tickets fetch more than $1,000. The words "Super Bowl" appear for the first time on the programs for the 1969 Super Bowl. (It was still called it "The World Championship" but the phrase Super Bowl is on the program.

GAME FOUR: 1970 The 1970 programs and tickets refer to both the "World Championship" and Super Bowl.

GAME FIVE: 1971 is the year the game became Super bowl V with Roman numerals, and it has been Super Bowl ever since.

From Super bowl X on, unused tickets are more available. Demand for seating from the world's press was enormous, so NFL gave away up to 2,000 fan seats each game to the press. Actual tickets never used (depending on the game) are worth $25 to $150.

Find out about other collectibles described by The Saturday Early Show's Tony Hyman in the Collectibles Archive or visit Tony Hyman's Web site.

If you think you have a collectible worth a lot of cash, send an email to with "What's It Worth?" in the subject line. Or write to "What's It Worth?" The Saturday Early Show, 514 West 57th St., 6th floor, New York, N.Y 10019.

Each ticket has a stadium diagram on the back. If your ticket has a section number that does not match a section seen on the back, it's a sample ticket and not a genuine unused ticket to the game. It would bring about $10 as a curiosity.

This is some value to ticket stubs as well. A stub in fine condition for good seat may sell for as much as $300, but most stubs are worth only about $30.

The first pennants were bootleg items, not approved by the league. Pennants were sold before and after the game. Vendors offered four pennants in team colors: each team as champion of its respective league and each team as Super Bowl champion. A fine-condition early pennant can sell for as much as $500.

Lunch has traditionally been served to the press in box-lunch form. The boxes are characterized by clever and colorful designs made of cloth or vinyl in different sizes. Most collectors don't even know they exist. They are very rare and of great interest to only a handful of collectors. Sell for around $200.

Press and other official passes tend to only bring around $10 but the official Press Pins (of which more than 6,000 are issued) bring $50 or more. Media Guides to the first three games bring $500 and up.

Such items as buttons, caps, cups for beer and soda, T-shirts, blankets, scarves, mugs, and paperweights are mostly of relatively low value and low activity in the after-market. Most sell for less than $50.

On the other hand, the most valuable Super Bowl item is probably a game-worn jersey, which can bring from $500 to $10,000 or more depending on the team, player and year.

Super Bowl XX is of some special interest because the Chicago Bears introduced their Super Bowl Shuffle video in the middle of the season, ticking off other teams. The Bears won every game that year except one. (Miami Dolphins beat them, preventing the Bears from equaling Miami's only undefeated season.) The Super Bowl was a blowout. The Patriots scored the first 3 points and the Bears scored the next 44.

Three games most sought-after by collectors:

  • 1967 because it was the first.
  • 1969 because it was the first AFL victory Joe Namath over Johnny Unitas, king of the NFL quarterbacks. The most sought-after Super Bowl items of them all are NY Jets items from this game.
  • 1973 because Miami was undefeated (Miami Dolphins 14/Redskins 7)

Information and props provided by collector-dealer Marty Novak, who will be happy to answer any questions about Super Bowl collectibles at Additional items and information came from Lou Madden at Concord Sports Collectibles (