Top Pieces of Super Bowl Memorabilia

Kearse-s! What A Difference A Play Makes!
  • February 15, 2015

Tyree. Manningham. Kearse. They're not marquee names but they are responsible for some of the most clutch moments in the history of the sport. Each of them made an other-worldly catch in the fading seconds of the Super Bowl to set the stage for a go-ahead touchdown and a place in football history. And while only the avid fan remembers that it was Plaxico Burress who crossed the goal line for the Giants following David Tyree's impossible "helmet catch" or that Ahmad Bradshaw broke the plain after Mario Manningham found the last bit of real estate in which to haul down Eli's perfectly placed pass, no one who saw last Sunday's game will ever forget what happened in the plays that followed Jermaine Kearse's juggling, circus grab. An astonishing completion that saw the football touch each and every one of his four limbs before the rookie receiver was able to safely secure it on the six yard line.

Only two weeks prior Kearse burst onto the radar with his game winning catch in OT at The Link. A play call that shocked the Packers and sent the 12th Man into a complete frenzy. So caught up in the moment though, that he launched the ball that had stamped Seattle's ticket to the Super Bowl high into the stands where someone else made a "catch of a lifetime" all his own. From the end zone Kearse tagged super fan, Scott Shelton, right between the numbers with the ultimate souvenir, instantly making him the envy of memorabilia collectors everywhere.

The BBQ grill from the post-game tailgate was still warm when the calls from interested parties first started coming in to the lifelong Hawks follower and of the many offers, two stuck out. A local dealer came to the table with $20,000 in hard currency while a 24 year old Washington native proposed a interesting trade that immediately got Shelton's attention. After some long deliberation and several discussions about the details of the swap, Shelton surprised the news-reading public and turned down the substantial cash offer in favor of the young man's proposal.

Before you jump on Scott for his decision top turn down twenty-large, it is worth noting that the 24 year-old in this story is Jermaine Kearse himself and what he offered was a his signed game used helmet and jersey from the very same NFC Championship game (tickets to the Super Bowl were also discussed but cannot be confirmed as part of the final deal). An interesting transaction indeed but was Scott's choice the best one in the long run? Let's breakdown this unique opportunity from start to finish knowing what we know now (most importantly the outcome of the Super Bowl).

First, there's the offer of $20,000. It's a classic risk/reward situation. Unable to predict the results of the big game there are only two possible scenarios to consider:

A) The Hawks win and the ball becomes part of Seattle folklore. That being the case the value of the ball skyrockets immediately to $50K-100K, maybe even $200K, and that's being conservative. We're talking about the biggest play in the history of a team currently owned by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. If the 47th richest man in the world decides he wants the ball for his own, you can bet that he's going to win any bidding war that he starts. A seller's dream at which point there's no telling when the hammer would fall on the final bid! That being a considerable long shot though, we'll stick to our original estimate of $50K-100K.

B) Seattle loses. At this point you're dealing with the game winning ball from an extremely exciting NFC Championship game caught by an undrafted receiver who at best can be described at this point in his career as "mediocre" by NFL standards. Yes, it was a play for the ages on THAT Sunday but in the end the memories of the game will fade and even the brightest moment will lose it's luster for as we all know, history only remembers the winners, and that title belongs to the Pats. Add to it the fact that it was Brady and Belichek's fourth Super Bowl victory together and what we have is the beginning of a legend large enough to overshadow any single play of the team that came in second in the 2014 season. Under these circumstances we estimate the value of the ball would drop to $3K-5K at best. Certainly a nice piece for any die-hard Seattle fan but not something that would spark a ton of high dollar interest outside of that circle.

Then there's the trade that actually took place: the ball in exchange for Kearse's signed, game used jersey and helmet from the NFC Championship. Here things aren't so black and white because we're no longer dealing with hard numbers. What we have are three pieces whose value rely solely on the outcome of the Super Bowl and the future performance of Kearse himself over the course of the rest of his career.

Presently, like the ball, the value of the jersey and helmet hinged solely on a Seattle victory over New England. Unlike the ball though, whose value may have peeked because it's the centerpiece of a single play, the jersey and helmet actually have room for considerable growth if Kearse can take his play to the next level. String together a good number of Pro-Bowl seasons, an appearance on an All-Pro list or two, maybe add another Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks and the jersey/helmet duo certainly become more valuable than just the ball. Especially when you consider recent auction results that saw regular season jerseys with similar bulletproof provenance from Manning, Watt, and Kapernick sell for $29K, $10.7K, and $11.5K respectively.

What none of this analysis does though is factor in the value of the entire experience. By completing the trade, super-fan Shelton got the opportunity to meet Kearse and his teammates as well as share their spotlight and headlines on the way to Phoenix. Some people would consider that priceless. From a dollars and sense perspective though, we would have taken the $20,000 because when selling any piece of memorabilia the key is to always strike when the iron is hot and at no other moment would the demand for that ball been greater than the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. That said, we can't fault Shelton for his decision and given the outcome of the game, he probably outmaneuvered a legit NFL receiver on this play....and how many of us can ever say that?

Still have that Super Bowl fever?

Most desirable Super Bowl-related memorabilia offered

  1. Oakland Raiders Super Bowl Ring Collection (1977, 1981, 1984) from punter Ray Guy - $96,216 Ray Guy was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, and is the only punter to ever be inducted. He spent his entire career with the Oakland Raiders, where he was a 7-time Pro Bowler.
  2. Steve Wright Super Bowl I Ring - $73,409 Many fans of the game today will have no idea who Steve Wright is – and that’s unfortunate, because he was an integral part of the Packers success in the 1960s. Grey Flannel Auctions believes this to be the only player-ring from Super Bowl 1 to be offered publicly.
  3. Green Bay Packers Super Bowl XLV Championship Player's Ring (Jay Ross) - $53,775 As seen by this auction, regardless of the player or time period, Packers memorabilia will always hold strong throughout the hobby and realize high auction prices. This ring hails from the Packers championship in 2010, from Jay Ross – a member of their practice squad. Heritage Auctions had the privilege of auctioning off this ring back in the summer of 2012.
  4. 2009 James Harrison Game Worn, Signed Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLIII Helmet - $53,775 Just like the Packers, the Steelers have a cult following. Steleer Nation always travels well when the team is playing away from Heinz field, and Steelers memorabilia has always been strong throughout the hobby – and rightfully so. They are one of the most storied franchises in the history of the game, leading all franchises with six Super Bowl wins. That, paired with Harrison’s Hall of Fame-esque career, makes this helmet one of the top pieces of memorabilia in history.
  5. 1967 Green Bay Packers Super Bowl II Championship Ring Presented to Frederick "Fuzzy" Thurston - $50,787 Another Packer. Another Super Bowl ring. No surprise this makes the top-5.
  6. 1958 Baltimore Colts NFL World Championship Ring - $35,000 Dubbed as the "Greatest Game Ever Played", this championship ring belonged to one of the original owners of the Baltimore Colts.
  7. Dan Marino Super Bowl XIX Game Worn Helmet - $33,460 Is Dan the Man the greatest player to never win a Super Bowl? We certainly think so, as proven by his stats: 61,000 passing yards, 420 touchdowns, 9 Pro-Bowls, and 10 playoff appearances. The only thing that eluded his illustrious career was the hoisting of the Lombardi Trophy, falling just short in the 1984 season. This helmet is the closest thing any fan or collector will get to a Marino-Super Bowl piece, so it’s final bid of $33,000 (and change) makes perfect sense.
  8. Don Maynard Super Bowl III Game Worn Jersey - $26,195 Super Bowl III. Colts vs. Jets. Joe Namath guaranteed a victory over the heavily favored (-18) Baltimore Colts. For whatever reason, the football-gods wanted the Jets to pull this one out. As you can imagine, all pieces of game-worn memorabilia from this Super Bowl will garner ridiculous auction prices, and are heavily sought after. The funny thing is though, Maynard didn’t even record a catch in this game – he was basically non-existent. He and Namath failed to connect on five attempts, creating a defensive battle for the ages. Even so, being the first Jets victory, paired with the epic outcome of the game, created an unforeseen auction-battle among collectors.
  9. 1995 Jerry Rice Game Worn San Francisco 49ers Super Bowl XXIX Helmet - $15,535 Hands-down, the greatest wide receiver of all-time. In Super Bowl XXIX, he torched the Chargers for a buck fifty and three touchdowns, as the 49ers cruised to victory. Heritage Auctions sold this gem back in 2012.
  10. 1969 Super Bowl III Full Ticket, Graded PSA 6. $13,145 Joe Namath. 18-point underdogs. The Guarantee. The game lived up to all the hype, and is one of the greatest to ever be played in the history of the NFL. What better way to commemorate that game then to own an actual ticket. It’s amazing that this ticket has survived after 45+ years, let alone be in decent shape. A must-have for any Jets fan.
  11. Packers vs Chiefs Super Bowl I Game Used Football - $13,558 The first game-used football to make the list, and it’s from the first Super Bowl ever. Surprised this isn't higher on the list.
  12. 1994 Daryl “Moose” Johnston Game Work Super Bowl XXVII Helmet – $6,572 This list wouldn't be complete without at least one piece of Cowboys memorabilia. America’s team dominated the NFL in the 90s, as Moose paved the way for the NFL’s greatest rusher, Emmitt Smith – on their way to three Super Bowl victories in a four-year span. We suspect that if any of Emmitt Smith’s memorabilia from a Super Bowl – jersey, helmet, or cleats – was ever made available via a public auction, it would be a top-3 item of all-time.

Rookie Cards From Super Bowl Winners

Super Bowl immortals, like Montana, Brady & Bradshaw, will most likely never see their big-game memorabilia make it to a public auction, so collectors will never have a chance to get their hands on a piece. Their rookie cards on the other hand, are readily available, and are what continue to drive the hobby. Let’s take a look at their values in high grade:

  1. 1957 Topps #138 Johnny Unitas PSA 9: $25,000 PSA 10 Estimate: $150,000 to $200,000
  2. 1957 Topps #119 Bart Starr PSA 9: $16,000 PSA 10 Estimate: $100,000+
  3. 1965 Topps #122 Joe Namath PSA 8.5: $15,000-$16,000 PSA 10 Estimate: $250,000+
  4. 1971 Topps #156 Terry Bradshaw PSA 9: $4,000-$6,000 PSA 10 Estimate: $25,000+
  5. 1976 Topps #148 Walter Payton PSA 10: $10,000-$13,000
  6. 1981 Topps #216 Joe Montana PSA 10: $14,000-$15,000
  7. 1984 Topps #63 John Elway PSA 10: $3,000-$3,500
  8. 1986 Topps #161 Jerry Rice PSA 10: $11,000-$12,000
  9. 2000 SP Authentic #118 Tom Brady PSA 10: $4,000-$4,500


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