Pro football was once a second tier sport. That seems almost unfathomable but prior to the late 1950s, unless you were places where it was the only game in town or had a highly successful team, the play-for-pay NFL was clearly lower than baseball in the sports pecking order. Things began to change as television became a staple in viewers’ homes and the 1958 NFL Championship game finally put the league in the national sports conscience.
This week’s Vintage Buy of the Week from Just Collect dates back to that era: a run of 1950’s football sets that had been collected by a father-son duo in New Jersey years ago and will now enter the marketplace again.
Complete sets of graded and ungraded cards from 1956-59 including some of the most important football cards ever made, will be heading for auction.
It was a true father-son project with dad teaching son about the names he grew up watching in those magic days of Sunday afternoon football in black-and-white and as devoted collectors realize, finding better quality vintage football cards is far more difficult than locating the same year’s baseball issues. Topps produced football cards in far smaller numbers than baseball because it knew they wouldn’t sell nearly as well. That alone shows where the nation’s sports attention was more than 50 years ago. The fact that the cards came out while kids were in school also had something to do with it.
Yet the late 1950’s football issues contain must-have Hall of Famers, such as Jim Brown, Johnny Unitas, Paul Hornung, Sunny Jurgenson and Bart Starr and today, they pose a much greater challenge for collectors.
The cards that will be offered in Just Collect’s upcoming Sunday night auctions will include all of the key rookie cards in the sets, which are being broken up and sold card-by-card. They’ll be offered later this summer via the company’s weekly internet auctions.
Just Collect sponsors our Vintage Buy of the Week. They’re always in the market for vintage cards. Looking to add to your collection? They offer hundreds of fresh items via their weekly eBay auctions.