Vintage Football Cards, Memorabilia on Block

1935 National Chicle Beattie Feathers High-grade vintage sports cards and memorabilia representing some of the greatest names in pro football will be on the auction block when Memory Lane Incorporated presents the Big Game Auction, the company’s first-ever all football event.

Memory Lane Inc has revealed the items that will be available for bidding later this week in its first ever all-football auction.

Set to close the night before the Super Bowl, Saturday, February 6, the "Big Game Auction" includes over 350 lots including the first football card ever issued, the second-ranked 1935 National Chicle football set on PSA’s Set Registry, a game-worn Franco Harris Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, a Super Bowl trophy and dozens of top level vintage football cards from virtually every era. Names like Nagurski, Baugh, Unitas, Hornung, Starr, Brown, Butkus, Bradshaw, Rockne, Staubach and Montana are featured among the lots that will open for bidding on Friday, January 22nd.

The 1935 National Chicle set is a remarkable achievement, with each card grading PSA 8 or better including the famous Bronko Nagurski, considered the most valuable football card of all time. High grade examples of this rarity are seldom available to the public. Minimum bid for the 36-card set is $225,000.

Franco Harris game-worn jersey Memory Lane is also offering a game-worn jersey from when one of pro football’s most iconic teams was at its zenith. The 1978 Franco Harris game-worn road jersey shows game use from late in the season, when the Steelers wore their full-length sleeves to combat the often bitter cold they encountered on the gridiron. The jersey carries a minimum bid of $20,000.

The Big Game auction includes a mind-blowing selection of vintage football cards representing virtually every era. From the 1930s through the 1980s, collectors can bid on some of the most famous and rare examples in existence.

In addition to the #2-rated 1935 National Chicle set, the auction will include single, high-grade cards for those still working on building their own sets. Among them: a PSA 7 Bronko Nagurski (minimum bid of $5,000) and a PSA 8 Knute Rockne ($2,000), as well as numerous other high-grade ’35 Chicle cards. The 1933 Sport Kings issue includes two cards that will be found in the MLI sale, both in exceptional condition: Red Grange and Jim Thorpe (both PSA 8).

Yet football card history dates back to the 19th century, when the game was still virtually unknown in many parts of the country. The first football card ever produced actually featured a college player. The 1888 N162 Goodwin Champions Harry Beecher card shows the Yale star clutching an oversized football and one can be found in this auction event. Graded PSA Authentic but Altered, this card is nonetheless an important and historic piece, both in the sport and in the hobby for what it represents.

There is a mint condition 1957 Topps Johnny Unitas (PSA 9) that carries a minimum bid of $3500 and top-level rookie cards of legends like Tom Landry (1951 Bowman PSA 9), who gained fame as the coach of the Dallas Cowboys but was a player for the New York Giants back then. There are even multiple rookies of some players like Jim Brown (1958 Topps), Paul Hornung (1957 Topps, one in PSA 9 condition) and Dick Butkus (THREE rookie cards—PSA 7, 7.5 and 8).

Most football card collectors desire a rookie card of Joe Namath, who may be personally responsible for the Super Bowl being what it is today. There’s a PSA 7 (near mint) example of Broadway Joe in this auction. A small sampling of the other rookie cards available, all in ultra high-grade, include: Mike Ditka, Ernie Davis, Fran Tarkenton, Deacon Jones, Bob Lilly, Len Dawson, Lance Alworth, Don Maynard, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Jack Ham, Walter Payton, Jack Lambert, Joe Montana, Dan Marino and Steve Young.

There are numerous mint and gem mint graded star cards available including a 1951 Bowman Sammy Baugh, 1956 Topps George Blanda (PSA 10) and a 1950 Bowman Elroy Hirsch (PSA 10).

Several complete sets are offered in the auction including: 1953 Bowman, 1955 Bowman and 1955 Topps All-American. Collectors piecing together sets of their own will find a number of large lots as well, many of them consisting of cards that have already been graded.

Super Bowl XXXIV personal trophy Super Bowl trophies are rarely available to the general public but MLI has secured one from perhaps the greatest Super Bowl of all-time. The St. Louis Rams held off the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV on a last second tackle near the goal line and a Lombardi trophy presented to a member of the Rams’ staff after that game is offered with a minimum bid of $2,000.

Memory Lane also has Charley Trippi’s Hall of Fame alumni jacket. The one-of-a-kind item given to the star of the 1947 NFL Championship Game comes with a letter of authenticity and a $2,000 minimum bid.

Few items are more well known among college football historians than the photo of Notre Dame’s legendary “Four Horsemen” backfield. The quartet became known coast-to-coast after a sharp public relations man put the Irish stars on horseback in response to a famous column by Grantland Rice that labeled them college football’s version of the literary tale. This auction includes the photo, signed by all four men and bidding will start at $1,000.

Notre Dame's Four Horsemen autographed photo

There are numerous other lots of football memorabilia and cards available in this unique event. To register and bid, visit or call (877) 606-LANE (5263).

Memory Lane listings on eBay