This is the latest in an ongoing series of articles written by readers who tell the stories of the sports memorabilia they collect.
I became a die-hard 49ers fan as an eight-year-old boy in Oregon in the late 60’s and watching my Sunday football heroes like John Brodie, Gene Washington, Dave Wilcox and so many more. Over the years I’ve collected literally thousands of items; memorabilia, bobbleheads, trinkets, statues, etc… But, most importantly I’ve collected hundreds of 49ers pennants.
My 49ers pennant collection started after their 1981 win in Super Bowl XVI as I wanted to commemorate and celebrate the first time they’d earned the Lombardi Trophy. I then started collecting any and all 49er pennants and quickly leaped from 10 to 30 to 75 and into the hundreds.
Before the internet brought us websites and auctions, I was in contact with large sports shops throughout the US (via the phone) requesting 49er pennants and those that were deemed “hard to find” or variants of what I’ve all ready had. I became enthralled with the 1950’s and 1960’s pennants with their true vintage felt and silk screening.
Later I realized that even though the 49ers weren’t part of the NFL until the 1950’s, they had started as a team in 1946. Some of my prized pennants are from those AAFC days of the 1940s which somehow had been preserved impeccably.
In 2006, my family moved into a home in Southern California which had it’s own 1000 square foot bar/den, which I converted into my own homage to the 49ers. My memorabilia was brought out of boxes and bins and placed on shelves, display cases and even attached to the rafters.
My collection gained notoriety and the recognition of many collectors. It even became the subject of articles in the news media.
Before the 49ers played the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, I was contacted by Jerry Walker of the 49ers who was the former PR Director during the Montana days and was put in charge of outfitting the 49ers new Levi Stadium/Museum with historic artifacts. Mr. Walker came down from San Francisco to LA and visited my home to see what I was willing to donate to the museum. While he was visiting, the local ABC affiliate was over doing a piece about my collection and the Niners new Museum for a Super Bowl feature on the news.
Ultimately, the 49ers requested my 1940’s and 1950’s pennants for a dedicated pennant wall within the Museum. In July of 2014, my wife and I were invited to a VIP alumni players/donors only Grand Opening where I finally met some of my childhood 49er heroes like YA Tittle, John Brodie among other 49er standouts like Ricky Watters, Fred Dean and Dan Bunz and many more. Today, I’m still on the outlook for the rare or unusual 49ers pennant. There are two that I’m especially looking for;
- A 1982 49ers Super Bowl Champions Team players roster pennant
- A 1950’s/60’s NFL teams (with the 49ers included).
Eventually, I would love to have these two and any additional extremely hard to find 49ers pennants.
For more detail on my full collection, please visit my blog.
Do you want to tell the story of what you collect and why? From players to teams to complete sets, autographs, game-worn material and anything else that has kept you busy for years, we’d love for you to share your story in your own words and photos. Send us an email:[email protected].