The Joe Namath helmet, purported to have been worn in Super Bowl III and scheduled for auction by Heritage Galleries this spring, has been taken off the company’s web site.
The move to pull the signature piece from the auction comes in light of questions raised by a member of the Game Used Universe forum.
The vintage helmet collector who compared photos and video of Super Bowl III discovered some discrepancies between those images and the close up shots Heritage had offered including an extra hole in the helmet that wasn’t present in the one Heritage was offering.
Heritage told us they received the information Friday morning and to the company’s credit, did pull the item while doing additional research. The move didn’t come before a fairly heavy publicity blitz surrounding the piece, however, including a headline story in these pages. Provenance appeared solid, but the autographed Jets helmet given to a young fan in 1969 does not appear to match reality. The opening bid had been $50,000.
The number of game worn pieces being offered by auction houses these days is staggering. We hope there is ample research being done on each item by authenticators and also that there are alert collectors researching all of them for possible inconsistencies as another system of checks and balances, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Hopefully, this serves as a wake-up call for auction companies and dealers to do more research before buying any story about the historic relevance of a certain item.
Suspension of disbelief goes on way too often in the hobby. Take your time, do your homework and consult with those in the know before you take the plunge on a pricey game used jersey or piece of equipment.
There is plenty of interesting stuff on eBay, and we’re hoping to extract some of it with our new Auction of the Day feature. Just check out the bottom of the page each weekday for a new item. You can click right through to it.
If you’ve got something interesting in your eBay store or up for bid, we’ll offer the spot to you for a nominal fee. It’s a good way to drive traffic to your listing that might not otherwise find it.