Joe Paterno’s last game as Penn State’s head football coach was a 10-7 win over Illinois on October 29. If you own a ticket stub or program from that game, you have a piece of sports history. The shocking events of the last several days that resulted in the firing of the 84-year-old icon brought a 55-year career to an abrupt close. A once overwhelmingly favorable impression many had of Paterno may be tarnished forever, but in the end, he will still own the record for most victories by an NCAA Division I football coach. Even the unseemly history behind his departure may play a role in the value of items associated with Paterno. After all, just a week ago, it would have seemed beyond bizarre to think his career would come to such an abrupt and scandalous ending.
There was no shortage of Paterno memorabilia on eBay late last night, moments after a news conference to announce his dismissal. over 900 items were listed and autographed memorabilia was among the most popular, many of them placed online before the news about former assistant Jerry Sandusky broke. It’s clear JoePa signs a lot. Values were holding surprisingly steady at $125-200 for signed footballs, helmets and larger prints.
Paterno isn’t likely done signing, however. The items most likely to see an increase in value for the near future will be items associated with career milestones. A handful of ticket stubs from that last game have been offered on eBay this week, with sales prices ranging from $29 to $51 with buyers apparently unconcerned about condition, a factor that will ultimately play a big role in long term value. Several popped up Wednesday, with Buy it Now prices of $75-99 each.
A program from Paterno’s first win as Penn State’s head coach, a September 1966 win over Maryland, sold for $300 on October 30, before the scandal hit.
Surprisingly, only one program from his final game has been offered lately. It sold November 2 for $14.95. The seller will likely regret that one. Expect more items from historic games during Paterno’s tenure to hit the auction block in the coming days.