(Sept. 19, 2005) — The football helmet is unquestionably the most identifiable piece of equipment associated with that sport. Given that, it stands to reason that many collectors have flocked to its minature version as a medium for autographs.
Until recently, most of what was available to the market was only the current version of a given team’s helmet. But some teams have changed helmets numerous times in the past 40 years.
A few years ago, if you wanted a certain throwback helmet for your collection, you had to be willing to deal with someone who would make it for you. This practice wasn’t exactly endorsed by the licensing arm of the NFL, but it was what you had to do to get what you wanted.
Over the past couple of years and to the delight of football autograph collectors, Riddell acknowledged the demand for throwback helmets and began producing many long-abandoned patterns. Now you can purchase an officially licensed version of a helmet from a bygone era. Some of the helmets are immediately recognizable as those a team might have worn for an extended period of time, but others might surprise you a bit. Who remembers that the Steelers wore a yellow helmet with the familiar Steelers emblem in 1962?
If you take a trip to Riddell.com, you can see exactly what the company offers in the way of throwbacks. If you’re a purist, the site is for you. For example, say you wanted to know which helmets a player wore over the course of his career. Take a Broncos player in the 1960s.
The team wore four different helmets from 1962-68, and the site shows you all of them. Some of the helmets have only a subtle difference between them, but the purist will want to have the one that best suits his collecting needs. Take a trip to the Riddell Web site. It could change your collecting habits.
— by Mike Breeden