The current state of the Green Bay Packers may be one that cheeseheads will want to forget. Brett Favre isn't getting any younger, and considering the Pack is under the unproven leadership of head coach Mike McCarthy, it may be many years before the "title" makes its way back to "Titletown."
Thankfully for the Packer faithful, at least the ones who are collectors, the team's glory years are impeccably reflected through some of the industry's most prolific memorabilia.
Right up there with the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Steelers and Boston Red Sox, Packers items are considered as good as gold on the secondary market.
As far as popularity goes, autographs are usually the most sought-after collectible and Green Bay signatures are no different. A total of 21 Packers players have been enshrined into Canton, and now that PSA has added the autograph category to its Set Registry, Hall of Fame autograph sets will become the focus of many collectors.
Notes: There are also some very valuable non-Packer Hall of Fame autographs. Most notably, Lee Roy Caffey, Ron Kostelnik, George Calhoun (one of the team founders) and Jim Crowley.
It is believed among the Packer collecting conspiracy theorists that very few 1960's team-signed footballs bear an authentic Vince Lombardi signature. According to many Packer experts, Lombardi didn't believe in "that type of stuff," and used a ghost signer.
Since we're on the topic of the ever-popular Set Registry, ticket stubs and fulls from Green Bay's championship games are becoming very popular. Whether it is the almost impossible-to-find full ticket from the 1936 Championship game, or the more common Super Bowl XXXI ticket stub, nothing puts the collector closer to the game than this Holy Grail of collectibles.
Notes: In December of 2004, Mastro Auctions sold a Super Bowl II full ticket graded PSA 5 for $19,923.
The highest graded "Ice Bowl" full ticket (PSA 8) sold in American Memorabilia's March of 2005 auction for $3,763.
The rarest color variation for Super Bowl I tickets is the blue version.
Very few 1962 Championship game fulls exist and are very desirable.
Similar to the effect that tickets have on collectors, publications take them back in time. The red, white and blue colors of an "Ice Bowl" program can make a person shiver. The orange-and-white front of the 1965 Championship game program renders quite the muddy feel, while the glossy finish of the Super Bowl XXXI program sparks visions of a young Brett Favre running off the field after throwing his first touchdown pass of the game. These memories are the main reason game programs are so popular.
There is no company that grades or authenticates publications as of yet, but with the growing popularity of Packers publications from their championship years (and significant publications featuring other teams) it is only a matter of time before you will start seeing these books sealed in hard plastic cases.
Notes: The rarest Packers yearbook is the 1962 red variation. One story is that this book was distributed only on newsstands on the East Coast and another is that the original "green version" was bootlegged by an unknown person, although neither story could be positively confirmed.
After the famed "Ice Bowl" (1967 Championship) game, programs were reissued to fans days later. With that said, if you see a high-grade "Ice Bowl" program at auction, it probably didn't have to survive the minus-13 degree temperatures.
Super Bowl II programs are quite a bit rarer than Super Bowl I programs.
In the 1980s, it was Cabbage Patch Kids. In the '90s, the craze was Beanie Babies. In the new millennium, everyone and their brother were, and still are, collecting bobbleheads. The difference between this fad from the past two decades is that bobbleheads seem to be here to stay.
That is good news for people still holding on to 1960s Packers bobbleheads, also referred to as nodders. These little guys continue to fetch big dollars and the more people that get into modern-day bobblehead collecting, the faster their ancestors from the 1960s will appreciate in value.
Notes: The rarest and most valuable of all Packers nodders is the 1960's promo doll. This piece measures at 131/2 inches and only about five are known to exist. These massive dolls were not made available to the public and were only given to stores as point-of-sale displays.
In 2005, a 1960s Black-Face Toes-Up Nodder sold privately for $2800. Packers nodder collectors also enjoy buying Kail statues, produced by the famed artist Fred A. Kail.