Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hell Bent for Leather, Part II

Titletown Nostalgia recently added this little gem to its collection:

1940's Packers game-worn leather helmet w/"Packers" branding

This may very well be the only 100-percent authentic leather helmet game-worn Green Bay Packers helmet in existence. The rocks-solid evidence of "Packers" branded on the front of the shell is the single, most important feature of this piece. We guarantee this brand is original and "P-A-C" is visible on the helmet. Due to a rough economic time of the 1940's, this helmet, as presumably all helmets were recycled for additional use. This particular piece was probably used by East High School, a team that wore red and white. Heavy use is exhibited, but the "Wilson" interior padding is still present. Another significant portion of this helmet, attesting to its authenticity is the proper gold (yellow) paint that can be seen under the white paint. Also, the proper holes and style is represented on this piece, when compared to many 1940's Packers photos, including the shells used in the 1944 Championship Game at Yankee Stadium.
I might take some exception to the notion that it's the only one in existence - the Pro Football Hall of Fame has at least two in its collection (from Hutson and Canadeo), and the Packers Hall of Fame has several as well, and there's at least one in private hands that lacks the "PACKERS" branding but still comes highly rated by MEARS, one of the few such authorities I trust. But that's a minor quibble. This is an exceedingly rare artifact, made all the more so by the remnant of the brand, and a very interesting story.

The original gold paint is still visible under the coats of white:

The first few letters of the team branding appear faintly across the forehead.

A collector could take this in one of two directions. I myself would keep it exactly as-is, white paint and all, but it could be restored to its original glory. Wonder what that would do for its collectible value? Some items, such as stadium seats and the like, are routinely restored and traded on the collectibles market. I'm not familiar with any restored helmets, but that could have more to do with the relative scarcity of leather helmets.

All photos copyright Titletown Nostalgia. Go check out his site, and buy lots. He's one of the good ones.

No comments: