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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    namath's "game worn super bowl lll helmet" will highlight heritage's upcoming auction - the starting bid is set at $50,000.

    from sports collector's daily:

    “This is arguably the most significant football artifact ever to reach the auction block,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Heritage Auction Galleries’ Sports Collectibles division. “It’s a key piece from one of professional football’s most celebrated and inspirational games, worn by one of America’s most beloved sports figures.” Aside from being one of the hobby’s most important game used pieces, Heritage believes it is also one of the most strongly documented.

    from gavel chat:

    Now, for the first time, Namath's helmet from that very game will be offered at auction. Heritage Auction Galleries will be selling that monumental piece at its signature sale in May of this year. I think it can bring six figures. That would definitely be a record for the sale of a game-worn helmet. The provenance on this bad boy is rock solid and that is why I really think it can fetch so much at auction.

    from aeneas01, game used forum:

    not so fast - especially considering a starting price of $50,000. i've seen impressive documentation before, impressive provenance as well - only to see the high profile helmet it was supposed to have supported proven to be nothing more than just a nice helmet. so, all window dressing aside, let's get to the bottom line - is this joe namath's game worn sb3 helmet? the answer is no.

    when i first spotted this helmet i immediately had my doubts - as such, i contacted heritage and requested additional photos which were sent promptly. while i was 90% certain that this was not namath's sb3 game worn helmet, the additional photos confirmed my suspicions. as i told chris at heritage, the problems with this helmet are numerous - there are significant inconsistencies that encompass both the interior and exterior of the lid. but two inconsistencies are so major that they make discussing the others in detail moot - in fact, they're so major that they simply rule out the possibility of this helmet being namath's sb3 game worn lid. as a matter of fact, in my opinion this helmet was never worn by namath.

    before i go on i want to add that i believe that the events that led to this helmet being listed by heritage were not sinister - i do not believe that anyone was trying to mislead anyone nor do i believe that anyone was trying to intentionally misrepresent the item - in short, i think it was an honest mistake made by people that honestly believed in the helmet's authenticity. and for good reason given the letters.

    1. namath's 1968/69 game worn helmet had two drill holes present below each ear hole - these drill holes were remnants from namath's previous two-bar facemask. what's interesting about these two drill holes is that they seem to indicate a botched job, hence the need for drilling twice on each side of the helmet. the helmet up for auction shows only one drill hole below each ear hole - a clean, single drill hole indicative of the job being done correctly the first time.


    these drill holes are compared in the first photo below - this photo includes three images: the top two images are from sb3, the photo at the bottom is from the helmet at auction (which heritage emailed me) - i think the difference is rather clear. further, namath wore the same helmet throughout the 1968 season, the same helmet with the twin drill holes - from game 1 through sb3. as a matter of fact, given the cheapness of the jets at the time, i wouldn't be surprised if the helmet namath wore in sb3 wasn't the same one he had worn during previous seasons.

    2. namath's 1968/69 helmet was not only reconditioned but it was also re-painted white. this is evident when looking at the exterior rivets of the jaw pads covered in white paint as can be seen in all of the photos. the helmet at auction is the original factory shell and has not been re-painted.


    drill hole comparison (below the ear hole) - top two images are from sb3, bottom image from the helmet at heritage. from these photos you can also easily see that namath's 1968/69 helmet was painted while the one at auction isn't.




    additional auction photo sent to me by heritage (01):


    another additional auction photo sent to me by heritage (02):




    photo from sb3 (01):



    photo from sb3 (02):



    photo from sb3 (03):



    photo from sb3 (04):



    photo from sb3 (05):



    photo from sb3 (06):




    photo from game 01 - 1968/69 season:



    photo from game 08 - 1968/69 season:



    photo from game 11 - 1968/69 season:



    -------------------------------------------------

    as i mentioned earlier, there are many, many other problems with the helmet up for auction when it comes to trying to reconcile it with namath's game worn sb3 lid. but, based only on the photos above, how could the helmet at heritage possibly be the helmet namath wore during the 1968/69 season let alone sb3? for it to be namath's sb3 helmet one of the following would have to be true:

    1. he wore two helmets during the 1968/69 season - the problem with this scenario is that there is not a close-up photo or close-up film frame available (that i have seen) from the 1968/69 season that shows namath wearing a helmet consistent with the helmet at auction.

    2. the paint was stripped from namath's sb3 helmet and the second drill hole was professionally filled in. hmmm....

    3. namath wore two different helmets during the super bowl - see number 1.

    the unfortunate bottom line is that the helmet up for auction at heritage is simply not namath's game worn sb3 helmet - there is just no way around it. as such, it will be interesting to see how the folks at heritage will handle it. they have this information as of yesterday....

  2. #2

    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    You should be working for an auction house with your amazing knowledge of NFL items.

    This should be a fun one to watch play out.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    Quote Originally Posted by jwasserman View Post
    You should be working for an auction house with your amazing knowledge of NFL items.

    This should be a fun one to watch play out.
    I agree. aeneas01, you should be making BIG money to authenticate helmets!!!

  4. #4

    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    One of my pet peeves is people who just dont bother to do their job correctly.

    With that said, it amazes me that a "professional" auction house has so many problems authenticating something (which is THEIR JOB) while a collector such as Aeneas who obviously holds down a full time job of his own can spot a fake with 5 minutes work of looking at images on getty....

    sad, sad, sad........


    again, excellent work as usual Aeneas....you are a credit to the hobby.

    Jim

  5. #5
    Senior Member skipcareyisfat's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
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    469

    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    Quote Originally Posted by aeneas01 View Post
    as a matter of fact, in my opinion this helmet was never worn by namath.
    aeneas01, fascinating breakdown as usual. I'm interested in hearing more about why you don't think Namath ever wore it. If Heritage decides to back off the SB3 connection, I think they'll likely still try and pass it off as a SB3-era Namath helmet. So what exactly prevents this from being a Namath gamer?

    Quote Originally Posted by jwasserman View Post
    You should be working for an auction house with your amazing knowledge of NFL items.
    I agree. But with profit being top priority for pretty much every auction house, I think some would rather not have aeneas01 waiting around to pounce on every bad vintage helmet that comes through, and that a lot of other "authenticators" might pass.
    "The knowledge that this guy has in his head, some of you would never be able to comprehend."

  6. #6
    Senior Member nyjetsfan14's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
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    408

    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    All one can do is say wow. I am not only continually impressed but even more appreciative of the incredibly informative posts you provide aeneas! As mentioned by Jim, you are a true credit to the hobby and an invaluable resourse as it pertains to NFL helmets. And best of all you share you information/research with the common collector here rather than sell out to auction houses. You have my vote for whatever it is you run for!

    GO JETS!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    327

    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    It's pretty sad that they could call this one of the most significant pieces of football memorabilia of all-time, and yet is is obviously 100% fake.

    What is that giant sucking sound? It's the sound of the reputation and credibility of this auction house and authenticator going down the toilet!


  8. #8

    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    This is exactly why I love this site. Before coming here I believed that everything the auction houses offered was 100% legit. Now, I question everything!

    I find it amazing what auction houses/authenticators will "not see" when big money is involved. Not saying Heritage did anything wrong with this, but it's obvious that other auction houses let stuff slide in hopes that nobody will point it out.

    Can't wait to see how this plays out.

    I wonder if Joe still has his helmet...
    Always on the lookout for Garin Cecchini game used items especially Greenville Drive and Salem Red Sox jerseys.
    I accept PM's so shoot me a message.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    You know, this really is amazing because when I read about this helmet about a week ago, I remember thinking that this may be the most high profile item with the most rock solid prevenance that I had ever seen. And it really is a very cool back story to boot. And then it turns out to be wrong??? Really makes you think.....

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2008
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    100

    Re: Namath's Game Worn Super Bowl Helmet? Nope.

    All I can say is amazing, I can't believe they didn't try to photo match it before they put their name on the line like that, AMAZING

 

 

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