I have often written about the value of picking up print references. Some of my favorites are the Street and Smith Football Yearbooks. In discussing these types of publications, it is often over looked that they contain valuable information on uniforms and helmets that may not have began as gamers, but far too often show up as them.

I am referring to the advertisements for retail products. These items show up in forums like E-Bay all the time. They usually come with a great story and often sell. I have often had to tell folks that the item they bought was not what they thought it was. In cases like this, I try to ensure they know what to look for and avoid the next time. I thought this might be a nice time to highlight some of these items and advertisements.

IMAGE 1: 1974 Street and Smith Football Advertisement. Nothing to fancy about the ad or the product. What it does shows is that replica jerseys have been available on the market for well over 30 years. Note the sizes are in S,M,L, and XL. Relative same thing for the helmets offered as well.

IMAGE 2: 1977 Street and Smith Football Advertisement. Looks like what American Memorabilia is going with as of late with respect to product display and appeal. The product looks a bit improved from the previous example and now we see that customization for names and numbers are now available. As with the previous example from 1974, no manufacturer is referenced. Sizes are still in the S,M.L,XL, and XXL manner.

IMAGE 3: 1979 Street and Smith Football Advertisement. A couple of things jump out at me with respect to this ad. The first thing has got to be the price range; $175-$275 and this is 1979. In 1979, a gallon of gas cost 86 cents and the federal minimum wage was $2.90 an hour. The other thing of note is that these items are now targeted at the more high profile players. Still no mention of a manufacturer.

IMAGE 4: 1991 Street and Smith Football Advertisement. Fast forward a decade and you will now see that multiple manufacturers are available as well as vast assortment of star players. The ad mentions no returns on custom orders so I think it might be safe to assume that names could be added at a price. Jerseys are still offered in S,M,L,XL, and XL. Depending on the quality of these replicas, these are often candidates for tag changes from group size (S,M,L, XL etc) to a sized tag such as 42, 44, 46, etc.

IMAGE 5: 1996 Street and Smith Football Advertisement. We now have a very robust line of offerings including Pro Bowl jerseys. Also appears that custom orders are available providing a chance to add a name. The interesting thing to note is that there is a price difference for adding the names for different teams. This might be because the higher cost could be associated with making a plated name and adding it to the jersey. Multiple manufacturers and notice the size offering are no longer generic, but in 44, 48, and 52.

What I hope this rather short article will do is get collectors thinking about were all this product on the market today is coming from and what they can do to educate themselves on making smarter and more informed purchase decisions. Also I hope that it provides another reason to build a reference library for the items they collect. If you are not hard and fast on mint covers or mint publications, references like these Street and Smith Football Guides can be easily found and usually for well under $10.00. Spend a $100.00 on say a run of these and I am sure you will find it to a solid investment. Additionally, the articles are equally as enjoyable as the images are valuable.

As always, collect what you enjoy and enjoy what you collect.