Collecting With Jeff – October News Letter – by Jeff Figler

November 3rd, 2010 by

The Hunt for Sonny Randle

On my list of favorite football athletes are several players from St. Louis and San Diego, cities in which I have lived for many years. Of course there is Dan Fouts, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk, Sonny Randle, and a few others on that list. That’s right, Sonny Randle.

After browsing through some recent clippings about Randle, I attempted to get some old cards of his. Well, after contacting a half dozen or so dealers, I finally ran across Touchdown Treasures, owned and operated by Michael Hattley. My Sonny Randle card hunt was over, at least temporarily. Hattley sent me an inventory list of the St. Louis Cardinals (football) items he has. It looked like a small town telephone directory. And that was only of one team.
Talk about someone with passion about what he does. Hattley, a former financial guy, was an avid collector himself, and decided to make his avocation a vocation, by starting Touchdown Treasures some twenty-four years ago. The company specializes only in football memorabilia. Through the years, merchandise of the Packers, Giants, and Steelers have been requested the most. Although Touchdown Treasures is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Hattley’s favorite team is the Miami Dolphins. Why?

Mike said that the most unusual piece he has ever sold was a 1977 Topps NFL Mexican set. There were only twenty sets sold. Wow! Makes you wonder if Chad Ochocinco has a set. The cards were all in Spanish. I would have a tough time with that one.

Michael Hattley is an optimist, even in this economy. Yes, the market is down, but vintage or unique items will hold their own.

If you have a football item “wish list”, you might want to contact Hattley. After all, he has an inventory of 39,531 football related items. That was the total a few days ago, maybe it is more by now. I bet he even has some Sonny Randle items. On second thought, I hope not. He is supposed to be selling all those to me.

Hattley can be reached at (203) 532-9214, or at Touchdown Treasures conducts both auctions and sales.

In Collectibles Market, Manning is no Brady

Recently on one of my radio broadcasts, I got into a lively discussion about which one NFL player I would start a team with. It is my humble opinion that I would start with a quarterback, while others in the discussion chose other positions. Names of players were thrown out, including Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and even Ed Reed. Yes, that’s right, Ed Reed. He is a terrific player, but I don’t think you can pick a defensive player to be your cornerstone man. I can see picking a running back, but I still think a quarterback comes first.

So who would I pick? If I was doing the honors today, it would be Peyton Manning. If you ask me next year I might say Peterson or even Philip Rivers, the incredible quarterback of the Chargers. You watch, Rivers has what it takes, and if he can win a Super Bowl or two, and San Diego is capable of doing so, Rivers will be at the head of the quarterback class.

But for now, give me Peyton Manning. This 2009 season may very well be his best, especially if you consider the fact that he is without his main man, Marvin Harrison. Joseph Addai should not be mistaken for Edgerin James either. The Colts simply replace parts as necessary. Do I think that Manning will lead the Colts to another Super Bowl victory this season? Hardly. I don’t think the Colts will even make it out of the AFC Championship game. That’s right. And now I’ll probably be flooded with emails about how my thinking is distorted.

Funny thing about Manning and the 1998 draft. The two top college quarterbacks in that draft were Manning of Tennessee, and Ryan Leaf of Washington State. Both the Colts and Chargers desperately needed quarterbacks, and Indianapolis had the first selection, and the Chargers the third. San Diego gave up the kitchen sink to Arizona to move up one spot. The rest is history. The course of the NFL was changed. Manning became, well, Manning, and Ryan Leaf became, uh, let’ just say, one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

However, let it be remembered that in Manning’s first season the Indianapolis Colts were a dismal 3-13.

Despite Peyton Manning’s achievements on and off the gridiron, his collectibles have not gone spectacular. Why he hasn’t been as big of a box office star with collectibles as, for example, a Tom Brady, or a Joe Montana, is likely due to the fact that for a long time he did not have any Super Bowl rings. Now he has one, as the Manning-led Colts defeated the Chicago Bears a few years ago. The fact, too, that he plays in a relatively small Midwestern market does not help. Put him in a New York or a Chicago and the scenario would undoubtedly be different.

For the record, in a 2008 auction, his 2000 game-used helmet went for just shy of $5000. His 2004 game-worn signed shoes fetched slightly over $4000 in a 2007 auction. His jerseys usually bring in upwards of a few thousand dollars, depending, of course, if they are signed.

The Colts have flourished with Peyton Manning at the helm. At age 33, opposing defenses are going to have to put up with him and his gyrations at the line of scrimmage for at least a handful of more years.