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Thursday, June 23, 2016

So You Want To Do Some NBA Uniform Research...

Greetings NBA fans!

This entire blog is called “Heritage Uniforms and Jerseys – a celebration of historic NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA football and CFL uniforms and stadiums/ballparks/arenas” - I'm sorry that I don't even mention the NBA in the title. This stems back to when I was a licensee of the various sports leagues (from 1997 - 2010) - it just seemed to me that the NBA was always about the here and now, not about looking back and celebrating their past. That isn't meant as a criticism, just how I felt.

That being said, we did produce one NBA uniform history poster - we were commissioned directly by the NBA's Washington Wizards in 2003-ish, and we came up with this beauty of a poster:


But back to the point of this posting - when it comes to NBA uniforms and jerseys, it seems to me that people have one of three primary reasons for visiting this site - all of which are at least somehow related to doing research:




1. Someone is trying to find out what a particular team’s jersey/uniform looked like in a particular year or era. This might go something like “I loved the Lakers in the early 70’s, what did their uniform look like?”

2. Someone is trying to find out what year a particular jersey is from. This might be someone who has found, or bought, or is thinking of buying a particular NBA team jersey (authentic or reproduction) and they want to know what year it’s from and in the case of reproduction jerseys, how accurate the reproduction is.

3. Someone is simply a huge fan of a particular NBA team and they’d like to see how the uniform, particularly the jersey, has evolved over the history of the franchise.

As fun as this site is,  it is simply not the best place to look for NBA uniform and jersey history, so let me try to point you where else to look.


Source of info #1: There is no great online resource (yet)

For people looking for history related to NFL uniforms and jerseys, there's the amazing Gridiron Uniform Database.

For people looking for history related to MLB uniforms and jerseys, there's the amazing Dressed To The Nines database.

For people looking for history related to NHL uniforms and jerseys, there's this great effort.

But when it comes to the NBA, no-one seems to have taken on the task of documenting the history of NBA jerseys on a year by year basis like has been done for the NFL and MLB and NHL.

Anyone out there got some time on their hands, love research and is pretty good at electronic graphic design? Then have I got a project for you - how about creating images like these for NBA teams from 1946 - present?




Source of info #2: A starting point...

Here are four different efforts to at least help people understand the history of NBAS uniforms and jerseys.

A. This is an interesting little slideshow (14 slides) on the history of NBA uniforms from 1950 - present.

B. The NBA itself has a nice little uniform history story that uses 18 images.

C. ESPN has chimed in with this 26 image timeline.

D. And the folks at Uproxx have done a nice little history as well.

But again, my point is that no-one has done for the NBA what has been done for the NFL, MLB and NHL.


Source of info #3: A Daily Gusher of Info

If you love sports uniforms and great attention to detail, then you need to be aware of Uniwatch.


Every day since May 2006 - and I do mean EVERY DAY - Uniwatch has featured a daily blog posting about sports uniforms. They aren’t always about NBA jerseys and uniforms, but as one of the premier sports leagues in North America, and a league with a lot of uniform changes each year, it certainly gets a lot of coverage over the course of a month. Uniwatch is the brainchild of Brooklyn NY based Paul Lukas  (more info here about Paul),  and if you read Uniwatch on a regular or semi-regular basis you’ll end up feeling like you know Paul – his likes and dislikes including meat, colors (especially the color purple) and things found in old desks.


Source of info #4: Auctions

Every so often people contact me because they have come into possession of a vintage NBA jersey (and/or shorts or a warmup jacket) and they are trying to determine if it’s authentic, when it may have been worn and/or what it might be worth – either for the purpose of selling, general curiosity or for insurance purposes. This is very hard for me to answer and I am not an expert in this field, so let me share where I’d turn if I was trying to get to the bottom of a great vintage jersey.


A. Lelands

Lelands is based in Long Island NY and one of the most respected Sports Auction Houses in the world. They have handled such landmark collections as The Mickey Mantle Auction of the Greer Johnson Collection ($1.3M), The Harry M. Stevens Auction ($1.8M), the famed Boston Garden Auction ($2M total sales) and a personal favorite of mine, the Jim Craig 1980 Miracle On Ice Collection. Every year Lelands sells $10+ million worth of vintage sports memorabilia and cards. That may or may not make them the biggest, but they are certainly one of the best.

The founder and owner of Lelands is Josh Leland Evans. He is a child of the antiques business though his parents Maxine and Stuart Evans, he started dealing in 1969 when he was eight years old. I like the fact that Mr. Evans comes from an antiques background and that he’s been in the sports memorabilia business for decades. If I had a great vintage NHL or pre-NHL jersey (or other piece of hockey equipment) and I was trying to get a handle on what it’s worth or if it’s the genuine article, one of my first stops would be Lelands.

Lelands
130 Knickerbocker Ave, Suite E
Bohemia, NY 11716
Phone1: 631-244-0077
Phone2: 631-244-3604


B. Some other auction sites that deal, among things, with NBA jerseys are:





Some of these companies, particularly Grey Flannel Auctions, keep catalogues and online records of the prices realized in previous sales. This can be a very valuable resource for gauging the approximate value of vintage NBA jerseys if put up for auction.

C. If you are fairly certain that you know what you own, a much simpler route for finding out what your NBA jersey is worth is good old Ebay. You could search Ebay’s archives of items that have been sold or posted for sale over the years, or you could actually put your item up for sale. One idea would be to put your item up for sale with a quite high reserve price – that way you wouldn’t risk selling it for a price lower than you expected it was worth, while at the same time learning what a going price seems to be. To me it’s an incredibly efficient way of determining the current value, and very hard to argue with the result even if you might be somewhat unpleasantly surprised.


Source of info #5: Official NBA Jersey/Uniform Supplier History

Sometimes it’s helpful/useful for people to know who the “official” manufacturer of NBA jerseys was in a given year/era in terms of being able to determine what season their jersey is from.

Wikipedia only has this little story on basketball uniforms, but it doesn’t touch on the history of the uniform manufacturer.

That being said, below please find in italics a great stab at the history of NBA jersey/uniform manufacturers - this information comes largely from an amazing blog owned/written by an unnamed person who calls himself "Champion Blogger" - Champion referring to the Champion apparel company.


Official Jersey Supplier History:

1982ish - 1989  Sand-Knit (Medalist Sand-Knit until 1984 and then MacGregor Sand-Knit starting in 1985)
1990 - 1997 Champion
1997 - 2002 Nike and Starter (became Puma in 1999) and Champion
2002 - 2004 Nike and Reebok
2004 - 2006 Reebok
2006 - Present Adidas  $36m/year for 11 years (Keep in mind that Adidas bought Reebok in 2005)

On March 16 2015 we learned that Adidas and the NBA will be severing their ties after the 2016-17 season (the league’s new outfitter is expected to be announced next month).

Slightly more detail:
1982ish - 1989  Sand-Knit (Medalist Sand-Knit until 1984 and then MacGregor Sand-Knit starting in 1985)
1990 - 1997 Champion
1997 - 2002 Nike and Starter (became Puma in 1999) and Champion
Champion: Atlanta, Indiana, Los Angeles Clippers, New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Utah and Vancouver. Champion produced replica jerseys for all 29 teams.
Nike: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami, Portland, San Antonio, Toronto and Washington.
Starter: Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Golden State, Houston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New York and Sacramento. Starter went bankrupt in 1999 so they ended up only producing authentic jerseys for 1997-1998 and 1998-1999. Starter was bought out in 1999 by a consortium of five companies, which included Puma. Puma would take over outfitting Starter’s licensed NBA teams for the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons.
2002 - 2004 Nike and Reebok
The five year contracts that Champion, Nike and Puma (Starter) signed with the NBA starting in the 1997-1998 season were due to expire at the conclusion of the 2001-2002 season. Prior to expiration, Nike signed a two year extension with the NBA to continue outfitting their 10 teams through the 2003-2004 season. Champion and Puma (Starter) never had a chance to extend because prior to the 2001-2002 season Reebok signed a 10 year licensing deal with the NBA. As part of the deal, Reebok would take over outfitting 11 NBA teams for the 2001-2002 season (this includes all nine of Puma’s teams plus two of Champion’s teams). So for the 2001-2002 season, Reebok outfitted 11 teams, Champion outfitted 8 teams, and Nike outfitted 10 teams. 
2004 - 2006 Reebok
2006 - Present Adidas 
Adidas bought Reebok in early 2006, and signed an eleven year exclusive deal for an average of $36m per year (11 year deal worth $400 million)

Once again, the "Champion Blogger" site is a treasure trove of information on NBA jerseys made by Champion - please check it out.


Source of info #6: Logos

- Sometimes the key to identifying an NBA jersey is to know what logo was in use in a particular season. An amazing source of information in this regard is Chris Creamer's Sports Logos - the NBA section of this incredible site can be found here.


Sports Logos has been painstakingly researched and maintained since 1997 by Chris Creamer, who is from the Greater Toronto (Canada) area. It is a remarkable effort and does a great job showing each NBA team’s primary, secondary/alternative logos and does a great job identifying the years various logos were used. Chris’ site also has some information on NBA uniform history.

I also find it amazing how Chris has been able to get the cooperation of most of the leagues, the NBA included – that is not an easy task and it is a testament to his hard work and dedication to doing a great, encyclopedic job. As Chris says right on his site “This site is maintained for research and historical purposes only, do not abuse it.”

The aforementioned Paul Lucas (see #3 above) wrote a nice profile piece on Chris in 2013 – find it here.



Many thanks for reading and please offer any feedback either in the Comments section below or directly to me at ssillcox@rogers.com .

Thanks and happy researching!

Scott

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

So You Want To Do Some NHL Jersey / Sweater / Uniform Research...

Greetings NHL fans!

This entire blog is called “Heritage Uniforms and Jerseys – a celebration of historic NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA football and CFL uniforms and stadiums/ballparks/arenas”, and when it comes to NHL uniforms and jerseys (aka sweaters), it seems to me that people have one of three primary reasons for visiting this site - all of which are at least somehow related to doing research:


1. Someone is trying to find out what a particular team’s jersey/uniform looked like in a particular year or era. This might go something like “I loved the Bruins in the early 70’s, what did their uniform look like?”

2. Someone is trying to find out what year a particular jersey/sweater is from. This might be someone who has found, or bought, or is thinking of buying a particular NHL team jersey (authentic or reproduction) and they want to know what year it’s from and in the case of reproduction jerseys, how accurate the reproduction is.

3. Someone is simply a huge fan of a particular NHL team and they’d like to see how the uniform, particularly the jersey, has evolved over the history of the franchise.

As fun as this site is, I’m not sure it’s the best for answering the questions above – by all means I encourage everyone who wiggles their way to this site to view our “Menu of Previous Blog Postings” and have a look at the entries related to their NHL team - but I also wanted to share a number of “go-to” sites that you should be aware of.


Source of info #1: A great online resource

For NHL uniforms from 1917-18 to the present, the definitive online uniform history site is NHLUniforms.com

This site is the result of a huge effort done by Andrew M. Greenstein, and shows the home and away uniforms of every NHL team since the league began in 1917-18. It also shows 3rd and alternative jerseys, and also does a very good job of identifying if a patch was worn in a particular season.


Hats off to Andrew - he has done a great job and continues to maintain the site right up to the present day. A true labor of love.

PS If you love the World Hockey Association (WHA), the NHL's rival league that ran for seven seasons from 1972-73 to 1978-79, Andrew has also compiled an online database of their uniforms as well - check it out. Great stuff Andrew!


Source of info #2: A nice effort

There is another site - Cool Hockey - that has done a good little job of doing a jersey history on a team by team basis. The drawback to this site is that it doesn't show every season and every uniform, but it does offer a nice team summary using photographs as opposed to artist's renderings and it might be somewhat useful in your research efforts.

Please note: Cool Hockey is primarily an online store that sells current and reproduction NHL jerseys. But it's the "History" portion of their website that relates to jersey research.


Source of info #3: Did someone say Patches?

There is a great site - NHL Patches - put together by Klaus Stadler that has done a terrific job of trying to show every "special occasion" patch worn by every NHL team. I'm not sure there's a definitive definition of what constitutes a "patch", but I generally think of them as an embroidered emblem, generally 3"-5" in diameter, and generally sewn onto the jersey in the shoulder, chest or arm area of the jersey.

This great little site allows you to search by NHL team (to see a history of every patch worn by that team) as well as by season (to see a list of all patches worn by all teams in a particular season).

What I especially love about Klaus' effort is that wherever possible, he shows you the actual patch (or a reproduction of the patch) and a game action photo of a player wearing a jersey with that patch.



Remember that patches are generally only worn for a single season or sometimes just a portion of a season, so if you are trying to identify a jersey and it has a patch, your work is almost done for you.



Source of info #4: Pre-NHL and early NHL uniforms

You may have read a blog posting I wrote several years ago about how I became transfixed with hockey history. If not, you might be interested in having a quick look

The very short version of the story is that in the 1960's the NHL commissioned a man by the name of Charles Coleman to research and write a history of the Stanley Cup, the end result of which were three amazing volumes of hockey history.


Within the pages of these amazing and fairly rare books, Mr. Coleman did some admittedly amateur-ish sketches of what some of the pre-NHL and early NHL jerseys looked like.



Source of info #5: A Daily Gusher of Info

If you love sports uniforms and great attention to detail, then you need to be aware of Uniwatch.


Every day since May 2006 - and I do mean EVERY DAY - Uniwatch has featured a daily blog posting about sports uniforms. They aren’t always about NHL jerseys and uniforms, but as one of the premier sports leagues in North America, and the league with the best and most colorful jerseys, it certainly gets a lot of coverage over the course of a month. Uniwatch is the brainchild of Brooklyn NY based Paul Lukas  (more info here about Paul),  and if you read Uniwatch on a regular or semi-regular basis you’ll end up feeling like you know Paul – his likes and dislikes including meat, colors (especially the color purple) and things found in old desks.


Source of info #6: Auctions

Every so often people contact me because they have come into possession of a vintage jersey (or ballcap or pants) and they are trying to determine if it’s authentic, when it may have been worn and/or what it might be worth – either for the purpose of selling, general curiosity or for insurance purposes. This is very hard for me to answer and I am not an expert in this field, so let me share where I’d turn if I was trying to get to the bottom of a great vintage jersey.


A. Lelands

Lelands is based in Long Island NY and one of the most respected Sports Auction Houses in the world. They have handled such landmark collections as The Mickey Mantle Auction of the Greer Johnson Collection ($1.3M), The Harry M. Stevens Auction ($1.8M), the famed Boston Garden Auction ($2M total sales) and a personal favorite of mine, the Jim Craig 1980 Miracle On Ice Collection. Every year Lelands sells $10+ million worth of vintage sports memorabilia and cards. That may or may not make them the biggest, but they are certainly one of the best.

The founder and owner of Lelands is Josh Leland Evans. He is a child of the antiques business though his parents Maxine and Stuart Evans, he started dealing in 1969 when he was eight years old. I like the fact that Mr. Evans comes from an antiques background and that he’s been in the sports memorabilia business for decades. If I had a great vintage NHL or pre-NHL jersey (or other piece of hockey equipment) and I was trying to get a handle on what it’s worth or if it’s the genuine article, one of my first stops would be Lelands.

Email Josh: joshevans@lelands.com 
Lelands
130 Knickerbocker Ave, Suite E
Bohemia, NY 11716
Phone1: 631-244-0077
Phone2: 631-244-3604


B. Some other auction sites that deal, among things, with NHL jerseys are:





Some of these companies, particularly Grey Flannel Auctions, keep catalogues and online records of the prices realized in previous sales. This can be a very valuable resource for gauging the approximate value of vintage NHL jerseys if put up for auction.

C. If you are fairly certain that you know what you own, a much simpler route for finding out what it’s worth is good old Ebay. You could search Ebay’s archives of items that have been sold or posted for sale over the years, or you could actually put your item up for sale. One idea would be to put your item up for sale with a quite high reserve price – that way you wouldn’t risk selling it for a price lower than you expected it was worth, while at the same time learning what a going price seems to be. To me it’s an incredibly efficient way of determining the current value, and very hard to argue with the result even if you might be somewhat unpleasantly surprised.


Source of info #7: Official NHL Jersey Supplier History

Sometimes it’s helpful/useful for people to know who the “official” manufacturer of NHL jerseys was in a given year/era in terms of being able to determine what season their jersey is from. When i comes to the NHL, the folks at Wikipedia have done a nice first pass at just such an effort, and it can be found here. Amazingly, as of the writing of this blog posting, no-one seems to have done the same thing for the NFL, MLB or NBA. Any takers?


Source of info #8: Logos

- Sometimes the key to identifying an NHL jersey is to know what logo was in use in a particular season. An amazing source of information in this regard is Chris Creamer's Sports Logos - the NHL section of this incredible site can be found here.


Sports Logos has been painstakingly researched and maintained since 1997 by Chris Creamer, who is from the Greater Toronto (Canada) area. It is a remarkable effort and does a great job showing each NHL team’s primary, secondary/alternative logos and does a great job identifying the years various logos were used. Chris’ site also has some information on NHL uniform history, but I would suggest that the above mentioned sources (especially #1) would be the better places to go to for jersey and uniform info.

I also find it amazing how Chris has been able to get the cooperation of most of the leagues, the NHL included – that is not an easy task and it is a testament to his hard work and dedication to doing a great, encyclopedic job. As Chris says right on his site “This site is maintained for research and historical purposes only, do not abuse it.”

The aforementioned Paul Lucas (see #5 above) wrote a nice profile piece on Chris in 2013 – find it here.


Source of info #9: And one for good measure

There is an amazing book published in 2012-ish under the Hockey Hall Of Fame Banner and put together by Steve Milton that is a spectacular compendium of jersey photos - NHL jerseys and other jerseys. It may not be the best resource for identifying what year your jersey is from, but it's too good a book not to be mentioned here.



Many thanks for reading and please offer any feedback either in the Comments section below or directly to me at ssillcox@rogers.com .

Thanks and happy researching!

Scott

PS For fans of specific teams, here are some extra uniform history resources dedicated to your team:

Montreal Canadiens

Pittsburgh Penguins

Toronto Maple Leafs



Monday, June 6, 2016

So You Want To Do Some MLB Jersey / Uniform Research...

Greetings MLB (and pre-MLB) fans!

This entire blog is called “Heritage Uniforms and Jerseys – a celebration of historic NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA football and CFL uniforms and stadiums/ballparks/arenas”, and when it comes to MLB and pre-MLB uniforms and jerseys, it seems to me that people have one of three primary reasons for visiting this site - all at least somehow related to doing research:


1. Someone is trying to find out what a particular team’s uniform looked like in a particular year or era. This might go something like “I loved the Cardinals in the early 80’s, what did their uniform look like?”

2. Someone is trying to find out what year a particular uniform is from. This might be someone who has found, or bought, or is thinking of buying a particular MLB team jersey (authentic or reproduction) and they want to know what year it’s from and in the case of reproduction jerseys, how accurate the reproduction is.

3. Someone is simply a huge fan of a particular MLB team and they’d like to see how the uniform, particularly the jersey, has evolved over the history of the franchise.

As fun as this site is, I’m not sure it’s the best for answering the questions above – by all means I encourage everyone who wiggles their way to this site to view our “Menu of Previous Blog Postings” and have a look at the entries related to their MLB team - but I also wanted to share a number of “go-to” sites that you should be aware of.


Source of info #1: In The Beginning, there was Marc Okkonen

For MLB uniforms from 1900 to the present, the definitive online uniform history site is Dressed To The Nines – A History of the BaseballUniform.

How this online database of uniforms came to be is a somewhat long story, but I’m certain you’ll be able to follow.


In the 1980’s a man by the name of Marc Okkonen spent countless hours doing painstaking research into the history of MLB uniforms from 1900 to 1990-ish, the result of which was a book published in 1991 called “Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century: The Official Major League Baseball Guide”. Marc was not only the researcher, he was also the illustrator and the writer. It was a remarkable achievement at the time, a true labor of love that was done entirely without the use of the internet. The book was re-printed, with updates, in 1993 and even though it sold some 35,000 copies, the economics were such that the book was never again reprinted/updated.

FYI – here’s a copy of the 1993 book cover and the 1993 book can still be found online through our friends at Amazon.



If you are lucky enough to own a 1991 copy of the book, it’s worth several hundred dollars on the open market.

Enter the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Marc Okkonen cooperated with the Baseball Hall of Fame, which scanned Marc’s original drawings and incorporated them into a searchable online database

Marc’s images end with the 1994 season, but thanks to Major League Baseball Properties, “mannequins” for uniforms from 1995 to the present are also included in the Hall of Fame’s online database. Finally, additional research by the staff at the Hall of Fame as well as numerous baseball researchers around the country allows the Hall of Fame to continually correct and update this mammoth undertaking.

Thus it is that Marc Okkonen’s book came to be the definitive online source of information about what MLB team uniforms looked like from 1900 to the present.

FYI: The Society of American Baseball Research (SABR), a scholarly organization devoted to baseball history, awarded the Henry Chadwick Award to Marc Okkonen in 2014 for his work, and this is what they have to say:

“Much of what we know about the history of baseball uniforms we owe to Marc Okkonen. A public relations consultant, freelance artist and writer professionally, Okkonen exhaustively cataloged major league uniforms dating back to 1900, research he turned into a ground breaking book, Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century: The Official Major League Baseball Guide. Okkonen also produced a series of books titled Baseball Memories using a distinctive collection of photographs and illustrations to capture various decades in the twentieth century.  Additionally, Okkonen authored the first book on the Federal League, an achievement and resource that stands the test of time with a matchless collection of photographs, ballpark information and drawings, and front office and roster information. Okkonen also created the invaluable 2,000 Cups of Coffee, containing images of players whose major league careers lasted for 10 or fewer games during the 1900-1949 era. By following his curiosity and pursuing his passion, Marc Okkonen left baseball researchers with a singular legacy."

For more on the Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum’s Dressed To The Nines exhibit and online database, please visit here.


Source of info #2: William Henderson’s Amazing Resource

There is a gentleman by the name of William (Bill) Henderson who has put together a CD with 2000+ pages of information that shows photographs of every MLB uniform from 1970 to the present. Just like Marc Okkonen, Bill spent tens of thousands of hours compiling his history of MLB uniforms from 1970 to the present, and he deserves a huge amount of praise for his biblical effort – all of which is available on CD for a very reasonable price.


The amazing thing about this resource, as opposed to Marc Okkonen’s effort, is that Bill's work is all based on actual photographs of the uniforms, and the photos include the sewn-in labels and other jersey identifiers. Simply remarkable.

Bill and his order desk can be reached as follows:
William (Bill) F. Henderson
Wallingford, PA


Source of info #3: Uniforms prior to 1900

Enter Craig Brown and his amazing online database of uniforms called "Threads of Our Game - 19th Century Baseball Uniform Database”.


As the name implies, this online database shows uniforms from organized baseball’s earliest years in the 1850’s to 1899, at which point Marc Okkonnen’s database takes over (see Source #1 above).

One fantastic feature, among many, that Craig Brown's database has is it not only features artistic renditions of hundreds of uniforms, but for each uniform it also shows you photographs that support the artistic rendering and invites readers to submit feedback.

Please note: Since MLB didn’t start until 1879, what is amazing about this database is that it covers a variety of teams and leagues throughout the 1800’s, not just MLB teams from 1879 onward. As Craig says, his database covers Majors + Minors + Pioneers.


Source of info #4: A Daily Gusher of Info

If you love sports uniforms and great attention to detail, then you need to be aware of Uniwatch.


Every day since May 2006 - and I do mean EVERY DAY - Uniwatch has featured a daily blog posting about sports uniforms. They aren’t always about MLB uniforms, but as one of the two premier sports leagues in North America, it certainly gets a lot of coverage over the course of a month. Uniwatch is the brainchild of Brooklyn NY based Paul Lukas  (more info here about Paul),  and if you read Uniwatch on a regular or semi-regular basis you’ll end up feeling like you know Paul – his likes and dislikes including meat, colors (especially the color purple) and things found in old desks.


Source of info #5: Auctions

Every so often people contact me because they have come into possession of a vintage jersey (or ballcap or pants) and they are trying to determine if it’s authentic, when it may have been worn and/or what it might be worth – either for the purpose of selling, general curiosity or for insurance purposes. This is very hard for me to answer and I am not an expert in this field, so let me share where I’d turn if I was trying to get to the bottom of a great vintage jersey.


A. Lelands

Lelands is based in Long Island NY and one of the most respected Sports Auction Houses in the world. They have handled such landmark collections as The Mickey Mantle Auction of the Greer Johnson Collection ($1.3M), The Harry M. Stevens Auction ($1.8M), the famed Boston Garden Auction ($2M total sales) and a personal favorite of mine, the Jim Craig 1980 Miracle On Ice Collection. Every year Lelands sells $10+ million worth of vintage sports memorabilia and cards. That may or may not make them the biggest, but they are certainly one of the best.

The founder and owner of Lelands is Josh Leland Evans. He is a child of the antiques business though his parents Maxine and Stuart Evans, he started dealing in 1969 when he was eight years old. I like the fact that Mr. Evans comes from an antiques background and that he’s been in the sports memorabilia business for decades. If I had a great vintage MLB jersey (or other piece of baseball equipment) and I was trying to get a handle on what it’s worth or if it’s the genuine article, one of my first stops would be Lelands.

Email Josh: joshevans@lelands.com 
Lelands
130 Knickerbocker Ave, Suite E
Bohemia, NY 11716
Phone1: 631-244-0077
Phone2: 631-244-3604


B. Some other auction sites that deal, among things, with MLB jerseys are:






Some of these companies, particularly Grey Flannel Auctions, keep catalogues and online records of the prices realized in previous sales. This can be a very valuable resource for gauging the approximate value of vintage MLB jerseys if put up for auction.

C. If you are fairly certain that you know what you own, a much simpler route for finding out what it’s worth is good old Ebay. You could search Ebay’s archives of items that have been sold or posted for sale over the years, or you could actually put your item up for sale. One idea would be to put your item up for sale with a quite high reserve price – that way you wouldn’t risk selling it for a price lower than you expected it was worth, while at the same time learning what a going price seems to be. To me it’s an incredibly efficient way of determining the current value, and very hard to argue with the result even if you might be somewhat unpleasantly surprised.


Source of info #6: Official MLB Jersey Supplier History

Sometimes it’s helpful/useful for people to know who the “official” manufacturer of MLB jerseys was in a given year/era in terms of being able to determine what season their jersey is from. I would love to challenge any readers take on the task of creating a Wikipedia entry on the Official MLB uniform Supplier History, much like they have for the NHL uniform, but no-one seems to have yet tackled this project. Any takers?

I realize that William Henderson’s amazing Game Worn Guide (see Info Source #2 above) has the info on a team by team, year by year basis from 1970 to the present, but I’d love someone to create a short two or three page summary of what MLB’s Official Manufacturer status was from the 1950’s to the present.


Source of info #7: Logos

- Sometimes the key to identifying a jersey or other piece of MLB equipment is to know what logo was in use in a particular season. An amazing source of information in this regard is Chris Creamer's Sports Logos - the MLB section of this incredible site can be found here.


Sports Logos has been painstakingly researched and maintained since 1997 by Chris Creamer, who is from the Greater Toronto (Canada) area. It is a remarkable effort and does a great job showing each MLB team’s primary, secondary/alternative logos and does a great job identifying the years various logos were used. Chris’ site also has some information on MLB uniform history, but I would suggest that the above mentioned sources (especially #1, 2 and 3) would be the better places to go to for uniform info.

I also find it amazing how Chris has been able to get the cooperation of most of the leagues, MLB included – that is not an easy task and it is a testament to his hard work and dedication to doing a great, encyclopedic job. As Chris says right on his site “This site is maintained for research and historical purposes only, do not abuse it.”

The aforementioned Paul Lucas (see #4 above) wrote a nice profile piece on Chris in 2013 – find it here.


Many thanks for reading and please offer any feedback either in the Comments below or directly to me at ssillcox@rogers.com .

Thanks and happy researching!

Scott

Friday, June 3, 2016

So You Want To Do Some NFL Jersey / Uniform Research...

Greetings!

This entire blog is called “Heritage Uniforms and Jerseys – a celebration of historic NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA football and CFL uniforms and stadiums/ballparks/arenas”, and when it comes to NFL uniforms and jerseys, it seems to me that people have one of three primary reasons for visiting this site - all at least somehow related to doing research:


1. Someone is trying to find out what a particular team’s uniform looked like in a particular year or era. This might go something like “I loved the Steelers in the early 80’s, what did their uniform look like?”

2. Someone is trying to find out what year a particular uniform is from. This might be someone who has found, or bought, or is thinking of buying a particular NFL team jersey (authentic or reproduction) and they want to know what year it’s from and in the case of reproduction jerseys, how accurate it is.

3. Someone is simply a huge fan of a particular NFL team and they’d like to see how the uniform, particularly the jersey, has evolved over the history of the franchise.

As fun as this site is, I’m not sure it’s the best for answering the questions above – by all means I encourage everyone who wiggles their way to this site to view our “Menu of Previous Blog Postings” and have a look at the entries related to their NFL team - but I also wanted to share several “go-to” sites that you should be aware of.


Source of info #1: Mecca – The Definitive Source

For NFL uniforms, the definitive uniform history site is The Gridiron Uniform Database.


This website is an incredible labor of love put together by sports historians Tim Brulia and Bill Schaefer, and is an amazing resource for anyone interested in NFL uniform history. The website presents graphical representations of every uniform that has been worn in the NFL since 1920, and in some more recent years, it even shows what uniforms various teams wore EACH WEEK! I can’t say enough about the massive, super-human effort that Tim and Bill put into this website (and continue to do) – well done gentlemen!


Source of info #2: A Daily Gusher of Info

If you love sports uniforms and great attention to detail, then you need to be aware of Uniwatch.

Every day since May 2006 - and I do mean EVERY DAY - Uniwatch has featured a daily blog posting about sports uniforms. They aren’t always about NFL uniforms, but as the premier sports league in North America it certainly gets a lot of coverage over the course of a month. Uniwatch is the brainchild of Brooklyn NY based Paul Lukas  (more info here about Paul),  and if you read Uniwatch on a regular or semi-regular basis you’ll end up feeling like you know Paul – his likes and dislikes including meat, colors (especially the color purple) and things found in old desks.

 
Source of info #3: Auctions

Every so often people contact me because they have come into possession of a vintage jersey and they are trying to determine if it’s authentic, when it may have been worn and/or what it might be worth – either for the purpose of selling, general curiosity or for insurance purposes. This is very hard for me to answer and I am not an expert in this field, so let me share where I’d turn if I was trying to get to the bottom of a great vintage jersey.


A. Lelands

Lelands is based in Long Island NY and one of the most respected Sports Auction Houses in the world. They have handled such landmark collections as The Mickey Mantle Auction of the Greer Johnson Collection ($1.3M), The Harry M. Stevens Auction ($1.8M), the famed Boston Garden Auction ($2M total sales) and a personal favorite of mine, the Jim Craig 1980 Miracle On Ice Collection. Every year Lelands sells $10+ million worth of vintage sports memorabilia and cards. That may or may not make them the biggest, but they are certainly one of the best.

The founder and owner of Lelands is Josh Leland Evans. He is a child of the antiques business though his parents Maxine and Stuart Evans, he started dealing in 1969 when he was eight years old. I like the fact that Mr. Evans comes from an antiques background and that he’s been in the sports memorabilia business for decades. If I had a great vintage NFL jersey (or other piece of NFL football equipment) and I was trying to get a handle on what it’s worth or if it’s the genuine article, one of my first stops would be Lelands.

Lelands
130 Knickerbocker Ave, Suite E
Bohemia, NY 11716
Phone1: 631-244-0077
Phone2: 631-244-3604


B. Some other auction sites that deal, among things, with NFL jerseys are:






Some of these companies, particularly Grey Flannel Auctions, keep catalogues and online records of the prices realized in previous sales. This can be a very valuable resource for gauging the approximate value of vintage NFL jerseys if put up for auction.

C. If you are fairly certain that you know what you own, a much simpler route for finding out what it’s worth is good old Ebay. You could search Ebay’s archives of items that have been sold or posted for sale over the years, or you could actually put your item up for sale. One idea would be to put your item up for sale with a quite high reserve price – that way you wouldn’t risk selling it for a price lower than you expected it was worth, while at the same time learning what a going price seems to be. To me it’s an incredibly efficient way of determining the current value, and very hard to argue with the result even if you might be somewhat unpleasantly surprised.


Source of info #4: Official NFL Jersey Supplier History

Sometimes it’s helpful/useful for people to know who the “official” manufacturer of NFL jerseys was in a given year/era in terms of being able to determine what season their jersey is from. The following list is far from perfect, but it’s a start of an “Official NFL Jersey Supplier History”. If you have additional information or conflicting info, please share it with me and I’d be happy to continually update this “list”.

Please note: Most of this history came from this Dec 2007 Sports Collector’s Digest article

I have been hoping that our friends from Wikipedia would take on the task of creating a Wikipedia entry on the Official NFL Jersey Supplier History, much like they have for the NHL uniform, but no-one seems to have yet tackled this project. Any takers?

Here's a start:

Prior to 1970: Different NFL teams had contracts with different manufacturers for their jerseys – no league-wide agreements.

1970-ish - 1990-ish: Sand-Knit (Medalist Sand-Knit until 1984 and then MacGregor Sand-Knit starting in 1985)

1991-ish - 2000:  Largely Sand-Knit and Russell Athletic, but the 1990’s saw a wide array of suppliers and tagging styles where NFL jerseys were concerned. Depending on the team and year, the list of NFL jersey suppliers was not exclusive to Sand-Knit and Russell Athletic. Other providers on an individual team basis were: Champion, Starter, Logo Athletic, Wilson, Puma, Nike, Reebok, adidas and Apex.

2001 - 2011: Reebok (Keep in mind that Adidas bought Reebok in 2005)

2012 - Present: Nike NFL ($1.1 billion over 5 years, an average of $220m/year)

2015 - 2019: On March 16 2015 we learned that Nike and the NFL have extended their contract through 2019.


Source of info #5: Logos

- Sometimes the key to identifying a jersey or other piece of NFL equipment is to know what logo was in use in a particular season. An amazing source of information in this regard is Chris Creamer's Sports Logos - the NFL section of this incredible site can be found here.


Sports Logos has been painstakingly researched and maintained since 1997 by Chris Creamer, who is from the Greater Toronto (Canada) area. It is a remarkable effort and does a great job showing each NFL team’s primary, secondary/alternative logos and does a great job identifying the years various logos were used. Chris’ site also has some information on NFL uniform history, but I would suggest that the above mentioned Gridiron Uniform Database would be the better site to go to for uniform info.

I also find it amazing how Chris has been able to get the cooperation of most of the leagues, the NFL included – that is not an easy task and it is a testament to his hard work and dedication to doing a great, encyclopedic job. As Chris says right on his site “This site is maintained for research and historical purposes only, do not abuse it.”

The aforementioned Paul Lucas (see #2 above) wrote a nice profile piece on Chris in 2013 – find it here.



Many thanks for reading and please offer any feedback either in the Comments below or directly to me at ssillcox@rogers.com .

Thanks and happy researching!

Scott