The Collection that Got Me Writing

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autographed 1965 topps buck buchanan

#094 – Buck Buchanan

One of the initial reasons that I began writing this blog was that I wanted an outlet for sharing my collection of autographed AFL trading cards.  My collection began several years ago, when I purchased a lot of autographed San Diego-related baseball and football memorabilia from the 1960s, that included a partially autographed 1963 Fleer football set.  I immediately fell in love with that set, and it soon became evident to me that completing it (and eventually the other AFL sets) in autographed form would be the focus of my collections for the forseeable future.

The process of building that collection has brought me closer to the AFL that I would have imagined.  In purchasing raw cards, tracking down former players, writing letters and looking for previously signed cards, I was forced to learn about the athletes featured on these little pieces of cardboard.  Where did they grow up?  Where did they attend college?  How long was their career?  What did they do after retiring from the game?  Are they still living, or did they pass away at an early age?  I asked all of these questions, and many more, to glean information on a great many of the players featured in this collection.  And like any meaningful hobby, this collection has brought me joy.  It has been a source of frustration.  At times it has provided some mental challenge, and though I have yet to actually complete a set, it has given me a sense of accomplishment to get as far along as I have.

Last night I finished uploading the regular issue sets into a new gallery titled Autographed AFL Trading Card Sets.  I encourage you to spend some time looking through the gallery.  Take a look at the 1963 Fleer set, my favorite of all.  Then check out 1965 Topps, which has the Joe Namath rookie card.  Maybe jump over to the 1960 Fleer set, which was released so early in the season that nearly a third of the players featured had been cut by the time the cards were released, and thus never actually played in an AFL game.  There are interesting cards, photos, and stories throughout the gallery.

It is my hope that the gallery will serve multiple purposes.  For AFL fans, I hope that viewing the cards brings back memories of childhood, purchasing packs of trading cards from your neighborhood market, and perhaps getting them signed while attending a game.  For collectors, I would like the scanned cards to serve as autograph exemplars that people can refer to before purchasing autographed items of their own.  For former players I hope that his collection proves that their efforts on a football field some 50 years ago have not been forgotten, and still draw the admiration and respect of fans to this day.  For me, it allows me to show off a bit, and share something that I enjoy very much, with people across the country.

So grab a cool drink, maybe a bag of chips, and take a look at some cards.  I think that you will find it to be time well-spent.

Todd Tobias (788 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

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3 Responses to The Collection that Got Me Writing

  1. Jim says:

    Recently discovered this website and really enjoy it. Although I’m from Massachusetts, I’ve always been a Chagers fan. Back when every kid was an NFL fan, I was strictly an AFL guy. Went out to San Diego the very first time, the weekend they retired Lance’s number(2005). One of the greatest days of my life. Needless to say he was my idol. As a high school principal, his picture hangs in my office. I now go out once a year to catch a game. Really enjoyed Charging Through the AFL. Keep up the good work. Jim

    • Todd Tobias says:

      Hi Jim-

      Thank you for the kind words about my book and the site. Both have been a joy to produce. Lance is a great guy to have as a childhood idol. He was a fantastic player, and is a top-notch guy. I was also at the game when they retired his number. It was a great occasion, and something that I won’t soon forget.

      Thanks, Todd

      • Jim says:

        Will be out for the Kansas City game, Nov.1st. I remember as a kid waiting for him to walk off the field, after playing(nd beating) the Patriots. Once at Boston College and once at Harvard. I had his autograph for years until my daughter, who was about three at the time, ripped it up! I couldn’t get mad at her.

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