Valuable Chicago Bears sports collectibles include gum cards, championship rings, football programs, advertising broadsides, George Halas signed letters, game-used jerseys and memorabilia from Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka and Dick Butkus.
The Chicago Bears is one of the National Football League's fabled franchises. They began as the Decatur (Illinois) Staleys in 1919, a football team founded by the A.E. Staley food starch company. In 1920, George Halas and Edward "Dutch" Sternaman were brought in to run the team, eventually taking full control one year later and moving the franchise to the Windy City where they later became the Chicago Bears.
A charter member of the National Football League, the Chicago Bears have won eight NFL championships and one Super Bowl to date, the latter coming in 1986. The Bears boast of 26 primary players who have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio – the most of any franchise – including such legends as Harold "Red" Grange, George Halas, Bronko Nagurski, Sid Luckman, Bulldog Turner, Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Doug Atkins, Walter Payton, Mike Ditka, Bill George and Mike Singletary.
Here are ten valuable Chicago Bears football collectibles. Da Bears rule!
John Sisk Chicago Bears 1933 Championship Ring
On December 17, 1933, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants 23-21 in the first ever NFL Championship Game. Coached by George Halas, the Bears squad included Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski. A 10K gold championship ring was awarded to every member of that winning team, with one well-worn example once belonging to star halfback John "Big Train" Sisk selling at auction for $8,120.
John Sisk Chicago Bears 1933 NFL ring $8,120 - Robert Edward Auctions, LLC
John Kreamcheck 1953 Bowman Football Card Original Artwork
The original artwork rendered for Chicago Bear John Kreamcheck for the 1953 Bowman football card series sold at auction for $587.50. Included with the artwork was a card as regularly issued by Bowman.
Bowman 1953 football original art $587.50 - Robert Edward Auctions, LLC
Red Grange 1933 Sport Kings Gum Card #4
Harold "Red" Grange, who played his collegiate ball at Illinois before heading to the pros, where he became a star running back most notably for the Chicago Bears, graces this 1933 Sport Kings card. In SGC 88 near mint/mint 8 condition, it brought $3,819 at auction.
Red Grange 1933 Sports Kings $3,819 - Robert Edward Auctions, LLC
Gale Sayers 1960s Game-Used Jersey
Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers, who played his collegiate ball at Kansas, was one of Chicago's greatest running backs. A Chicago Bears #40 road jersey worn by Sayers in the middle to late 1960s sold at auction for $10,157.50.
Gale Sayers #40 road jersey $10,157.50 - Heritage Auction Galleries
Dick Butkus 1966 Philadelphia Gum Rookie Card
Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, who played for the Fighting Illini during his collegiate days, is synonymous with hard-nosed Chicago Bears football. Butkus' rookie card #31 from the 1966 Philadelphia Gum series in PSA near mint-mint 8 condition brought a top bid of $776.75 at auction.
Dick Butkus 1966 Philadelphia Gum #31 $776.75 - Heritage Auction Galleries
Walter Payton 1976 Topps Rookie Card
The late, great Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton (1954-1999) – "Sweetness" to his legion of fans – played his collegiate ball at Jackson State. Former Bears head coach Mike Ditka called Payton the greatest football player he had ever seen. Payton's 1976 Topps rookie card #148 in PSA near mint-mint 8 condition sold at auction for $203.15.
Walter Payton 1976 Topps #148 $203.15 - Heritage Auction Galleries
Chicago Bears vs. Old Style Lagers 1934 Program
On September 12, 1934, in Winona, Minnesota, the Chicago Bears played the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Old Style Lagers in an exhibition game. The Bears defeated the Lagers, a Tri-State Football League team sponsored by G. Heileman Brewing Company, 25-0. A rare program from that game, featuring Bears running back Jack "Automatic Jack" Manders on the cover, fetched $448.13 at auction.
Bears vs. Lagers 1934 football program $448.13 - Heritage Auction Galleries
Chicago Bears vs. Cleveland Bulldogs 1931 Broadside
This 8x10-inch broadside touts the September 18, 1931, game pitting the Bears vs. the Cleveland Bull Dogs at Loyola Stadium. Featured are two of Chicago's superstars at the time, Red Grange and Bronko Nagurski. This rare paper treasure sold at auction for $657.25.
Bears vs Bulldogs 1931 advertising broadside $657.25 - Heritage Auction Galleries
George Halas Signed Letter
George "Papa Bear" Halas (1895-1983), often called the "Father of the National Football League," not only played for the Chicago Bears but also owned the team and served as longtime head coach. A 1950 letter on Bears stationery signed by Halas brought $143.40 at auction.
"Papa Bear " Halas 1950 signed letter $143.40 - Heritage Auction Galleries
Mike Ditka 1962 Topps Rookie Card
"Iron Mike" Ditka, who not only played tight end for the Bears from 1961-66 but led them to victory as head coach in 1986's Super Bowl XX, played his collegiate ball at Pittsburgh. Ditka's 1962 Topps card #17 in PSA near mint 7 condition sold at auction for $193.59.
"Iron Mike" Ditka 1962 Topps $193.59 - Heritage Auction Galleries
- Collection of six Chicago Bears football programs from 1956-57 $131.45 - Heritage Auction Galleries