Collector Spotlight: Dr. Greg Smalley
January 10, 2016
Dr. Greg Smalley credits his mother for inspiring him to collect vintage football equipment. As a child, Greg's mother bribed him to accompany her to antique malls and local shows with the promise of a nice lunch. Greg used to think, “Who would buy other people’s junk?” However, one day 37 years ago, he discovered an old leather football helmet and team photo from the 1920’s and thought they were the coolest things he'd ever seen. Football antiques weren’t expensive back then and his mother purchased them for him. From that point, she would buy vintage football items for Greg when she’d found them.
Greg's favorite items in his collection are a union suit he acquired at an antique show in Denver back in the early 1990’s, a batwing nose guard, a friction jersey, and a four-spoke leather helmet that his wife gave him as an anniversary gift. Greg's four-spoke is featured as our January 2016 Artifact of the Month. Greg's other favorites were items given to him by his father, a Hutch football in the original box and a football sweater with leather elbow pads and the letter “G”. Tops on his want list are a smock jacket (to go with his 1890's quilted football pants) and and a pre-1910’s turtle-neck sweater.
"I really got interested as a serious collector in my mid-twenties. I was living in Denver and going to graduate school. There were a few antique shops that specialized in vintage sporting equipment and collectibles. At the same time, my mom and dad lived in Missouri. My mom introduced me to a guy who loved football antiques and I would get things from him."