Cincinnati Bengals Memorabilia Buying Guide

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Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals enjoy purchasing and displaying memorabilia of the team. Whether it is an autographed full-sized helmet or a T-shirt from a 1981 Super Bowl game, there are many items that Bengals fans can collect, including apparel, trading cards, and helmets. Memorabilia that comes from the team’s successful years tends to be more valuable, and items associated with famous Bengals players are more sought-after than other items. It is important for any buyer to know about the team, the players, and the types of memorabilia available and where to find it.

Overview of the Cincinnati Bengals

Founded in 1966, the Bengals started out as a strong team, always offering a good fight on the field, breaking many records, and with many teammates winning awards. The team has never taken the Super Bowl, although they did meet up against the 49ers at Super Bowls XVI and XXIII in 1981 and 1988 after winning the Division Playoffs both years. The span of time between both of these Super Bowls are considered the strongest ones for the team, and memorabilia from these years is sought after by fans. This era of growing strength during the 1980s was followed by 14 years of below-average playing. Nine of the years between 1988 and 2002 the team ended the season with 10 or more losses. Three years during this span, the Cincinnati Bengals had the worst record in the league.

All of this downfall came after the controlling interest of the team passed from the team’s first head coach, Paul Brown, to his son, Mike Brown, upon his father’s death in 1990. Many people mark this transfer of power as the point when the team began to flounder.

Paul Brown, the coach who built the team up and the owner who oversaw the team in years of victory, is well regarded. He had a policy of choosing players with above-average intelligence and several of his picks have led successful careers in broadcasting and commentary after leaving the field. Many fans are interested in memorabilia from these high-profile players.

In 2003, the Cincinnati Bengals hired Marvin Lewis as head coach. Under Lewis, and with draft picks like star quarterback Carson Palmer, the team began to strengthen. Since 2003, the team has not won a playoff again, but in contrast to ending as the lowest ranked team for three years out of the previous 14, the team has built itself up enough to earn a wild card playoff spot three times between 2003 and 2012.

Whether winning or losing, it does not matter for the die hard fans of the Cincinnati Bengals. Knowing that the team could be top contenders at any minute keeps the Bengals fans eager for memorabilia.

Important Players in Cincinnati Bengals History

Over the years, several Cincinnati Bengals players have stood out as stellar members of the NFL. Memorabilia items connected with such players are among the most collected items by the majority of Bengals fans. These items are generally considered more valuable, but it is important to make sure that the item is authentic before purchasing.

The players whose memorabilia is often collected are Anthony Munoz and Charlie Joiner, who both played for the team and have made their way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In each of the years that the team made it to the Super Bowl, the NFL honored a Bengals teammate as Most Valuable Player; Ken Anderson in 1981 and Boomer Esiason in 1988. Paul Robinson, Greg Cook, Eddie Brown, and Carl Pickens were each honored as Rookie of the Year, and items from their rookie seasons are some of the more sought after. Also, Bob Johnson’s number, 54, has been retired, which makes items displaying his number more valuable.

Any item that is connected to a player who has made a great contribution to the team is likely to be more valuable than other items. Many fans who collect Cincinnati Bengals memorabilia are thrilled to get their hands on such items when the item’s connection to the player can be authenticated. The condition of these items also plays a part in determining their value, so a wise collector should take measures to ensure that the item is displayed in a way that protects it from aging.

Cincinnati Bengals Apparel Memorabilia

For any true fan, team apparel, including hats, jerseys, and shirts have always been very popular items to own. It is no different for the Cincinnati Bengals fan, who is thrilled to display team color and spirit by wearing an article of clothing that shows it off. These items have differing values, depending on whether they are authentic team apparel or souvenir items marketed by any number of manufacturers.

For Bengals fans, owning and wearing anything that helps them show team spirit is the most important part of any casual outfit. When it comes to collecting and owning true memorabilia items, however, it is the authentic jerseys and commemorative apparel items that truly represent value. These items can be worn, but they are often so impressive to own that they are most often framed and displayed as room decor.

The team uniform has changed over the years, and a Bengals enthusiast who is after authentic memorabilia apparel should educate himself on the changes over the years to ensure that these apparel items are genuine. Authentic apparel utilizes the orange black and white colors that are known to represent the Cincinnati Bengals. The original helmet was a solid orange, but in 1981 several changes to the uniform resulted in the team's current tiger striped helmet as well as other tiger striped areas on the uniform.

A fan who is after apparel memorabilia that is connected to a specific game, season, or era should study the specific characteristics of the uniform for that time period. By knowing exactly what the uniform should look like, it is much more likely to purchase an authentic memorabilia item.

Cincinnati Bengals Collector Trading Cards

For many fans and memorabilia collectors, team trading cards are often one of the popular items to collect. With the Cincinnati Bengals, some of the most valuable cards are from the 1980s during the years that the team experienced most success. Cards that commemorate the team’s competition with the 49ers in the two Super Bowls they played in during this period are prized over others. Cards from the years since they have been experiencing a growing strength (from 2003 and later) also have more value.

Generally speaking, trading cards that commemorate key events or high-profile players, especially high-profile players in key events, are considered the most valuable to own. If the specific card was overproduced and not difficult to locate, the value diminishes. These items are still appreciated by many fans because of the importance they represent, but items that are rarer are always considered more valuable and command a higher price. Cards from the years when the team was not performing optimally are often not considered as valuable, although there are always exceptions connected with certain players.

Cards that are purchased because of their worth should be treated with care. It is important that they remain pristine and in an enclosed case so no damage can come to the corners or around the edges. The most valuable cards are best kept untouched, displayed out of direct sunlight, and encased in a protective sleeve.

Cincinnati Bengals Helmets

Another memorabilia item for fans of the Cincinnati Bengals is a helmet displayed to really show off the owner’s team spirit. Some of these helmets are simply memorabilia items that were produced and marketed just for fans to purchase, use, and display (although, most are not intended for actual protection). Some helmets, though, are connected to an important game, year, or valuable player. These often have an autograph on the helmet and typically come in two main versions: mini helmets and full - sized helmets.

It is important when collecting any autographed memorabilia to be sure to verify that the autograph is genuine and that the item does deserve the added value (and higher price) that the autograph gives it. While most full-sized helmets have not been produced with an autograph printed on them, it is relatively common for commemorative mini helmets to include the pre printed autograph of a high profile player. This does not mean that every autographed mini helmet does not have an authentic autograph, but it does mean that extra care should be taken to ensure the autograph is an original and not a preprint.

Check to see if an identical item can be found. If another item can be found that has the same signature, in the same location, it is likely that the autograph was preprinted on the helmet. This can make it a bit more valuable, as it was produced specifically to commemorate the player, but it is not as valuable as a helmet with a genuine signature on it.

Third-party authentication services can help buyers determine whether or not an autograph is authentic. Typically, these services require a fee, and some sellers may be willing to cover this fee in order to make a sale.

Where to Find Cincinnati Bengals Memorabilia

The best way to find authentic Cincinnati Bengals memorabilia items is at the stadium on game day. Of course, the older memorabilia is not as readily found this way, so a fan who is after vintage items has a better chance of locating key items online by looking at sports memorabilia sites and auctions sites, such as eBay. Hunting on auction sites often has the advantage of finding many more items more quickly than searching physical shops, flea markets, or yard sales. Also, when the purchase has been carefully examined to show that it is an authentic piece of memorabilia, there are some real bargains to be had through auctions.

Buying Cincinnati Bengals Memorabilia on eBay

eBay has organized sports memorabilia items in a way that helps the fan to quickly locate what he is looking for. While a keyword search for Cincinnati Bengals through All Categories returns a large number of listing, when looking for a certain type of item, it is more advisable to start in the Sports Memorabilia, Cards, & Fan Shop. There, the Cincinnati Bengals memorabilia is divided into subcategories in order to narrow the listings down to the memorabilia item the fan is after. Cards, Fan Apparel & Souvenirs, Vintage Sports Memorabilia, Autographs, and Game Used Memorabilia are some of the subcategories that make finding select items easier.


The Cincinnati Bengals have not always performed well compared to other NFL football teams, but this fact does not stop fans from cheering them on. Team enthusiasts are thrilled to take every opportunity to show their team spirit by owning and displaying Cincinnati Bengals Memorabilia from past years as well as items from the current season.

These collectors can own Cincinnati Bengals trading cards, game used items, and memorabilia helmets. Among the favorite memorabilia items for any fan to own are apparel items that easily show who the fan is rooting for. These shirts, hats, and jerseys help the fans of the Cincinnati Bengals to display their loyalty by presenting the tell-tale orange, black, and white colors for all the world to see on game day. More discerning collectors may opt for hard-to-find autographed items from the team’s successful playoff years. Either way, fans can easily find Bengals memorabilia online.

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