Spring Premier Auction 2019

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/27/2019

ADDENDUM: More details about photo-match added to description below in bold. New photos have been added to more clearly identify the match.

Antonio Gates' path to greatness could not be a more unlikely story. He did not even play football in college. Instead, he starred on the basketball court at Kent State, leading the 10th-seeded Golden Knights to an incredible Elite Eight "Cindarella" run in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. At 6' 4" and 250 lbs. he was considered a "tweener" by NBA scouts, so he instead opted to try out for the NFL. The San Diego Chargers took one look at him at a private workout in 2003 and signed him immediately. 16 seasons later, Gates stands as the franchise's all-time leader in receptions (955), touchdown catches (116), and receiving yards (11,841). No tight end in NFL history has more TD grabs. When he finally decides to hang 'em up, Gates won't have to wait longer than the minimum five years before his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Featured here is Antonio's game used helmet from the 2008 season. The Chargers won the AFC West division and kncoked off Peyton Manning's Colts in the first round of the playoffs before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Steelers. Gates wore this helmet the entire season, including both playoff games. The consignor is one of the most passionate and knowledgeable San Diego Chargers collectors in the hobby. He has included an 8x10 photo from the season that clearly matches this offered specimen, especially by the facemask. The game photo was taken early in the season so there weren't as many gashes on the bars than are present now after a full season of use. You can cleary match one severe gash mark on the upper bar (second from top) left of the middle. Other marks on the shell and mask got more pronouned throughout the 2008 season. Additional digital images are also posted to verify the photo-match, one before Gates and LT are about to come out of the tunnel before the Bolts-Colts 1/3/2009 playoff game that shows the decal placement on the rear in matching alignment. Other game images show the placement of the Bolt decals on the shell starting in matching locations on the forehead.

The white shell, speckled with a ton of scratches and contact marks, has the Bolts logo decal on each side with a Riddell sticker over the forehead. The rear has Gates' No. "85" decals with the NFL shield sticker, the black "GU 63" memorial decal (in honor of longtime NFLPA head Gene Upshaw who passed Aug. '08), the USA flag and warning label. A "CHARGERS" labeled neck pad is present along with both ear pads and all internal cushioning. A "Recertified 2008" sticker is affixed on the interior as is the Riddell size "Large" sticker. The blue facemask is the same one Gates used all season long, marked and nicked on the bars from severe game contact. The white chinstrap shows significant wear as well. An important note is that the chinstrap now present is the same one added after the regular season and used for the two playoff games.Gates was apparently using a different chinstrap with this helmet in the regular season.

This is the first legitimate Antonio Gates game helmet we've ever come across as well as the only gamer offered publicly to our knowledge. Rare and one-of-a-kind do not do it justice.

Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $1,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,396
Number Bids: 4
Auction closed on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
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