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Odell Beckham, Jr. craze develops collectibles market

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Newest Browns member has created lots of buzz with fans and collectors.

One thing for certain: Browns fans know how to show their team spirit.

At every home or away game, you can spot the bright orange that is unmistakable Cleveland Browns faithful. From hats to shirts to jackets, if you are at a game, you gotta be sporting your team’s emblems in order to show support.

And now that the Browns have accumulated a large amount of talent on a club that has been down for so long, it is only natural to celebrate with more clothing and collectibles to show off the team’s enthusiasm.

And front and center to all this emotion and fervor are two young superstars: quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.

There are a few companies that have gone out-of-their-way to produce products and collectibles that will display the excitement and devotion of that special moment while capturing that twinkling for all time.

The Highland Mint has two new products that are rather high-end, but very special.

The first is a specially-framed action print with minted commemorative coin. The 8”x10” print displays Beckham, Jr. in his new Cleveland Browns uniform with his name and new team imprinted along with the Browns helmet. Also, in full view displays that the piece is a limited edition run of 5,000 complete with a box which holds the numbered print.

The print is then double-matted and inserted into an elegant stained 13”x16” frame suitable for hanging or as a display on a shelf. The print is fully licensed by the NFL as well as the NFLPA and is made in the USA. The frame comes complete with a glass front while the print is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

“The Cleveland sports market is always strong and the excitement around OBJ just took it over the top,” said Vince Bohbot, executive vice president at the Highland Mint. “His move to the Browns has rejuvenated interest and deservedly so since he is so exciting to watch.”

The commemorative coin is also officially licensed, measures 39 MM in diameter and is solid bronze.

The imprint on the front side has the Browns helmet along with the stamping “Cleveland Browns Est. 1946.”

On highlandmint.com website it has a price of $59.99.

The second item from The Highland Mint is a Baker Mayfield tribute ticket display with commemorative coin. This officially licensed shelf item involves a 3 ½” by 9” vertical piece of acrylic which contains a specially printed ticket and at the bottom a custom minted 39 MM bronze coin which has the Browns helmet along with the stamping “Cleveland Browns Est. 1946” on the front with the NFL shield logo on the reverse.

The Mayfield ticket has his name with an action photo along with the Browns helmet on the card face, while the backside has bio information including the fact that he was named to the 2018 NFL All-Rookie Team. The entire acrylic setup is then inserted into a nice solid wood base and sits nicely on a desk or shelf. The acrylic sleeve is set up so that an actual game ticket can be inserted if the purchaser happened to attend a certain game deemed special and wanted a cool way to display and protect it. The Highland Mint website has this listed for $49.99.

The company actually “mints” (or “strikes”) their own coins like actual currency which makes coinage more valuable than cast coins. Prior to starting the process, all designs get approved by the licensor - which in this case is the NFL. Specific dies are prepared by hand-sculpting or laser-engraving depending on whether it will be a bust or a logo. Once the dies are polished and the coin blanks are created and cleaned, the factory can proceed to minting.

All of the products made by the Highland Mint are 100% produced in their factory and all components are made in the USA as well.

“Most fans and collectors like to display their collectibles,” Bohbot added. “We believe it’s the little things you do that make the biggest impact. Our name is on the product, so we want the leagues and players to be proud of what they see.”

Another business that has offered Cleveland Browns collectibles is FOCO. This company specializes is highly-crafted bobbleheads which make a perfect shelf piece. For Browns fans, this company has several collectibles available. There are four Odell Beckham, Jr. pieces.

The largest and most impressive bobblehead is a double-piece which features Mayfield along with Beckham, Jr. This item is constructed of resin and measures 7” at its widest point at the base by 4 3/4” deep by 7 3/4” tall.

The two athletes are standing on a grass field with Mayfield in the larger portion of a football field while OBJ is in the end zone. You can tell this because there is an actual orange end zone pylon attached on the goal line. The grass has etch-marks to heighten the appearance of real grass. Mayfield is in a throwing motion complete with football attached as his trademark wide sweat band has the words “Browns” imprinted. OBJ has his arms outstretched ready for the pass complete with his blonde locks.

The soon-to-be touchdown that unfolds in this piece must be in front of the east end zone because behind both players is a section that displays “Dawg Pound” prominently along with a mad dogface logo. Down on the grass are each player’s names along with “Cleveland Browns” and two Browns helmets.

The detail in this piece is outstanding. On each player you can see the imprint of knee and thigh pads. Mayfield is wearing a hand warmer and the football has actual dimples. Both jerseys have folds, creases and the NFL shield logo. You can see OBJ’s arm muscles whereas Mayfield is wearing eyeblack. Both player’s beards have lined hair markings and their hair has etched lines (Mayfield) or small dotted areas (OBJ).

The likeness of both athletes is impeccable.

“For the Mayfield and OBJ bobbleheads we worked with NFLPA Licensing on a number of revisions to get the likeness just right,” explained Anthony Davino, Marketing Coordinator for FOCO. “After clay molds are approved the factory sends painted photos which are also sent to the licensors for approval. Once a painted sample is approved we go to mass production.”

This dual bobblehead has a limited production of 1,008 and is fully licensed. On the foco.com website it lists for $70.00. All of the artwork is hand-painted with only a few decals attached.

OBJ is featured on another Browns stand-alone bobblehead listed for $45 while he is depicted in two other bobbleheads that feature him in a New York Football Giants uniform, one with his former quarterback Eli Manning.

It is amazing how well made these collectibles are, and the hand-painted work is precise.

“The fans and collectors who are spending the money on this type of collectible are expecting a level of quality and detail”, added Davino. “After initial artwork approval the artwork is sent to China where the 2D designs are recreated out of clay by sculptors at our factory. Those clay molds are send back to the U.S. for comments and revisions.”

One item to note on all these bobbleheads: the spring motion of the heads is excellent and not cheaply done. The problem with a lot of bobbles manufactured today is that the spring is too thin and over time the head will droop instead of bobble, which defeats the whole reason for the collectible. That does not seem to be the case with these.

So what is the allure of having Cleveland Browns collectibles that find their home on a shelf in a fan’s home?

“FOCO wants to make sure we are developing products that are unique and special - something that sets us apart from all of the other products in the market,” Davino said.

Cleveland football fan loyalists have great pride in their team as well as the best collections. Whether you sport a new ball cap with “Browns” emblazoned or a unique bobblehead for that special place in your home, being able to show the nation that your team can be the best in 2019 is important.

And if the Browns do indeed capture a division crown and have success in the playoffs, perhaps next year a Super Bowl version will become necessary and available.