Eli Manning’s SB XLII helmet up for auction

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One of the main pieces of evidence in the Eli Manning memorabilia fraud lawsuit that led to an undisclosed settlement is heading to the auction block.

Manning’s helmet used in Super Bowl XLII, the game in which the underdog New York Giants upset the 18-0 New England Patriots to win the title, will be auctioned off by Goldin Auctions.

“This is a very significant piece,” said Goldin Auctions president Ken Goldin. “Bidding for this will definitely surpass $130,000.”

If it does, it will be the highest-priced football helmet sold at auction.

A helmet worn by Rudy Ruettiger while at Notre Dame sold last year for $126,500.

The highest-priced Super Bowl helmet sold at auction was the one worn by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison in Super Bowl XLIII, when he had his record-breaking 100-yard interception return. That sold for $53,775 in 2012.

The Manning helmet was purchased by collector Eric Inselberg, who said he bought it from Giants equipment manager Joe Skiba. When Inselberg saw that the Giants were saying another helmet, donated to a museum in New York and later lent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was in fact Manning’s helmet in the February 2008 game, he realized he had a lawsuit on his hands.

Inselberg in the lawsuit — which was settled in May, right before the trial was to commence — alleged that the Giants ordered the second Manning helmet to be manufactured for the museums.

Goldin is providing photomatching from two companies — MeiGray and Resolution Photomatching — which states that the helmet bought and now being sold by Inselberg matches the photos of the helmet in all quarters of Super Bowl XLII. The Giants, in deposition for the case, had claimed that photomatching was unreliable.

Two other helmets marketed as game-used purchased by Inselberg and two other Giants collectors — who joined him in suing the team, its equipment staff and Steiner Sports, the company Manning has a memorabilia deal with — could not be matched to any games that season, the plaintiffs alleged.

Once the Pro Football Hall of Fame became aware that the Super Bowl XLII helmet they had was in dispute, the description on the website changed from a helmet Manning wore in that Super Bowl to just a Manning-worn helmet.

Inselberg could not be reached for comment.

Bidding on the helmet begins on Goldin’s website on Monday morning and ends in a live auction at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland on Aug. 2.

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