How to Protect and Display Signed Mini-Helmets
Signed mini-helmets have emerged as a very popular collectible. They are also one of the easiest items to protect and display. Collectors have lots of options when it comes to mini-helmet cases.
The popularity of mini-helmet stems from the fact that they are both cheaper and easier to display than full-sized helmets. Although they may look authentic, they are miniature and would not be able to fit any human head. This may come as a disappointment to those that plan to use them to show the football allegiances of their infant children. Nevertheless, the mini-helmets still look virtually identical to the on-field versions and normally show a good eye for detail to exterior items like the chin guard and face mask.
The first thing to decide is how you want to showcase the mini-helmet. Although there are many variations of display cases, they are almost all made of either glass or acrylic plastic for optimal viewing of the entire helmet. Next, it is a good practice to verify the size of the mini-helmet before purchasing any displays. While there is no universal size for mini-helmets, most are 1/2 scale to the real versions. For my collection, that amounts to approximate measurements of 6 inches x 5 inches x 5 inches (length x width x height).
Unless you feel confident making something yourself, it is better to go with an established brand in order to guarantee that you are properly protecting your collection. Popular options include Ultra Pro, BCW, and BallQube, but there are many others that are available.
Mini-Helmet Display Cases
The most basic case is made entirely of plastic and features two interlocking pieces that combine to encase the helmet. These cases are very reasonably priced. Also, many can be stacked, which makes them a great option for collectors with multiple mini-helmets, limited space or a limited budget. While they are popular for the previously listed reasons, common complaints revolve around cracking and scratching of the plastic over time.
Depending on the location of your man cave or, in my case, man shelf, it may be a good idea to splurge a little and get a case that features UV protection. Nothing is more disappointing than a treasured autograph that fades over time due to exposure to regular sun or bright lights. The cost is generally just a few more dollars and could prove to be a very useful upgrade.
More expensive versions consist of the same basic design but feature mirrors for added viewing angles. They also have more ornate bases, such as wood or granite. Some cases are further customized with a team logo or a team color scheme. The higher end items also tend to be made out of glass and should feature UV protection. Again, the key here is determining your particular needs. Protection is important but if you are spending more on the display case than the value of the helmet and signature, you might be going a little overboard.
Lastly, there are cases that can hold multiple mini-helmets or additional items alongside the mini-helmets. These are nice when you have the space and want to pay homage to a particular team or player. Since they are a less common item, and possibly custom made, they tend to be expensive.
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