Collecting Evel Knievel Memorabilia
Evel Knievel memorabilia is still reasonably priced and easy to find for the collector. Since his death in November of 2007, the popularity of the motorcyclist's collectibles has skyrocketed.
Robert Becomes Evel
Evel Knievel actually was given the nickname, Evel, while he was in jail. A guard began calling him that when it was noted that he was in a cell next to an inmate that was known as Awful Knofel.
Inspired in Childhood
Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel was born in Butte, Montana on October 17, 1938. His parents divorced a few years later and the paternal grandparents raised their children. At the age of eight, he was taken to an auto daredevil show that, as he said later, inspired him to become a daredevil himself.
Knievel Begins His Career
After quitting school in the tenth grade, Knievel got a job with a mining company. The position ended quickly when he made an earthmover do a wheelie and drove into the main power line for the city of Butte, leaving the entire area without electricity for hours.
Evel searched endlessly for an adrenalin rush, participating in rodeos, ski-jumping events, and finally joining the Army. After leaving the military Knievel spent years involved in shady business ventures. He hired himself out as a hunting guide, a job which ended abruptly when it was discovered he was poaching animals in Yellowstone National Park. The daredevil almost created an international incident when he cheated the Czechoslovakian Olympic Hockey team out of funds. At last, Evel Knievel, remembering the thrill of the auto show he had witnessed as a child, decided he could do his own show and began to promote himself. Over time, he promoted the image he had created with licensed toys, clothing, books, movies, and television spots.
One of America's Premier Daredevils
Evel Knievel is one of America's premier daredevils. Best known for his failed jump across the Snake River Canyon in 1974, Knievel's gravity defying motorcycle stunts kept spectators breathlessly on the edge of their seats throughout the 1970s. His televised jumps represent one-fifth of the most watched events on ABC's Wide World of Sports. With fans clamoring for more, Warner Brothers introduced him to the silver screen with two movies,Evel Knievel starring George Hamilton, and Viva Knievel, starring Evel as himself.
Places to Visit
- Butte Montana hosts Evel Knievel Days in July. For 2008, the dates are July 24-26. It is a great time to pick up Knievel memorabilia.
- Great images of memorabilia displayed in Butte are on the Knievel Days website.
- The Piccadilly Museum in Butte has a large selection of fascinating items.
- The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. displays memorabilia along with his motorcycle in its Museum of American History Smithsonian Legacies Exhibit.
Types of Evel Knievel Memorabilia
Evel Knievel fans' desire for more of him created a huge demand for toys and products bearing his name. Some of the more popular collectible toys available to the daredevil's young fans were:
- Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle
- Action figures
- Topps sports cards
- Lunch boxes
- Pinball machines
Items that are harder to find but very much in demand are:
- Evel Knievel Halloween costumes
- Evel Knievel AMF bikes
- Helmets and clothing that he wore during jumps and events
ephemera Is Collectible
ephemera are paper collectibles, items that under normal circumstances would have been considered trash. Some fans kept ticket stubs and other items stored away in memory of a special moment. During the height of Evel Knievel's popularity, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine, and there are numerous autographed items available from pictures, to vintage posters and other magazine covers. These are increasing in value rapidly as collectors snatch them up. Collectible ephemera include:
- Ticket stubs
- Magazines and magazine covers
- Newspaper articles
When buying any type of memorabilia check for authenticity. Ask for a Certificate of Authenticity, also known as a CoA. This is a guarantee that the item you are buying is authentic. When collecting anything it is important to learn as much as you can about the items so that you can tell the difference between real and fake. Autographs are easy to copy and they are some of the most misrepresented collectibles in any genre. A collectible price guide like Kovels will help you learn more about the items you plan to collect and what average prices are for each.
Sources Online for Evel Knievel Memorabilia
The Legend Lives On
The death of Evel Knievel brought about the end of an era. To his many fans, he symbolized the characteristics of freedom and courage, allowing them to live their fantasies vicariously through him. Collecting Evel Knievel items helps them to stay connected to him. His legacy of pushing the boundaries lives on, however. In honor of the motorcycle daredevil, Six Flags of St Louis will open a new wooden roller coaster, aptly named, Evel Knievel. No doubt, for those that dare to attempt it, the memory of that ride will be the best memorabilia of all. .