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Texas resident owns iconic Packers memorabilia collection

By Greg Bates

GRAPEVINE, Texas – When the Green Bay Packers played in Super Bowl XLV, fans flocked to Dallas to partake in the festivities.

One stop Packers buses hit was downtown Grapevine – a suburb of Dallas – where fans inquired about how to get to Glen Christensen’s house.

“It gets crazy when there’s a Packers game down here because there will be people showing up at my gate asking to see my Packers collection,” Christensen said.

If you’re a Packers fan, Christensen’s collection is one of the most magnificent sights in the world.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say it rivals the Packers Hall of Fame.

Christensen, who is a Green Bay native, is selective in who enters his house because his collection is valuable and rare, but he isn’t shy about showing off his memorabilia.

“The fun part is in the display aspect of it for me,” Christensen, who owns Craftmark, a printing business in Fort Worth, Texas, said. “I’ve tried to make it look like a museum. I love people appreciate that. I try to do it as a historical situation where I’ve got it assembled the way I’d like to see it if I was looking at it. I’ve loved putting this together over the years. It’s hard to believe it’s been 26 years since I started it.”

Christensen has two rooms for a massive collection.

The main room is dedicated to vintage items of former Packers legends.

To add a museum touch, Christensen handmade a set of six wooden lockers with nameplates of his childhood heroes: Jerry Kramer, Donny Anderson, Ray Nitschke, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor and Bart Starr.

The lockers feature autographed jerseys of each player, signed footballs, helmets and game-used cleats of some of the Packers’ greats.

“As I collected, I looked for items that would go in their locker – certainly some of the first things I looked for were jerseys,” Christensen said. “Back then, there wasn’t eBay or anything, so lots of it I got signed in person. I’d go to card shows or signings. That filled up those spaces. Then I went on to get helmets. Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to find game-used helmets of many of the players and game jerseys.”

A couple of the highlights in the lockers include Starr’s cold-weather sweater he worn on the sideline.

Christensen got it signed by Starr.

Also, Nitschke’s player contract from 1968 graces the former linebacker’s locker.

It’s signed by Nitschke and Coach Vince Lombardi.

Christensen’s collection is jam-packed with Packers’ goodies.

Some of his most impressive items come from Super Bowls and NFL championship games.

A few years ago, Christensen got acquainted with a son of a former Green Bay Packers’ assistant equipment manager, who shared tales from the Lombardi days.

“He and his brothers worked for the Packers, I think for a dollar a game,” Christensen said. “They would be runners and would help on the sideline. There were six game balls for the championship for the Ice Bowl and the ’65 championship. Green Bay Packers balls were extremely sought-after back then. At the end of the game, (the brothers’) job was specific: grab every ball, get it in this bag and lock it up in dad’s office. That’s what happened. They gathered the six balls and put them in the bag.”

A few days after the Ice Bowl at Lambeau Field Dec. 31, 1967, the dad brought the balls into a shop to get them inscribed.

The balls read: “N.F.L. Champs” on the top line.

Below it, it said: “1967.”

The last line: “Packers 21, Cowboys 17.”

One of those rare footballs was given to the Packers’ assistant equipment manager.

Fast forward 52 years to 2019, and the son moved to Dallas, and he and Christensen got in touch.

Christensen worked out a deal – the most he’s ever spent on an item for his collection – to purchase the football.

“I know of only two that are in existence, and one is pretty well locked up at the Packers Hall of Fame,” Christensen said. “Being a collector of memorabilia and a historian, I’ve frequented the Hall of Fame for years, and I’d always look at that Ice Bowl ball and say, ‘Oh my God. That’s just a dream. Nobody would ever have that.’”

At Super Bowl XLV, Christensen tracked down his next rare treasure.

He attended the Packers-Pittsburgh Steelers game with his son.

The pair had seats in the end zone where the Packers had their nickname painted.

When safety Nick Collins raced back his pick-6 and knelt on top of the “P” in the end zone, Christensen knew he needed to have that section of the end zone.

Over the next few days, Christensen was successful in tracking down and purchasing a 10-foot by 10-foot chunk of the “P” on Packers.

“I can’t tell you how many people flip out that I have the end zone to a Super Bowl in there,” Christensen said. “The true, hardcore Packers fans will get down on their knees and kiss it. I never say a word until they get up, and I remind them how many times players spit in the end zone. It’s still full of all the rubber pellets. It weighs about 350 or 400 pounds. It took five guys to carry it up the steps into my game room.”

The turf is on the floor of his modern-day locker room.

When Christensen’s son, Tom, went off to college, Dad decided to make his kid’s adjoining room into an extended Packers’ shrine.

It became his new locker room, dedicated to recent and current players.

Christensen again constructed lockers, this time looking nearly identical to the ones currently used by players at Lambeau Field.

There are eight locker stalls: Brett Favre, Reggie White, Ahman Green, Dave Robinson (the exception to the modern-day player), Donald Driver, Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.

Similar to the vintage lockers in his other room, Christensen has every locker room packed with the player’s signed jersey and helmet.

Some lockers have the player’s shoes and/or signed footballs.

Christensen owns an exquisite item from Favre.

He has the coat the Hall of Fame quarterback wore on the field after the Packers downed the Carolina Panthers in the NFC championship game to advance to Super Bowl XXXI.

At the bottom of the coat near the zipper the No. 4 is sewn.

The Favre coat is great, but it’s hard to beat a camelhair, tailor-made coat of Lombardi’s Christensen purchased.

On a tag on the inside of the coat names the Green Bay tailor who designed it, along with Lombardi’s name and the date 11/7/1966.

Another few great Ice Bowl pieces in Christensen’s collection is one of the goal line markers, a big plywood G helmet that was around the fencing of Lambeau Field and a piece of red, white and blue bunting that hung on the fencing and was signed by Starr.

Another item owned by Christensen is one of the Packers’ benches used in the Ice Bowl.

He said there are only two or three that exist – one is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The guy who had the bench was at the Ice Bowl with his dad and brother, and when the game ended, he jumped the fence and ran onto the field.

“They looked for anything to grab, like everybody was,” Christensen said.

Christensen said he isn’t exactly sure how many items he has on display, but he’d guess a couple thousand is fairly accurate.

“It’s mind-blogging, especially when I give a tour to friends or relatives who come into town,” Christensen said. “I start looking it over and say, ‘My God, I don’t remember half the stuff I have in here.’ It’s awesome to see the look on their faces when they look at the collection. I’m in my own world here. When I see people’s reaction to the collection, I realize this is more special than I ever give it credit for.”

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