ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – In 1965, a legendary Buffalo Bills collection began.
That year, when he was just eight years old, Elmira native Greg Tranter went to his first Buffalo Bills game. He saved the game program, the ticket stub. And, the rest was and is history. Tranter, who now lives in Massachusetts, is recognized for having the world’s largest collection of Bills merchandise and memorabilia.
Over 60 years later, Tranter’s collection has surpassed 110,000 items. A number that may never be matched or surpassed even by the most hardcore Bills fans on the planet. An accomplished author and historian in football, Tranter donated his massive collection to the Buffalo History Museum to be displayed for all fans and non-fans alike to enjoy.
The now retired executive at Hanover Insurance believes there is no better way than to share the collection than with those who truly appreciate it. For decades, Tranter has simply chased Buffalo Bills merchandise no matter where it can be found.
“Garage sales, flea markets, other people’s houses. Shops, a Wal-Mart, Targets, those types of places,” Tranter said. “I built a strong network of people so if they ran across stuff they would call me.”
Tranter, a longtime season ticket holder for Buffalo Bills games, has even been to all four Super Bowl’s that the acclaimed teams of the 1990’s made consecutively. And although the dream item would be actually winning a Super Bowl as a loyal Bills fan, Tranter has one special helmet that continues to add special meaning to the collection.
“Scott Norwood’s helmet that he wore in Super Bowl XXV,” said Tranter. “Arguably, it’s one of the most iconic objects in Super Bowl history because it’s the only Super Bowl that was won or lost on a single play,” added Tranter.
The Bills lost Super Bowl XXV in 1991 after Norwood missed a game-winning field goal attempt in the final seconds ultimately falling to the Giants 20-19. From there, the Bills proceeded to drop the next three Super Bowls to Washington and then two straight times to the Dallas Cowboys.
Tranter, like most Bills fans around the world, hopes that this year is truly the year they can win it all. Buffalo plays in the AFC Divisional Round this Sunday at 3 pm when they host the Cincinnati Bengals.