Hall-O-Fame Group started back in 1992 by Michael Aston out of the back of a garage. The theory of the business was to offer quality artwork at a reasonable price. Back in 1992, the only sports artwork available were from a few artists and a 16 X 20 limited edition black and white lithograph would start at $150.00, when we first starting to sell ours, they were priced at $20.00 each. The idea was to have quality artwork at a reasonable price. It needed to be priced to be affordable for everybody with the quality of fine art.
The original four lithographs we offered were of Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount and Joe Greene by Sports Artist Michael Mellett, which was also the start of the Steelers Lithograph Collection. We had a connection with the Steelers Black & Gold Brigade and started to sell the lithographs at Steeler bars in Southern California during half time of the games. Mellett came out with a couple of more Steelers to add to the collection and we started to advertise in the Steelers Digest. With the success of the advertising and going bar-to-bar, Mellett started the Packers and Bears Lithograph Collections, which both took off like the Steelers. The criteria for the lithograph collections were originally based on teams that had their own magazines. The internet was very young and the only way to go nationwide was advertising in the team publications.
After a few years of only offering Michael Mellett lithographs we started to offer other artists, including Michael's brother James Mellett. We also started to sell other items like replica stadiums and watches, while still advertising in the team publications and driving across country to card shows.
In 1996 we purchased the domain name hofgroup.com and created our first website. You can actually see the evolution on our website by going to the http://web.archive.org/web/20090505013348/http://www.hofgroup.com/
which dates the site back to March 1997. We were one of the very early sports art/memorabilia websites on the internet. We were introduced to eBay in 1999 which allowed us to sell in a different direction, less advertising and shows, but still able to approach a nationwide customer base. Because of the high fees and low production we got away from eBay in 2007, decided to focus directly on our website. When PayPal first started off, we were one of the first 100,000 users/customers with them. We still have a copy of the thank you email stating that PayPal has reached 100,000 customers. We also received an email stating that PayPal will never charge a fee, wish I saved that. Also in 1999, we moved out of the garage and into our first warehouse which in 2002 we needed to move next door to a larger warehouse.
Over the years we offered artwork from the following artist; Michael Mellett, James Mellett, Don Leo, Ben Teeter, James Byrne, Daniel Yorke (UK), Kang Mu, Tim Cortes, Mike Petronella, Rick Rush, Jake Heglestad and Gabe Perillo. We offered photos from sports photographers/Companies; Mike Smith, Dan Walth, Photo File, Rob Arra, James Blakeway, Sports Photos Inc., Posters by Impact and Curtis Reed. We offered other memorabilia from the following companies; Zippo, Fossil, Game Time, E-Watch Factory, Geneva Watches, Sports Collectors Guild, White Mountain Puzzles, Mug World, Branding Irons, Eglomise Designs, Fan Mats, Winning Streaks and many other companies.
Now present day, if you have not noticed, a lot of the above companies and artist are no longer available on our website. We have gone back to our original philosophy which is to sell the highest quality artwork and memorabilia at the lowest prices. One of the criteria to get to our website is for us to be able to be the lowest price on the internet. If we are unable to do this, we will not offer the product. We want to be your first choice of sports art and memorabilia.