While we’ve got quite a bit of baseball memorabilia in our upcoming auction, we also have some great football memorabilia as well.
This is, perhaps, our favorite piece in the entire auction. It’s a 1987 NFL “Game Day” Program celebrating the Pro Football Hall of Fame program, autographed by 46 stars of the game, mostly Hall of Famers.
The 1987 Hall of Fame class was a great one, consisting of Larry Csonka, Len Dawson, “Mean” Joe Greene, John Henry Johnson, Jim Langer, Don Maynard and Gene Upshaw. And while the program itself is a wonderful collectible and a who’s who in pro football history, the publication’s original owner, a longtime autograph collector with close access to both NFL and MLB clubhouses, turned it into one of the most spectacular collectibles we’ve ever seen.
Painstakingly obtaining the signatures of a whopping 46 football stars and Hall of Famers, the collector kept this magazine in his possession, bringing it out only to have it signed when one of the players chronicled in its contents was nearby. Further, the collector obtained a number of signatures from other Hall of Famers and stars on a heavy cardboard sheet, and then hand-bound it into the publication with tape, adding additional signatures and content to the publication. Within the publication, many of the players signed on their photos.
The result is an absolutely stunning piece of memorabilia, diligently compiled over the course of several years, featuring many of the most important names in football history, including the likes of Lance Alworth, Jim Brown, Len Dawson, Joe Greene, Paul Hornung, Sam Huff, Sonny Jurgensen, Don Maynard, Ron Mix, Ray Nitschke, Chuck Noll, Jim Otto, Pete Rozelle, Gale Sayers, Art Shell, Y.A. Tittle, Mike Webster, and many, many more.
For more information on this piece, and plenty of photos, visit the auction page.
Among the more beautiful, interesting and unique sports memorabilia we’ve ever seen are these two colorful containers of lantern mantle. Lantern mantle is a device that generates bright light when heated by a flame, and are used in camping and incandescent lamps today, as well as in 19th Century lanterns.
Manufactured by the Eclipse Light Company of New York, both of these beautiful containers carry a college/sports theme. The taller of the two features a young woman carrying a Yale pennant, the smaller features a young woman with a Princeton pennant. Both containers include actual product inside. Made of heavier weight cardboard, each cylindrical container is fragile but still sturdy, each retaining its original shape. These ornately printed containers harken back to a day before electricity, when homes were lit by lanterns. Both in excellent condition, the two pieces would lend themselves to a wonderful football/college sports display.
Another turn-of-the-century display piece with a football theme, we believe these two 24 x 4 3/4″ pieces were intended as wallpaper borders for a 19th Century child’s room. While paper borders certainly exist today, these are constructed out of some sort of pressed tin, with nail holes indicating where they were to be hammered into the wall.
We cannot begin to guess how the images were printed onto the sheets, as the printing appears to be some sort of silkscreen, with four colors: black, red, green and cream/yellow, in addition to the metallic tin color. The two identical pieces depict a variety of football-related scenes, with tackling, blocking (and holding) players all centered around a single ballcarrier, wearing a leather helmet, in the center of each of the two strips.
Each of the strips is obviously worn (and marred in some places with some sort of black paint), but display wonderfully. The reverse of each is coated with the black paint in places, and also has what appears to be remnants of plaster affixed to the back.
Yet another turn-of-the-century football-related piece, this is a German candy container dating to the late 19th or early 20th Century. Measuring approximately 6 3/4″ by 4 1/2″ at its widest, it was made to resemble a rugby ball or possibly a football (complete with stitching on one side), and opens to reveal an exquisitely-lined interior that once held candy. Expertly crafted, the piece displays extraordinarily well, with just mild staining and scratches consistent with its age and intended purpose.
A companion to a baseball collection featured elsewhere in the auction, we are featuring a group of 8 college football silks from the Murad Cigarettes S22 silks set. Consisting of 250 athlete poses representing 25 different colleges of the day, the silks were distributed in packs of Murad tobacco in 1909 and 1910. Each college was featured on 10 different silks, including multiple poses for baseball, plus football, hockey and golf.
Our grouping features silks from eight different colleges: Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, Syracuse, West Point, Cornell, Annapolis and California. Each of the silks feature a football player outfitted in the appropriate colors of their school, with the college name and seal presented above and below each player.
The last Pro Bowl to be played outside of Hawaii until 2010’s game in Miami, the 1979 Pro Bowl was played in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with the NFC defeating the AFC, 13-7. For their efforts, each NFC player received the whopping sum of $5,000. This well-preserved game program was curated by the same longtime autograph collector who assembled the aforementioned “Game Day” program. A meticulous collector, he would obtain various publications and learn them inside-out, subsequently having each player sign on the appropriate photo or page containing content related to that player.
This program contains 16 signatures (primarily of AFC players), a who’s who of the 1970s and early 80s NFL. Signatures include Lyle Alzado, Joe DeLamielleure, Randy Gradishar, Mike Haynes, Tom Jackson, Louie Kelcher, Steve Largent, Art Shell, Donnie Shell, Wesley Walker, Mike Webster, Louis Wright, Rod Perry, Pat Thomas, Brad Van Pelt and Charlie Waters.
Issued by Koerner & Hayes of Buffalo, this die cut (approximately 3×5″) was used by Spalding as a way of advertising its sporting goods. Part of a five-card set (the lot also contains a die-cut of a golfer), these are rarely seen in the type of exceptional condition we see here. The football player, exquisitely preserved, has a small speck of paper loss underneath the words “FootBall Player,” but is otherwise pristine on the front. The reverse, which features a piece on the origin of football as written by Walter Camp, is in excellent condition as well, save for a piece of adhesive affixed to the bottom (which likely could be removed).
An unusual and rarely seen advertising die cut, this is an early example of sports equipment advertising by the legendary Spalding company.