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Lot # 1492 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1920s Leather Football Helmet Signed by Jim Thorpe and Red Grange

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,938

Circa 1920s Spalding leather football helmet, model "ZH," signed in black fountain pen by two of the greatest football players who ever lived: Red Grange and Jim Thorpe. This is the first item we have ever seen, let alone offered, featuring the signatures of these two legendary individuals. The fact that the venue for the two signatures is Spalding's top-of-the line football helmet from the 1920s, which is referred to as the "Grange Style" because it was the style of helmet Grange wore during that era, makes it a particularly extraordinary and unique signed football item. Both of the signatures are scripted on the back of the helmet. Thorpe's signature grades "6," while Grange's is affected by a small abrasion that affects the first "G" in "Grange." Without regard to the abrasion, Grange's signature grades "5." While both signatures are easily identifiable, the brown leather surface upon which they are written is far from ideal with respect to contrast. The helmet has also been signed by what appears to be five other individuals, including one signature on the interior; however, of those five, the only one that is legible is that of former Notre Dame football coach Frank Leahy, who has inscribed it "F. Leahy/Coach ND/1947." Grange and Thorpe are each charter members of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2008, ESPN named Grange the greatest college football player of all time, and his signing with the Chicago Bears in 1925 is credited with keeping the NFL afloat during its early years. Thorpe, in addition to his gridiron prowess, was an Olympic gold-medal winner and considered by many to be the greatest athlete who ever lived. In 1950 an Associated Press poll named him the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century. The helmet, which is an extremly rare and sought-after collectible in its own right, displays wear but is complete with its original chin strap. In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,938

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