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Circa 1930 Notre Dame "Four Horsemen" Signed Government Postcard Collection (4)
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $2,015
Four government postcards, each individually signed by one member of Notre Dame's fabled "Four Horsemen": Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Elmer Layden, and Jim Crowley. These are four in a large collection of signed government postcards offered in this auction (presented in eight separate lots), all of which were originally obtained by a family member of our consignor during the late 1920s and early 1930s. All have remained in the family's sole possession since that time and are being offered here for the very first time. 1) Harry Stuhldreher. Black fountain-pen signature (grading "10") on a card dating from circa 1930 (the postmark stamp so light that the year cannot be discerned). The notation "Notre Dame/'Four Horsemen'" is printed above the signature. 2) Don Miller. Black fountain-pen signature ("8/9"), prefaced by the personalization "With sincere wishes to Nate Mindell." Postmarked October 30, 1930. The notation "Notre Dame/'Four Horsemen'" is printed above the signature. 3) Elmer Layden. Black fountain-pen signature. A one-inch tear in the card affects Layden's last name; otherwise the signature grades "7." Postmarked October 22, 1934. The notation "Notre Dame/Football Coach" is printed above the signature. 4) Jim Crowley. Black fountain-pen signature ("6/7"), prefaced by "Best Wishes." Postmarked October 27, 1928. The notation "Coach of Georgia/Football team" is printed above the signature. All of the cards display adhesive residue and/or surface paper loss on the reverse from having once been mounted, and then removed, from an album. Small areas of the adhesive residue are visible on the fronts of the cards. As noted earlier, the Layden card has a tear in the middle affecting the signature and is in Good to Very Good condition. The other cards are in Very Good condition overall.
New York sportswriter Grantland Rice created the legend of the "Four Horsemen" in his now famous description of Notre Dame's 13-7 upset victory over Army on October 18, 1924, at the Polo Grounds: Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below. While that paragraph remains one of the most often-quoted passages in all of sports journalism, it took an idea by Knute Rockne's student publicity aide, George Stickler, to truly immortalize the quartet. When they returned to Notre Dame after the Army game Stickler had the four pose together in uniform, each sitting astride a horse that he borrowed from the local livery stable. When the wire services picked up the photo the legendary status of the "Four Horsemen" was assured. After graduation, all four players enjoyed successful collegiate coaching careers and were eventually elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame — Layden in 1951, Stuhldreher in 1958, Crowley in 1966, and Miller in 1970. Despite the passage of time, the legend of the "Four Horsemen" has never faded from the public's imagination and in 1998 the image of the four players on horseback was featured on a United States postage stamp. Total 4 signed government postcards. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $500++. SOLD FOR $2,015
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