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1945 Bert Bell and Connie Mack Signed Lease Agreement, Bert Bell Signed Check, and Original News Photo
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $840
Pair of Bert Bell signed items, each relating to his official duties as an NFL franchise owner. De Benneville Bell, known as "Bert" Bell, was one of the most important figures in NFL history, first as an owner and later as league commissioner. Bell, who was a former college quarterback at Penn, co-founded the Philadelphia Eagles in 1933 with two of his college friends. In 1936 he took a more active role with the team by assuming the duties of head coach. The following year he purchased the team outright, but in December 1940, financial woes resulted in his switching franchises to become part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers with Art Rooney. In 1946 he sold his interest in the Steelers and became NFL Commissioner, a position he held until his death in 1959. As an owner, Bell was instrumental in establishing the NFL draft in 1937, the same year in which he established the Maxwell Football Club, which to this day continues to recognize the nation's top college football player with its issuance of the Maxwell Award. As commissioner, he oversaw the merger with the AAFC and negotiated the first television rights for the league. He's also famous for coining the phrase "On any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team." In 1963 Bell received his highest honor, albeit posthumously, when he joined sixteen other players and executives in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural election class.
1) One-page lease agreement, dated "September 1945," between the American Base Ball Club of Philadelphia and "De Benneville Bell, P. L. Parker, and A. F. Dupont, as incorporators, for and on behalf of Football Associates Inc., a corporation about to be formed." The five-year agreement allows Bell's football group to lease Shibe Park for football games beginning on the first day of September, 1946, through August 31, 1951. It has been signed in black fountain pen by "Connie Mack" (grading "9/10"), "De Benneville Bell" ("9/10), "P. L Parker" ("6"), "A. F. Dupont" ("7"), and a witness. The document, printed on onionskin, displays one vertical and three horizontal folds. In Excellent condition overall. 2) "Philadelphia Eagles Pro. Football Club Inc.," business check, dated December 18, 1939, signed in black fountain pen by "de Benneville Bell" (grading "10") as owner of the team. The check is made out to "Collector of Internal Revenue" in the amount of $1.28." The check (8.25 x 3 inches) displays normal bank cancellation stamps and holes, with a few of the holes affecting Bell's signature. In Excellent condition overall. 3) Accompanying the lease agreement and check is an original 1940 ACME news photo (9 x 7 inches) capturing Bert Bell signing a prior agreement with Connie Mack regarding the lease of Shibe Park by his Philadelphia Eagles. Both Bell and Mack are pictured seated at a desk, with Bell signing the agreement. The original paper news caption, dated "2/10/40," remains affixed to the reverse. Ex. Total: 3 items (lease agreement, signed check, and photo). LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $840
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