October Legends
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/2/2013
First taking the field in 1869, the Princeton Tigers (and their competition that day, Rutgers) are the oldest college football team. With such a distinctive lineage, it’s fitting that the oldest known college football jersey, this circa 1900 game used sweater, originates from Princeton University. Besides its obvious rarity, words can not come close to describing how incredible looking this Spalding sweater is. Princeton’s traditional black and orange simply jump out at you with their vibrancy, even after 113 years. A perusal of Princeton football photographs show this style worn in the 1892 to 1900 range. The Spalding label stitched inside the back tail can be traced to the 1900-1905 period which lets us conservatively put this in the 1900 range. The rugged roll neck sweater is constructed of high quality black knitted wool. Nine Princeton Orange tiger stripes ring each full-length sleeve and the universities “P” is woven on the front in the same Princeton Orange thread. The cuffs, jersey bottom and turtle neck are of a fine ribbed hem. As Spalding was the king of turn-of-the-century sports outfitters, this sweater’s construction and quality is top-notch. The sheer brutality of the early game is instantly apparent when you see how many period repairs have been made to the body and sleeves. Each piece of battle-damage has been carefully restitched in either black or orange thread. Turn-of-the-century teams did not issue player numbers and there is no name tag stitched to this sweater, so its original owner can not be determined. The size can be estimated from the 18” chest measurement which would put it at a size 36 or 38. Just looking at this jersey evokes those turn-of-the-century Princeton legends: Art Hillebrand (Navy’s great head coach), “Big Bill” Edwards (president of the first American Football League), “Bosey” Reiter (who invented the overhand spiral forward pass) and the Five Poe Brothers - all those long-ago legends we see in faded, sepia-toned photographs. There’s that famous 1892 photo of Princeton legend Johnny Poe - he’s wearing this exact style jersey (also offered in this auction separately). That’s what’s so magical about this sweater; it’s a direct window to a lost era, as it brings all those hard-fought grid-iron struggles back to life again, and in vibrant Technicolor. Of historical significance on so many levels, this is by far the most important vintage college football jersey to ever come to auction. Letter of Authenticity from MEARS who have thoroughly reviewed this jersey and awarded it their AUTHENTIC grade. Comes with two additional LOA's.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $25,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $34,787.50
Number Bids: 2
Auction closed on Saturday, November 2, 2013.
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