December 10th, 2023 Holiday Auction (#61)
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This lot is closed. Bidding ended on 12/11/2023.
Ernie Davis was the first African-American in history to win the coveted Heisman Trophy. Playing running back for Syracuse University, Davis earned the prestigious distinction in 1961 following his senior season. He not only led the Orangemen to a 7-3 regular-season record and 14th place ranking in the AP poll, but rushed for 823 yards and 12 touchdowns on the way to his second straight consensus All-America honors. He then led Syracuse to a 15-14 victory over Miami (FL) in the Liberty Bowl by rushing for 140 yards on 30 carries and scoring a touchdown. By season's end, Davis had set eight new Syracuse University career, season and single-game football records including most net rushing yards (2,386), touchdowns (35) and points scored (220) in three years. Following his incredible college career, Davis was the top overall pick in the 1962 NFL draft, which was held on Dec. 4, 1961. Despite going No. 1 overall to the Washington Redskins and subsequently being traded to the Cleveland Browns, Davis never played a single down in the NFL. In the summer of ‘62, he was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia and immediately sought treatment. Though he experienced a four-to-five-month remission, the disease was incurable and Davis died on May 18, 1963, at the age of 23. Offered here is a Syracuse Orangemen game-used jersey that Davis wore during his Heisman Trophy-winning season. In fact, this jersey’s provenance stretches back to the team’s longtime equipment manager and was worn by Davis against the West Virginia Mountaineers on Sept. 30, 1961. In that game, played at Archbold Stadium in Syracuse, the Orangemen prevailed 29-14 to push their record to 2-0 on the young season. The white Wilson jersey, made of Durene material and cotton, shows excellent game use with rips and team repairs throughout, along with substantial dirt and sweat residue showing. The jersey features Davis’s iconic uniform number (“44”) on the front and back in navy blue tackle twill outlined in heavy orange stitching. The numbers on the front are slightly smaller than those on the back, and a distinctive triple band of navy striping rings both sleeves. The jersey’s scattered toning is likely due to its age, with some smaller holes in the shirt likely the result of post-game elements. A faded “Wilson Sports Equipment” manufacturer's label is sewn into the base of the old-school crotch flap alongside a size “48” white flag tag sporting black numerals. What’s more is that the crotch flap piece has survived fully intact, with all six buttons remaining. This incredible gamer is a true piece of college football history celebrating one of the game’s greatest running backs. This jersey is properly tagged, was presented to us as game-used and in our opinion shows outstanding use. Accompanied by an additional LOA from Heritage, detailing the jersey’s provenance. Also accompanied by a copy of an email from the original owner who directly obtained the jersey himself, which notes “I was at the Archbold stadium for the West Virginia game in 1961, when Erni’s jersey was torn off on a running play, Ernie went to the sidelines to get a new jersey. They threw the torn jersey down on the ground and Jerry (my cousin who was helping my mother’s cousin Albert Zak (who was the equipment manager for Syracuse University) picked up the torn jersey and brought it to me in a towel at half time. I took the owl and jersey home after the game. My mother repaired the jersey so it was back in a short form.”
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Price Realized: $92,447
Number Bids:14
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