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"Kinnick proved one thing, that college athletics could be beautiful. Everything that can be said that is good about college athletics he was. He didn't represent it...he was it."

--Iowa sportscaster Tait Cummins

1941 Nile Kinnick Handwritten & Signed Letter. It's a sad hobby fact that the surest method of ensuring the most fevered response from bidders is a tragic early death, most effectively by means of air crash. From Knute Rockne to Roberto Clemente to Thurman Munson we've seen the evidence, but each of these fallen legends fails to challenge collectors in any manner approximating that of Nile Kinnick. The 1939 Heisman Trophy winner continues to bedevil countless collectors needing his autograph to achieve an otherwise quite manageable task of completion, and stands as the most coveted autograph from the gridiron.

Lost at sea when his F4F Wildcat developed a serious oil leak over Venezuela's Gulf of Paria in June of 1943, Kinnick left behind a woefully inadequate supply of his autographs for the modern hobby, today most commonly found on banquet programs from Kinnick's collegiate glory days. But here we present something truly special, and the first of its kind we've encountered here at Heritage Auctions--a full handwritten and signed letter, complete with original mailing envelope.

The text, in full:


Dear Mrs. Armstrong:

It has just dawned on me that the abruptness with which I rushed off may have indicated to you a lack of appreciation on my part. However, just the contrary is the truth of the situation. When I get the picture you want I'll bring it out to you personally. It very probably will take a week or so to get any results from the Davenport paper--so don't think I've forgotten.

Nile Kinnick

P.S.: I note that you do not have your name anywhere on the book. I'd like to have you write something in it so will bring it along with the picture.

The single unlined page measures 7x10.5", with original mailing folds and all but imperceptible toning that does nothing to distract. The mailing envelope is addressed in Kinnick's hand, but lacks a return address or signature. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

Service and Handling Description: Flat Material, Small (view shipping information)

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Auction Info

Auction Dates
August, 2012
2nd Thursday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 1,661

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