DescriptionCirca 1954-55 Paul Hornung Game Worn Notre Dame Jersey. In the world of the collector, sometimes what at first may be thought of as a "hunch," may actually turn into one of the greatest hobby finds of a lifetime. The thought of that long shot is exactly what our consignor used to motivate himself when he took a detour, during a trip across the country, to an old Kentucky sports bar he once frequented during his days as an assistant to a horse trainer at the famed Churchill Downs racetrack.
As a sports fan and budding jersey collector, he always remembered the nostalgic establishment as a magical place, which displayed some of the most impressive pieces during his early adult years. While acting on his premonition, the consignor wasn't exactly sure what treasures would still fill his old hangout, if any for that matter. Nevertheless, he arrived at the bar, which had since gone out of business, and met with the owner. Never in a million years did the eager collector expect this trip to uncover possibly the finest game worn college football jersey in existence, but after returning from the back room, the owner handed him this circa 1954-55 Paul Hornung Notre Dame jersey, which Heritage Auction Galleries is proud to present in our April Signature Auction.
It turns out that Hornung, a Louisville native, also once frequented the popular watering hole, and according to our consignor, built a solid relationship with the family of the bar owner. One day, presumably after the season, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame running back presented the bar with this jersey.
This iron-clad shirt is constructed of the Fighting Irish's gorgeous 1950's-style dark green Durene fabric, which acts as the perfect canvas for the white sewn-on tackle twill numerals that are affixed on the front and verso. In addition to the style-matched numerals, which have been confirmed with numerous images of the "Golden Boy" from the era of his memorable sophomore or junior seasons, additional photo-matched characteristics are presented throughout. In fact, virtually every important aspect of this shirt can be confirmed through imagery analysis.
The proper reinforced elbow stitching, a noticeable team repair near the right shoulder, and even the uniquely large vintage buttons connecting the crotch piece, are all confirmed while analyzing the clear photos we have located depicting Hornung's college days. The proper "MacGregor Goldsmith [size] 42" manufacturer's tag is still fully intact in the front interior tail, which adds another point of legitimacy to this unimprovable jersey.
Unquestionably, this jersey will turn the heads of many different collecting groups: the large hobby bases of Notre Dame and Green Bay Packers, and the elite enthusiasts who lust over memorabilia representing the elite fraternity of Heisman Trophy winners.
One of the greatest athletes ever to take the field, Hornung lettered four years in each football, basketball, and baseball at Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget High School in Louisville. In addition, during his final year at Notre Dame, he led his team offensively in passing, rushing, scoring, kickoff and punt returns and punting. As a pro, Hornung led the Packers as an All-Pro half back, as well as being a field goal kicker for several seasons. In 1960, the last season with just 12 games, he set an all-time NFL record by scoring 176 points.
We are confident in stating that there has never been another college football jersey as significant as this circa 1954-55 Hornung example. If it wasn't for our consignor's "hunch," this piece may have never come to light. Nevertheless, his ambitious act will now allow this extraordinary shirt to be displayed in the proper manner by the lucky winning bidder.
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