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    1961 Heisman Memorial Trophy Award Presentation Program Signed by Ernie Davis. "Seldom has an athlete been more deserving of such a tribute," read President John F. Kennedy's telegram of congratulations to the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner. "Your high standards of performance on the field and off the field, reflect the finest qualities of competition, sportsmanship and citizenship. The nation has bestowed upon you its highest awards for your athletic achievements. It's a privilege for me to address you tonight as an outstanding American, and as a worthy example of our youth. I salute you."

    Arguably no man in American sports history has earned immortality more quickly than the tragic Ernie Davis, whose death at the cruel hands of leukemia denied the National Football League the service of the 1962 draft's first overall pick. His unworn professional number "45," retired by the Cleveland Browns team that held his contract, is a heartbreaking tribute to what might have been.

    Here we find Davis at the pinnacle of his all-too-brief era of greatness, just months before the fatal diagnosis of acute monocytic leukemia. For three seasons, "The Elmira Express" had represented the double-fours of the Syracuse Orangemen to distinction, ably following in the footsteps of the legendary Jim Brown before him. The award ceremony at New York City's Downtown Athletic Club, the event from which the provided lot derives, was held just ten days before Davis' final competitive gridiron appearance, a masterful 140 yard performance that saw the Orangemen edge Miami (FL) by a fifteen to fourteen tally.

    Having already been identified as the honoree, Davis alone was feted at this ceremony, his Syracuse University seal adorning the cover of the program, and opening to reveal a full-page photograph where a 9+/10 blue ink signature holds court. An orange and blue tassel dangles from the binding. Condition is NRMT.

    Only Nile Kinnick, the 1939 honoree who likewise perished tragically young, is a greater challenge to collectors of Heisman autographs, though certainly this Davis exemplar distinguishes itself even within that slim population. It is, without hyperbole, one of the most significant articles of collegiate football memorabilia to surface within the hobby in recent memory. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Full LOA from SGC Authentic. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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