Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    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.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 213

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 39 days left to consign to the 2019 July 18 - 19 Summer Sports Catalog Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    Just wanted to let you know how pleased I am regarding the sale of my hockey jersey. You were great to work with, you answered all my phone calls and e-mails in a prompt manner, and you did a great job marketing the jersey.
    Fairmouth, ME
    View More Testimonials

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 February 23 - 24 Platinum Sports Auction - Dallas
    2019 February 23 - 24 Platinum Sports Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $9,303,040