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    Consignor's story and photograph featured in Chicago newspaper five days later...

    1987 Walter Payton Final Career Touchdown Football. "As soon as I saw the whites of his eyes," Art Hrvatin told a journalist for Chicago-era newspaper The Beacon News, "I jumped up on the back of the seat. I reached over a woman's head and it came right down into my leather mittens. It was a perfect spiral. Nobody else touched the ball."

    Payton was famous for handing his touchdown pigskins to linemen for the ceremonial spike, but this Hail Mary into the raucous sea of Bears fans on December 20, 1987 seemed a fitting Soldier Field farewell. Before the game, the last home contest of the 1987, the Chicago Bears had retired Payton's number "34," and the joy of one last trip to paydirt was infectious. That five-yard scamper to pull even with the Seattle Seahawks at fourteen points each would set a career mark that would stand until Marcus Allen scored his 111th on November 28, 1996.

    We see Hrvatin and his two sons posing with the football and an array of Bears memorabilia in a large photograph that accompanies the newspaper article, and today the Wilson brand Official NFL (Rozelle) ball still presents very well. Immediately after the game, Hrvatin camped outside the Bears locker room and was able to obtain a 7/10 black sharpie autograph from the Bears legend. Clear game use is evident, and the bladder is partially deflated, but there are otherwise no condition issues of note. Hvratin also saved his ticket stubs from the contest, which are included.

    While any game used article from the super-elite of the sporting world carries significant historical relevance and collector appeal, those key bookends of "first" and "last" will always be considered the most significant of all. The fact that we are aware of no other Walter Payton touchdown football ever having sold in the collectibles hobby only amplifies this effect. Newspaper article and photograph (12/25/87) naming our consignor as owner. Letter of provenance from consignor. LOA from Heritage Auctions. Full LOA from PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2015
    30th-31st Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,817

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