"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."
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.
--Iowa sportscaster Tait Cummins
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.
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.
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