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    1998 Heisman Memorial Trophy Presented to University of Texas Longhorns Running Back Ricky Williams. It is the most prestigious individual award in the entirety of American sports, and perhaps the most recognizable sculpture in the entirety of American artwork. More exclusive than any Hall of Fame plaque, which averages far more than a single new presentation per annum, the Heisman Trophy confers upon its recipient a breed of athletic immortality unlike any other bronze commemoration, and elevates those collectors with the motive and means to claim the rare few made available at auction to their own most exclusive fraternity.

    As Heritage Sports approaches our twenty-year anniversary, we can report that this is just the second Heisman Trophy we have had the privilege to present to the collecting community, a fact which should lend some perspective to the rarity of public offerings. With just over eighty examples in the full population, and the extraordinary pride with which they are held by players and their families, it is no surprise that years can pass without a representation appearing on the public auction block. The typical owner will never let it go.

    But Ricky Williams has never been typical by any standard of measure, either on the field or off. His assumption of Tony Dorsett's NCAA rushing record during his Heisman senior season ended a twenty-two-year reign by his fellow Lone Star State gridiron legend. Needing just eleven yards to claim the title in the first quarter of an Austin grudge match with Texas A&M, the University of Texas running back broke through the line and scampered sixty yards to paydirt as Dorsett watched from the sidelines. The moment remains one of the most celebrated in the long and glorious history of Longhorn football.

    In Williams' personal life, however, he proved himself less adept at eluding controversy than tacklers, plagued by anxiety disorders that led the highly-intelligent athlete to turn to marijuana use and spiritual retreats for relief, much to the dismay of the NFL teams that purchased his post-collegiate services. He'd miss the 2004 and 2006 seasons, and all but one game of 2007, as he navigated a series of suspensions and retracted retirements before finally calling it quits after the 2011 campaign, surpassing 10,000 professional yards in his final regular season contest.

    We suspect that Williams' fascination with the eastern philosophies that can be loosely filed under the heading of "The Tao" was the impetus for his decision to part with the symbols of his athletic excellence that populate this Signature auction. "Do not dwell in the past," said the Buddha. "Do not dream of the future, but concentrate the mind on the present moment."

    The sculpture that rests atop the sturdy base of this treasure of the collegiate gridiron is the creation of Frank Eliscu, who enlisted New York University running back Ed Smith as a model, striking the stiff-armed pose as famous today as the Mona Lisa's smile. The artfully engraved plaque centered below reports the historic details:

    "The Heisman Memorial Trophy Is Presented by Downtown Athletic Club of New York City to Ricky Williams, University of Texas, as the Outstanding College Football Player in the United States for 1998."

    It is noteworthy that the Touchdown Club required every honoree from 1999 forward to sign a waiver forfeiting the right to sell his Heisman, establishing this example as the very last to be free of that encumbrance, and finalizing the potential supply available to the public. The trophy exhibits only a few minor signs of handling and storage wear, but none of these could be considered a true distraction. The hefty thirty-seven pound (37 lbs.) symbol of supremacy will be delivered in its custom heavy-duty metal carrying case with a signed letter of provenance from Williams himself. Letter of provenance from Ricky Williams. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA (Williams letter).

    Guide Value or Estimate: $500,000 - up.

    Auction Info

    Proxy Bidding Ends
    17th Thursday 10:00 pm CT
    Auction Dates
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Proxy Bidding Time Remaining
    2 Days 19h 49m 14s
    Internet/Mail Bids: 16
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    This lot is in: 1 - Sports Collectibles Session
    (Lots 53001-53819) - 10:00 PM Central Time, Thursday, October 17, 2019.
    (Internet bidding closes at 10:00 PM Central Time the evening the session begins, with extended bidding available.)

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    Additional Location Info:
    Heritage Auctions - Dallas
    3500 Maple Ave
    17th Floor
    Dallas, TX 75219

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