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    Description

    Likely the helmet knocked from Tittle's head in famous photograph "The Fallen Giant"

    1962-64 Y.A. Tittle Game Worn New York Giants Helmet. In his younger years, photographer Morris Berman had served with the Army Pictorial Service in Africa and Italy during the Second World War, he and his camera bearing witness to the brutal end of Benito Mussolini and his mistress on April 29, 1945, their battered and bullet-riddled bodies hung from the heels in a Milan square. But Berman's professional legacy remains a single photo snapped nearly two decades later, a stirring image of another once-powerful leader at his end entitled "The Fallen Giant."

    That photograph finds a dazed and bloodied Y.A. Tittle kneeling in the end zone of the old Pitt Stadium on September 20, 1964, badly rattled by a vicious hit from Steelers defensive lineman "Big John" Baker. Though Tittle would bravely finish out the season with a cracked sternum and torn rib muscles, it was clear that the Big Apple glory days over which Tittle had presided had ended, and the Giants finished the 1964 season at an NFL-worst record of 2-10-2. Tittle limped into retirement and turned his attentions to his eponymous insurance company, answering the call from Canton in 1971.

    Though the photo was never published in the newspaper and thus ineligible for the Pulitzer Prize, it is credited with changing the landscape of sports photography, and even Tittle himself came to embrace the image, putting it on the back cover of his 2009 autobiography. "That was the end of the road," he told reporters. "It was the end of my dream. It was over."

    The helmet that rests on its side several feet behind Tittle in that famous shot is almost certainly the example we present here, a picture-perfect representation sporting a vinyl (rather than painted) red center stripe that dates the relic to the final seasons of Tittle's Hall of Fame career. All visible details, from the formation of the numerical decals to the style of face mask, are a perfect match to Berman's masterpiece, and the standard NFL practice of reconditioning helmets for multiple seasons of wear in those days suggests strongly that this was Tittle's only headgear for the period in which his career intersected with the style format.

    The shell is a "Riddell" RK2 in the highly coveted "bubble ear" style, with twelve-point suspension properly labeled (for Tittle) to size "7 1/8." Both leather jaw pads, commonly lost from helmets of this era, are present here, and all numerical and team decals are original and correct in format. Concussion padding between the shell and suspension, common in 1960's Giants helmets, is likewise in place. Both interior and exterior exhibit solid and consistent game wear.

    Only a scant few articles of Tittle game used gear have survived to participate in the collectibles hobby, and few Giants suspension helmets from any player are known to exist today. This specimen was sourced from the Moran family of New Orleans restaurant fame. "Diamond Jim" Moran and his sons had one of the nation's finest collections of game worn jerseys and helmets, with a concentration in LSU players and alumni, a brotherhood that includes Tittle. LOA from Heritage Auctions.






    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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