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    1875 Harvard University Football Club Membership Certificate. Seminal document is among the very earliest American football pieces ever to be offered at public auction. Though most historians point to an 1869 contest between Rutgers and Princeton as the first ever football game in the United States, this match was played under rugby-style Association rules, which bore only passing resemblance to the sport as we know it. The first to utilize rules far more closely approximating those that are in place today found Harvard hosting Tufts University on June 4, 1875 at Cambridge, Massachusetts' Jarvis Field, just four months before this certificate was issued. This new style, featuring an egg-shaped ball, eleven men on a side, and the concept of tackling to impede the progress of the offense came to be known as "The Boston Game" due to its Harvard roots.

    Elegant in its simplicity, this 6.25x9.5" certificate begins with the letters "H.U.F.B.C." arching over an early spherical football, and goes on to attest, "Mr. P. Grant, Jr. Has become a member of the Harvard University Foot-Ball Club, Having paid the assessment and signed the Constitution. (Signed) J.A. Wetherbee, Secretary, Cambridge, Oct. 13, 1875." A wax seal at lower right features another image of a spherical football with the latin phrase "Semper Surgens" (translation, "Forever Rising") and "H.F.B.C. 1873." Short of the lightest hints of foxing, the certificate remains in splendid, undamaged condition, free of any creases, tears or stains that are all but ensured with a paper artifact of this vintage. A marvelous piece with the scarcity and relevance to attract the most serious of football collectors.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2010
    22nd-23rd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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