Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    The Pack goes public to save its own life!

    1923 Green Bay Packers Stock Certificate.

    UPDATE: Please note that this certificate does not transfer any ownership shares to the winning bidder and is sold only as an article of sports memorabilia.

    It's one of the most significant early Green Bay Packers artifacts to surface on the hobby's auction block, a seminal document from a time when the National Football League was centered around sleepy hamlets like Dayton, Duluth and Racine. Its survival to present day--just a tiny handful are known to exist--is as unlikely as the survival of the team itself, which teetered at the edge of insolvency when this cash-raising scheme was hatched.

    The team had had three owners during its first four seasons of existence (1919-22). Indian Packing Company paid $500 to supply Curly Lambeau with uniforms and equipment, the team naming rights offered in return. When Indian was absorbed by Acme, so was the fledgling football franchise. And when Lambeau illegally utilized college players in a non-league game in 1921, the American Professional Football League revoked the Packers' charter and Lambeau subsequently reapplied as the team's cash-strapped sole proprietor.

    It was at this desperate juncture that A.B. Turnbull, publisher of The Green Bay Press-Gazette, rallied the community to Curly's cause, assembling a quintet of community leaders known to football history as "The Hungry Five" to orchestrate a public offering of Packers stock to raise the team from the depths of a sea of red ink. "Professional football has put Green Bay on the nation's sport map in capital letters and we must keep it there," the Press-Gazette beseeched its readership.

    One thousand shares were sold at five dollars each, with the stipulation that the purchaser would buy at least six season tickets as well. The last-ditch gambit worked, and, nearly a century later, Heritage proudly offers one of the few known surviving certificates from the first stock offering of the sport's only publicly-owned franchise.

    It is believed that most of the 1923 certificates were replaced in 1935 when a second stock sale was necessitated to fund a $5,000 court settlement in favor of a fan badly injured from a fall from the stands of City Stadium. Others were surely lost to the various dangers of the passage of time. While two vertical fold lines trisect the 5.5x9.5" certificate, and the signature of "Hungry Five" member Leland H. Joannes has faded to 2/10, the relic otherwise presents wonderfully, the signature of Turnbull applied in his capacity as team president remaining perfectly bold.

    Certainly the value of this attractive document has swollen considerably since its date of issue, but still not as much as its significance might merit. It's rare to encounter a piece that speaks to the very survival of a major American sports franchise, and when the opportunity at ownership of such a piece presents itself, the true sports historian will understand just how special it is.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    17th-18th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 31
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,367

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Aug 17, 2019 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 20 days left to consign to the 2021 December 18 Sports Showcase Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    I am completely satisfied, more to the point, absolutely ecstatic, about not only the proceeds but the wonderful professional manner every aspect of my little consignment was handled.
    Bill R.,
    Green Bay, WI
    View More Testimonials

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search