The first example we've ever encountered1964 Bill Christian Game Worn USA Olympic Hockey Team Jersey. After their historic Gold Medal run at Squaw Valley in 1960, the American team had shed its underdog status as it took the ice at Innsbruck, Austria for the 1964 tournament. They'd come out strong in the opening contest, easily dispatching the Romanians by a tally of seven to two, but the Soviets would have their revenge on their Cold War adversaries the next day, trouncing the Americans in a five goals to one final score. It would prove to be the first of five defeats the USA would suffer in eight Olympic matches. Thus, this edition of American Olympic hockey has been largely overshadowed by the glories of 1960 and 1980.
It is perhaps due to this fifth-place finish that relics from the 1964 American team are so intensely rare relative to those of its Gold Medal predecessor. After a lengthy effort, we have abandoned the search for any past sales results at auction. In fact, it is difficult to even find photographs of the United States team at Innsbruck, so this may well be the first experience many of our bidding clientele will have with the uniform style.
It's a beauty too, the red and blue tackle twill "USA" sewn to the jersey chest in white thread, a stylish deviation from the sedate block lettering of earlier incarnations. The laced collar remains (though lace itself is missing), as do the sleeve and lower body striping, and the Olympic crest patch at upper left chest. Christian changes from "6" in 1960 to number "5" here, that digit appearing at each shoulder and on reverse.
Heavy game wear is readily evident, most conspicuously in the apparent blood staining on the front, though stick marks and small abrasions appear here as well. Fabric at the elbows likewise tells the tale of hard-hitting international competition. Tagging appears at lower left interior tail, the "Gerry Cosby [size] 44" designators further enhanced by a "'63" year label. We must also report mounting stitching across chest and reverse, though this is only apparent upon close inspection. Letter of provenance from Bill Christian. LOA from Heritage Auctions.
The Bill and Dave Christian Collection
It's often said that lightning never strikes twice, but the tale of the Christian family belies that axiom. Both father and son were key figures in two of the most dramatic and glorious underdog tales in the history of American athletics, as members of the United States Olympic Ice Hockey teams of 1960 and 1980. While the latter has become a universally recognized part of our patriotic national folklore under the heading, "The Miracle on Ice," far fewer are aware that the rag-tag band of Davids that slew the Soviet Goliath at Lake Placid was, in point of fact, a sequel to a tale of equivalent improbability and intrigue.
Two decades before son Dave and his 1980 teammates were celebrated as American heroes of Cold War athletics, father Bill Christian, along with his brother Roger, helped the United States claim the top step of the Olympic hockey podium, a climb at Squaw Valley arguably even more arduous than that of the subsequent edition. While both father and son defied the odds to topple the USSR, only the former was required to defeat all four of the top seeds-Canada, Czechoslovakia and Sweden-en route to Gold.
After the success of partnerships between Heritage Auctions and several key figures of the "Miracle" team-Mike Eruzione, Phil Verchota and the family of deceased Hall of Fame coach Herb Brooks among them-the Christians have employed our services to present their own Olympic treasures to the collecting community. Each lot will be accompanied by a letter of provenance from the applicable member of this elite Olympic genetic line.
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2018 November 15-16 Fall Sports Card Catalog Auction