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Heisman Trophy Award - Bruce Smith

Heisman Trophy Award - Bruce Smith

Every auction has its star attraction but this item is much, much more than that. When you think of trophies in sports very few pop into your head by their given name and none have more significance than this one. We are both privileged and proud to present a genuine Heisman Trophy Award!! To understand exactly what a rare occurrence this is, consider that only 6 Heisman Trophies have ever been made available to the general public. This is an award that drips of college football history and indeed, even American history. The award is named after John W. Heisman, one of the greatest innovators of American football. No man had a bigger impact on the game, before him, or since. John Heisman was born on October 23, 1869 and played a sort of combination soccer and rugby during his college years at Brown and Penn. Unfortunately, Mr. Heisman nearly lost his eyesight when struck by lightning while still in college and it left him partially debilitated. He turned to coaching football after graduation and got his feet wet at Oberlin College, leading them to an undefeated season, despite the team only being in its second year of existence. He went on to coach many other major college football programs. At Georgia Tech from 1914-1919 he piloted the team to an incredible 33 straight wins. Heisman changed football forever and crafted it into the game that millions love today. It was through Heisman’s constant badgering of Walter Camp and the rules committee that the forward pass was legalized in 1906. In fact, much of the official rule book in his day was written in exactly Heisman’s own words. After an enormously successful coaching career, Heisman turned to writing about football. He was incredibly well respected in football circles and was named the first Athletic Director of the DAC (Downtown Athletic Club) of New York City in May of 1930. He then organized the Touchdown Club of New York and the National Football Coaches Association. The members of the DAC suggested that Heisman create and organize a system to ascertain the best collegiate football player in the country. Initially he resisted, feeling that it was a team game and no one player should be singled out, but he eventually relented. Thus was born the Heisman Trophy. In 1935, the first one was awarded to Jay Berwanger. Before the second annual Heisman could be awarded Heisman passed away from pneumonia. The officers of the DAC unanimously voted to rename the DAC Award, the Heisman Memorial Trophy that year. After a long process, the Club Trophy Committee decided that the trophy should be a bronze replica of a football player carrying the ball in his left hand while fending off defenders with his right hand. Famous sculptor Frank Eliscu was chosen to do the honors. Eliscu used NYU player Ed Smith as the model for the trophy. The first rendition was clay and it was approved by the committee with the help of one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame, Jim Crowley. Crowley was then coaching Fordham and with his and his players’ help, modifications were made to the final product. From clay it was converted into a plaster cast, an intermediate step before its production in bronze. The finished statue was 14” long, 13 ?” high and weighed a solid 25 pounds and it is a work of art unto itself. The artist’s name is etched into the back of the base, and the “1941” year of casting. The base is black lacquered wood and is affixed with a sterling silver plate with the Downtown Athletic Club logo at the top and the following engraved below “ The Heisman Memorial Trophy, Presented by The Downtown Athletic Club of New York City to Bruce Smith, University of Minnesota, As the Outstanding College Football Player of 1941.” This particular Heisman was the seventh ever awarded and it went to Smith, the great running back. Smith had movie star looks and eventually starred in a film about his own life. He received his Heisman Trophy two days after the infamous Pearl Harbor bombing of December 7th. He was also voted the best college player in the All-Star game that year in Chicago and led two of legendary coach Bernie Bierman’s greatest teams, captaining the Gophers to undefeated National Championships in 1940 and ‘41. Bruce passed away on August 28, 1967 after a long illness. The Trophy is in absolutely fabulous condition and has not been altered or restored in any way. It is 100% original. The only very minor damage is a small chipped off portion of the right pinky. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a true American icon.


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