As the National Football League competed in the sizable shadow cast by Major League Baseball, certain cities were not quick to embrace their teams, resulting in the relocation of franchises and, in the worst cases, teams shutting down operations altogether. Faced with such consequences when deserted by his partners and ultimately, by the Boston fans who numbered a paltry 4,813 for the 1936 home finale, Redskins owner George Preston Marshall surrendered home field advantage (which his team had earned) for the championship game and moved his franchise to Washington, D.C. the following season. The rest, of course, is a rich and glorious gridiron history marked by championship endeavors and an unyielding spirit. The offered heirloom is without peer in its representation of the beginning of a Washington sports tradition and an iconic urban landmark. Boundless appeal is inherent to this framed original panoramic 1938 Washington Redskins team photograph autographed by (33) members of those defending NFL champions.
As Marshall made successful strides to endear himself to Washington fans, his franchise prospered, immediately. Powered by rookie first-round draft pick Sammy Baugh, the 1937 squad authored an 8-3 regular season mark and proceeded to defeat the Chicago Bears, 28-21 in the NFL title contest at Wrigley Field. A Washington, D.C. institution in his own right, renowned photographer John Tenschert captured this team photo during the following season. Standing side by side at their Griffith Stadium venue, the champions are readily identifiable in a crisp image. Framed to dimensions of 38-5/8 x 14-3/8” under white matting, the photograph is signed by each of its subjects. Vertically executed in black-ink steel tip fountain pen, the signatures vary in terms of strength and clarity. Most project (“6”) potency, though a few are even nicer and (3) are affected by creases and resultant browning. From left to right, the pennings include: Flaherty (coach, “6-7” strength), Filchock, Turner, Olsson, Pinckert, McChesney, B. Young, R. Smith, Baugh (“5-6” strength), Masterson, unidentified, Barber, Edwards (“5” strength), Malone, Bradley, Carroll, R. Young, Justice, Bond, R. Krause, Karcher, Millner (“8” strength), Erickson, Irwin, Parks, Hartman, Farkas, Manton, M. Krause, Karamatic, Stralka and (2) unidentified. For the sake of accuracy, we note that “Washington Redskins 1937 World Champions” appears as it was written on the original negative. This, however, is definitively a 1938 photo, as (13) players who appear did not play for the Redskins until 1938.
Components combine to make this a coveted relic, namely, the era, its origin and its proud display for half a century. The latter detail is decidedly appealing, as this keepsake hung on the wall of the famed Market Inn in Southwest Washington, D.C. from its 1959 opening until the sad farewell in 2009. Patronized by D.C. athletes, senators and congressmen throughout its storied run, the former eatery is as much a part of the city’s lore as the team it continues to hold dear.
This item has a reserve. Estimated value: $5,000-$10,000.
With this (October 2012) auction, we are starting a new section called “Items With Reserves”. It will be its own section regardless of the type of item (for now). The reason we are starting this is to allow us to offer more unique and special items, while also giving our consignors the assurance that the items will at least reach a certain minimum. The way we are going to structure this section is as follows: all items in the reserve section will have an opening bid and an estimated value range. The reserve bid on any item in this section will never be greater than the low value in the estimated range. By starting the bidding below the reserve price it will allow our bidders to get their initial bids in prior to the 10:00pm cutoff time for “initial bids” on the final day of the auction and then all eligible bidders can decide what they want their final bid to be on that day. The items in this section will have a statement in the bid box saying either “Reserve Not Met” or “Reserve Met”. Those two phrases should be self-explanatory. If you are entering a ceiling bid on one of these items and your ceiling bid exceeds the reserve, the computer will only take you to the number that equals the reserve. The remaining amount of your ceiling bid will be kept hidden to everyone but you. If the item ends with the reserve “not met” the item will be deemed “passed” with a zero sale price. We are trying to make this a simple and easy-to-understand section in our auction; should you have any questions, concerns or comments on this new venture, we welcome your feedback.