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Lot # 1215: Rare Duke National Football League Transitional Football No Commissioner New in Box

Category: Football

Starting Bid: $400.00

Bids: 0 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed




This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Spring Classic 2022",
which ran from 5/20/2022 7:00 PM to
6/11/2022 10:00 PM



Presented is a very rare NFL Wilson Official National Football League Football, known as "The Duke", from the brief approximately three-month interim in 1959-60 when there was no NFL Commissioner, merely an Acting Commissioner. The National Football league had had a commissioner since January 17, 1941, when the title of the leading league executive was changed from president to Commissioner.  Bert Bell was the NFL Commissioner on October 11, 1959, and he was attending a game at Philadelphia's Franklin Field between the Philadelphia Eagles, the team he had co-founded, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Just at the moment when the Eagles scored the winning touchdown in the game, Bell had a fatal heart attack. Austin Gunsel, formerly J. Edgar Hoover's assistant and also an agent with the FBI, and heading the Investigation Department for the NFL, was selected to become the Acting Commissioner until a successor could be formally elected. That election process was started on January 20, 1960, but after eight votes over a number of days, no candidate could garner the required two-thirds of the 12 owners' votes. Finally, compromise candidate Pete Rozelle was elected. The NFL football is called "The Duke" in honor of the late co-owner of the New York Football Giants, Wellington Mara, whose nickname of "The Duke" naturally comes from reference to the British Duke of Wellington. One panel of the football, bordering the laces, has "Duke" imprinted on it, and the other panel bordering the laces has "The Duke" imprinted below the inflation hole. This football measures the standard approximately 11" from tip to tip. The still new in box football comes in its original Wilson box, which measures 7" height x 11" length x and 6.75" depth. The box has "The Duke" football, "Wilson", "Official Ball of the National Football League" on all four sides and on the top. The box does have some creases, and a few partial tears and rips, particularly around the top and bottom corners and along the edges. Since the football dates from such a brief period of time when no NFL Commissioner's name was imprinted on the ball. it is as rare as rare can get.

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