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Lot # 1226: The Rarest Hall of Fame Football Signature - Charles Bidwill Signed 1939 Chicago Cardinals Wrigley Field Rental Contract - Also Signed by George Halas (PSA, JSA & Beckett)

Category: Football

Starting Bid: $10,000.00

Bids: 8 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2024 Winter Classic",
which ran from 2/25/2024 10:00 AM to
3/16/2024 10:00 PM

Offered here is perhaps the finest Charles Bidwill signed item in the hobby: a five-page typed contract, dated October 10, 1939, between the Chicago Bears Football Club Inc., and the Chicago Cardinals Football Club, signed by Bidwill (as owner of the Cardinals) and George Halas (as owner of the Bears). Both signatures have been beautifully signed in black fountain pen on the last page and grade 9/10.

As any collector of football autographs knows, the signature of Charles Bidwill is among the rarest of all Pro Football Hall of Fame members. Bidwill died in 1947 at the age of 51, long before the Pro Football Hall of Fame was even established (Bidwill was inducted in 1967). Despite his fourteen-year tenure as owner of the Cardinals (1933-1946) few signatures of Bidwill have entered the hobby. This is just the second example we have ever offered (the other, on a non-football-related letter, realized $38,842 in our Summer 2015 auction), and we have seen only two others. The fact that the offered Bidwill signature is not only near-pristine in its execution, but is on a Cardinals contract that has also been signed by George Halas only adds to its significance.  

The contract is a rental agreement between the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cardinals and allows the Cardinals to use Wrigley Field for its home games during the 1939 season. As noted in the contract, the Bears have a lease for the use of Wrigley Field during the 1939 football season and are sub-leasing the grounds to the Cardinals, thereby allowing both clubs to play its home games at the stadium. In exchange for the use of the field, the Cardinals agree to pay the Bears 15% of the gross sums received for admission fees at each home game, which are to be paid directly to the Chicago Cubs at the conclusion of each game. The corporate seals of each respective club appear on the last page, directly to the left of the signatures. It should be noted that this contract originates from the personal collection of Matt Swiatek, who was George Halas' "right-hand man" with the Chicago Bears for decades. (Many items from Swiatek's personal collection were sold at auction several years ago.) The contract (8.5x13") displays a horizontal fold and is in Near Mint condition. Accompanied by full LOAs from PSA, JSA, and Becket Authentication.

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