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1910 Knute Rockne Signed and Inscribed Notre Dame Scrapbook Page - Earliest Signature
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,410.00
This Knute Rockne signed signed scrapbook page dates from his freshman year at Notre Dame and is one of the earliest Rockne signature examples in existence. The large-format page, which was removed from a 1907-1910 Notre Dame scrapbook, was one of several pages in the book specifically intended for the collection of fellow student signatures. The sheet provides spaces for the signer to record not only his name, but also his address, date of birth, and "A Word or Two." Rockne's signature, flawlessly penned in black ink, is the fifth signature from the top. What sets this piece apart from all other known Rockne signed items (most of which are later-day documents or typed letters), aside from its early date, is the inscription Rockne has added in the final column: "a fast life and a merry one. For to-morrow [sic] you may die." Both the signature and inscription grade "10." Ironically, Rockne's quote was quite prescient, as the legendary football coach perished tragically in a plane crash in 1931 at the age of forty-three. The sheet is undated; however, one of the columns is marked "This is My Birthday." While some of the signers have listed their actual birthdate (i.e., October 19, 1888), and others simply the month and day, five students have listed their birthdate and the year they signed the book (i.e., September 16, 1910). (Three are dated as such below Rockne's name and two on the reverse). Thus, it stands to reason. and in our opinion is a certainty, that this page was also signed by Rockne in 1910. Knute Rockne entered Notre Dame as freshman in 1910 at the age of twenty-two (he worked several years after high school before enrolling in college). He later remarked that at the time of his enrollment he was " a lone Norse Protestant on the Irish Catholic campus." Rockne enjoyed a stellar football career at the University as an end, and following his senior season in 1913 he was named third-team All-American. After graduating, he accepted a teaching position at the university and in 1918 became head football coach. Rockne quickly built Notre Dame into the dominant football team of the era, winning six national championships between the years 1918 and 1930. At the time of his death, in March 1931, his winning percentage of 88.1 was the best for any Division 1A football coach (since bested). This sheet is a truly remarkable find, especially with regard to Rockne's inscription, and features one of the earliest-known signature examples of college football's most legendary figure. If this were a baseball item, an equivalent piece might be Babe Ruth signing a yearbook or other similar item in circa 1911 commemorating his first year playing ball at St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys! The sheet (15 x 12 inches) is toned and displays light staining along the bottom border, as well as minor edge tears. In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $400. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,410.00
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