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Notre Dame "Four Horsemen" Signed Photo
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $8,225
Vintage black-and-white photograph signed by each member of Notre Dame's fabled "Four Horsemen": Harry Stuhldreher, Don Miller, Elmer Layden, and Jim Crowley. Layden has signed the photo in blue fountain pen, while the other three members of the quartet have signed in black fountain pen. Each player has added a brief salutation before his name: Stuhldreher ("Sincere Wishes"), Miller ("Best Wishes"), and Crowley and Layden ("Sincerely"). All of the signatures grade "9/10" with the exception of Stuhldreher ("7," slight smudging). This is one of the most famous sports photos ever taken and certainly the most ideal venue for the signatures of the greatest backfield in collegiate history. The photo brings to life the image conjured by New York sportswriter Grantland Rice in his now famous description of Notre Dame's 13-7 upset victory over Army on October 18, 1924 at the Polo Grounds: Outlined against a blue-gray October sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below. While that paragraph remains one of the most often-quoted passages in all of sports journalism, it took an idea by Knute Rockne's student publicity aide, George Stickler, to truly immortalize the quartet. When they returned to Notre Dame after the Army game Stickler had the four pose together in uniform, each sitting astride a horse that he borrowed from the local livery stable. When the wire services picked up the photo the legendary status of the "Four Horsemen" was assured. After graduation, all four players enjoyed successful collegiate coaching careers and were eventually elected to the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame — Layden in 1951, Stuhldreher in 1958, Crowley in 1966, and Miller in 1970. Despite the passage of time, the legend of the "Four Horsemen" has never faded from the public's imagination and in 1998 the image offered here was featured on a United States Postage Stamp. The photo (9.75 x 7.5 inches) displays a tiny tear along the left border, as well as a few minor surface marks, and remains affixed to its original cardboard mount (11 x 9.25 inches). In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,225
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