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Circa Early 1940s Ernie Steele Philadelphia Eagles Game-Used Leather Helmet
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $829.50
This rare Spalding leather football helmet, circa early 1940s, is attributed to former NFL player Ernie Steele. The Spalding logo is clearly visible on the front of the helmet, and it remains complete with its original chin strap. According to the accompanying MEARS letter, "This Spalding helmet was worn by Steele and stayed in his possession until he gifted it to a friend in the 90's. As the story goes, Steele was set to throw this away but someone intercepted it from the trash along with a few other items." Both Steele's name and his uniform number ("#69") are written in vintage black ink on the interior suspension padding. Steele, who graduated from the University of Washington in 1942, played his entire seven-year career with the Philadelphia Eagles, which included two title-game appearances. Despite the team's success, Steele's main claim to fame today is that he was a member of the famed "Steagles" in 1943. During that season the NFL lost many of its players to the war effort. The Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers were particularly affected and were forced to merge for one season. Although the team was officially known as the "Phil-Pitt Combine," the term "Steagles" is the one most commonly used when referring to the club today. NFL football helmets dating to the 1940s, let alone those that can be attributed to a particular player, are exceedingly rare, making this a significant piece dating from the NFL's formative years. The brown leather helmet displays heavy wear, commensurate with its use on the gridiron, including numerous abrasions and scuffs along the interior. In Very Good condition overall. LOA from Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $829.50
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