While it’s not unusual to find team-signed baseballs from the 1930s and even earlier, similar memorabilia from the National Football League is virtually unheard of.
Enter the current Heritage Auctions catalog, which includes a football signed by members of the 1939 NFL champion Green Bay Packers. The ultra-scarce relic includes signatures from NFL icons Curly Lambeau, Don Hutson, Clarke Hinkle and Arnie Herber as well as about three dozen other members of the Pack, who fought through a tough campaign to win their fifth league title in 20 years and the first ever NFL Championship Game shutout.
The ball includes the autographs and a notation on the adjacent side panel reading “Packers 12, Detroit 7, Western Champions 1939.”
Lambeau’s crew had beaten the Lions on December 3 to reach the title game against the New York Giants and it’s believed the ball dates to the immediate aftermath of that win in Detroit. Green Bay’s only two regular season losses were three-point heartbreakers to the Cleveland Rams and Chicago Bears and the Pack would avenge the loss to Cleveland later in the season. Hutson, the game-changing pass receiver from Alabama, led the Packers’ offensive attack, averaging nearly 25 yards per reception.
A week after beating the Lions, the Packers shut down the New York Giants in Milwaukee, 27-0, to win the NFL title.
Despite some expected air loss and a bit of toning, the ball remains in remarkably good condition. It’s expected to sell for more than $15,000 when the auction comes to a close May 16.