He founded one of the NFL’s cornerstone franchises and was still coaching five decades later. Now, a rare piece from the career of George Halas has made its way to the auction block.
A former Bears’ player wound up with of his coach’s old jacket, telling the tale in a handwritten note 20 years ago. It’s one of the top items In Heritage Auctions’ current memorabilia catalog, with bidding expected to top $20,000. Few Halas items have ever surfaced at public auction.
Halas played a role in the Bears winning six championships over the league’s first 45 years, the first two as a player-coach.
The letterman-style jacket was long in the possession of Bob Snyder, who played for the team from 1939-1943, and it’s that final season that resulted in a piece of history being saved for all of these years. Halas had been in the Navy during the ’43 season with Hank Anderson and Luke Johnsos serving as co-head coaches. However, his old coaching jacket had remained with the club.
““After championship game 43 we had a party in locker room,” Snyder recalled in a letter of authenticity he wrote for the collector who had originally acquired it. “Our four coaches had placed their coaching uniforms on a table in the dressing room–Notting, Nagurski & yours truly were the last to leave. I took a jacket, Roy a pair of shoes & Bronk a cap. When we got outside, I had Halas’ jacket.”
Confirmation of his recollection occurs on the inside of the coat, which carries Halas’ name, stitched into the fabric.
The jacket includes an old style chenille team logo patch over the heart. The manufacturer’s label remains inside denoting the jacket came from Halas’ own sporting goods company, “May & Halas, Chicago [size] 48-35.”
Heritage calls the jacket, “Quite simply one of the most significant uniform items to ever find its way from the professional gridiron to the collectibles marketplace.”
Snyder’s letter in included with the jacket.
Bidding is set to continue through Thursday, October 18 as part of a large, two-day auction of memorabilia now underway at HA.com.