A 1960s Johnny Unitas Colts game jersey sold for $103,500 at Saturday’s Super Bowl XLIX Live Auction in Phoenix, surpassing a $50-$100,000 pre-sale estimate. A late addition to the auction after being consigned by the original owners, the jersey topped hundreds of items in the annual event, held just ahead of the Super Bowl. It drew strong interest from bidders on the floor of the Phoenix Convention Center, online and from bidders participating by phone.
The home blue #19 jersey is one of only a few documented Unitas jerseys to have survived and entered the marketplace. According to Hunt Auctions, it was given to the consignor and his father in 1968 inside the Colts locker room by the team’s equipment manager, Fred Schubach.
The owner has had the jersey since that time and for many years it was on display in the family’s home. It can be seen in a photo taken for a 1978 issue of Baltimore Sun Magazine.
The auction company called it “museum quality and categorically one of the finest examples in private hands.”
The size 46 jersey showed dirt stains on the white numbers and a team repair on the front chest, above the number 9. Stitching is visible on the inside shoulders where it was added by the team to fix or reinforce the shoulder pad area. There is a MacGregor manufacturers tag and other labeling and tags.
A 1961-63 Jim Brown game jersey offered in the auction brought $57,500 including the 15% buyer’s fee added to all winning bids. The Brown jersey was part of a collection accumulated by Mike Cupon, the visiting team clubhouse manager for Forbes Field and later, Three Rivers Stadium from the 1950s through the 1980s. A 1950s Ernie Stautner Steelers jersey, also from Cupon’s collection, sold for $16,100.
Jim Langer’s Miami Dolphins Super Bowl ring from the undefeated 1972 season, soared to $37,375.
Former NFL star Randall Cunningham’s personal collection of memorabilia included dozens of items, highlighted by his three Bert Bell Award trophies from 1998, 1990 and 1988, which sold for $19,550-$14,950 each, respectively, and his Miller Lite Player of the Year Award, which brought $17,250.
A jersey worn by NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers during the Green Bay Packers’ December 18 game, rocketed to $20,125 while a Reggie White game-worn Philadelphia Eagles road jersey from 1992, sold for $11,500 and a 1993 game worn Peyton Manning Broncos jersey brought $10,925. Proceeds from some of the jerseys sold via NFL Auctions during the event were donated to league charities.