March 2009 Auction
Lot #1465: Circa 1910 Jim Thorpe Type I First Generation Earliest Known Football Photograph

This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 3/26/2009
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $500.00
Final Bid(Includes Buyers Premium): $1,683.78
Number of Bids: 9
Auction closed on: 3/26/2009

This is an original Type 1 first generation photograph of a noticeably young and physically undeveloped Jim Thorpe in what is probably his sophomore year at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, PA. One of the single greatest athletes of all time, Thorpe won Olympic gold medals in both the pentathlon and decathlon, excelled in football (his favorite sport) at both the collegiate and professional levels, played professional baseball and basketball, collegiate lacrosse, and even ballroom dancing, winning the 1912 intercollegiate ballroom championship. On the gridiron, he excelled in almost every position, routinely scoring all of his team's points as running back, defensive back, placekicker, and punter. His athletic career, according to legend, began in 1907 when he walked past Pop Warner's track practice and beat the team's best high jumper with a spontaneous 5'9" leap while still in his street clothes. Pop Warner immediately took his new track star under his wing, discouraging Jim from playing the comparatively violent game of football. Thorpe, however, eventually convinced Warner to let him run some plays against the team's defense, and the rest, as they say, is history. Importantly, most surviving photos of Thorpe in his Carlisle threads hail from his All-American years of 1911 and 1912, after he had gained considerable fame for his incomparable feats on the gridiron. They show him to be a somewhat wide-shouldered brute of a man, much more mature than he appears in the offered piece. Mounted to a sturdy cardboard stock measuring approximately 5-1/2" by 8", the photo itself measures 2-3/8" by 6-5/8" and is in remarkably well preserved condition with no crazing, cracks, creases or other prominent imperfections. The reverse features a couple of Culver Pictures stamps as well as some more recent identification labels, one of which is the PSA sticker corresponding to its letter of authenticity identifying the photo as a true Type 1 first generation example. To the best of our knowledge, this is the earliest known photo of the famed Native American athlete in his preferred gaming gear. Simply incredible!