Nearing the 86th meeting this Saturday between college football powerhouses USC and Notre Dame, a very prestigious award – the 1929-31 College Football National Championship Trophy ‘The Albert Russel Erskine Trophy’ – is on the auction block at www.scpauctions.com. Its current high bid with 10 days remaining in the online auction is $6,655.00. Estimates put the winning bid near $30,000.
In the 1920s, Erskine, an American businessman and Studebaker Corporation President, served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame, where his son Albert, Jr. studied. He took a strong interest in college football and initiated in 1929 the Albert Russel Erskine Award for the best team of the year. The winner was chosen by a panel of American sportswriters whose methods are still used to select the college football national champion. The award bears special engravings on the front recognizing the national championship teams from 1929 to ’31: Notre Dame (1929 and ‘30) and USC (1931). The grandiose, silver-plated trophy, which stands 21” tall, 21” wide and weighs 16-and-a-half pounds, is an impressive piece of artistic craftsmanship. The oversized goblet, plated by Reed & Barton, boasts rings of raised olive leaves around its base as well as around the top of the trophy’s cup. A pair of very ornate handles can be found on either side. Engraved across the front is the following passage: “THE ALBERT RUSSEL ERSKINE TROPHY FOR THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP AS DETERMINED BY AMERICAN SPORTSWRITERS.” Accompanying the trophy is a special “ALBERT RUSSEL ERSKINE AWARD” scroll/certificate that was awarded to USC Head Coach Howard Jones for winning the 1931 National Championship. Committee members of the board that presented the award read like a regular “Who’s Who” of important Americans at the time including Avery Brundage, Robert T. “Bobby” Jones, Jr., Douglas MacArthur, Connie Mack, Theodore Roosevelt and Wm. Wrigley Jr.
The accompanying image captured in 1932 shows legendary USC coach Howard Jones standing next to his car with both this trophy and his young daughter displayed proudly on its hood. Online bidding is open to registered bidders and concludes Saturday, Dec. 6. The auction is being conducted online at www.scpauctions.com. For more information, call 949-831-3700.