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Press Release - August 15, 2019
Certificate from Green Bay Packers’ Inaugural Stock Sale Offered in Heritage Auctions’ Summer Platinum Night Sports AuctionTeam-issued shares kept franchise afloat during financially challenging early years
This 1923 Green Bay Packers Stock Certificate (estimate: $20,000+) represents five of 1,000 shares that were sold 94 years ago after owner Curly Lambeau used illegal players in 1921, prompting the American Professional Football League to revoke the team's charter, after which Lambeau reapplied as the team's sole owner.
Realizing how deeply woven into the fabric of the community the Packers were, Green Bay Press-Gazette publisher A.B. Turnbull assembled a group of five community leaders, who came to be known as "The Hungry Five,” to arrange a public stock offering in an effort to raise the money needed to salvage the financially wobbling franchise.
No other team in any of the four major sports played in the United States is publicly owned by community stockholders.
"The fact that the community would do that reflects the high regard in which Packers fans hold their team,” Heritage Auctions Sports Consignment Director Chris Nerat said. "It has been said that a drive through Green Bay during a Packers game is like driving through a ghost town, because everyone is either at the game or watching it somewhere. Without the Packers, Green Bay would be like any of a number of other anonymous small towns in Wisconsin that people outside the state don't know. But because of the team, everyone knows about Green Bay.
"Everybody knows about the stock sales over the years, but very few who own a modern Packers stock knows about or has seen one from the 1923 sale. That ability to own a piece of the team makes the relationships between Packers fans and their team a very personal one. It all started with this sale, making this certificate a prized rarity for fans of the team, and fans of the NFL in general. It's extremely rare to come across a piece so critical to the survival of a sports franchise.”
The Packers have made stock shares available for purchase five times, the last of which was held in 2011. It is believed that most of the 1923 Packers stock certificates were replaced in 1935 in a sale held to cover team legal costs. The offered certificate is 9-1/2 inches wide by 5-1/2 inches high and is trisected by a pair of fold marks, and bears the signature of "Hungry Five” member Leland H. Joannes.
Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
The Internet's most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has over one million registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of four million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.
Eric Bradley, Director, Public Relations
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