One nugget in the Ohio State/Tressel tattoogate Notice of Allegations [full version] released today concerns the gold pants:

goldpantsprice

I’m not a memorabilia dealer but from hours of watching Pickers and Pawn Stars, I realize buyers need to leave themselves with plenty of room for profit.  That said, I think the players could have done better.

There happens to be a 2009 version on eBay right now listed for $745 which is around fair market value these days.  (Sadly the market is saturated):

image

Remember when Rick bought a pair on two of these on Pawn Stars not long ago?  He paid the seller $1000/each (too much).   And we’ve seen other auctions asking between $600-$700 not long ago.

Because there’s an established market, I think the athletes selling their pants should have asked for and received closer to $500.

The NCAA also requested more info on the gold pants award, to be returned as part of Ohio State’s official response:

statement

For starters, they can go to Coach Tressel’s website for a nice summary. 

I’d like to know the real “cost” to Ohio State which of course we’ll find out soon enough.  As Rick on Pawn Stars pointed out they are plated gold, and I’m guessing Ohio State will have to explain that some of the cost is variable based on gold prices.  Either way, I guessing the NCAA will be tallying up the cost of Ohio State’s gifts to the players in recent years.  It’d be something if they came back and said that the Buckeyes can’t offer both bowl rings and gold pants in a given season because the value of the gift exceeds current NCAA limits. 

You’ve heard that a pair of the Ohio State gold pants appeared on History Channel’s Pawn Stars last night.  (Finally something related to Michigan football).

The seller advised he bought them off a “private collector” who had “several of them.”  Insert Tressel, tattoo-gate joke.

Per Rick, the owner of the shop, “looks like they plated them with 10 or 14 carat, something like that.  It’s called gold filled, it’s a really, really heavy plating process.”

The seller originally asked $2500, Rick countered with $1500.   The seller countered with $2200 and they settled on $2000 (for the pair). 

2008

On the price, at $2000 that’s a good price to the seller.  I think Rick and Chumlee could have done better.  Recent auctions on eBay have placed a Buy It Now price on the charms as low as $599 or best offer:

recentsales

You can view the entire show here on PutLocker.  I’d embed but it flagged a security risk FWIW.

mgoblog jumps into the memorabilia game

Oh man, word is out that Terelle Pryor hocked his ‘gold pants’ charm, the prize Buckeyes get if they beat Michigan in the big one.  The tradition started in 1934,  Gerald Ford’s senior year, when then coach Francis Schmidt told his men not to fear Harry Kipke’s Wolverines because:

“They put their pants on one leg at a time, the same as we do!”
–Francis Schmidt, March 2, 1934

There are four sets of the gold beauties on sale right now:

The pants include the year, the score and initials of the player who originally owned them.

As a Wolverine this is funny but as a historian/memorabilian this hurts – really.  That a guy would toss this out on the market while he was still in school?  I almost understand a ring to the BCS game, but brother, not the pants!

Ed. 12/24 –  Sure enough, the auctions above were pulled from eBay :{

Regular readers of this site know one of my favorite decades of Michigan football is the 1930s, having covered different seasons and events in eBay Watch and in the Little Brown Jug Lore series from those years.

If I had to pick one year as my favorite during the stretch it’s definitely 1934 which is ironic, as it’s arguably the worst season in Michigan football history.   I argued this point here and here, but in a nutshell consider that Harry Kipke’s team, coming off back-to-back national championships, finished 1-7, was shut out in five of the eight games, and scored a mere 21 points.  Fugly.

Despite the futility on the gridiron, the season is packed of historical treasures of major significance both on and off the field.  The next edition of eBay Watch features the auction of a program from the Ohio State-Michigan held on November 17, 1934, exactly 75 years ago today in Columbus:

cover 

The program features several photos of players, including a collage of the Michigan team including team MVP Gerald Ford:

wardford

The top of the photo features Willis Ward, the African American end who was at the center of a fierce controversy that played out before the Georgia Tech game a few weeks earlier that season.  For those not familiar, The Jackets made it known well before the game that they wouldn’t take the field in Ann Arbor if Ward played, spawning intense protests on campus in Ann Arbor. 

Eventually Michigan caved, sitting Ward after a deal was struck with Tech that required the Jackets to sit a player as well.  (It’s not lost on me that the 1934 OSU program features two white dudes shaking hands.)  The 9-2 game was the Wolverines’ lone win of the miserable season but came with a historical price.   These incidents resonated with would-be President Ford, a friend of Ward’s, who wrote a 1999 New York Times Op-Ed piece defending Michigan’s affirmative action policies:

“Do we really want to risk turning back the clock to an ear when the Willis Wards were isolated and penalized for the color of their skin, their economic standing or national ancestry?”

President George W. Bush also mentioned the Ward incident in Ford’s eulogy

The 1934 Program also features a photo of one of the most famous athletes in the world, a burgeoning freshman track star at Ohio State named Jesse Owens:owens

Owens of course knows a little something about race and discrimination.  He’ll forever be remembered for kicking Hitler squarely in the bucknuts at the Berlin Olympics a couple years later.  While certainly on a smaller stage, Owens did some serious damage in Ann Arbor on Ferry Field in 1935 and the Bentley Library details his exploits:

Ferry Field has been the site of many great individual performances in Big Ten track championships, none more remarkable than Jesse Owens’ efforts in 1935. Within a period of two hours, the Ohio State sophomore set world records in the 220 yard dash – :20.2, the broad jump – 26 ft. 8 1/4 in., the 220 yard low hurdles – :22.6 and tied the world record in the 100 yard dash – :09.4 seconds. A plaque at the southeast corner of Ferry Field commemorates Owens’ incomparable performance.

That’s rubbing it in, man.

The year 1934 also marked the start of a Buckeye tradition that lingers today like a foul odor: the issuing of gold pants charms to players.   Their timing was impeccable.  The Sweatervest’s website explains the deal:

Schmidt founded the "Pants Club", which still exists today as reward for a win over the Wolverines. Since 1934, each player and coach receives a miniature pair of gold pants for each victory over Michigan. The charms contain the recipient’s initials as well as the year and score of "The Game".

Not only can you pick up a copy of this historic program, you can even own your own pair of Buckeye gold pants, which some OSU alum decided to hock on eBay right now:

osu gold pants

This prize commemorate OSU’s 2007 and the seller even gives the initials of the original owner (D.H.) which are placed on each pair.   That’d narrow things down to ‘07 senior De’Angelo Haslam, freshman Dan Herron or yikes, assistant coach Darrell Hazell.   Didn’t mean that much, obviously.

The auction of the 1934 OSU-Michigan program ends November 19 and the auction of the gold pants closes November 20th.

Related:
* Follow eBayWatch on Twitter  A new tool.  I’ll blast about quick links to notable auctions.
* Harry Kipke and the Fall of 1934
* The Willis Ward Protests

29. January 2009 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: A Hard Combination to Beat (1905) · Categories: Archive 2009, eBay Watch, Fans, History, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Yost · Tags: , , , , ,

Another vintage Michigan football item showed up this week on eBay, this time a post card celebrating Fielding Yost and his fine 1905 squad. The team is assembled in a line with Yost in the middle, standing on a large sign in the shape of a football that reads ‘Western Championship’. Atop the photo is a block letter title, ‘A HARD COMBINATION TO BEAT’.

The copyright of the postcard is 1905, so I’m guessing this was produced before the season as a souvenir to students and fans. The mention of the Western Championship refers to the undefeated 1904 campaign when the great Willie Heston and the Wolverines ran the table 10-0 and outscored opponents 567-22.

More evidence that this was produced prior to the season, someone wrote on the card “We defeated Wisconsin 12 to 0, as ever.”    The Wolverines indeed defeated the Badgers by that margin on homecoming that season, on November 18, 1905 specifically.   The “as ever” zinger was a 1905 version of smack talk if you’re keeping track; probably about as harsh as it got it those days.

The 1905 crew was a well photographed group. Yost and his teams hadn’t been defeated since he stepped on campus four years prior so it makes sense that folks were eager to get a good look at the machine that was tearing up the football world. Thankfully the Bentley Library has republished a few bonus photos of this team online and they include the shot that was used for the postcard in the eBay auction.  Closer inspection reveals that the “Western Championship” oval on the postcard was likely dubbed-in later (1905 version of photoshopping) as Yost is standing on a small stool:


Bentley Library

Other photos of the 1905 squad that can be found (and can be blown up into incredible detail) on the Bentley Library site:

In a very cool huddle around Yost – Bentley Library

Line up for good measure – Bentley Library

At the Whitmore Lake Hotel – 1905 – Bentley Library*

*[Ed 10/1/09: Thanks to reader Michael F., who correctly identified the correct whereabouts of the photo above.   It is from Walter Graham’s photo album at the Bentley Library, a 1905 shot on the front porch of The Whitmore Lake Hotel.  The team used to train at Whitmore Lake before the season.  Very cool.  Here’s a link to the photo.]

The author of that smack talk was justified in dropping some postcard pomposity, as to that point the 1905 crew were rolling.   Through the shot-out of Wisconsin and onto the next week when they added a 75-0 defeat of Oberlin, Yost’s men were undefeated with 12 wins, outscoring opponents 495-0. The smack would end there unfortunately, as a few days later Michigan traveled to the Windy City and experience something that hadn’t happened in Yost’s five seasons: they lost.  Barely.  Their old rivals Chicago sent The Victors back on the train to Ann Arbor with a 2-0 defeat, the streak broken.

A Bonus eBay Watch:
A member of the 1967 Ohio State football squad is selling the sacred gold pants they receive if they defeat Michigan. It’s not the first time one of these beauties has come up for auction; it won’t be the last.

Coaches and players receive the award which has its roots during Michigan’s brutal season of 1934 when new OSU coach Francis Schmidt sized up Gerald Ford & the two-time defending national champions and observed, “They put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else.”

I’ve seen these fetch around $1,000 in the past, we’ll see how this auction goes, here’s a pic:

Related: