I’ve run the eBay Watch series for a couple years and occasionally I uncover some unsettling personal details related the memorabilia involved.  In June 2008, the auction of an 1986-87 championship ring resulted in a saga ending with a former teammate contacting the player who sold the ring to make sure everything was cool.

In January of ‘08, I featured the auction of a U-M football ring that was alleged to be a salesman’s sample with the name “McCartney” adorning the side of the band.  After posting a photo I was contacted by the wife of former coach Bill McCartney who claimed that ring was no sample: it belonged to her husband and yes, he wanted it back.

Recently a seller posted a bunch of photos from the turn of the last century including one featuring an old favorite of mine, hero and captain of Fielding Yost’s wonderful 1909 Wolverine team, Dave “Pig” Allerdice sitting criss-cross applesauce:


I wrote extensively on the 1909 season in Brian Cook’s epic Hail to the Victors 2009 & I hope you had a chance to read it.  Allerdice’s 1909 crew suffered an early setback to Notre Dame but recovered, smoking fools for the rest of the season including powerful Minnesota (and for the first time, U-M walked off with a prestigious piece of pottery) along with a win over Eastern powerhouse Pennsylvania.  From HTTV ‘09, a little on the Penn game:

Clearly inspired by the raucous Navy men, Michigan jumped on the Quakers when the battle started just past two o’clock.  Michigan struck first, set-up by a fake field goal by Allerdice who feigned a kick but instead fired the ball to tackle Stanfield Wells who took it down to the Penn three.  Two plays later the Wolverines pounded across the line for the first score (of any kind) against the Quakers.  Michigan added another touchdown a few minutes later and after a mere eight minutes of play, Michigan led 12-0.   Per the Daily, “so stunned the Quakers that they gathered in the middle of the field and decided that something unusual was happening.”   Yep, they were getting there hinds kicked by a bunch of hayseeds from the West.

In writing the piece on that 1909 team I happened to get in touch with a couple of Allerdice’s relatives including his granddaughter Annie Allerdice.  So, when I saw the auction of the photo of her gramps on eBay a couple weeks back I shot her a note thinking she’d be tickled and giddy.  (“I’m a kind and thoughtful person…” thought me.)


Upon seeing the photo, Allerdice quickly shot back via email:

Do we know who is selling this?  I have the original in my collection of family photos.  My experience with the Collectors Group is they will lie, cheat and steal for a buck.

Yikes.   And sadly this isn’t the only issue Allerdice has had related to her family’s memorabilia.  Her father (and Pig’s son) David, Jr. strapped it on for the Princeton Tigers from 1938-1940 and had a fine career.   Years ago when a group from Princeton came calling for pigskin artifacts for a museum, Allerdice’s family obliged.  It did not end up well and Annie explained:

In 1968 we were contacted about a future Sports Museum at Princeton.  In 1970 they asked to borrow, his jersey, his letterman blanket, and a football, ( I still have one).   We gave them those items, a helmet, his chaps, a jersey, a blanket and other mementos, they promised to give them back after a few years on display.

When the museum at Princeton was not built, we asked for the items back.   It took 4  letters to the Dean and President of the University before I found out the items had been stolen.

Did they bother to apologize or help us recoup the items?  Nope.  Nor did they pay for them.  So, I have little or not respect for anyone making money off my Father’s or Grandfather’s work.

Sorry, but, I really have an issue with these people,  I reported it to EBAY.

She of course gave me clearance to share this sad tale.  Obviously if anyone knows the whereabouts of these Allerdice family items please let me know.  I contacted Princeton media relations for comment (and I realize this happened many years ago).

Joy Miller & The Disgrace of 1909


  1. I don’t quite understand how a copy of a photograph out of a newspaper’s archives has a “dark side” — what possible issue could she have with its sale? Even if she has the original (I’m not sure what that means — how were photographs reproduced back then?), surely she doesn’t control the rights to an old copy of a photograph of her grandfather. Does she?

    [Note that these are not rhetorical questions. No offense is intended.]

    Also — I work in the museum world, and have friends who work in Princeton’s museums. It’s very strange to borrow items for a museum that hasn’t yet been built. A curator hired to plan a future exhibition might contact the family and find out what they have and if they would be willing to loan some things, but actual museums have things like insurance covering objects on loan, and so on. It almost sounds like a scam.

  2. @Rasmus
    Rasmus, good points and questions. Unless this was a personal family photo (which seems unlikely given he’s in uniform) it probably was copied for distribution in one way or another. I know old wire photos were reproduced several times. Sounds like the sight of the photo brought up some bad memories for Ms Allerdice, namely the alleged Princeton incidents.

    As mentioned I contacted Princeton’s football SID and I’m curious if they have any insight – perhaps this was a group only loosely associated with the University and the school had little control (maybe that explains the poor response). If your pals have any insight that’d be cool to hear as well.

  3. Annie Allerdice

    I work within the Museum World as well, and the copyright laws have expired. He is of course can send the info where he likes.
    I realize now, as I said before, an excuse will work as it will for whatever needs.

    And retrospect, maybe its for the best, keeps the name alive and changes the goal for
    better preservation. Just know, that while he may not care about my feelings, one day, it may could come back to bite his own hand. Karma is funny that way.

    Lastly, my sister thinks I might have the dates off a bit, she thinks it might have been a few years earlier on the Princeton Call. Just an FYI.

    And, I still have the Full Fledged Pig Ball… Now many oldtimes can say that?

  4. Annie Allerdice

    P.S. Thank you Greg for being so charming and thoughtful. I means the a great deal to know that people are willing to research and reveal such a wonderful part of our history for all to enjoy. My father would have liked you a great deal.