Lot # 1: 1919 "Chic" Harley 4-page handwritten letter to Lynn St. John

Category: Autographs

Starting Bid: $4,000.00

Bids: 6 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2020 Kickoff Auction",
which ran from 8/12/2020 12:00 PM to
8/29/2020 8:00 PM

Perhaps no individual is more responsible for lifting Ohio State football to national prominence than the school’s first three-time All-American, Charles “Chic” Harley. Chic helped the Buckeyes to undefeated seasons and Western Conference Championships in both 1916 and 1917 before leaving for flight training in San Antonio, Texas, to prepare for World War I.

This intimate letter, dated February 23, 1919, was sent to Ohio State Athletic Director Lynn St. John as a depressed and confused Harley contemplated returning to Ohio State for his final season.  Perhaps no artifact depicts exactly what Harley was feeling or went through more than this four page handwritten letter to "Saint."  The content Harley authored in this note is spectacular with his backfield-mate Pete Stinchcomb even getting a mention. It’s one piece of paper, measuring approximately 9.5 x 12 and folded in half, written on all four sides.

Chic would not only make his way back to Columbus, but he would lead the Buckeyes to arguably the biggest win in school history. With an unbeaten record, Harley and the Buckeyes traveled to Ferry Field with high hopes of the school’s first victory over Michigan. The All-American intercepted two passes on defense and broke three tackles during a jaw-dropping 42-yard touchdown run to lead Ohio State to a 13-3 win over their rival. Following the win, Fielding Yost addressed the Buckeyes in their visiting locker room saying, “You deserve your victory, you fought brilliantly. You boys gave a grand exhibition of football strategy and while I am sorry, dreadfully sorry, that we lost I want to congratulate you. And you, Mr. Harley, I believe, are one of the finest little machines I have ever seen.”

Harley’s autograph is one of the most coveted by all college football collectors and is widely considered the Holy Grail for Ohio State collectors. This letter serves as one of the most significant Ohio State pieces ever offered to the public and lends a rare look into the struggles of Ohio State’s Superman. He affectionately closes the letter with "Sincerely, Chas. W"  His contributions to OSU’s football program are second-to-none. Ohio State’s rise that coincided with his time at the university led to the construction of Ohio Stadium, which has since been nicknamed appropriately, “The House That Harley Built.”

In 1950, Chic was picked as a First Team All-American for the first half of the 20th century by the Associated Press and was also voted one of 44 charter members inducted into the inaugural 1951 College Football Hall of Fame class.



Views: 450