Heisman Trophy Replica
The Heisman Memorial Trophy (usually known colloquially as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman) is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. It is presented by the Heisman Trophy Trust in early December before the postseason bowl games.
The award was created by the Downtown Athletic Club in 1935 to recognize “the most valuable college football player east of the Mississippi” and was first awarded to University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger.
After the death in October 1936 of the club’s athletic director, John Heisman, the award was named in his honor and broadened to include players west of the Mississippi.
Heisman had been active in college athletics as a football player; a head football, basketball, and baseball coach; and an athletic director.
It is the oldest of several overall awards in college football, including the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and the AP Player of the Year. The Heisman and the AP Player of the Year honor the outstanding player, while the Maxwell and the Walter Camp award recognizes the best player, and the Archie Griffin Award recognizes the most valuable player. The most recent winner of the Heisman Trophy is University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
The trophy itself, designed by sculptor Frank Eliscu, is modeled after Ed Smith, a leading player in 1934 for the now-defunct New York University football team.
The trophy is made out of cast bronze, is 13.5 inches (34.3 cm) tall, 14 inches long, 16 inches in width, and 45 pounds (20.4 kg).
Eliscu had asked Smith, his former George Washington High School classmate, to pose for a commissioned sculpture of a football player.
Smith did not realize until 1982 that the sculpture had become the Heisman Trophy. The Downtown Athletic Club presented Smith with a Heisman Trophy of his own in 1985.
From its inception in 1935, the statue was cast by Dieges & Clust in New York (and later Providence, Rhode Island) until 1980, when Dieges and Clust were sold to Herff Jones.
For a time until at least 2008, the statues were cast by Roman Bronze Works in New York.
Since 2005 the trophy has been made by MTM Recognition in Del City, Oklahoma.
The award was first presented in 1935 by the Downtown Athletic Club (DAC) in New York City, a privately owned recreation facility located on the lower west side near the later World Trade Center site.
It was first known simply as the DAC Trophy. The first winner, Jay Berwanger, was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles but declined to sign for them. He never played professional football for any team.
In 1936, John Heisman died and the trophy was renamed in his honor. Larry Kelley, the second winner of the award, was the first man to win it as the “Heisman Trophy”.
The first African American player to win the Heisman was Syracuse’s Ernie Davis, who never played a snap in the NFL. He was diagnosed with leukemia shortly after winning the award and died in 1963. In 1966, former Florida Gators quarterback Steve Spurrier gave his Heisman trophy to the university president, Dr. J. Wayne Reitz, so that the award could be shared by Florida students and faculty. The gesture caused Florida’s student government to raise funds to purchase a replacement trophy for Spurrier.
Since then, the Downtown Athletic Club has issued two trophies to winners, one to the individual and a replica to his college.
Several Heisman trophies have been sold over the years;
although there is a ban on the sale of all trophies awarded since 1999, trophies awarded in previous years can be sold.
O. J. Simpson’s 1968 trophy was sold in February 1999 for $230,000 as part of the settlement of the civil trial in the O. J. Simpson murder case.
Yale end Larry Kelley sold his 1936 Heisman in December 1999 for $328,110 to settle his estate and to provide a bequest for his family.
Charles White’s 1979 trophy first sold for $184,000 and then for nearly $300,000 in December 2006 to help pay back federal income taxes.
The current record price for a Heisman belongs to the trophy won by Minnesota halfback Bruce Smith in 1941 at $395,240.
Paul Hornung sold his Heisman for $250,000 to endow student scholarships for University of Notre Dame students from his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Eliscu’s original plaster cast sold at Sotheby’s for $228,000 in December 2005.
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