Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Auction Gold - 1962 Championship Watch

A very rare 1962 World Champions watch has now come up for auction at Leland's. These wristwatches were given in lieu of rings to Lombardi's second championship squad.


The 1962 Green Bay Packers, under the guidance of legendary coach Vince Lombardi, went 13-1 and defeated the New York Giants to capture their eighth NFL championship. This commemorative watch was inscribed on the back and presented to Tom Miller, who played for the club in 1946 but was an executive with the team in 1962. The watch has some scuffing and does not work, but it's still a dazzling piece of jewelry, a 14k gold Hamilton watch featuring team logo on the face with small diamonds serving as the numbers, as well as "Green Bay Packers 1962 World Champions N. F. L." inscribed. The back of the watch has "Tom Miller - Green Bay 16 – New York 7" inscribed.
Beautiful piece.

The watch was owned, as the auction notes, by Tom Miller. He may have been just "an executive with the team" in 1962, but that doesn't do justice to his tenure with the Packers.

Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

Miller was a former player who played in Green Bay in 1946, the last of his four years in the pros. Like many Packers, he returned to the club after his playing days were over, starting in 1956 when Lisle Blackbourn hired him as director of publicity and sales promotion.

Miller was promoted to assistant general manager in 1965 by Vince Lombardi. He kept that title after Lombardi's departure, running the team's ticket offices in Green Bay and Milwaukee. In 1981, the Packers' board voted to strip then-coach Bart Starr of his general manager's duties, splitting them between Miller as "Business General Manager" and Bob Harlan as "Corporate General Manager". Their titles were later amended to make them both "Assistant to the President", insulating both men from the coaching chaos that rocked the Packers in the 1980s.

Miller retired in 1988, and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1999.

At the time of his retirement, Miller estimated that he had personally watched 635 Packer games. He missed only two games in 35 years, and one of those was a pre-season game in Boston. What changes he saw in those 35 years; seven head coaches, two stadiums, and five World Championships. A moribund franchise brought back to glory and made a model for the entire league, thanks in part to him.

Even without the connection to Miller, this watch would be an amazing find. Its provenance only makes it more so. Bidding currently stands at $1,071.81, but I expect it to fetch more by the time the auction closes on Friday.

UPDATE:  The final price, including bidder's premium, was $2,495.95. Undoubtedly a major addition to somebody's collection.

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