I was shopping at an Antique mall here in Las Vegas and there was a small rack of really old clothing. I initially noticed the sweater because i thought it was an old motorcycle sweater. I read the packers and the size was a size that actually fit me. I noticed the Jersey as well and not knowing much about the Packers at the time, I assumed that the Packers colors had always been the green and yellow. I just figured either way it was cool item but i had no idea the 2 items belonged together because they were dated by the dealer 2 different time periods. In all honestly because I didn't see the green and yellow i didn't even think that there were Green Bay Packers items. I had assumed it might have been a college team or even a high school team.I wasn't terribly surprised that the Packers weren't able to help him; that's not really what they do. The team has made enough mistakes chronicling the broad outlines of its own history, much less detail work such as this (those mistakes were why I started this blog in the first place, which is a story for another day).
The jersey had been dated earlier then 1950s by the gentlemen who was selling the items, because the label reads "O'Sheas Knitting Mills Oct. 10-1916 - April 8,1924." He had dated the sweater as 1940s, so I wasn't to sure what time period the jersey or the sweater was from.
I started to look at several websites and then i realized that these items were in fact Green Bay packers. I found some old pix from another site and even seen some auctions sites where similar items have been sold.
A friend of mine who also collects old clothing and even has a blog site helped cross reference sites. He suggested that I contact the Green Bay Packers to possibly get the items authenticated but I hit a brick wall there. It seems pretty impossible to get ahold of anyone at the organization.
I emailed you cause I seen your site was the most useful in finding out any info. Thanks again I really appreciate your help.
These were the photos Leo sent me:
I recognized the sideline pullover instantly. I don't know when it was introduced, but the Packers were using it well into the 1950s.
The tagging Leo described matched other Packer jerseys from the 1940s. The Packers bought their gear from O'Shea for many years during Lambeau's tenure.
It seemed to me that his find could well be genuine. At the very least, this required an expert. I referred Leo to MEARS, the Milwaukee-based authenticators and auctioneers. They must have been as pleased to see these as I was, because the jersey and jacket are featured in the current MEARS auction, now open through February 2nd, 2013, 9:00pm Central.
This is the jersey listing:
Lot #231: 1948 Buford "Baby" Ray Green Bay Packers Game Worn Home Jersey (MEARS A9) "First example discovered"Here's the listing for the jacket:
A free agent from Vanderbilt in 1938, Buford 'Baby' Ray was a dominating blocker and defensive tackle.
Size 44 appears in the crotch piece.
Final Grade (MEARS A9): Base grade of 10 points were assigned for jersey matching correct manufacturer, style, and sizing for Ray. 1 point was subtracted for the small holes on reverse. LOA Troy R. Kinunen / MEARS (B0238)
Lot #226: 1948 Buford "Baby" Ray Green Bay Packers Game Worn Home Team Jacket (MEARS LOA) "First example discovered"The description also includes this photo of Curly Lambeau and his men on the sidelines (it doesn't say whether this photo is included in the auction).
Offered is a matching jacket to the 1948 Buford Ray game worn jersey offered in this auction.
The co-captain of the Vanderbilt University Commodores in 1937, the 6’6” Ray was a giant of a lineman in his time. He weighed more than 280 pounds in college but dropped 30 pounds in his first season with the Green Bay Packers.
This is the first example of this style jacket that MEARS has evaluated.
Manufactured by Wilson (black tag with red lettering, 1948-55), this wool pull over jacket has full length sleeves which are trimmed in double stripe yellow trim. The collar has one single yellow stripe. "PACKERS" (3 ½") lettering appears in yellow cotton on the reverse. The jacket remains in excellent condition, with 12 moth holes on the reverse near the upper collar and 5 on the front. The holes are almost impossible to see due to the navy collar, but mentioned for the sake of accuracy.
UPDATE: The auction is over; the jersey sold for $8,084 and the jacket for $5,018 (including buyer's premiums).