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Former Texas Longhorns running back Ricky Williams sold his 1998 Heisman Trophy to a private collector back in 2014, and now the trophy is headed to auction, where it’s expected to sell for a record price.
Tallahassee, Fla. native Brian Hobbs is putting the Heisman along with several other pieces of Williams memorabilia up at Heritage Auctions, where the crown jewel of the collection could sell for a half a million dollars in October.
Williams' Heisman carries special value because it's the last trophy that's allowed to be sold. As the listing points out, every honoree following Williams has been required to sign away the right to sell his Heisman.
The rarity of Heismans being available for sale, along with Williams' impressive 1998 season and the sheer number of Longhorns fans set up the trophy for a record day. Williams won the Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Award in the same season, both of which are also up for auction, and he set a record with 6,592 career rushing yards that year.
“Any time you’re able to offer a Heisman at auction, it just doesn’t happen too often,” Heritage’s director of sports auctions Chris Ivy said, via the Associated Press. “The imagery that comes up when you think about it, it’s the most recognizable trophy without a doubt, even more so than the NBA or NFL championship trophies. People, when they see the (Heisman), they know what it is.”
The auction record for a Heisman belongs to Tim Brown's 1987 award, which went for $435,763 last December. In the last year, Rashaan Salaam's 1994 trophy went for $399,608, while Clint Frank's 1937 award sold for $312,000.
Memorabilia collector Brian Hobbs selling trophies for college fund
Hobbs has not disclosed how much he purchased Williams’ memorabilia for, but he’s hung them for long enough. After Texas won 10 games for the first time since 2009 last year, he figures that this is as good a time to sell as any.
Hobbs told the AP that he began collecting memorabilia when he found championship rings at a pawn shop. Now 25 years later, he's ready to cash in on his investments.
“I bought one, then I bought another and another,” Hobbs said. “Then hundreds later, I realized I guess I collect these.
“I think the pawn shops were probably not being very fair to the actual value because when they bought stuff it was more on the gold value than the actual collector's value.”
Of course, it was also the right time to sell the trophies because his three children are also headed off to college soon. Hobbs said he plans to use the money from the auction to pay for their tuition.
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