Plaster cast of original Heisman up for auction

Updated: November 24, 2005, 12:34 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The original 1935 plaster cast of the Heisman Trophy sculpture will be up for auction on Dec. 10 -- the date this year's award is announced -- as part of Sotheby's and SCP Auctions' sale of "Important Sports Memorabilia and Cards."

When members of the Downtown Athletic Club originally conceived the idea of an annual award to honor the most outstanding college football player, Frank Eliscu, a then-23-year-old New York native, was commissioned for the work. Ed Smith, a leading player on the 1934 New York University football team, assisted Eliscu as his model.

After preliminary sketches of the statue, the DAC suggested that the artist move the outstretched arm to the side, as it would be more natural in how a runner would push away a tackler. Eliscu's finished product was used to create the mold for the bronze trophy that is handed out each year. He was paid $200 for his work.

Since its creation 70 years ago, eight Heisman trophy winners have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Doak Walker, Paul Hornung, Roger Staubach, O.J. Simpson, Tony Dorsett, Earl Campbell, Marcus Allen and Barry Sanders.

In addition to the Heisman Trophy sculpture, Eliscu, who died in 1990, compiled a prominent list of works throughout his career, including the creation of President Gerald Ford's inaugural medal and a state gift for the late Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. His "Cascade of Books" is mounted on the front of the James Madison Library of Congress in Washington.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press